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Nova Scotia is a province steeped in harness racing tradition. It also home to many of the sport’s youngest participants and fans. Lily Watson is a 19-year-old horsewoman and newly-minted Atlantic Post Calls columnist, covering racing action and community news at 94-year-old Inverness Raceway, Cape Breton.  “I have been coming to the races with my friends since I was 10 years old,” she said. “I started paddocking when I was 13, and I bought my first horse at the end of that summer. This year is my sixth year as an owner, and my third year as a trainer.” Although there are families with many generations in local racing, Watson’s story is a little different. “I do not have an extensive family history in the sport like many others do,” she explained. “I got involved as a kid and my dad quickly took an interest too. He’s now an owner, groom, and president of the track’s executive committee.” Watson takes pride in being a racehorse owner and trainer, adding that she has plans to pursue driving within the next few years. Her role model? “That’s easy, Mary Clare MacDonald. Not only is she a female in the business, but she’s the best, and she does it all.” Lily also spoke highly of the reinsman who drove both of her horses to victory at Inverness October 8th, 2017, giving Watson her first career training wins: “I’ve been a fan of Gerard Kennedy’s driving for a while, and now he drives for me regularly, which is awesome.” The owner of Im Indigo and Tymal Torrance said that apart from her own horses, she had special appreciation for a well-known local favourite: “Cam Cool was my favourite horse to watch.”  Young participants are active in keeping Inverness Raceway moving forward. Watson, who begins coverage of her home track in the May issue of Atlantic Post Calls, wrote about the level of youth involvement—and enjoyment—at the scenic half-mile treasure on Cape Breton’s west coast:  “We have lots of fundraisers that go on here, including 50/50 and Tri-cash draws and bingo on a regular basis to keep our track going. [Inverness does not simulcast its live races.] Every year we have a ‘Kiddie Day’ where we fill our grandstand with games and prizes for children, which I think helps them associate our track as a fun place to come to. A couple of years ago, one of our young horsepeople, Melanie Leblanc, organized youth dances at the track to fundraise for a new set of saddle pads that have been a great upgrade for us that everyone has benefitted from and that we will be able to use for years to come.  It can be hard sometimes, as a young person, to understand the importance of the role we play here. But I think it’s safe to say that if Inverness didn’t have the youth involvement that it does, there wouldn’t be enough fans and horsemen to keep the game alive. On any given race day, there are young people around everywhere you look, as grooms, owners, trainers, fans, and staff. That’s something that truly makes our track special, we have got to have more young people involved here than any other Nova Scotia track.  People don’t come to Inverness to make big money, and they probably don’t look forward to driving all the way here or racing around our sharp first turn. They also probably don’t love it when they’re in a full field and draw the 6 hole as Inverness is only 6 wide. But we get some big crowds regardless! Something Inverness does have is a strong, family-oriented community with a lot of dedicated fans that never miss a race. The barn side is full of friendly horsemen, young and old who share a passion for the game. We love when people come to visit our track, any day of the week! We especially love to have the chance to show our ‘Cape Breton Hospitality’ at special events like stake cards that bring even more people and horses to our big blue barn. Inverness Raceway is a place for everyone to visit and feel welcome, we’re all here to have a good time.” Lily Watson (with Melissa Keith)

Due to no power at Inverness Raceway, the harness racing card for tonight Monday September 9, 2019 has been cancelled. More information will be released as soon as it is made available.                

Due to the pending Hurricane Watch Inverness Raceway has moved their card of harness racing from Sunday September 8 ,2019 to Monday September 9, 2019. Post time 7pm. The 3 year old Colt Atlantic Sire Stakes scheduled for Saturday September 7, 2019 in Northside has been moved to Inverness Raceway on Monday September 9, 2019 post time 7pm. The Nova Scotia stake for 2 year old Fillies is included in the date change for Inverness Monday September 9, 2019. From Debbie Francis, for the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association

Howmac Sabrina had her first harness racing win of the year stopping the clock in 158/4 in the first ATSS A Division. Owned by Brittany Watts and Windemere Farms, trained by Michael Dowling, with David Dowling doing the driving. Second was Cheeky Cherry and third went to Woodmere Rio. Woodmere Oleksiak took a new lifetime mark of 157/4 to win the second A Division of the ATSS. Owned by Hollis Newton, Debbie Denny, Ric McNutt and Windemere Farms, trained by Earl Watts and driven to victory by David Dowling. Arc Light was second and rallying for third was Woodmere Tango. Woodmere Oleksiak Atlantic Sire Stakes action continues in two weeks time during Lobster Carnival Week in Summerside   Debbie Francis Executive Director Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association

INVERNESS, N.S. — The Inverness Raceway held its annual awards banquet last Friday in Inverness, handing out the Cape Breton track’s prestigious harness racing awards from the 2018 race season. Doubleshotofscotch was named the horse of the year, while mare of the year was given to Modern Best and Makes Me Stupid and Bonny Mac were chosen for the iron horse award. Tipperback Jack was the most improved horse for 2018, while Intended Royalty took home the fastest mile for a local horse award. Claimer of the year was Shanghai BG. Red Doucet Jr., who also had the most drives during the year, took home the top driver over the age of 50 with 44 wins, followed by Rodney Gillis with 28 wins and Ryan Campbell with 24 victories. The top trainer over 50 was John MacDonald with 13 wins, followed closely by Lennan MacIsaac with 12 wins and DF Beaton and Wendall Harper with 11 wins each. Shawn MacDonald and Lanny Hanscombe were the top drivers in the 20-49 category while Alex Sutherland Jr. was the top trainer in the division. Ambrose Gillis was chosen as the rookie driver of the year while Matt Hinkley and Zack Mullins were selected as the rookie trainers of the year. The Gerard Kennedy Financial Award was presented to Mary MacQuarrie, while the Raymond (Slim) Gillis Award was given to Barry Watson. Meanwhile, the Standardbred Canada award went to John MacDonald. Dylan MacLean was the junior groom of the year. The volunteer of the year was awarded to Ed Copley, while the fan of the year was given to Jamie Campbell. The 2019 harness racing season will begin at Inverness Raceway on June 2. Full list of 2018 annual award winners: Horse of the Year: Doubleshotofscotch Mare of the Year: Modern Best Fastest Mile For Local Horse: Intended Royalty Iron Horse: Makes Me Stupid and Bonny Mac Mode of Consistency: Res Aiden Most Improved: Tipperback Jack Claimer of the Year: Shanghai BG Three-year-old Filly: This Old Millie Three-year-old Colt: Windmeredontmatter and Blackriver Ripper Two-year-old Filly: Miss Dynamite D Two-year-old Colt: TQs Charlie Top Trainer (50-plus): .466 with 13 wins John MacDonald, 12 wins Lennan MacIsaac, 11 wins DF Beaton and Wendall Harper, Top Trainer (20-49): .485 Alex Sutherland Jr. Top Driver (50-plus): .466 with 44 wins Red Doucet Jr., Rodney Gillis (28 wins), and Ryan Campbell (24) Top Drivers (20-49): .455 Shawn MacDonald and Lanny Hanscombe with six wins, Sandy MacNeil, Alex MacDonald, Joey Poirier with five wins, and Charles Fraser and Ambrose Gillis with four wins Most Drives: Red Doucet Jr. Rookie Driver: Ambrose Gillis Rookie Trainers: Matt Hinkley and Zack Mullins Junior Groom: Dylan MacLean Gerard Kennedy Financial Award: Mary MacQuarrie Fan of the Year: Jamie Campbell Standardbred Canada Award: John MacDonald Raymond (Slim) Gillis Award: Barry Watson Volunteer of the Year: Ed Copley Recognition Award: Malcolm MacEachern, DF Beaton and Charles Fraser Appreciation Award: Bernie MacDonald, Kevin Deagle and Richie Mullins Reprinted with permission of The Cape Breton Post

Sock It Away continued his winning ways at Inverness Raceway on Sunday afternoon. The 3 year-old pacing gelding had his fourth straight Atlantic Sires Stakes win of the season, as he continues to dominate the leader board. Marc Campbell handled the driving duties for trainer Kevin MacLean and owner Reg MacPherson of Stratford, PEI. The duo crossed the finish line in 1:57.1 followed by Woodmere Ideal Art and Easy Flyer. The other $10,320 'A' division event on the afternoon race card went to last year's Atlantic Breeders Crown champion, Half Cut, and driver Mark Bradley in a time of 1:57.4. The 3 year-old bay gelding is trained by Tom Weatherbie for owners Kyle and Joseph Gardiner, Michael Currie and Jerry MacKinnon, all of PEI. Coming home second was Weekend Atnannies and third was String Busters. Atlantic Sires Stakes racing actions heats up again in Cape Breton this coming weekend with the 3 year-old pacing colts heading to North Sydney on Saturday and the 2 year-old pacing colts going the Inverness oval on Sunday. To view the current Atlantic Sires Stakes point standings, visit www.atlanticsiresstakes.ca. by Lynne MacLennan, for the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association  

With only two remaining opportunities to earn points this season, all the Atlantic Sires Stakes leading point earners in the three-year-old pacing colts division will congregate at Inverness Raceway this weekend. The colts will be in pursuit of points to gain entry into the season-ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships, as well as a portion of the sizeable purse pools. This year's Weekend of Champions will be hosted by Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park on Thanksgiving weekend. Two 'A' divisions will each go for a purse pool of $10,320 on the Sunday afternoon race card at Inverness Raceway, with a first race post time of 1:30 pm. To view the current Atlantic Sires Stakes point standings, visit www.atlanticsiresstakes.ca. by Lynne MacLennan, for the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association  

It will be an Atlantic Sires Stakes invasion of Cape Breton this weekend as the two and three-year-old trotters, as well as the two year-old pacing fillies, head to Cape Breton racetracks. The Atlantic Sires Stakes two and three-year-old trotting divisions, all sponsored by Meridian Farms, will be hosted by Northside Downs on Saturday afternoon. The first Atlantic Sires Stakes event will take place at 12:40 pm at the North Sydney oval and will be followed by a full race card of fourteen events. The harness racing action will then head to Inverness Raceway on Sunday afternoon when the two-year-old pacing fillies roll into town. Two 'A' divisions will each go for a purse pool of $9920, while the fillies attempt to earn points for entry into the season-ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships. First race post time in Inverness on Sunday is 1:30 pm. by Lynne MacLennan, for the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association  

Atlantic Sires Stakes racing action resumes this weekend as Inverness Raceway plays host to the three-year-old pacing fillies on Sunday afternoon. The Canada Day race card will feature two 'A' divisions each going for $10,520 and one $2500 'B' division. The top three fillies on the Atlantic Sires Stakes leader board will all be at the Inverness oval to take on competitors and attempt to garner more points. Tobins Terror, Royaltywestho and Woodmere Ceilidh all have first place finishes on their record but the season is young and there is lots of time for movement in point standings before the championship weekend in October. Points earned in each Atlantic Sires Stakes 'A' pacing division event and all trotting events go towards earning a spot in the season ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships. This year's Weekend of Champions will be hosted by Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. First race post time in Inverness on Sunday is 1:30 pm. by Lynne MacLennan, for the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association  

Inverness Raceway will play host to the Atlantic Sires Stakes for harness racing two-year-old pacing colts this weekend. Two 'A' divisions will each go for $10,160 in purses, as the colts battle it out in their second last meeting of the regular season Points earned in each Atlantic Sires Stakes 'A' division pace and trot event go towards securing a spot in the season-ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships. This year's championships will be hosted by Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park October 7 and 8. To view current point standings, go to www.atlanticsiresstakes.ca. First race post time on Sunday at Inverness Raceway is 1:30 pm. Lynne MacLennan

The Atlantic Sires Stakes three-year-old pacing colts are heading to Inverness Raceway on Sunday afternoon and this will be the last opportunity for the harness racing colts to earn points towards entry in the season-ending championship finals. Ashes to Ashes, the current point leader, will be on hand to defend his lead in one of two 'A' division events, each going for $10,100 in purse money. A lone 'B' division, going for a $2500 purse, will round out the afternoon race card. This year's Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships will be hosted by Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park on Thanksgiving Weekend. First race post time on Sunday at Inverness Raceway is 1:30 pm. Lynne MacLennan Executive Director Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association PO Box 65 Port Hood NS B0E 2W0 Phone: 902.787.2869 Fax: 902.787.2214 www.atlanticsiresstakes.ca

Atlantic Sires Stakes harness racing action dominated race cards in Cape Breton this weekend with both Northside Downs and Inverness Raceway hosting events. The Atlantic Sires Stakes - Meridian Farms trotters took to the North Sydney oval on Saturday afternoon. Ticked went a track-record mile for two-year-old trotters in 2:03.4 for owner-trainer-driver Miles Heffernan and co-owner Jackie Heffernan of Glace Bay, NS. The other freshman event went to Windemeredontuworry and trainer-driver-owner Terry Gallant and co-owner Eric Johnson of Summerside, PEI. Majian Tango and trainer-driver James Ripley crossed the finish line first in their three-year-old trot event for owner Mary Lea Ripley of Amherst, NS. The other three-year-old event went to Pappy Go Go and trainer-driver Marc Campbell. The brown trotting gelding is owned by Grayland Farm of Pugwash, NS. Atlantic Sires Stakes racing action moved on to Inverness Raceway on Sunday afternoon as the track played host to the two-year-old pacing fillies. Roaltywestho won her $10,460 division with Marc Campbell in the bike. The bay pacing filly is owned by Joseph Baxter and Gregory Francis of Windsor, NS. Marc Campbell had an Atlantic Sires Stakes driving double, taking Scarlet Desire across the finish line first in her division for owner Gordon MacLean of Winsloe, PEI. Atlantic Sires Stakes racing action heats up again next weekend, as Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park will host a full slate of events during Old Home Week. Lynne MacLennan

Cape Breton Island will be invaded by Atlantic Sires Stakes horses this weekend, as both Northside Downs and Inverness Raceway host harness racing stake events. The Atlantic Sires Stakes - Meridian Farms sponsored trotting events will take place at Northside Downs on Saturday afternoon with both the two and three-year-old trotters meeting at the Northside oval. The two-year-old Atlantic Sires Stakes divisional leaders Ticked and Buckaroo will both attempt to increase their point standings, while the three-year-old divisional leaders Pappy Go Go and Windemerepartyman will vie for points in their events. Points earned in each Atlantic Sires Stakes trot and 'A' division pace event go towards securing a spot in the season-ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships. The Atlantic Sires Stakes competitions will continue on Sunday afternoon when Inverness Raceway plays host to the two-year-old pacing fillies. Two 'A' division events will each go for a substantial purse pool of $10,460. First race post time at Northside Downs on Saturday is 1 pm. The race card will get underway on Sunday at 1:30 pm at Inverness Raceway. Lynne MacLennan

Inverness Raceway will play host to Atlantic Sires Stakes fillies this Canada Day weekend, as the nation celebrates 150 years of Confederation and Canada's horse racing industry recognizes the 250th Anniversary of Horse Racing in Canada. A total of 23 racetracks in eight provinces from coast to coast are taking part in the national celebration over the July 1st weekend, acknowledging this major milestone in the industry's history. The Sunday afternoon race card at Inverness Raceway will also include a trio of Atlantic Sires Stakes events for three-year-old pacing fillies. A $9800 purse will be up for grabs in each of the two 'A' division events, and a lone 'B' division will go for a purse pool of $2500. This is the second meeting of the Atlantic Sires Stakes fillies this race season. Points earned in each 'A' division event go towards earning a coveted spot in the season-ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships. First race post time on Sunday at Inverness Raceway is 1:30 pm. Lynne MacLennan

The Atlantic Sires Stakes three-year-old pacing colts met at Inverness Raceway on Sunday afternoon, with two of the afternoon winners taking new lifetime marks. Abner The Great captured his $9,980 'A' division event, crossing the finish line in 1:57. The bay pacing gelding was under the command of Marc Campbell for owners Windemere Farms, Harris Johnston, Roger Burns and John Howatt all of Prince Edward Island. Beaus Cowboy also took a new lifetime mark in his 'A' division event with Adam Merner in the bike. The duo crossed the line in 1:57.3 for owner Alex MacPhee of Clyde River, PE. Marc Campbell had an Atlantic Sires Stakes driving double on the race card winning the lone $2,500 'B' division event with Windemere Rene. Atlantic Sires Stakes racing action returns to Inverness Raceway next Sunday when the two-year-old pacing colts have their turn to shine at the Inverness oval. Lynne MacLennan  

Heart and Soul will attempt to maintain his lead in point standings when the Atlantic Sires Stakes three-year-old pacing colts harness racing meet at Inverness Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Two 'A' divisions of the pacing colts will each go for almost $10,000 in purse money and a lone 'B' division will go for $2500. Heart and Soul leads the group of pacing colts and geldings with twenty points, followed by a group of four colts all tied in second place with 16 points. This will be the fifth and final Atlantic Sires Stakes meeting of the sophomore colts prior to the season-ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships. The top eight point earners in each division gain entry into the championship events slated for Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park on Thanksgiving Weekend. First race post time on Sunday at Inverness Raceway is 1:30 pm. Lynne MacLennan

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