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August 2, 2017 - Standardbred Canada today announced that harness racing driver James MacDonald will represent Canada in the upcoming 2017 World Driving Championship, taking place from August 12 to August 18 at racetracks across the country. MacDonald, 31, was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and currently resides in Guelph, Ontario. He stands among the top five drivers in Canada with $1.79 million earned, and has 95 wins this season. Last October, MacDonald finished second in the National Driving Championship held at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The National Driving Championship has been used since 2007 to determine Canada's representative for the World Driving Championship. "It means a lot, obviously," said MacDonald. "I would've liked if it had happened on different terms but I'm really excited, I can't wait to wear the red and white and to compete all across Canada. I'm just happy to be here, especially with the last leg being in PEI. It's a big deal for me. I haven't been home in three years. I get to see some friends and family and I'm sure there will be a big turnout rooting for me." Over his career, MacDonald has won 1,677 races and earned $22.4 million, primarily racing on the prestigious Woodbine Entertainment circuit. He has won the Milton Stakes twice at Mohawk Racetrack, and won the Battle of the Belles Stakes at Grand River Raceway twice. The World Driving Championship, hosted by Standardbred Canada, will take place at five different racetracks in four provinces, with 11 drivers from around the world competing. The first leg kicks off at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino near Calgary, Alberta on Saturday, August 12, followed by Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ontario on Monday, August 14, and Georgian Downs, in Innisfil, Ontario on Tuesday, August 15. The event then moves to Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivières, Quebec on Wednesday, August 16, and finally to Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park, on Prince Edward Island, for the fifth leg on Friday, August 18. MacDonald hopes his familiarity with the tracks will offer him a hometown advantage. "I've won a race at all the tracks we're racing at," he says. "I won two races in Calgary last year when we were out there for a charity event, Mohawk and Georgian I've raced at lots, and I won one at Three Rivers when I was there a few years back. I got my first lifetime win in Charlottetown. I know the styles that work, so I think I got that, but if I don't, I know a couple people I can talk to." Each WDC leg is scheduled to have four or five races. Drivers earn points based on their finishing position, and the top point earner at the end of the event will be declared the 2017 World Driving Champion, and win $25,000 in prize money. MacDonald replaces Brandon Campbell in the WDC. On Tuesday, August 1, Standardbred Canada announced that Brandon Campbell was removed as Canada's representative for the 2017 World Driving Championship.   Kathy Wade Vlaar  

CAMPBELLVILLE, July 31 - Harness racing trainer Dave Menary was expected to win Monday's second leg of the Dream Maker at Mohawk Racetrack, but it was the least likely of his two starters to come through with the victory. Menary trainee Trump That was the overwhelming favourite in a field of five two-year-old pacing colts and geldings competing for $14,000. Trump That enjoyed a two-hole ride and took the lead in the stretch, but couldn't kick away from his rivals and got picked off by a charging Dragon Time and driver James MacDonald. Dragon Time sat fourth throughout the opening stages before hitting full flight in the stretch and getting up to win in 1:53. The gelded son of Bettor's Delight paced a :27.3 final-quarter to win by a half a length. Brackley Beach finished third, while Albergo Hanover was fourth. Webmaster Hanover showed the way until the top of the lane and posted fractions of :27, :55.3 and 1:24.2. He faded back to finish fifth. Owned by Menary Racing Inc, Michael Guerriero, Larry Menary and Alan Alber, Dragon Time was a $50,000 purchase at last October's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The Bettors Delight gelding now has two wins in four starts and $19,180 banked. Dragon Time paid $11.20 to win. Dragon Time The $39,800 Dream Maker Series final will take place next Monday (August 7). Live racing continues Tuesday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A special post time of 6 p.m. is in effect due to the RCMP Musical Ride performance taking place during Tuesday's card. Mark McKelvie

JULY 2, 2017 - The upsets continued in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold action on Sunday evening as the harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies battled in two divisions at Georgian Downs. After a mid-card deluge that saw the track downgraded from 'fast' to 'sloppy', the fillies squared up for the first division in the seventh race. Fans had established Magic Presto, a winner in the Gold Series season opener and the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stake, as the heavy favourite from Post 5, with On A Sunny Day and the other June 8 Gold winner, Sweet Of My Heart, as their second and third choices. As the gate swept away from the field of eight Sweet Of My Heart left smartly from Post 1, but before the :27.4 quarter the early leader was on an extended break and out of contention. Janderson inherited the lead and took the field to a :57.3 half, but driver Sylvain Filion had On A Sunny Day on the move from third and Magic Presto and driver Trevor Henry were hot on their heels. On A Sunny Day took command before the 1:26.2 half and was almost immediately under pressure from Magic Presto. The fillies matched steps through the final quarter and it took a photo to determine the winner; On A Sunny Day by a nose in 1:54.4. Magic Presto settled for second and Majestic Kat finished well behind the duelling leaders in third. It was the second win of the season for On A Sunny Day and her first in sophomore Gold Series action. As a two-year-old the daughter of Muscle Mass and Dicent No was a four-time winner at the Gold Series level, banking $183,750 for owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC bred and trains the filly. In the second division, the final race of the evening, fans sent Milton, ON resident Filion and his mount Royal Witch off as their top choice, but locked in a battle with Paradise Image for top spot Royal Witch also skipped off stride. Left alone on the front third choice Paradise Image cruised effortlessly through fractions of :28.2, :58, and 1:27.3 on her way to a three and one-half length victory in 1:57.1. Mrstery Bear and Tymal Reign rounded out the top three. "She's a big, good gaited thing and she's so handy, she gets off the gate like a rocket," said driver James MacDonald. "Today she got there easy, and I wouldn't have minded following Sylvain, but his made a break so I just, once he run I just kind of took the front and the rest is history." MacDonald drives Paradise Image for trainer Mike Keeling of Cambridge and owners P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc. of Cambridge, Paradise Stable of Hamilton, Dale McNeill of Campbellville and Ron O'Neill of Puslinch, ON. The Guelph resident stepped into the Kadabra daughter's race bike at the beginning of June and, while they have had success, it has occasionally been a perilous place to reside. "I started driving her a couple weeks ago. She can act up a little bit in the post parade, she can be pretty bad, so they asked me if I minded driving her, and I said 'No,' and she's been good, she's raced good all three times I drove her," explained MacDonald. "She was first up her first start in the Gold (June 8) and was third, and then she win out of the two-hole last week (June 19), and today she win on the front. "She doesn't turn. Turning is a problem. Sometimes she'll run out the gates, and sometimes she'll kick, she's not a real treat in the post parade to drive sometimes," said MacDonald about the filly's behavioural quirks. "Today she was an absolute kitten, she didn't do anything wrong, but she can perform from time to time." MacDonald relied on the assistance of the Georgian Downs outrider to make the turn into the starting gate and to escort the filly back to the winner's circle. They will have another opportunity to be guided to the Gold Series winner's circle on July 22 when the fillies compete in Leg 3 at Mohawk Racetrack. Georgian Downs will welcome the Ontario Sires Stakes program back to Innisfil next Saturday, July 8, hosting the Grassroots debut of the two-year-old trotting colts. The first race goes behind the starting gate at 7:15 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

JUNE 26, 2017 - Harness racing driver James MacDonald climbed onto the race bike behind Future Headlines for the first time at Grand River Raceway on Monday evening and piloted the three-year-old pacing filly to her first victory of the year in a personal best 1:54.1. Starting from Post 2 in the first of two $95,600 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions, MacDonald was able to follow post-sitter Fade into the first turn. Content to shadow Fade through fractions of :27.3, :56.2 and 1:25.2, MacDonald waited until the fillies were squared up in the stretch before tipping Future Headlines to the outside and pointing her at the finish line. Sure of her goal, fan favourite Future Headlines powered home to a one and one-quarter length victory. Pacesetter Fade settled for second and 2016 division champion Yaris Bayama was third. "It worked out really good," said MacDonald. "I didn't know how the race would set up, you never really know, sometimes you think everyone's going to leave and no one does, and sometimes you think no one is going to leave and everyone does. So I was really happy with the trip I could get and she responded perfectly. "She just had to use her speed for really an eighth of a mile, so when she came out she went by them, and she did it very easy," added the Guelph, ON resident. MacDonald crafted the win for trainer Colin Johnson of Repentigny, QC and his partners Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON, David Heffering of Port Perry, ON and By The Beach Stable of Brick, NJ. The daughter of Sportswriter and 2008 freshman Grassroots champion Tomorrowpan ($546,291), Future Headlines was a $20,000 acquisition from the 2015 Harrisburg Yearling Sale and has now banked $177,530 for her owners in 14 lifetime starts. "Any time you can win those races, they're not easy to win, so any time you can win a Gold, you've done something right," said MacDonald, who will have a second chance to put the filly in a Gold Series winner's circle on July 22 at Mohawk Racetrack. In the second Gold division Action Majesty got a confident gate-to-wire steer from Guelph resident Doug McNair. Leaving from Post 2 McNair sent the fan's second choice straight to the front and rolled through fractions of :27.2, :57.3 and 1:25.3 without facing a serious challenge. The pair sailed under the wire one and one-quarter length winners in 1:54, besting favourite Soiree Seelster and Aint Three Ok. "She is handy on a small track, that made my job a lot easier," said McNair. "She's always had quick speed, I usually use it late on the big track, but that's tough to do on a half." The Royal Mattjesty daughter is trained by the driver's father Gregg McNair, also of Guelph, for owner-breeder Kenneth Sommer of Sheffield, OH. Monday's win was Action Majesty's first of the sophomore campaign. A two-time Gold Series winner at two, the filly has earned $203,642 in her 12-race career. "She's been racing against the best fillies in North America, and racing good against them, so hopefully she keeps it up as the year goes on," noted McNair. Both Action Majesty and Future Headlines competed against North America's best in the Fan Hanover Final at Mohawk Racetrack on June 17, finishing seventh and fifth respectively, and their connections are hoping they continue to deliver at a high level through the rest of the stakes season. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, July 19 with the third Grassroots event of the season for the three-year-old trotting fillies. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 20 - Winning five-races in a night at Mohawk Racetrack is no easy task, but for the second consecutive evening, a harness racing driver was able to do just that. James MacDonald made five trips to the winner's circle on Tuesday's 10-race card. The Guelph, Ontario resident teamed up with trainer Mark Steacy for three of his five victories. The duo of MacDonald and Steacy scored their victories with a pair of three-year-old trotting fillies (Ticket To Seattle and Majestic Kat) and six-year-old trotter Harper Blue Chip, who's first victory of the season boosts his career earnings to $933,012. MacDonald's two other victories on the evening came with six-year-old pacer E L Wild Spirit and six-year-old trotter O Narutac Perfetto. MacDonald's five wins were recorded from nine drives on Tuesday's program. This season at Mohawk, MacDonald has recorded 31 victories and driven the winner's of over $500,000. His totals numbers for 2017 currently sit at 64 wins and earnings of $1.1 million. MacDonald is the second driver this week to post a five-win night, as Trevor Henry scored a handful of victories on Monday evening's card at Mohawk. The three-win night for Steacy gives him 11 wins this season at Mohawk and vaults him up to sixth in the trainer standings. Live racing resumes Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, January 14 - Modern Legend became harness racing's newest millionaire with a 1:50.4 victory in Saturday's $34,000 Preferred at Woodbine Racetrack. The Dave Drew trainee was able to reach the career milestone by capitalizing off a second-over steer from driver James MacDonald. Modern Legend was able to power by American Virgin, who had led the field from the start, in the stretch to get the job done by a neck. Company Man finished third, while Nickle Bag was fourth. A nine-year-old son of Modern Art, Modern Legend has been a top performer for several years on the WEG Circuit and scored his biggest victory to date in the 2014 Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack. Modern Legend recently returned from an 18-month layoff in December and the Drew trainee appears on the right path to returning to competition against the older pacing heavyweights. Saturday's victory gives Modern Legend, who has a career mark of 1:47.2, 23 wins from 71 career starts. He paid $5.80 to win. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 24 - Lady Shadow continued her outstanding harness racing season with a powerful 1:50 victory in the $311,000 Milton Stakes Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A strong group of 10 older pacing mares, with more than $8.3 million in combined career earnings, battled it out for the Milton Stakes crown. Lady Shadow has been at the top of the division all season and to no surprise was wagered down to 2-5 in Saturday's rich final. The five-year-old pacing mare showed early speed to get away near the front for driver James MacDonald. Wrangler Magic sprinted off the wings of the gate to grab command and forced a charged up Frost Damage Blues into the two-hole. After a :26.4 opening-quarter, Wrangler Magic continued to motor along down the backstretch for driver Sylvain Filion. MacDonald gave Lady Shadow her cue to move out from third at three-eighths and the heavy favourite sprinted up to take a slight lead at the half in :54.4. Filion did his best to stretch out the favourite, but Lady Shadow would clear to the front entering the far turn and ripped off a :27 third-panel to reach three-quarters in 1:21.4. In the stretch, Lady Shadow created some separation on her rivals and paced home in :28.1 for a 2¼ lengths victory. "I know with Sylvain (Filion) he wanted to stretch me out a little bit, but it doesn't matter to her" said MacDonald, who also won last year's Milton Stakes with Venus Delight. "I've seen her go some of the craziest trips you could ask a horse to go this year and she got stung pretty hard tonight and she's just such a good mare, she overcame it." Yagonnakissmeornot was able to finish second after getting away fourth and staying inside until three-quarters. Waasmula charged home for third, while Bedroomconfessions closed well from the back for fourth. Wrangler Magic faded back to finish ninth. A five-year-old daughter of Shadow Play, Lady Shadow has now won nine of 16 starts and earned over $700,000 this season for trainer Ron Adams and owners David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold and BFJ Stable. "She's definitely having a career year," said Adams. "She's just been tough and stayed tough the whole year and she's just getting better I think every start." Lady Shadow became the first mare Saturday since Moving Pictures in 2007 to win both the Milton Stakes and Roses Are Red Stakes in the same season. She now has 25 career wins and career earnings of over $1.5 million. Adams noted in the winner's circle that Lady Shadow will now head to Lexington, Kentucky to race on Sunday, October 9th during the Grand Circuit at The Red Mile. "Hopefully it's a nice day and we can maybe go a big mile." A $2 win ticket on Lady Shadow returned $2.90, while the $2 Exacta with the winner and Yagonnakissmeornot paid $46.80.   Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, ON - September 23 - A fantastic group of older pacing mares will square off Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack in the $311,000 Milton Stakes. Division leader Lady Shadow headlines the field of 10 and is seeking her ninth win of the season. The Ron Adams trainee is looking to add a Milton Stakes victory to go along with her Roses Are Red score from earlier this season. The last horse to sweep both of Woodbine Entertainment's signature events for pacing mares in the same season was Moving Pictures in 2007. Lady Shadow has earned more than $556,000 this season and is nearing $1.4 million in career earnings. Last Saturday, she won her elimination for the Milton by a pair of lengths in 1:51. Yannick Gingras has been the regular driver this season behind Lady Shadow, but will not be at Mohawk this Saturday to drive her in the Milton. James MacDonald will instead get the driving assignment behind the 8-5 morning line favourite. MacDonald is no stranger to the Milton Stakes, as last season he won the event with Venus Delight. He also has driven Lady Shadow in two of her starts this season along with qualifying her on a pair of occasions. Lady Shadow's rival and former stablemate Solar Sister will start to her right in post position four. Solar Sister got the better of her rival in their last meeting on August 28th at Tioga Downs in the Artiscape. The Gregg McNair trainee came first up and grinded away at Lady Shadow before eventually taking the lead in the stretch. A four-year-old daughter of Mach Three, Solar Sister is having an outstanding season in her first campaign against older horses. The McNair trainee has won four of 12 starts and has only missed the board once all season. Solar Sister, a winner of over $1.1 million in her career, finished third in her Milton elimination and will have her regular tag-team partner Doug McNair in the sulky. While Lady Shadow was an expected winner in her elimination last week, Wrangler Magic stunned many at 52-1 in the other split. The former Ontario Sires Stakes standout has had her ups and downs in her four-year-old season, but may be finding her best stride at the right time for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Stephane Larocque. Wrangler Magic, a winner of nearly $800,000, will start from the rail. The 10 mares in Saturday's Milton Stakes have combined to earn $8,356,008 during their careers. Yagonnakissmeornot ($1.4 million) and Venus Delight ($1 million) join Lady Shadow and Solar Sister as the four millionaires in the field. The Milton Stakes has been carded as Race 7 on Saturday's 11-race program. The $400,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Championships are also taking place Saturday at Mohawk. Fans at Mohawk Saturday will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes T-Shirt with the purchase of a live racing program. The Ontario Sires Stakes will also be giving away prizes throughout the night with their Trivia Spin and Win game on the main floor of the Grandstand. Post time for Saturday's stakes card is 7:30 p.m. Below is the full field for the Milton Stakes. $311,000 Milton Stakes 1. Wrangler Magic - Sylvain Filion - Stephane Larcoque 2. Yagonnakissmeornot - Louis Philippe Roy - Rene Allard 3. Lady Shadow - James MacDonald - Ron Adams 4. Solar Sister - Doug McNair - Gregg McNair 5. Storm Point - Jonathan Drury - Casie Coleman 6. Frost Damage Blues - Jack Moiseyev - Tom Fanning 7. Sandbetweenurtoes - Jody Jamieson - Richard Moreau 8. Waasmula - Trevor Henry - Bruce Goit 9. Bedroomconfessions - Randy Waples - Tony Alagna 10. Venus Delight - Chris Christoforou - Jeff Bamond Jr. by Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications

AUGUST 9, 2016 - Harness racing driver James MacDonald had scorched through four races before he took his foot off the accelerator at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening. Among the four races the Guelph resident won were two Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. MacDonald took the first division with True Muscle, who had swung out to challenge leader I Want Kandy when that filly went off stride. True Muscle carried on to a one-half length lead over Miami Magic and Tymal Diamond in 1:57.4. "She raced super," said MacDonald. "She got halfway down the lane and I thought she was going to get beat, and she fought them off, so it was a gutsy win for her." MacDonald piloted True Muscle to her second Grassroots win for trainer Keith Jones of Barrie and owner Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, ON. With two wins, one second and one seventh-place result in four Grassroots starts, the Muscle Mass daughter currently sits atop the division standings with 127 points. True Muscle MacDonald picked up his second Grassroots trophy in the next race, sending heavy favourite Anneli Hanover to the front heading for the half and cruising home to a one-length win in 1:56. Pocket-sitter Silky Flashy Nfast finished second and Scotties Spirit closed well to be third. "She's just red hot right now," said MacDonald of Anneli Hanover, who has not been bested since July 1. "She seems to be versatile, and she's coming into the late part of the Sires Stakes in good form, so hopefully she can get a bunch in the Semi-final and the Final." MacDonald has driven the filly to the three most recent wins in her four-race win streak for trainer Mark Steacy and Katherine Steacy of Lansdowne, Landmark 8 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall and Barry White of Ottawa, ON. In 11 sophomore starts the daughter of Majestic Son boasts a record of six wins and one second for earnings of $39,500. With two wins and two sixth-place results in Grassroots action, Anneli Hanover sits fifth in the standings with 103 points. Anneli Hanover MacDonald book-ended his Grassroots wins with victories in overnight action aboard former Ontario Sires Stakes trotter Justasmalltowngirl and pacing colt Pudong Phil. He almost made it five in a row with The Muscle Touch in the third Grassroots division, getting caught at the wire by fan favourite P L Jill and driver Mike Saftic. Justasmalltowngirl Pudong Phil "It was a dream start to the card," said the reinsman. "I've never won five there before, and I came close in the fifth race. I made front halfway down the lane and Saftic beat me right at the wire. It was a really super night. Sometimes you're in a zone where you can't do anything wrong and other times you're in a zone where it doesn't matter how good you're driving, you just can't seem to do anything right. "It's a really streaky game, people don't realise how streaky drivers can get," he added. "You're doing good, it just doesn't seem to matter what you do they go forward, and when you're doing bad you can be two to five, second over in the hot fractions and finish last. It's a weird game." While it was not on the same card, between Monday and Tuesday MacDonald did win five straight races at the Mohawk oval. The reinsman piloted three-year-old trotting colt Manofmanyimages to a Grassroots win in the last race on Monday's card before adding the first four races on Tuesday's program. Tuesday's victories will also bump MacDonald into third spot in the Ontario Sires Stakes' Lampman Cup point race. The driver is still well behind three-time winner Sylvain Filion, but admitted that he has considered taking a run at the reigning champion. "The last couple years I've kind of been around the hunt, but not really close enough to think about going for the Lampman Cup win. I looked the other day and saw I was not too far out of it," noted MacDonald. "If I can maybe close the gap on Sylvain, then I might think about taking a run at it." MacDonald will have an opportunity to further boost his Lampman Cup point tally on Wednesday evening when he heads to Grand River Raceway to steer one three-year-old trotting colt and a pair of two-year-old trotting fillies in Gold Series action. The other Grassroots trophies awarded at Mohawk on Tuesday went to P L Jill and Profound Patience. P L Jill and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville powered up the outside to reel in MacDonald and The Muscle Touch in the final strides, hitting the wire one-half length on top in a personal best 1:55.4. Magical Valentine was just three-quarters of a length back in third. Matthew Dupuis conditions P L Jill for owner-breeder Prince Lee Acres of Uxbridge, ON and their partners Jill Coleman of New York, NY and Alan Christensen of Calgary, AB. The win was the Kadabra daughter's second this season and her first in Grassroots action. P L Jill In the final division driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON put Profound Patience on the front heading by the three-quarters and the fan favourite sailed home to a one and one-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:57.2. Stonebridge Peace and Roadmapper finished second and third. Trained by Rebecca Titus for owner-breeder Steven Titus of Hamburg, NY, Profound Patience was also making her first appearance in the Grassroots winner's circle. The Majestic Son daughter doubled her win tally to two and her earnings to $18,380 with the victory. Profound Patience The three-year-old trotting fillies make their fifth Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on August 28. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening with the third Gold Leg for the two-year-old pacing colts and the third Grassroots Leg for the two-year-old pacing fillies. The pacing fillies will kick things off at 7:30 pm in the first race and will also compete in Races 4, 5 and 8. The pacing colts will battle in Races 3 and 9. Ontario Racing

JULY 29, 2016 - It took longer than expected, but Delcrest Magicstar finally made her debut at Grand River Raceway on Friday and the two-year-old trotting filly went home with a harness racing Grassroots trophy and the fastest clocking of the three Ontario Sires Stakes divisions. Starting from Post 1 with co-owner James MacDonald in the race bike, Delcrest Magicstar eased away from the starting gate and was sitting fourth when Late Shift reached the opening quarter in :30.3. The filly continued to watch from fourth as fan favourite Hab Faith took over top spot, leading the field to a 1:00.4 half, but heading for the 1:31.4 three-quarters MacDonald tipped Delcrest Magicstar to the outside and the filly had a chance to show off her skills. Powering around the final turn Delcrest Magicstar grabbed control from Hab Faith and accelerated down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 2:02.1. Late Shift stepped out of the pocket to claim the second-place share of the $18,000 purse and Hab Faith settled for third. "We were really happy with her," said MacDonald, who was joined in the winner's circle by the victorious "Be A Winner" contest finalist. "She trots beautiful, she's built like a tank, she looks like a good horse when you look at her, so hopefully she keeps progressing." Friday's outing was Delcrest Magicstar's first, following a win and a second in qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack on June 16 and July 1. The filly was originally heading for the Grassroots season opener at Georgian Downs, but a bout of sickness pushed her debut back by three weeks. "She got brutal sick," said MacDonald, who shares ownership of the filly, a $30,000 purchase from the Canadian Yearling Sale, with trainer Johnathan McKinnon of Guelph and Peter Porter of Port Dover, ON. "She was yellow snot pouring out of her, and coughing, and it was two weeks before he (McKinnon) could get it cleaned up, two different kinds of antibiotics, and she was off her feed. It was horrible." The filly finally started to rebound from the sickness last week and when they trained her in preparation for Friday's test McKinnon and MacDonald knew she was back on her game. "She trained awesome the other day," said the Guelph, ON resident. "I trained with Johnny and she blew by me down the lane and so we were kind of hoping she'd put together a good performance." Now that she is healthy, the only obstacle standing in Delcrest Magicstar's way could be her attitude. MacDonald said the daughter of Majestic Son and Stars Balance has a beautiful gait, but is not naturally inclined to give the extra effort that often separates the top horses from those in the lower tier. "She's got a bit of an attitude. Johnny always went with her and he was really high on her, but she just doesn't do anything extra," explained MacDonald. "After she qualified, I said, 'She's right on the verge of being a real nice horse, or not a very good horse.'" The second Grassroots division also saw a filly making her debut trot into the winner's circle. Starting from Post 6 with fan favourite Crystal Gumdrop, Grand River Raceway's leading driver Bob McClure employed a strategy similar to MacDonald's. The pair sat fourth as Parkhill Nocredit reached the quarter in :30.1, and had rolled to the outside before the 1:02.2 half. By the 1:33.2 three-quarters Crystal Gumdrop had pulled to within one length of the pacesetter and when McClure asked her for another gear the Angus Hall miss powered away to a three and one-quarter length victory in 2:03.3. Parkhill Nocredit settled for second and Man Shes Hot was four more lengths back in third. "She's a nice filly. She behaved very well for her first lifetime start," said Elora, ON resident McClure. "I didn't push her until late, but she had a lot of pop when I did." McClure crafted the win for trainer Jeff Gillis of Everett and his partners Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY. The trio acquired the daughter of Angus Hall and Crystas Dream for $13,000 from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale. The last division saw Inner Drive record her second straight Grassroots win with a gate-to-wire romp in 2:07.1. Hopeswishesndreams finished two and one-half lengths back in second and Oh Miss Sophie recovered from an early break to take third. Alfie Carroll of Iona Station engineered the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. The homebred daughter of Kadabra and Urge To Splurge boasts a record of two wins and one second in four starts for earnings of $21,500. She sits atop the two-year-old trotting filly Grassroots standings with 102 points. The freshman trotting fillies make their fourth Grassroots start at Hanover Raceway on August 6. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Grand River Raceway on Monday, Aug. 1 as part of the track's signature Industry Day program. The three-year-old pacing fillies will battle for Gold Series glory in Races 2 and 6, warming up the crowd for the $107,800 Battle of the Belles Final for two-year-old pacing fillies in Race 10 and the $159,500 Battle of Waterloo Final for two-year-old pacing colts in Race 11. The afternoon's festivities kick off at noon, with the first race going to the gate at 1:30 pm. For more information about Industry Day visit Ontario Racing

Grand River Raceway is inviting harness racing fans to test the mettle of driver James MacDonald. The reigning champ of the Drivers' Edition of the Bouncy Pony Stakes during the track's annual Industry Day event, MacDonald seems virtually untouchable. With five consecutive victories in Jamieson's pocket, the track has posted polls on their Facebook and Twitter, gathering consensus for the best tactic to level the playing field for the 2016 edition on Monday, August 1. #1: Shoeing Change: From steel to flip-flops. (James races in flip-flops.) #2: Bridle Change: Open bridle, add Murphy outside. (James wears an eye-patch.) #3: Add Ground: Add starting distance of 25%. (James starts 10 meters back.) "Everyone's got their God-given talent," said MacDonald in a post-race interview in 2015. "Gretzky had hockey. I've got the bounce." The most popular tactic will be instated when the Industry Day Halftime Show kicks off after Race 5. A win in the race will cap off a Grand River Raceway triple crown of sorts for MacDonald. In June, he won the Ontario Regional Driving Championship at the Elora oval. In July, his two-year-old Dachshund, Tank, won the second annual Ren's Pets Depot Wiener Dog Races. MacDonald is also driving one of the favourites in the $107,800 Battle Of The Belles on Industry Day. The Guelph, ON reinsman piloted Bid Writer to a three-length win in 1:56.3 in her elimination division on July 25. MacDonald won the 2014 edition of the race with Win The Gold. Post time is 1:30 p.m. for the 26th annual Industry Day Celebration on August 1. Festivities and the broadcast kick-off at 1 p.m. Complete event details are available at Event hashtag: #industryday26 Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - Despite rain and thunder, a huge crowd gathered at Grand River Raceway to watch 30 of the toughest Dachshunds in the province duke-it-out in the second annual Ren's Pets Depot Wiener Dog Races on July 8. Tank, owned by harness racing driver James MacDonald and his wife Jenna, of Guelph, was a winner by open lengths in the nine-dog Final. Jenna and her mother, Lynn MacDonell, raced the two-year-old, 14-pound champ. Tank received more than $500 in prizes, including a hand-carved trophy, $100 gift card from Ren's Pets Depot, deluxe gift bag from Loyall Premium Pet Food and a gift basket from OLG Slots At Grand River Raceway. Junebug was the returning champ, and captured the first of three elimination heats. He finished second in the final, followed by Lady, the winner of the second heat. Lucy Try was the third heat winner leading up to the final. Rounding out the field of Doxies in the Final were: Lilly Swiech, Wally, Dash, Emma, and Tank-A-Roo-Boo. The evening also offered 10 horse races and an agility course hosted by Diamonds In The Ruff. The event is title-sponsored by Ren's Pets Depot, and is also supported by Loyall Premium Pet Food and the OLG Slots at Grand River Raceway. All participating dogs received a swag bag compliments of the event sponsors. All winners of the qualifying heats received a large bag of dog food, compliments of Loyall. The runner-up and third-place finisher in the race final received a $50 gift card for Ren's Pets Depot. • Bios and photos of the 30 competitors are available on the Grand River Raceway website. • The video of the three elimination heats and the final. • Photos from the event. Kelly Spencer

Elora, Ont. -- Harness racing driver James MacDonald had the early winning momentum while Trevor Henry finished strong to top the point standings in the Ontario Regional Driving Championship and advance to the National Driving Championship. Grand River Raceway hosted the nine-race Ontario regional event on Friday, June 24 and MacDonald was the point leader from start to finish. The 30-year-old resident of Guelph, Ont. opened the competition with a victory in the first race aboard Twin B Amour ($12.50) and also earned wins with Master Smile ($10) in the third leg and Little Whiskey Gal ($6.30) in the sixth leg. A pair of runner-up efforts in two other legs also padded his point total and he ended the competition with 78 points. "I'm pretty pumped," said MacDonald. "It's an honour just to be invited to race with these guys. They're a great bunch of drivers and any one of us could have won with the right card, the right horses, so I'm pretty happy to be the victor. "And I'm really happy Jody didn't win again," joked MacDonald, referring to five-time Canadian rep and two-time World Driving champion Jody Jamieson, who had moved into a two-way tie for second-place with Alfie Carroll before Henry began his late winning crusade. Henry ranked eighth for points before earning back-to-back victories in the final two legs with Topanga Canyon ($4.60) and Flexie ($7.10). Those victories propelled him to second-place in the standings to edge out Jamieson by one point (60-59). The 45-year-old reinsman from Arthur, Ont., who represented Canada at the 2013 World Driving Championship in France, said he was "ecstatic" to compete in the National Driving Championship again. The Atlantic Regional Driving Championship will be held next at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park on Saturday, June 25, followed by the Western Regional at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino on Sunday, June 26. The Quebec/Eastern Ontario Regional will be hosted by Hippodrome 3R on Tuesday, July 12. The top two point-earners from each of the four regional competitions will advance to the National Driving Championship on October 14 at The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont. The winner of the National Driving Championship will represent Canada in the 2017 World Driving Championship, which will be hosted in Canada. OFFICIAL POINT TOTALS 1. James MacDonald - 78 2. Trevor Henry - 60 3. Jody Jamieson - 59 4. Doug McNair - 57 5. Alfie Carroll - 55 6. Billy Davis Jr. - 49 7. Nick Steward - 47 8. Paul MacKenzie - 42 9. Bob McClure - 37 Kelly Spencer

The 2015-16 Woodbine Fall/Winter meet concluded Monday night with the second leg of the Blossom Series and a Preferred Trot highlighting harness racing action. The two $17,000 Blossom Series divisions for three-year-old pacing fillies featured new winners to open the doors for an intriguing final next week. In the first division, Mattjestic Tempo took full advantage of a pocket-trip to win at 5/1 in a field of six. Driven by James MacDonald, Mattjestic Tempo flashed early speed to head towards the front. Newcomer Westsluckycam cleared to the front at the opening-quarter of :27.4 and proceeded to lead the field through middle-half fractions of :57.2 and 1:26.3. In the stretch, Mattjestic Tempo came to the outside and surged by to victory in 1:55.3. Noone To Depend rallied late and finished 1¾ lengths behind the winner in second. Westsluckycam dropped back to finish third. Blueberry Will, who won a leg one division last week, struggled in Monday's first division and finished sixth and last. A daughter of Royal Mattjesty, Mattjestic Tempo entered Monday's contest off a third-place effort in leg one. The sophomore pacing filly is trained by Blake MacIntosh, who shares ownership of the filly with Stuart McIntosh. Mattjestic Tempo's leg two victory is her first win in 11 starts this season and third overall. She pushes her career earnings over $50,000 with Monday's victory. The MacIntosh trainee paid $13.80 to win. Mattjestic Tempo The second division saw a familiar face on the Woodbine circuit return to score a career-best victory. Heavenly Hill and driver Jonathan Drury got away third in the early stages before brushing to the lead in the second-quarter. It was lights out from there, as Drury and the 3/2 second-choice cruised home in :28.4 to win by 2½ lengths in 1:54.1. Bas As Leader finished second, while the 7/5 favourite Evangelin Seelster finished third. Windsun Glory, who won a leg one division, crossed the wire in fourth. A daughter of Art Colony, Heavenly Hill competed last season locally for trainer Dave Menary and captured an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division. The sophomore pacing filly was purchased in January by owner George Munniksma and was recently competing at Yonkers. Heavenly Hill, who was debuting Monday for trainer Carmen Auciello, picked up her second win in five starts this season and knocked a fifth of a second off her previous career-mark. She now has four career victories and earnings exceeding $117,000. Heavenly Hill paid $5.10 to win. Heavenly Hill Also on Monday, Hldontghttoyurdrms scored an 8/1 mild upset in the $34,000 Preferred Trot. Fearless Man, who was aiming for a second consecutive Preferred win, trotted out to his usally spot on the front. After posting fractions of :27.3, :57 and 1:25.1, Fearless Man led the field into the stretch, but the 4/5 favourite had several challenger close in behind. In the stretch, Hldontghttoyurdrms and driver Jonathan Drury came off third-over cover to storm by their rivals to win by a length in 1:55. Zeus Lightning trotted home well and just missed the victory in second, while Fearless Man dropped back to finish third. A seven-year-old son of Muscles Yankee, Hldontghttoyurdrms is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Frank Spagnolo. The veteran trotter picked up his second win in a row Monday and second in 12 starts this season. Hldontghttoyurdrms pushed his career earnings over $400,000 with his 23rd career victory Monday. He paid $19.30 to win. Hldontghttoyurdrms Live racing now moves to Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening. A 10-race card will kick-off the Mohawk meet. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, November 21 – Ontario three-year-old harness racing colts and geldings kicked off their Autumn Series with four divisions Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A total of 18 pacers and 20 trotters made up four $18,000 round one divisions. Mach On The Beach kicked off the night with a 1:52.2 victory in the first pacing division. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Mach On The Beach flashed early speed aiming for the front, while Twin B Sportsman was pacing hard early looking for the lead. Mach On The Beach got to the pylons first and Filion opted to stretch Twin B Sportsman out by the opening-quarter in :26.2. Filion eventually released the challenger at the top of the backstretch. After a half of :55.1, Mach On The Beach came to the outside and surged by Twin B Sportsman to take the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.1. In the stretch, Mach On The Beach left his rivals in his dust and paced away to an easy-looking four-length victory. The Rock finished up with a strong final-quarter to come from eighth to finish second. Sports Lightning finished third, while Windsong Lightning was fourth. A son of Mach Three, Mach On The Beach is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. The sophomore gelding now has seven wins from 24 starts in his first season of racing. Mach On The Beach pushed his earnings to over $60,000 with the victory Saturday, while also lowering his career-mark by more than two-seconds. The Moreau trainee paid $3.90 to win. Mach On The Beach In the second division, Cajon Lightning came first up to win in 1:52.4. Driven by Mike Saftic, Cajon Lightning got away fifth in the early stages, while Doctor Royal and Major Dan took turns on the lead through panels of :26.1 and :56.1. Saftic sent Cajon Lightning first up around the final turn and the even-money favourite was second and less than two-lengths from the front at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Cajon Lightning powered by Doctor Royal and paced home strong in :27.2 for a length and a half victory. Jack Reacher finished second, while Naturescape finished third just ahead of Doctor Royal. Another son of Mach Three, Cajon Lightning is trained by Scott Bell for owner John Taylor. Saturday’s victory was the third from 16 starts this season for the gelding. Cajon Lightning has now earned over $48,000 in his first season of racing. The clocking of 1:52.4 matched his career-mark taken October 12 at Woodbine. Cajon Lightning paid $4.10 to win. Cajon Lightning On the trotting side, Stormont Wizard took the first division in 1:56.1 at odds of 3/5. Driven by James MacDonald, Stormont Wizard trotted out strongly to grab command at the opening-quarter in :28. Down the backstretch, Win The Day came first up from fifth at the half to challenge the leader. MacDonald kept his trotter moving well and turned aside the first-over challenger to lead the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1. In the stretch, Stormont Wizard sealed the deal with a :30 final-quarter to score a two and a quarter length victory. P L Icabod finished second, while Lmc Mass Oak was third. Win The Day rounded out the Superfecta in fourth. A son of Kadabra, Stormont Wizard is trained by Kevin Benn for Stormont Meadows. The sophomore gelding now has two wins in 12 starts this season. Last year, Stormont Wizard scored a single victory in seven starts, while hitting the board five-times. The Benn trainee has banked over $48,000 this season and $74,000 lifetime. Stormont Wizard paid $3.40 to win. Stormont Wizard Love Hunter turned a two-hole trip into a victory in the second trotting division. The Nick Gallucci trainee left quickly for driver Trevor Henry to challenge for the lead, however Gronk, the even-money favourite, pushed forward for the lead and forced Henry into the pocket. After setting fractions of :26.4, :57.3 and 1:27.1, Gronk carried the lead into the lane with Love Hunter on his back. In the stretch, Love Hunter came to the outside and waged war with Gronk, eventually edging by in deep stretch to win by half a length in 1:57. Freddie closed with good speed for third, while Thoughtful Leader was fourth. A son of Holiday Road, Love Hunter entered Saturday’s contest with one win in 10 starts this season. The Autumn Series division victory pushes the gelding’s earnings in 2015 to over $34,000. Love Hunter paid $12.20  to win. Love Hunter In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, the Ontario sired three-year-olds had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime or $30,000 in 2015 as of September 30, 2015. The second round of the Autumn Series for the colts and geldings will take place next Saturday (November 28).

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 26 - Venus Delight and harness racing driver James MacDonald surged to the lead in deep stretch to capture the $300,000 Milton Stakes Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A five-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight, Venus Delight captured her Milton Stakes elimination last week and started from post three in Saturday's rich event for older pacing mares. The Jeff Bamond Jr. trainee got away fifth in the early stages for MacDonald, while Lady Shadow and driver Doug McNair touched down on the front at the opening-quarter in :26. Lady Shadow and McNair were able to dictate the pace and took the field by the half in :54.4. Down the backstretch, Yagonnakissmeornot and Jody Jamieson came first up from fourth, allowing MacDonald to catch cover and situate Venus Delight second-over heading into the final turn. Lady Shadow paced by the three-quarter pole in 1:22.3 and appeared to create a few lengths of separation on her rivals at the top of the lane. Venus Delight flipped off cover in the lane and took aim at tracking down Lady Shadow. Several mares began to close in on the leader, but Venus Delight had the most pace and powered by in deep stretch to win by half a length over Lady Shadow in 1:50.1. Sandbetweenurtoes finished third, while Katie Said was fourth to round out the Superfecta. The driving victory with Venus Delight in the $300,000 event is one of the biggest triumphs to date for MacDonald. "I feel great," said MacDonald in the winner's circle. "You always feel great after a win, but after a $300,000 win it's pretty special." The Milton Stakes victory gives Venus Delight seven wins from 16 starts this season. "The trip was great, I wasn't sure what was going to happen," said MacDonald. "I was worried maybe I would get stuck first up, but when Jody didn't go out of there and I caught his cover I was more than happy. "She stalled a little bit in the last turn and I got taken out a bit, but a good horse can overcome a bad trip." Owned by Bamond Racing LLC., Venus Delight has earned over $500,000 this season to bring her career earnings to $758,133. Saturday's victory was her 24th lifetime. A $2 win ticket on Venus Delight returned $6.30. Mark McKelvie

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