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AUGUST 11, 2017 - Stormont Ventnor and North And South will be lined up one in front of the other in the first $19,150 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots division at Kawartha Downs on Saturday night and the connections of both two-year-old trotting geldings are hoping their insider knowledge of the Peterborough harness racing oval lands them in the winner's circle. "I schooled him there - it's the closest track for us -and qualified him there myself," said trainer Kevin Benn of Stormont Ventnor, who toured the five-eighths oval in a July 8 qualifying event. "The rail isn't always the best for a trotter, I don't think, but he's got a capable driver and he knows the track so he should be okay." Stormont Ventnor will start from Post 1 with Kawartha's leading driver Reg Gassien of Lindsay, ON in the race bike. Lined up behind the pair at Post 9 will be North And South, with trainer-driver Dagfin Henriksen at the helm. "He's never had the nine-hole; it will be new for him, so just get him off from the start and see how he handles it. I think he'll be all right, he's pretty handy," said Henriksen, who called Peterborough home during the early stages of his career. "I had my start down there, so it's kind of my home track still. I'm comfortable down there for sure." Through the first three regular season events, not much separates the trotters in the point standings either. With a win in the July 18 event and a seventh in the Aug. 3 test, both at Mohawk Racetrack, North And South currently sits in sixth spot with 52 points. A pair of runner-up finishes in the same events has Stormont Ventnor sitting in a two-way tie for seventh with 50 points. The top 10 point earners through six regular season events will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 30. "He's been decent, he's been good," said Napanee, ON resident Benn of Stormont Ventnor. "I had his brother last year as a three-year-old, (Stormont) Dundas, and he was just an honest horse, he never made any breaks. This horse seems to be faster than him though, so that's a good thing. So, you know, we'll keep him healthy and sound and hope for the best." Saturday's start will be Stormont Ventnor's third. The son of Justice Hall and Lady Grenville, bred and owned by Eric Baker of Long Sault, ON, has just the two Grassroots starts under his belt, while North And South also has an appearance in the Gold Series. After a pair of qualifiers at Mohawk in June, North And South made his debut in the July 9 Gold Series season opener at Georgian Downs, finishing seventh. The move to the Grassroots for the July 18 event resulted in a win and Henriksen was not dissatisfied with the Southwind Lustre son's effort in the Aug.3 event, in spite of the seventh-place result. "I drove him from the back and the flow didn't really move much. He had a good last quarter, so he raced good, but didn't have the race luck we needed that day," said the trainer. "That's how it is with the young ones I find. You need a little bit of race luck when you teach them to race." Henriksen, who now calls Cambridge, ON home, shares ownership of North And South with Dr. Brett Anderson of Port Hope, ON and Kyle Anderson of Edmonton, AB. The partners purchased the half-brother to $165,000 winner Cracker Zack for $10,000 from last fall's Canadian Yearling Sale and have recouped $9,400 to date. Both trotters will be keeping an eye on Chief Justice from Post 2, who currently sits second in the point standings with a pair of seconds and one third in the first three Grassroots events. Former Peterborough resident John Bax trains the Justice Hall colt for Midnight Sun Partners of Delray Beach, FL and Stephen Byron will be in the race bike. Bax and Byron also have the top ranked entry in the second division, sending division point leader Delcrest Holiday after his second Grassroots win from Post 8. Bax, who now resides in Campbellville, shares ownership of the Holiday Road gelding with Gaelic Stable of Sharon, Ken Bax of Cavan Monaghan and John Houston of Cobourg, ON. In addition to the on track Ontario Sires Stakes action, Kawartha Downs fans will have an opportunity to win OSS ball caps and Ontario Racing flip-flops throughout the evening. The youngest fans will enjoy the Kawartha Downs Kids' Activity Centre, which sees one lucky youngster join the winner's circle celebrations following Race 5, making a presentation and taking home a commemorative photograph. And, as always, fans are encouraged to drop their non-winning wagering tickets into the second chance ballot box, with draws held after the third, sixth and ninth races. The first race on Kawartha Downs' Saturday evening program goes behind the starting gate at 7 pm and the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings will square off in Races 2 and 7. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

It was a historic night at Kawartha Downs when harness racing legendary race announcer Frank Salive called his 150,000th race in front of a packed house Saturday night in Fraserville. A strong crowd was on hand and watched as Jetset Charmer won the fourth race for Justin Turcotte who joined his fellow horse people in the winner’s circle to congratulate Salive on his remarkable accomplishment. Following the presentation Kawartha’s Gord Brown interviewed Salive who was touched by the ceremony attached to the milestone. “I want to thank everyone here at Kawartha Downs for this privilege. I hope I have thousands more races left. “This is so special for me to be here as one of my first broadcasting assignments was right here at Kawartha Downs. These milestones put things in perspective, but none of it would be possible without the breeders, owners, pari-mutuel tellers, wait staff, horse people, everyone who makes it all come together. “I thank God for this career and all of you for your support and encouragement for so many years,” said Salive, a former Peterborough Petes' goalie. Racing returns to Kawartha next Saturday with the annual family fun night with bouncy castle, balloon animals, face painting and draws throughout the night for the youngsters and young at heart. Post time is 7 p.m. Reprinted with permission of The Peterborough Examiner    

The general manager at Kawartha Downs says they’re still figuring out uses for the site once the casino moves out. While the site is being cleared for Peterborough’s new casino, questions loom about what’s happening to the old building for Shorelines Slots. Kawartha Downs general manager Orazio Valente says he's still planning what to do with the building in Fraserville. He adds no one has approached Kawartha Downs about “alternate uses” for the site which has a racetrack, restaurant and large slots area, plus offices. Valente says he’s hoping to announce something in the autumn but he’s not ready to say anything yet. “We’re starting to form contingency plans,” he explains. “There’s not much I can probably share with you now.” The gaming and racing centre opened on July 22, 1972 and has been home to slot machines, harness racing, as well a paved speedway for cars. The current building was added to the site in the late 1990s. At the gaming site at 3:30 p.m. on a weekday, nearly every other machine was occupied. The main room was still filled with 500 slots machines, with many of the gamblers being seniors. In April 2016, Shorelines announced it was planning to move from its location in Cavan Monaghan Township to a new facility in Peterborough on Crawford Drive. Allan Seabrooke, the city’s chief administrative officer, says work has begun at the new site and the ground is currently being cleared. A groundbreaking ceremony is likely to occur in August. He says the anticipated opening date is planned for the third quarter of 2018. “It really depends on weather and how long it takes to construct the building itself,” he adds. by Taylor Clysdale Taylor Clysdale covers municipal, provincial and federal politics for Peterborough This Week.You can follow him on Twitter @TaylorClysdale and reach him at tclysdale@mykawartha.com. Reprinted with permission of MyKawatha.com site

Steve Hudon and Reg Gassien held the hot hands at Kawartha Downs on Saturday as they each recorded hat tricks. Hudon had back to back winners in races two and three as he scored with Short Reign and HP Black Shadow. The latter was an eight length winner in 1:55. Hudon's third trip to victory lane was courtesy of Bittersweet Dreams who was home with three lengths to spare in 1:57.2. Gassien's three bagger began in the fifth race when he scored a narrow win with Magic Moss. Bet Till Dawn notched his second straight win for Gassien in the seventh and he ended the card on the right note scoring in the ninth and final race with Vegas Rich. Next week marks Kawartha Downs' anniversary as the track marks 45 years of live harness racing. It's also Bring A Friend night when regular patrons are encouraged to bring someone to the track who has never been before. Post time is 7 p.m. Reprinted with permission of The Peterborough Examiner

FRASERVILLE - Harness racing fans filled Kawartha Downs on Saturday night for the opening of the 2017 racing season. “It’s a good night out, it’s cheap and we enjoy it,” said Marie Mosher of what brings her to the races. Mosher sat at the window facing the track with her husband James and some friends Saturday night. Marie and James started going to the races in Fraserville last year and now, they’re regulars. They don’t bet a lot, but they do make a few small gambles. “Be no pointing in coming otherwise,” James said. One thing the couple can’t wrap their head around, though, is why kids are allowed in. There’s gambling and alcohol, just like at a casino, but kids aren’t allowed in there. “I think it’s inappropriate,” said Marie. Across the table, Bryan Jones checks out the night’s race program. He’s been watching the races since they launched locally 45 years ago. “I love the horse racing … and it’s a cheap night out,” said Jones. Outside, Leslyn Chamberlin is also overlooking the program. She started going to the races last year, making it to about half a dozen overall. Though she “bets cautiously,” Chamberlin did have a somewhat of a big in 2016 – she won $400. “I spent it all on me, no paying bills,” said Chamberlin. The Bowmanville resident said she was drawn to the races because she loves horse and it’s a great way to spend a Saturday night. “It’s fun, it’s entertaining,” Chamerblin said. Sitting on a bench not too far away, Ruth Clarke and Rick Beaver were patiently waiting for the races to start. The couple has been going to races at Kawartha Downs for about 10 years. They used to attend the races during the week, too, when harness racing happened all year round. In the last three years, harness racing has decreased from a few nights a week year round to seasonal racing on Saturday nights. Harness racing was close to being cancelled all together in 2013, when the province moved to end revenue sharing by racetracks with slots gaming facilities, but a last-minute deal between Kawartha Downs and the province's transition panel saved the races. There are 18 race nights scheduled this season, running every Saturday night until Sept. 30, except for Sept. 16 when the NASCAR Pinty's Series finale is on. Clarke and Beaver both love to watch the horses and don’t put much stock in gambling, though they do put a few dollars down. “I don’t bet here to get rich, that’s for sure. It’s an entertaining way to spend an evening and it’s well worth it,” said Beaver. New this year at Kawartha Downs, is the KD Betting Lounge. It’s located on the second floor of the racing side, where the bar used to be. There, betters can put money down on races happening elsewhere, such as in Toronto or Flamboro. Off-track betting can be done through a teller or through a self-serve machine. By Jessica Nyznik,  JNyznik@postmedia.com Reprinted with permission of The Peterborough Examiner

Fraserville, ON --- Kawartha Downs' Per Henriksen, lauded for his expertise with harness racing trotters, will make a rare appearance at The Raceway at Western Fair District with a horse that is the perfect example of why he is called ‘the fixer.’ Countless trainers, frustrated with trotters who refused to trot, have sent Henriksen their problem horses over the years. One of the latest is the 3-year-old trotting colt St James Gate. A son of Majestic Son, the horse had two trainers prior to heading to Henriksen’s barn a couple of months ago. As a 2-year-old he made three qualifying attempts and broke stride and was distanced in each one. He headed to a new barn for his sophomore season which saw him attempt to qualify five times, all with the exact same result, a miscue at some point in the mile. Henriksen worked with the horse and his first charted line without a break anywhere in the mile came in a qualifying race at Mohawk on Sept. 6 where Henriksen drove him to a fifth place finish. It was the horse’s first start for Henriksen. St James Gate made his first pari-mutuel start on Sept. 28 at Grand River Raceway where he won with Henriksen in the bike in 2:02. He’ll make his second career start Friday night (Oct. 14) at London where he’s drawn post five in the first race. Jeff Ruch and Alan Richardson bred and own the trotter who is a full brother to $351,093 winner Rock Of Cashel. This is just the fifth time this year Henriksen has made the trip from his Norwood, Ontario base to London. Before that he’ll start five horses Thursday night (Oct. 13) at Mohawk, three in the Ontario Autumn Series, and one at Flamboro Downs. In addition to St James Gate, he also has Cheer For The Cats racing at London Friday night along with Marquis Volo racing at Mohawk. Saturday night at Mohawk he’ll harness three starters in the C$250,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals. Bee In Charge and Muscle Hustle are in the 3-year-old trotting colt division and Jangone is in the 3-year-old filly trot split. Henriksen will be back in London on Monday where he’ll start Covert Operative, a winner of $186,215 in his career. He finished second, by a head, in Kawartha’s signature race, the Goodtimes Invitational, to Ramas Last Son. An O’Brien Award winner as Horseman of the Year in 2007, Henriksen is enjoying one of his best seasons ever this year with $910,695 in earnings to date in 2016. His all time best in terms of purses was 2008 when his charges took in $1.53 million. The native of Norway has a total of 1,040 wins lifetime for $14.3 million in purses. Kawartha Downs

FRASERVILLE – Kawartha Downs’ leading harness racing drivers, Gord Brown and Reg Gassien, added three wins to their totals on the second of two memorial nights at Kawartha Downs Saturday evening. Each of the 10 races celebrated people who have made an impact at the Fraserville track but are no longer with us. It was a night of mixed emotions for Gassien whose wins came with Wishing Well in the Billie & Ernie Brown Memorial, Lock N Reload in the Bruce Adams Memorial and Galagher Seelster in the Bill Davis Memorial. Gassien, along with his family, also paid tribute to his brother Gary who passed away 20 years ago and his father Paul, a fixture at Kawartha Downs since the beginning, who died in October of 2014. The Gary and Paul Gassien Memorial was won by Brown with Shes Deadly. Brown’s hat trick also included wins with Shopsmagicwand in the Ron Luke Memorial and Salvo in the Doreen & Eric Brock Memorial. Murray Brethour had a pair of winners with See R Chin Win in the Ruby Brown Memorial and Weatherly in the Leona and Nellie Wright Memorial. The Jerry Robinson/Judy Brown Memorial was captured by LDL Gem and Nick Boyd. It was the third straight win for the four-year-old Badlands Hanover mare. The first memorial race of the night, which honoured the brothers Bill, Eric and Roy Given, was won by Bet Till Dawn whose trainer Dave Gibson had a pair of winners on the night. Kawartha Downs will be dark for horse racing next weekend due to the NASCAR Pinty's Series finale race Saturday at Kawartha Speedway. Harness racing resumes Sept. 24 and October 1. Race training will be available Monday and Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sept. 21 and 22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reprinted with permission of the Peterborough Examiner  

AUGUST 13, 2016 - Fierce weather systems rolled across Ontario on Saturday, but at Kawartha Downs it was the province's best three-year-old pacing colts that were lighting up the five-eighths mile harness racing oval. Sports Authority roared away from Post 1 in the first $18,000 Grassroots division and laid down fractions of :26.4, :55.1 and 1:22 on his way to a personal best 1:51.2. Cobourg resident Gord Brown piloted the colt to the win for trainer Luc Blair of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. "Luc and I go back a ways, probably 15 years or so, so I'm very happy for him," said Brown, a perennial leader in the Kawartha Downs driver colony. "He's a gentleman and a great trainer." Saturday's outing was the first time that Brown had driven Sports Authority, and the reinsman was impressed with the Sportswriter son's effort. "They just told me to place him forward," Brown noted. "He's a super nice horse. That was a huge mile considering the slop." Big Place and Big Bang Boom finished second and third behind Sports Authority, who boosted his record to six wins, two seconds and one third in 11 starts with the win. Saturday's outing was just the Sportswriter son's second in Grassroots action. He made his debut in the July 30 event at Hanover Raceway, finishing sixth from Post 6. Brown and Sports Authority's connections were presented with the Grassroots trophy by Anaheim Ducks winger Nick Ritchie, who was on hand to watch his father Paul Ritchie's colt, Chalk Player, compete in the second division. Unfortunately, the 20-year-old Orangeville native would make just one visit to the Kawartha Downs winner's circle as Chalk Player settled for third behind fan favourite Blaise Mm Hanover. Starting from Post 7, Blaise Mm Hanover and driver Travis Henry sprinted out to a :26.4 opening quarter and then eased off on the accelerator through a :57.4 half. When Pudong Phil came calling on the outside Henry kicked the tempo up a notch and Blaise Mm Hanover hit the three-quarters in 1:25 and then powered down the stretch to a one and three-quarter length victory in 1:52.4. Pocket sitter Print Media finished second, a length ahead of Chalk Player. The win was Blaise Mm Hanover's fourth in five starts this season, and his first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. Cambridge resident Casie Coleman trains the Bettors Delight son for her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge and is hoping the gelding is finally on track after battling sickness through the month of July. "He gives it all he's got every time he's on the track, hopefully he can now stay sound and healthy and drive on for a while," said Coleman. "I've always been high on him; he's from the same family line as Betterthancheddar." Betterthancheddar earned $1.6 million in his racing career for Coleman and her partners. Through seven career starts Blaise Mm Hanover has netted $38,660. Driver Bill Davis, Jr. had a floodlit path to the Kawartha Downs winner's circle on Saturday, capturing two overnight events and one Grassroots division. The Guelph, ON resident guided Daylight Rush to a 1:53.2 score in the fourth division for trainer Blake MacIntosh of Cambridge, ON and his partner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, PA. "Daylight Rush was a completely different horse tonight, in a good way," said Davis. "Last week, in Hanover, he won, but didn't seem to have the fight in him. Tonight in the post parade I was wondering if Blake brought the right horse. "Leaving the gate he pushed the car out of way, and I had a very good hold of him sitting in the pocket after letting Bettor Memories go. I was just waiting for room with him in the stretch," the reinsman continued. "He gave me goosebumps crossing the wire." The win was the Art Colony son's third straight and his fourth of the season. Two wins, one third and one fifth in Grassroots action give the gelding 117 points and third spot in the division standings. The other Grassroots divisions were captured by St Lads Moonwalk, Arsenic and Imsporty. St Lads Moonwalk and driver Mike Saftic used the outside lane and a stretch-drive sprint to secure their second Grassroots win in 1:52.2. Inspiration View, after serving as a windbreak for the winner, finished one and one-half lengths back in second and Twomacsonemach was third. Cambridge resident Jack Darling owns and trains St Lads Moonwalk, who moved to the top of the division standings with 150 points scored through two wins and two seconds. In 11 sophomore starts the Mach Three son has garnered six wins, three seconds and one third for earnings of $64,860. Arsenic earned his first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes trophy with a 1:54.3 front-end effort in the fifth division. The Bettors Delight son bested Jack Rackham and Day Trade Hanover. Alfie Carroll of Iona Station piloted Arsenic to the win for trainer Scott McEneny of Cambridge and owners Brad Grant and Teresa Davidson of Milton, and Michelle McEneny of Waterdown, ON. Imsporty picked up his second Grassroots win in the final division, powering away from the field in the last quarter and reaching the wire four lengths on top in 1:53. Fan favourite Kokanee Seelster settled for second, just ahead of Flaherty. Mike Saftic piloted Imsporty to the win for trainer Rob Fellows and owners Murray Cox and Yolanda Fellows, all of Rockwood. The mile was a new personal best for the Sportswriter gelding. The three-year-old pacing colts will make their fifth Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on August 23. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 11, 2016 - Six divisions of talented three-year-old pacing colts will battle at Kawartha Downs on Saturday and one lucky Ontario Sires Stakes fan will be in the centre of the harness racing action. By placing their "Be A Winner" contest ballots in the box representing their favourite horse in Race 7, eight fans will have a chance to win an Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) t-shirt, ball hat and lanyard badge, and a $15 win-place-show wager on their chosen horse. Those finalists will cheer on their horses from trackside and the finalist representing the victorious horse will join his connections in the winner's circle for a commemorative photo. The winning finalist will also take home a trophy, an OSS jacket and golf shirt, and a $50 wagering voucher. Among the colts hoping to be in the centre of the action on Saturday is Lock N Reload, who heads into the first $18,000 Grassroots division off a trio of victories over the Kawartha Downs oval. Peterborough resident David Gibson trains and co-owns Lock N Reload and says the son of Bettors Delight has flourished at his local oval in the last six weeks after starting his career with four starts at Mohawk Racetrack. "He's learning how to be a racehorse, which was very important," said Gibson. "Bringing him back to Kawartha was probably the best thing I did, because he got to race with horses that he could race with and beat, and he's gotten pretty cocky ever since." Lock N Reload will make his Ontario Sires Stakes debut from the outside Post 8, facing off against a field of seven Grassroots veterans, including three-time runner-up Derecho from Post 6. "Really, the reason he's even here is because it was at Kawartha and it's only 15 minutes down the road from where we stable, so we thought we'd give it a chance," explained Gibson. "Unfortunately, drawing the eight-hole, I'm not sure I'm going to really see what I really wanted to see." Gibson shares ownership of Lock N Reload with Glenn Tarver of Scarborough, ON. The long-time partners purchased the gelding from the 2014 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $20,000 and after qualifying him in the fall of his freshman season decided to postpone Lock N Reload's debut until this spring. "I qualified him, and both him and his training partner Bet Till Dawn got sick, and it was getting later in the season and I just decided that it was probably better just to quit with them and start fresh this year," recalled the horseman. "They both seemed like they had a little talent, so I thought instead of racing them if they were sick, and maybe causing some damage, I better just stop when I did." Since making his debut at Mohawk on May 30, Lock N Reload has tallied three wins in seven starts for earnings of $7,050. His personal best 1:57.2 came in his August 6 effort at Kawartha. Regular reinsman Reg Gassien of Lindsay will be in the race bike for the gelding's Grassroots debut on Saturday and Gibson says Gassien can map out whatever course suits him when the gate pulls away from the fourth race field. "He can race pretty much any way you want to," noted Gibson. "He's becoming a little more aggressive since he's actually gotten braver, but nothing that's going to hurt him or anything like that." The trainer said Lock N Reload's performance on Saturday will determine whether he follows the Grassroots program to Georgian Downs for the fifth leg, or remains at Kawartha Downs in overnight company. "I'll see how he races against this group and then decide from there," said Gibson. Lock N Reload and his peers will kick off the Grassroots action in Race 4, with the other five $18,000 divisions going behind the Kawartha Downs starting gate in Races 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11. First race post time at the Fraserville oval is 7 pm. Ontario Racing

FRASERVILLE – Mike Wade, who has raced horses at Kawartha Downs for many years, celebrated his hometown track’s 44th anniversary with a milestone of his own Saturday – his 500th victory as a harness racing trainer. In the fifth race on the card Rick Webb drove Wade’s three-year-old pacing filly Elegant Gift to a two length 1:59 score to record the milestone. Wade, who is best known for such standout performers as Billyjojimbob, Corn Cob Conch, Winning Breed, Im No Walton, etc., conditions the Shadow Play daughter for Hutt Racing Stable, Pa. It was the first of three wins on the night for Webb who won the following race with Tough Get Going and visited the winner’s circle with Cougar Gal. Reg Gassien and Tony Kerwood each notched driving doubles. A large crowd was on hand to celebrate the Fraserville oval’s birthday. The Hie family, who have raced in this area since well before Kawartha Downs introduced live harness racing in 1972, provided a myriad of items for KD fans to enjoy including the colours of patriarch Cliff, his sons Carman and Doug (who both raced horses Saturday), the late Roger and granddaughter Krissy as well as photos and newspaper stories. Racing returns to Kawartha next Saturday with a 7 p.m. start. Reprinted with permission of The Peterborough Examiner

Evelyn Harms teamed Southwind Alice (5f Muscle Hill-Accountability-Pine Chip) to victory Saturday evening at Kawartha Downs to kick off the 2016 harness racing monte season in North America. The winning pair were clocked in 2:01f in the C$4,000 purse pari-mutuel contest and the trainer is Dave Dowling for owner Allan Neal. Off at 3.25/1 odds they defeated last years’ top performing Santo Domingo (9g Amigo Hall-Victory Lady-Garland Lobell) with Marit Valstad up for trainer Mike Guitard as 1.55/1 favorite and third finishing Massive Muscles (5g Muscle Mass-Flirting Lavec-Mr. Lavec) ridden by Karoline Nielsen for trainer Julie Walker. Scheduled Ontario events next up include June 19 at Clinton, July 1 at Dresden and July 16 at Georgian Downs. The 2015 season wrapped up on October 31 with a C$10,000 final at Flamboro. Santo Domingo scored in that one timed in 1:59.3h for Marit Valstad. Earlier on September 26, a C$10,000 event at Mohawk went to Santo Domingo timed in a seven-eighths mile track North American record 1:56.4s with Philippe Masschaele aboard. Tragically Shipp (9g by Shipps Speed) posted back to back wins for Nathalie Elliott on September 12 at Hiawatha timed in 2:02f in a C$3,000 test and August 29 at Georgian Downs in a C$5,000 event timed in 1:59.4f. Watch for monte action throughout North America in 2016. Thomas H. Hicks Monteamerica.com

Local colt Tswalu delivered the perfect opener for the 43rd Anniversary celebrations at the harness racing meeting at Kawartha Downs on Saturday, capturing his very first Ontario Sires Stakes victory at his hometown oval. "It's always nice to win on the home turf," said Peterborough resident Dagfin Henriksen, who piloted the gelding to the win for his partners Kevin Isaac of Bridgenorth and Samuel Mulholland of Picton. "They were a bunch of happy owners." Starting from Post 5, Henriksen sent Tswalu directly to the front and controlled the tempo through fractions of :28.1, :58.4 and 1:26.4 before sailing down the stretch to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:56.3. Fan favourite Parkhill Lancelot, trained by Peterborough native John Bax, finished second and P L Intimidator was third. The win came on the heels of a disappointing performance for Tswalu in the July 3 Grassroots event Mohawk Racetrack where he made a break and finished ninth, so trainer-driver Henriksen was pleased the gelding was finally able to demonstrate his ability. "He didn't get to show what he was last time because he just wanted to go forward when he got a horse on the outside, and I had a horse in front of me," explained Henriksen. "You know it's kind of hard for handicappers to see that because they don't know what happened." "So I knew he was a nice horse, but I haven't had much luck with him yet." The win was not just Tswalu's first in Grassroots action, it was his first ever victory in 19 starts. In two other Grassroots starts this season the Angus Hall son finished sixth (June 4) and second (June 24). Henriksen is hoping Saturday's victory is a sign of better things to come for the trotter. "He's just starting to put it together and I think he'll be a really nice aged horse too," noted the horseman. The second $18,000 Grassroots division was captured by driver Delcrest Massy, who went gate-to-wire in 1:56.4 for driver Alfie Carroll. Jayport On Th Edge and J N Ryder finished five and one half lengths back in second and third. Victor Puddy of Mountain, ON conditions Delcrest Massy for owner Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, ON. Through four Grassroots starts the Muscle Mass son has tallied two wins, one third and one fifth for 117 points and second spot in the division standings. "He's a real nice horse." He's good mannered, he don't pull, he does everything you want him to do," said driver Carroll of Delcrest Massy. "You can race him either way, but he looked like he'd been racing good near the front, so that's where I aimed for and we were lucky enough to get it." The win with Delcrest Massy was the first of three Grassroots wins and two overnight victories on the program for Carroll, who scored his first Ontario Sires Stakes hat trick on July 7 at Georgian Downs with a trio of two-year-old trotting fillies. "I haven't driven in a lot of Ontario Sires Stakes," noted the 30-year-old reinsman. "This is my first year to really be driving a lot of them, and most of them have so far been trotters." The Iona Station, ON resident scored his next two victories with Bob McIntosh trainees A Little More Love and Kadabrasnewrecruit, and controlled the fractions with both colts. A Little More Love roared out to a three length margin from Post 2 in the fourth division and carried on to a one and three-quarter length victory in 1:56.3. Favourite Buzz and Century Behemoth rounded out the top three. Windsor, ON resident McIntosh shares ownership of A Little More Love with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. The number two ranked colt in the Gold Series last season, the Kadabra colt had not visited the winner's circle in five sophomore starts prior to Saturday evening's effort. Favourite Kadabrasnewrecruit rang up fractions of :27.4 and :57.3, then was briefly headed by Stormont Wizard heading by the 1:26 three-quarters, but came back on to record a one-half length victory in 1:56.3. Stormont Wizard settled for second, with Lets Be Honest a length back in third. The win was the third in Grassroots competition for Kadabrasnewrecruit, who sits atop the division standings with 162 points. Hall of Fame horseman McIntosh owns the son of Kadabra, who has been no worse than third in six starts this season. "They said he was the best of the two, so after the first one I thought we had a pretty good chance with him," said Carroll. "He dug deep and showed he's got a lot of heart to come back on like that." The other Grassroots trophy went home with A Rod Hall, who bested Rebel Rebel and Pridecrest in 1:58. It was the first ever win for the Deweycheatumnhowe gelding, who was making just his fifth lifetime start. Thornton, ON resident Steve Byron crafted the win for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON and owner Willow Pond LLC of Hewlett, NY. The three-year-old trotting colts make their fifth Grassroots start at Hiawatha Horse Park on August 22. In addition to the three-year-old trotting colt Grassroots event, the large Kawartha Downs crowd celebrated the anniversary with cupcakes, prize draws and giveaways, and a variety of special on-track moments, including the presentation of the second Grassroots trophy by Mary Speck, who was celebrating her 90th birthday with her family. Racing continues at Kawartha Downs next Saturday at 7 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

Harness racing track Kawartha Downs will celebrate its 43rd anniversary on Saturday, July 18 with a host of special giveaways for fans and five Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events for the three-year-old trotting colts. "Kawartha opened on July 22, so we try to do it the date closest to," said Kawartha's Heather MacKay. "So we'll be giving out free cupcakes to celebrate the anniversary and this week, on our Facebook page and Twitter, we're going to have a throwback contest and it'll be around Kawartha's anniversary and the Sires Stakes as they relate to Kawartha Downs." In addition to the throwback contest, fans will have ample opportunity to win at the racetrack on Saturday. Starting at 6:30 pm Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) drivers will be handing out OSS t-shirts to the early arrivals, OSS ball caps will be tossed to fans after Grassroots division, there will be second chance draws, and special anniversary and OSS prize draws throughout the evening. In addition, families will enjoy the children's activity centre, where the young ones can colour in an OSS activity book. On the racetrack Carolyn and Lloyd Nugent's retired Standardbred roadster horses will add some pageantry to the evening. SJs Stormtrooper, who is undefeated in roadster classes at the Royal Winter Fair, and A No Vacancy, who actually competed in a Grassroots event at Kawartha Downs during his three-year-old season, will lead each post parade. Local colt At The Disco will make his 2015 Grassroots debut in the second $18,000 division for trainer Tommy Riley and his wife, owner Amanda Riley, of Roseneath, ON. The Riley's purchased At The Disco from former Peterborough resident John Bax in May and the couple was delighted to learn that Kawartha Downs' 2015 OSS event was for sophomore trotting colts. "It's was bonus, when I bought this fellow, that it was a Sires Stakes for him," said Tommy Riley. "It was perfect." Since moving to Roseneath, At The Disco made a miscue in a May 30 conditioned event at Kawartha and finished fourth, qualified twice over the Fraserville oval and then posted his first lifetime victory in a conditioned event on July 11, touring the five-eighths mile surface in 2:01.2. That result prompted Riley to enter the gelding for Saturday's Grassroots test. "I just figured it would be the perfect time to try him just because it was so close." "My wife and I, we were both raised there and both of our parents were raised there, so it was one of those things," said Riley, a third generation horseman. "It was better to give it a whirl and try it, and if it pans out and everything works out in our favour then we'll probably race him in another one." At The Disco and driver Nick Boyd of Guelph, ON will line up at Post 8 in the fifth race on Saturday, and Riley is hoping the son of Kadabra demonstrates some of the potential he knows is lurking under a fractious exterior. "I love trotters, I like problem horses. Like At The Disco, he showed decent last quarters but he was making breaks so you know that he has the speed, you have to get him to where he's putting it all together," explained the trainer. "I know he hasn't showed a whole bunch on his lines, but I think he'll turn out to be a nice horse in the future." Among the Grassroots regulars At The Disco will face in Saturday's test is In Secret, who will start from Post 7 for Norwood, ON resident Per Henriksen. The Grassroots divisions go postward in Races 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9 on Saturday's program, with the first race scheduled for 7 pm. For fans hoping to meet their favourite Ontario Sires Stakes driver and pick up an OSS t-shirt, the festivities get under way at 6:30 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

Harness racing announcer Evan Loucks will have his head shaved in Peterborough to raise money for children with cancer. FRASERVILLE, Ontario . . . Kawartha Downs' race announcer Evan Loucks will help try to carve out a new Guinness World Record by having his head shaved May 16 at the Peterborough airport. All donations to the attempt to break the record for the most heads shaved simultaneously will support the Cops For Cancer Pedal For Hope charity that benefits children suffering from cancer. To donate in Loucks' name, visit: www.cancer.ca/headshaverecord and select his name in the "find a participant" link. People may also sign up on the website to participate in the world record attempt. They will need a partner to shave their head. The Guinness World Records website says the current record for most heads shaved simultaneously is 210 set in Mason, Ohio in August of 2014. A few years ago, Loucks participated in Movember to raise awareness for prostate cancer. At the end of the month, he participated in a fundraising night at Kawartha Downs where his mustache was shaved off by staff. Kawartha Downs (http://ontariohorseracing.ca/Find-Your-Track/Ontario-Racetracks/Kawartha-Downs.aspx) will open its 18-card 2015 harness racing meet on May 30 and race live every Saturday night at 7 p.m. (except Sept. 19) through Oct. 3. The opening night card will feature a ball cap giveaway honouring leading driver Gord Brown. Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing

For the second straight week, driver Reg Gassien had the hot hands at Kawartha Downs. Last week he had three wins, tonight he had four trips to the winner’s circle. Gassien’s first win was courtesy of Go Mud, who was home first in 1:58.1 to notch his third straight win, all at the Fraserville, Ont. oval. Dagfin Henriksen trains the three-year-old son of Armbro Deuce owned by breeder Barry McClennan of nearby Cavan, Ont. Gassien was right back to victory lane following the next race with Better Art, who was three lengths the best in 1:57.2, and then followed that with victories in the last two races on the card with Sestina (1:59.3) and Bringing Sexy Back (1:59.2). It was a bittersweet week for Gassien whose father, Paul, a well known figure at Kawartha Downs, passed away last Sunday. Gassien will be honoured next Saturday night at Kawartha Downs, the final card of racing for the 2014 season. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Kawartha Downs. From the press box at Kawartha Downs

“This might have been just a $3,000 claimer, but it was one of the most important wins of my life,” said Kawartha Downs’ leading driver Gord Brown moments after winning the race named in honour of his late father, Stan, Saturday night at the Fraserville, Ont. racetrack. Brown won the race with Adventure Luck in 1:57.2. It was one of nine memorial races on the program, which paid tribute to several individuals who had tremendous impact on Kawartha Downs since it began 42 years ago. There were many other emotional moments and happy memories shared among the numerous family members on hand including the well known Hie family, who lost the highly respected horseman Roger Hie suddenly earlier this year. Also honoured this evening were Charles Touchburn, an original shareholder and paddock judge, Guy LaRush, one of the best drivers ever at Kawartha, well known horseman Ron Luke, talented farrier Tom Gratton, the first blacksmith at Kawartha Downs, and his wife Ann, sisters and avid harness racing followers and participants Doreen Brock and Leona Wright and former Kawartha Downs’ Telephoto employee and caretaker Brenna Seeley, who was killed tragically in an auto accident at 24. Kawartha Downs is proud to have had the opportunity to recognize their impact on its racetrack. Racing resumes next Saturday night with a 7 p.m. post time. There are just three Saturday nights left of live racing for the 2014 season. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Kawartha Downs. From the press box at Kawartha Downs

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