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ELORA, ON - The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) has announced the recipients of this year's Community Mini Grant program supporting projects related to agriculture and the environment. Eleven grants totaling $5,000 were awarded in amounts ranging from $500 to $1,000. The grants were awarded on June 12 at Grand River Raceway. The recipients and projects are summarized below: 1. Fergus Medieval Faire: $500 towards the costs of birds of prey/falconer show at the free community Medieval Faire. 2. Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph: $1,000 towards development of a community garden for the CityView Village build. 3. Youth Outdoors Day: $1,000 towards the purchase of new event tents. 4. Western Ontario 4-H Beef Invitational: $500 to supply the exhibitor breakfast and division prizes. 5. The Elora Swan Program: $1,000 for repairs and upgrades to the swan compound, and to stain the main building and hut. 6. Brisbane Public School, Erin: $1,000 to assist with labour and equipment expenses for the installation of natural elements in the primary play area. 7. The Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games: $1,000 towards program costs of the Highland Cattle & Sheep and Sheep Shearing educational heritage programs at the Scottish Festival. 8. Township of Centre Wellington (in collaboration with Fergus Scottish Festival, Elora Festival, Riverfest Elora, and Fergus Fall Fair): $1,000 to purchase a graphically designed tent to house the water cart for increased visibility and protection from the elements. 9. G2G Rail Trail Inc.: $1,000 for the purchase and installation of agricultural interpretive signage along the trail. 10. Waterloo 4-H Beef Club: $1,000 to purchase show equipment. 11. St. Joseph Catholic School, Fergus: $1,000 to purchase a rain barrel, mature plants, seeds, and child sized gardening tools for their Allison Brunt Memorial Butterfly Garden. The GRAS operates Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON. The GRAS is a not-for-profit corporation, incorporated under the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies Act of Ontario and governed by a volunteer board of directors reporting to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). The GRAS mandate is to encourage awareness of agriculture and to promote improvements in the quality of life of persons living in an agricultural community. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

ELORA, ON - A large crowd under clear skies kicked off the 15th race season at Grand River Raceway on Friday (June 1). Scott Wray piloted the inaugural winner, Celestial Lady, in a one-length score over Miller Time and Cape Coral. Celestial Lady is trained by Darell Vleeming for owner John Landuyt of Chatham, ON. The Fun & Frivolity Friday Race Night lineup included guest announcer Mike Farwell, host of The Mike Farwell Show and the voice of the Kitchener Rangers on 570 NEWS. Farwell runs an annual fundraising campaign called Farwell4 Hire, during which he does odd jobs in exchange for a donation to Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Farwell4Hire has raised over $183,000 in the past four years and is shooting for $100,000 in this year's campaign which wraps up on June 2. As part of his paid duties, Farwell jogged eventual race six winner Master Saver alongside driver Anthony MacDonald, then joined track announcer Gary Guy to call race seven. Grand River Raceway donated $500 to his campaign and track guests donated another $350. Alfie Carroll closed the Opening Night card with a three-length win aboard Drake in the Preferred Trot in 1:56.3. It was the six-year-old gelding's fifth win of the season for trainer/co-owner Justin Robson. Live harness racing continues Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights from June 1 through September 26. Other special racing events include Ren's Pets Depot Wiener Dog Races (July 6), the Industry Day horse racing celebration featuring the Battle Of Waterloo (August 6) and the National Driving Championship (September 26). by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway's 15th race season kicks off Friday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. In addition to several facility renovations, the on-track experience will be further enhanced by a new 10' x 18' video screen installed beside the remodeled tote board in the infield. The Fun & Frivolity Friday Race Night lineup includes guest announcer Mike Farwell, host of The Mike Farwell Show and the voice of the Kitchener Rangers on 570 NEWS. Farwell runs an annual fundraising campaign called Farwell4 Hire, during which he does odd jobs in exchange for a donation to Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Farwell4Hire has raised over $183,000 in the past four years and is shooting for $100,000 in the campaign which ends June 2. After jogging a horse prior to race three, Farwell will join track announcer Gary Guy's to call race seven. In addition to the track's $500 payment, the campaign will also receive all $5 donations for kids' colour-then-wash-then-colour t-shirts available in The NEIGHbourhood. The free kids' program runs each Friday race night from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. and includes horse crafts, a photo with the winning horse of race four and a guided barn tour. All Fun & Frivolity Friday Race Nights also include a live trackside broadcast with 107.5 DAVE ROCKS, and an extended Tarmac Show between the races. While the $19.99 Race Night Buffet in the Captain's Quarters (overlooking the racetrack) is sold-out for June 1, the facility offers additional dining options in The Lighthouse Restaurant and The Getaway Restaurant. Reservations are not required for either of these eateries. The Tarmac BBQ is also open on live race nights. To place future reservations for the $19.99 Race Night Buffet, call (519) 846-5455 ext. 247 or email bookings@grandriverraceway.com Live harness racing is featured on most Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights from June 1 through September 26. Other special racing events include Ren's Pets Depot Wiener Dog Races (July 6), the Industry Day horse racing celebration featuring the Battle Of Waterloo (August 6) and the National Driving Championship (September 26). Grand River Raceway's 10-race program for June 1 is available here and streaming video will be available starting at 6:00 p.m. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway hosted more than 400 guests at its 10th annual backstretch Open House on Sunday, May 27. Guests were treated to a rare glimpse of horse racing behind-the-scenes. The full tour of the Open House's seven stations included the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse. Admission was free, but participants made donations totaling $300 at the door to support local organizations which aid in the retraining and placement of retired racehorses into new riding and driving careers. Other interactive stations included a tour of the judges' stand and announcer's booth, a mare and foal, horse themed crafts and face painting, and photos in the starting car. Members of Racing Under Saddle Ontario were onsite to demonstrate the versatility of the Standardbred racehorse in different disciplines. Representatives from the Youth Literary Derby chatted with kids and parents about their horse-themed writing contest designed to engage Ontario-resident youngsters in Grades 5 through 8. The Grand River Raceway Open House is presented in cooperation with the Hands On Horses Program and the Ontario Harness Horse Association. Grand River Raceway extends it appreciation to all of the associations and volunteers who assisted with this event. More than 3,500 people have attended Grand River Raceway's Open House events over the past ten years. Grand River Raceway's live racing season opens this Friday at 6:30 p.m. and continues most Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights all summer. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway's 2018 live harness racing season launches on Friday, June 1 with a special guest announcer putting the finishing touches on his ambitious fundraising campaign. Mike Farwell, host of The Mike Farwell Show and the voice of the Kitchener Rangers on 570 NEWS, runs an annual fundraising campaign called Farwell 4 Hire, during which he does odd jobs in exchange for a donation to Cystic Fibrosis (CF). During the track's opening night, Farwell will perform two tasks: he will drive one of the racehorses in a warm-up mile (accompanied by a professional driver) and later call a race in track announcer Gary Guy's booth high atop the grandstand. In addition to the track's $500 donation, Farwell 4 Hire will also receive all tickets sales from an Opening Night Penny Auction offering great prizes to guests. "I'm so grateful to Grand River Raceway for their generous donation and this opportunity to promote our campaign," said Farwell. "With your help, we are improving the lives of people living with Cystic Fibrosis and getting closer and closer to a cure." Farwell4Hire has raised over $183,000 in the past four years and is shooting for $100,000 this year. The season-opener will include 10 horse races which begin at 6:30 p.m. All Fun & Frivolity Friday Race Nights include a live trackside broadcast with 107.5 DAVE ROCKS, the free NEIGHbourhood program for kids, barn tour and extended Tarmac Show between the races. Live harness racing is featured on most Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights from June 1 through September 26. Other special racing events include Ren's Pets Depot Wiener Dog Races (July 6), the Industry Day horse racing celebration featuring the Battle Of Waterloo (August 6) and the National Driving Championship (September 26). Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway and the Board of Directors of the Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) have released details and applications for the bursary/scholarship program for local students pursuing agriculture-related studies. College and university credited programs are eligible for up to a twenty-five hundred ($2,500) dollar award. The program is designed to provide financial assistance for students residing in Wellington and Perth Counties, and the Region of Waterloo, who are entering, or currently enrolled in, college or university agriculture-related programs. Since its inception in 2006, the GRAS program has awarded $126,500 to 82 students. The Application Form (PDF) is available at http://grandriverraceway.com/grasprograms/ All applications must be received no later than July 16, 2018. Successful applicants will be determined by August 15, 2018. Recipients will be recognized during a special ceremony at Grand River Raceway on a race night in September. Kelly Spencer

ELORA - Grand River Raceway will host its 10th annual backstretch Open House on Sunday, May 27. Guests are invited to drop-in any time from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a rare glimpse of harness racing behind-the-scenes. A full tour of the Open House's six main stations will last approximately one hour. The itinerary includes the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse. Admission is free, but participants are urged to make a $10 donation (per family) at the door to support local organizations which aid in the retraining and placement of retired racehorses into new riding and driving careers. A BBQ lunch and beverages will be available for purchase between 11:30 - 2:00. Other interactive stations include a tour of the judges' stand and announcer's booth high atop the grandstand with track announcer Gary Guy. Back in the barn, visitors will learn about the basics of breeding, owning, training, driving and caring for racehorses. Guests can also view and learn about the equipment and techniques required to maintain the racetrack surface. The starting car will also be on display, and open for photo opportunities. Members of Standardbred Showcase and Racing Under Saddle Ontario will be onsite to demonstrate the versatility of the Standardbred racehorse in different disciplines. Representatives from the Youth Literary Derby will also join the Open House to chat with youngsters and parents about their horse-themed writing contest designed to engage Ontario-resident youngsters in Grades 5 through 8. No registration is required for the Open House. The event is suitable for all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The Open House will run rain or shine. Participants are urged to wear closed-toe shoes and casual, comfortable clothing. Helmets and safety vests will be provided. The Grand River Raceway Open House is presented in cooperation with the Hands On Horses Program and the Ontario Harness Horse Association. More than 3,000 people have attended Grand River Raceway's Open House events over the past nine years. For more information, visit http://grandriverraceway.com/open-house/ or call (519) 846-5455 x238 or email info@grandriverraceway.com Kelly Spencer

GUELPH, ON -- More than 400 people celebrated Mother's Day at TheStable.ca's annual Spring Open House on Sunday, May 13 at harness racing Tomiko Training Centre (near Puslinch, ON).   A surprise complimentary lunch kept guests fueled through nine sets of The Stable's two-year-old horses (54 in all) featured in training races on the racetrack. The races will be captured by drone camera and streamed on The Stable's website.   The broadcast included interviews, feature stories about the horses, driver interviews and commentary from show hosts Fred MacDonald and Hall Of Famer Bill O'Donnell.   An impressive roster of prizes were drawn live on the broadcast near the end of the day.   Two one-percent shares of three-year-old pacing filly Book The Bet were reserved as exclusive prizes for current members of The Stable. They were awarded to Adriano Sorella and Maria Elana Suti.   Guests of the Open House vied for the remaining prizes.   Sherry King, Mike Barbas and Frank Petronski each won a one-percent share in two-year-old trotting colt Curious Winner.   Sean Smyth won a photo shoot with award-winning equine photographer Dave Landry, who will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame in August. Landry is also a member of The Stable. He will capture an image of the winner with their horse and The Stable will have the portrait reproduced as a 16x20 print on canvas.   Fellow member of The Stable, Diane Bryant graciously assembled and donated Mother's Day Gift Baskets which were won by Deanna Van Tol and Del Bianco.   The Open House also included a fundraising component which raised $500 to be shared by the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society and Racing Under Saddle Ontario. The Stable partnered with TFB & Associates Importers Ltd. in Mississauga, ON to offer premium Fever-Tree drinks at the event for a $1 donation per bottle which was matched by The Stable.   There are currently 103 horses and 426 active racehorse owners from 10 countries in The Stable. Trainers Anthony and Amy MacDonald launched the award-winning venture in 2015 as a fractional ownership stable -- a model which welcomes newcomers to horse ownership with a very modest and low-risk investment, and completely accessible and transparent operations.   Clients of The Stable can purchase as little as one share (one percent) of a horse, which currently run as low as $95 (plus tax). A fixed monthly fee of $23.85 (plus tax) per share covers the horse's daily care and training.   For more information, contact Anthony at anthony@thestable.ca or (519) 400-4263. Kelly Spencer   TheStable.ca      

ELORA, ON - If you're a trivia buff, you're a Person Of Interest for Grand River Raceway's second annual Grand Trivia Night with Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington (CSGW) on Saturday, February 17. Last year's sold-out event raised $1,375 for CSGW and awarded $250 to a team of four named McClary Automatics #2. The top scoring trivia team wins $200, plus a $50 bonus if they beat the score of the Pro Team, made up of the highest ranking officers in Wellington County OPP. Tickets are $35 per person and participants can register with their accomplices in teams of two or four. The ticket price includes 60 trivia questions in three rounds (a mix of general knowledge and crime trivia), Mashed Potato Bar, $10 slots voucher (19+), and HST. An online ticket fee of $2.79 is extra. The event also features a cash bar and silent auction. CSGW benefits $5 from each ticket, plus all silent auction sales. The trivia showdown takes place in the Lighthouse Restaurant at Grand River Raceway on Saturday, February 17. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., trivia begins at 7:00 p.m. and concludes at 9:30 p.m. A cash bar is available 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Tickets are available by advance sale only, and can be purchased online. Kelly Spencer

GUELPH, ON -- More than 300 people packed into harness racing's Tomiko Training Centre near Puslinch, ON on November 26 to attend The Stable's second annual Christmas Open House.   They came from all across Ontario and the U.S. and brought with them enough non-perishable food donations to fill 110 feed bags -- one for each horse in The Stable and representing a total of 2750 kg in donated items. Many who could not attend donated $2,060 to the #OurHorsesFeedPeople campaign organized by The Stable to support the Guelph Food Bank.   The free Open House welcomed current clients of The Stable and newcomers to meet each other, The Stable staff and horses. A live broadcast of the four-hour event was viewed online by nearly 5,000 people as 56 yearlings were showcased in ten sets on the racetrack. A food truck graciously provided by The Stable client Adriano Sorella kept guests fueled throughout the five-hour event. The Open House welcomed 13 new clients, including 10 first-time racehorse owners.   The Stable congratulates the winners of its Open House contest awarding five one-percent shares of Mr Caper(Guccio - Caper Caillie): two shares were awarded to new and current email list members Paul Williamson of Illinois and Mark Ramsay of Nova Scotia; three shares were awarded to Open House attendees Shirley House, Don Scott and Corey Fraser (all of Ontario)   The Stable now boasts 108 horses and 378 active racehorse owners from 10 countries. Anthony and Amy MacDonald, of Guelph, launched the venture in 2015 as a fractional ownership stable -- a model which welcomes newcomers to horse ownership with a very modest and low-risk investment, and completely accessible and transparent operations.   The Stable would like to thank everyone who supported the Open House and #OurHorsesFeedPeoplecampaign, including its loyal clients and staff.   • Photos from the event. • Replay of the broadcast.   For more information, contact Anthony at anthony@thestable.ca or(519) 400-4263.     Kelly Spencer TheStable.ca  

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway wrapped up its 14th live harness racing season on September 27. On A Sunny Day trotted to a new track record of 1:56 in the final race of the card, an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series event. The sophomore filly overtook Delcrest Magicstar in the stretch to record her fifth win of the season. The clocking replaces the record set by Sugar Wheeler in 2012 and matched by Angies Lucky Star in 2013. On A Sunny Day was driven by Sylvain Filion for trainer/breeder Luc Blais. She is owned by Determination of Montreal, QC and has earned $250,286 in 10 starts this season. Earlier in the night, the track honoured top performers Bob McClure and Richard Moreau. This is McClure's third consecutive driving title at the Elora, ON track. His 2017 season includes titles at Grand River, Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs and Western fair. The 27-year-old Elora, ON resident finished the Grand River Raceway season with 63 wins, including his first-ever Battle Of The Belles victory with Play The Bell on August 7 for trainer Casie Coleman. He currently sits atop the national standings at 381 season wins and $2.1 million in purse earnings. Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON has won the Grand River training title three of the past four years. He is the current top money-winning and top dash trainer in the nation, and has won the O'Brien Award for Canada's Top Trainer for the past four consecutive years. Eighteen of his 75 starters at Grand River Raceway reached the winner's circle in 2017 for earnings of $117,958. Moreau is a career winner of 5,233 races and $48 million in purses. Race 7 was dedicated to the track's General Manager, Dr. Ted Clarke, who retires at the end of this week. In an interview following the dash, Clarke thanked the fans of horse racing for their support of the industry. Kelly Spencer

Longtime harness racing official Diane Twasnick passed away this morning (September 20) at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, ON after a brief battle with cancer. She was 59. Diane's career as a Race Secretary and Charter spanned more than three decades at Elmira Raceway, Grand River Raceway and Hanover Raceway. Diane had a deep affinity for harness racing, and its horses and people. Beyond her astute skills and knowledge, she had a glowing smile, bright personality and fabulous sense of humour. Her family will hold a private ceremony. Details of a Celebration Of Life are forthcoming. Kelly Spencer Mgr. Marketing & Communications Grand River Raceway

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway and its owner/operator, the Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS), are pleased to welcome Jamie Martin as the new Director of Operations. Martin will take over leadership of the Elora, ON track from Dr. Ted Clarke who is retiring after more than 30 years in the harness racing industry. Martin will join the Grand River Raceway team in December. In April of this year, Martin announced his retirement from his current role as the Executive Vice President of Racing for Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), where he joined as the Vice President of Standardbred Racing in 2000. "I am excited to continue my involvement in the horse racing industry," said Martin. "I look forward to working with the Board and the team at Grand River Raceway to continue to grow what is already one of the bright lights in Standardbred racing in North America." Prior to WEG, Martin was the longtime Racing & Gaming Manager at Western Fair Raceway in London, ON. With more than 27 years of leadership in the Ontario horse racing industry, Martin is renowned as a tremendous strategist and developer of outstanding racing and wagering products. In 2014, he became the first Chairman of the Board for the Standardbred Alliance, which helped to stabilize Ontario's harness racing industry. "On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Grand River Agricultural Society, we are extremely pleased that we are able to engage someone with Jamie's exceptional qualifications to lead Grand River Raceway into the future of Standardbred racing," said Paul Walker, President of the Grand River Agricultural Society. In his new role at Grand River Raceway, Martin will lead the further development of the organization's award-winning offerings as a dynamic entertainment, racing, and gaming destination. Martin will begin his new role on December 11. Kelly Spencer

ELORA - The live harness racing season is winding down at Grand River Raceway. Monday and Wednesday race nights continue until the season finale on September 27, but Fun & Frivolity Friday Nights wrap-up September 8 when the Elora, ON track is hosting its first-ever Young Guns Miniature Horse Race. The exhibition dash features seven youngsters - ages two through eight - driving miniature ponies. The contenders are all daughters and sons of drivers, trainers and caretakers within the harness racing industry. These pro adults will accompany the young racers in their double-seated carts in the very short (one-eighth mile) trot. The Young Guns Race is featured after Race 6 (approximately 8:20 p.m.). The participants and their ponies will conduct a Meet 'N Greet with fans on the tarmac after Race 3 (approximately 7:20 p.m.). Both events will be shown live on the track's Facebook page. The field for the Young Guns Miniature Horse Race: 1. POLLY POCKETS Young Gun: Ollie MacDonald (Age: 4) Accompanied by: Amy MacDonald   2. PRINCE Young Gun: Liam Davis (Age: 2) Accompanied by: Billy Davis   3. MULLINGAR Young Gun: Ava MacDonald (Age: 6) Accompanied by: Debi O'Brien Moran   4. WALLY Young Gun: Travis Moore (Age: 6) Accompanied by: A.J. Moore   5. BUDDY Driver: Hailey Hart (Age: 8) Accompanied by: Emma Christoforou   6. QUINTON Young Gun: Kylie Hart (Age: 6) Accompanied by: Scott Young   7. PING* Young Gun: Lucas House (Age: 5) Accompanied by: Lorne House   *Ping is less-miniature, more-pony and as such will start from the outside post. Post time for Race 1 of the Friday card is 6:30 p.m. Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - After more than 30 years of tireless work in the Ontario harness racing industry, Dr. Ted Clarke is retiring from his post as the General Manager of Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON. Clarke will continue in his role until the end of September 2017. Recognized by his peers as an innovator in the horse racing industry and highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke's strong and steady leadership established Grand River Raceway in 2003 and its reputation as an award-winning racing and entertainment destination. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame in 2014. The track is hosting a retirement party for Clarke on Sunday, September 24. All are welcome to attend. PARTY DETAILS Date: Sunday, September 24, 2017 Time: Guests are welcome to drop-in any time between 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Formal Program starts at 2:00 p.m. with a few speakers & gift presentation Place: Lighthouse Restaurant at Grand River Raceway 7445 Wellington County Rd. 21, Elora, ON N0B 1S0 Dress: Casual Gifts: Well wishes only, please. Finger foods and a cash bar will be available throughout the party. RSVP: All are welcome. To assist in our planning, an RSVP is appreciated by September 18, but is not required. To RSVP, register online or call (519) 846-5455 ext. 238 Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway had added Friday, September 8 to its harness racing season. The additional date will recoup some of the races lost after severe weather caused a cancellation of the last seven races on August 11. September 8 will mark the last Friday race night of the season. Harness racing continues Monday and Wednesday nights until the season finale on September 27. Post time on September 8 is 6:30 p.m. Reservations are being accepted for the Captain's Quarters Dining Room, featuring the popular $18.99 buffet. Call (519) 846-5455 ext. 247 or email bookings@grandriverraceway.com for reservations. Kelly Spencer

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