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ELORA, ON - A top purse of $250 is awaiting harness racing quiz wizards in Grand River Raceway's Grand Trivia Night to benefit The Stable That God Loves. The April 19th event features $200 in prize money for the top trivia team. Sixty trivia questions will be played in three rounds. The questions will be 70 percent harness racing trivia and 30 percent general knowledge. A $50 bonus goes to the winning team if their score tops the hypothetical tally of the Pro Team, which includes: two-time World Driving Champ Jody Jamieson, Anthony MacDonald of The Stable, and Brian Tropea of the Ontario Harness Horse Association. Assisting the Pro Team is race announcer Ken Middleton and Hall Of Famer Bill Galvin - two of the driving forces behind The Stable That God Loves. The cost is $32 per person and participants can register in teams of two or four. The ticket price includes a $10 slots voucher (19+), snacks, Mashed Potato Bar and tax. The Stable That God Loves benefits $5 from each ticket. The not-for-profit group is a fundraising initiative for the Standardbred Racetrack Chaplaincy of Canada. Participating racehorse owners pledge one percent of their horses' annual earnings to the Chaplaincy, which is dedicated to providing for the emotional, physical, spiritual and human needs of the horse racing work force in southwestern Ontario. Grand Trivia Night is held in the Lighthouse Restaurant at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, April 19. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., trivia begins at 7:00 p.m. and concludes at 9:15 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. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

ELORA, ON - They're the highest ranking officers in Wellington County OPP, but can they outsmart 100 ambitious trivia tricksters? Inspector Scott Lawson, Staff Sgt. Krista Miller, Staff Sgt. Victoria Dawson and Staff Sgt. Dave Sinko will comprise the Pro Team in Grand River Raceway's Grand Trivia Night on February 25. The event is presented in partnership with Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington (CSGW). The top scoring trivia team wins $200, plus a $50 bonus if they beat the Pro Team's tally. Tickets are $25 per person and participants can register in teams of two or four. The ticket price includes 60 trivia questions in three rounds (a mix of general knowledge and true crime trivia), $10 slots voucher (19+), snacks, and HST. A nominal online ticket fee is extra. The event also features a cash bar, Potato 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 25. 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

ELORA, ON - Bob McClure has been circling Canada's biggest harness racing title for the past few years, inching closer to the top of the driving ranks. In 2016, he captured not only the winning statistics, but also a prestigious award nomination. The 26-year-old reinsman from Elora, ON secured his first national title in 2016, winning 576 races while earning driving titles at Flamboro Downs, Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs. He drove 2,418 horses to purse earnings of $3 million. It was just his eighth year as a professional driver. McClure surpassed 1,000 career wins during 2016, and on several occasions scored four, five or six wins during a 10-race card. He currently sits at 1,436 wins and $8.1 million in purse earnings. "As much as I'm looking forward to 2017, I can't see how it could top this year," says McClure. "I've been so lucky, and I have to admit, I'm sad to see the season come to an end. I'm really thankful to all the grooms, trainers, owners, racing fans and everyone else that made it an unforgettable year." At the end of this month, McClure will vie for his first O'Brien Award for Driver Of The Year. The O'Brien Awards celebrate the absolute best in harness racing over a given year. They are the highest honour the sport bestows upon its heroes in this country and the winners are decided by a panel of voters consisting of media, racing publicists and race secretaries. McClure is up against veteran driver Sylvain Filion, a three-time O'Brien Award winner. The gala awards ceremony takes place on January 28 at The Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, ON. McClure and his partner Jody Howard and their one-year-old son Ryder moved to Elora in 2015. The location is central to the many tracks where McClure plies his trade, including those in Elora, Dundas, London, Clinton, Innisfil and Campbellville. 2016 Grand River Raceway Driving Champion - Bob McClure Kelly Spencer  

A top reward of $250 is awaiting the best trivia tipsters in Grand River Raceway's inaugural Grand Trivia Night to benefit Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington (CSGW). The February 25th event features $200 in prize money for the top trivia team, plus a $50 bonus if they out-score the Pro Team, which includes officers from the local OPP detachment. The cost is $25 per person and participants can register in teams of two or four. The ticket price includes 60 questions in three rounds (mostly general knowledge and some true crime trivia), $10 slots voucher (19+), snacks, and HST. A nominal online ticket fee is extra. CSGW benefits $5 from each ticket, plus all sales from the event's raffle table and live auction items. The trivia showdown takes place in the Lighthouse Restaurant at Grand River Raceway on Saturday, February 25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., trivia begins at 7:00 p.m. and concludes at 9:00 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  

A $5,000 donation covering the costs of 154 articles of new winter clothing was made by the Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS), owner/operator of Grand River Raceway, to benefit the clients of the Centre Wellington Food Bank. The presentation was made on December 9 at the Elora track. The lot includes 40 winter coats, 32 pairs of boots and 82 hats/scarves/gloves/snow pants. Jackie Andrews, of the Centre Wellington Food Bank Board Of Directors and Coordinator of the Christmas Hamper and Angels Program said the donation comes on the heels of the organization’s recent call for winter gear. In the past two years, GRAS had donated more than 400 articles of clothing retailing $10,000 to this excellent program. For more information about the Centre Wellington Food Bank, visit their website or call 519.787.1401. The Grand River Agricultural Society is a not-for-profit corporation incorporated under the Agricultural Societies Act of Ontario and operated by a volunteer board of directors. Kelly Spencer

The 2017 lineup for Grand River Raceway's popular Musical Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre features 13 shows in three new productions and one encore. The season kicks off in January with a tribute to Canada's 150th anniversary. The Canadian Folk Explosion includes music icons Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Gordon Lightfoot. The foursome join together to form a peace-loving supergroup, but instead must work together to solve a grizzly murder. March offers another all-new production, with the big hair and delicious tunes of Get Fit Or Die Trying: An '80s Murder Mystery. Set in the mid-'80s, superstars Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Freddie Mercury join forces for a live aerobics telethon. But, the good cause quickly becomes an exercise in fatality. In September, the four lads from Liverpool return for three encore performances of Paul Is Dead: A Beatles Murder Mystery. Showbiz urban legend claims Paul McCartney died in '67 and was replaced by a lookalike. Outlandish? You be the judge in this murderous musical romp. A new Christmas Show rounds out the playbill in November and December. All shows are staged in the Lighthouse Restaurant at Grand River Raceway in Elora, where doors open at 6:00 p.m. and shows begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $53 and include the one-hour show, three-course dinner, taxes, gratuity and a $10 gaming voucher (19+). The track has hosted nearly 3,000 guests at 24 performances since the program began in 2014. Musical Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre shows are written exclusively for Grand River Raceway by Tim Clarke Productions of Guelph. Each show includes lively musical numbers by pro performers and a fact-based background story. Guests can dig into the lore behind the celebrity musicians depicted on-stage between bites of delicious dinner and discussions of whodunit. The complete 2017 Playbill is as follows: The Canadian Folk Explosion - January 27 & 28 Get Fit Or Die Trying: An '80s Murder Mystery - March 24 & 25 Paul Is Dead: A Beatles Murder Mystery (Encore) - Sept. 28, 29, 30 The Christmas Show - Nov. 23, 24, 25, 30 and Dec. 1, 2 Complete information and online ticket sales are available at http://grandriverraceway.com/murder-mystery-dinner-theatre/ Kelly Spencer

More than 200 people packed today's inaugural Open House & Horse Sale hosted by The Stable at Tomiko harness racing training centre near Puslinch, ON. Thousands more tuned into a three-hour broadcast of the event via Facebook Live, complete with commentators and interviews. Forty-three of The Stable's yearlings were showcased in seven sets, driven by some of North America's top harness racing reinsmen.   Those in attendance -- including several novice Standardbred racehorse owners -- were able to meet the horses, chat with industry professionals, and purchase shares.   The Stable is a racehorse ownership venture launched in 2015 by Anthony and Amy MacDonald.   The Guelph couple own and train several Standardbred racehorses near Mohawk Racetrack. Anthony is also a prominent racehorse driver and a well-known harness racing industry advocate.   The MacDonalds built this 'fractional ownership' stable as a bridge -- a way to welcome non-horse-people to racehorse ownership with a very modest investment (as low as $100), low-risk, and completely accessible and transparent operations.   There are currently 61 horses and 171 active racehorse owners in The Stable.ca.   "The turnout for today's Open House was incredible," said Anthony MacDonald. "Amy and I had the opportunity to speak with most of our guests, and the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd throughout the day was a real confirmation of the value of this fractional ownership model.   "This is a really effective way to engage people in harness racing and promote ownership of Standardbred racehorses. That was abundantly clear, based on the people we had the privilege to meet with today," said MacDonald.   "Among our guests were three twenty-something guys from the GTA -- exactly the demographic harness racing is hungry for. They heard my interview this week on The Fan 590, emailed me, came to look at the horses this afternoon, and bought a share of a horse. None of them have ever owned a horse before, and have only been to the races a handful of times. But when they heard the interview, they instantly understood the fun to be had if they all owned a share of a racehorse together. That's a perfect illustration of the power of this model."   A catalogue of today's horses is available on The Stable.ca website which details all horses for which shares are available for purchase.   Video of today's live broadcast will be available tomorrow on The Stable's Facebook Page.   Images from today's event are available here.   Guests at today's free event were asked to bring a non-perishable food item, resulting in more than 200 pounds of food for the Guelph Food Bank.   The Stable would like to thank the many people who supported today's event including: Mike Jobb and Tea Habjan of Tomiko Training Centre for their gracious provision of complimentary breakfast for Open House guests; TV commentators Bill O'Donnell and Fred MacDonald, and interviewer Mark McKelvie; the crew at Cujo Productions; all of the drivers who steered our 43 yearlings; Shawn MacDonald for grooming the track between sets; and the entire staff at The Stable for their daily commitment and hard work.   For more information about The Stable, contact Anthony at anthony@thestable.ca or (519) 400-4263.   Other media about The Stable.ca:   Prime Time Sports The Fan 590 interview, December 2016 The Sun: Feb. 20/16 article and video Prime Time Sports The Fan 590 interview, March 2016   Kelly Spencer  

ELORA, ON -- In the wake of recent industry consultations with Ontario Racing (OR) on a potential long term funding plan, the General Manager of one of the tracks involved in the Ontario Standardbred Alliance offered his perspective on the current climate facing the harness racing industry in the province. "At present there is a great deal of uncertainty in the industry regarding the proposed Alliance structure for racetracks with Woodbine Racetrack acting as a service provider to carry out the administration of the business activities and services required by the group," said Dr. Ted Clarke of Grand River Raceway in Elora. "I have been witness to many constructive actions undertaken by Woodbine (and formerly OJC) that facilitated Elmira Raceway's emergence from a debt ridden entity in 1987 into the operation at Grand River Raceway today." In January of 1990, Woodbine agreed to the first intertrack of the Greenwood Standardbred signal outside their own system at Mohawk Racetrack when they teamed up for common pool wagering for the customers at Elmira Raceway. This opened the door for similar intertrack activities at many of the province's 'B' tracks and led to an increase in purses at those venues. Woodbine agreed to the first combination of live and intertrack programs using their signal mixed with the live operation in Elmira. Woodbine also agreed to send their thoroughbred signal to Elmira providing the basis for mixed breed cards. In 1997, they accepted the Elmira live signal to distribute throughout their network, the first time a 'B' track had received such an advantage. When the Slots At Racetracks Initiative saw the necessity for Elmira to move to Elora, Woodbine agreed to that move into what was at that time a shared home market area. Woodbine gave full approval that Grand River could operate as it had in its own home market area. "During the last 25 years, Woodbine could have overrun the Elmira/Grand River operation many times and it would have had the potential to increase their bottom line," explained Clarke. "It should come as no surprise that they didn't. The current Alliance structure builds on the cooperative relationship that has existed for many years and I would expect the proposed province-wide Alliance to do likewise." Eight tracks make up the Alliance, including Grand River, Flamboro, Georgian, Hanover, Clinton, Mohawk, Woodbine and The Raceway at Western Fair District. The partnership has been administered by the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) and the unique business model has allowed the tracks involved to realize efficiencies in several areas which have been critical to the overall success of the Alliance in the first three years. These include a centralized tote service, centralized race office and purse cheque distribution, the handling of simulcast contracts with other racing organizations and ADW platforms, in addition to other back of house services. The Standardbred Alliance has been able to not only stabilize but grow wagering on its product by offering a consistent wagering platform in more locations. And, by linking all tracks to the HPIBet platform, offer a loyalty program across the province. The remote wagering on the Standardbred Alliance has grown with the integrated approach to scheduling and expanded distribution, especially in the U.S. "A lot of hard work and co-operation between the Alliance tracks has produced positive results and we believe that customers in Ontario have benefitted. We should strive to continue improving this customer experience and we feel that the stability of a long term funding agreement and a stronger Alliance will be vital to achieving this," said Clarke. Dr. Ted Clarke (519) 846-5455 ext. 399 | (519) 465-7884 Kelly Spencer  

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway wrapped up its 13th live harness racing season on September 28. The track raced 48 days in 2016 - one less than in 2015 when the track's wager was up a record 36 percent over 2014. The all-sources wager in 2016 totaled $9,493,601 and the on-track wager was $934,279. While the number of races decreased from 509 to 491 (a difference of 3.5 percent) in 2016, the wager per race increased by 3.6 percent (all-sources) and three percent (on-track). The wager per card of racing increased two percent. According to statistics provided by Standardbred Canada, the number of horses which started at Grand River Raceway in 2016 was down seven percent (from 4,323 in 2015 to 4,034 in 2016). The number of unique starters was down 11 percent (from 1,603 to 1,425). The numbers reflect an average number of starters per race from 8.5 in 2015 to 8.2 in 2016. The Elora, ON track kicked off the live racing season on a high note, having recently won a prestigious 2016 Business Excellence Award in the category of Hospitality/Tourism. The award was presented by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Of Commerce. The race meet featured many new and annual events, including the 26th annual Industry Day celebration on the afternoon of August 1. The fan-favourite event saw a record handle of $481,230 wagered on the 11-race card, an increase of 54 percent over the record set in 2015. A crowd of approximately 4,000 people on-track wagered $87,890. Award-winning equine photographer Dave Landry took the third annual Media Race during the first Friday night of the card on June 3. Guelph resident James MacDonald was a big winner when Grand River Raceway hosted the Ontario Regional Driving Championship on June 24. MacDonald and runner-up Trevor Henry advance to the National Driving Championship on October 14 at The Raceway at Western Fair District in hopes of representing Canada in the 2017 World Driving Championship. MacDonald was back in the winner's circle a few weeks later for a tiny-yet-huge victory. Despite the weather, the second annual Ren's Pets Depot Wiener Dog Races showcased between the horse races on July 8, drew a record crowd. Tank, owned by MacDonald and his wife Jenna, emerged the winner of the 30 tiny entrants. In cooperation with the Hands On Horses Program, more than 500 people drove a Standardbred racehorse on the track at Grand River Raceway this season during events such as the annual Open House and Wanna Drive nights. The race season saw four new track records, all set during Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) action. L A Delight paced to her seventh consecutive OSS Gold victory with a track record-equaling performance of 1:53.1 for filly sophomores during the Industry Day card. On August 10, freshman miss Sweet Of My Heart trotted to a new divisional record of 1:58.4. On the same card, Sass recorded his sixth career win in 1:56.3, a new best for three-year-old trotting colts. In the following race, Will Take Charge won in 1:55.2 to replace the track record for sophomore trotting geldings. Driver Bob McClure of Elora topped the driver standings for the duration of the meet to secure his second consecutive title with 84 wins. Hall Of Famer Bob McIntosh won his first Grand River Raceway training title with 12 wins. During the shoulder season, Grand River Raceway continues to provide simulcast wagering seven days/nights a week. The track's Meetings & Events Services also operate year-round, offering unique rental spaces and amenities with complete catering options for business and social gatherings. The off-season special events line-up includes a Terror Trivia Halloween Party on October 22, when teams of four square off for $250 in prizes. The popular Musical Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre productions will be showcased in November and December, plus February, March, September, November and December (of 2017). Although a confirmed schedule is not yet available, live racing is tentatively set to return to Grand River Raceway at the beginning of June 2017. Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - It was the Tale Of Two Bobs in the Top Performer standings for Grand River Raceway's 2016 live harness racing season which wrapped up September 28. Bob McClure secured his second consecutive driving title at the track, while Bob McIntosh adds the Top Trainer award to his long list of accomplishments. McClure's 2016 season has been a career-best, securing titles at Grand River, Flamboro Downs and Georgian Downs. The 26-year-old Elora, ON resident finished the Grand River Raceway season with 84 wins, including a driving triple during the season finale. McClure surpassed 1,000 career wins during 2016, and currently sits at 378 season wins and $2 million in purse earnings. On several occasions this year he bagged four or five drives during a 10-race card. McClure began driving in 2009. In 2014, the young reinsman's career picked up major steam, doubling his 2013 figures and landing in the top 10 in the Canadian drivers' standings. He finished the 2015 season sitting third for wins in the national standings. He's currently positioned second for wins, fifth for UDR and 10th for earnings. While veteran Windsor, ON trainer Bob McIntosh has conquered most of harness racing's biggest races and awards, he secured his first Grand River Raceway training title in 2016. The Hall Of Famer made 56 starts in Elora this season and sent 12 starters to the winners circle, including L A Delight. On August 1, she paced to her seventh consecutive OSS Gold victory with a track record-equaling performance of 1:53.1 for filly sophomores during the Industry Day card at Grand River Raceway. Last week, she captured the esteemed Jugette at Ohio's Delaware County Fair, bumping her career bankroll to $1,174,163. McIntosh is a career winner of 4198 races and $96 million in purse earnings. 2016 Grand River Raceway Driving Champion - Bob McClure Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - Question: Where do trivia-loving zombies go to celebrate the Halloween season with their ghoulish friends? Answer: Grand River Raceway in Elora. Grand River Raceway will host a Terror Trivia Halloween Party on Saturday, October 22. The 19+ event challenges teams of four in three rounds of trivia related to topics that go bump in the night. The top-scoring team wins $200, and the best costumed player wins $50. The event runs from 6:30 p.m. through 9:00 p.m. in the Lighthouse Restaurant. The cost is $100 per team (maximum four people per team) which includes 60+ trivia questions, $10 slots gaming voucher (per person), and snacks served in three courses. A cash bar is available for the duration of the event. Tickets must be purchased in advance through the Grand River Raceway website. Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway and the Board of Directors of the Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Bursary/Scholarship Program for local students pursuing agricultural studies. The 2016 recipients will be recognized during a special presentation at Grand River Raceway on September 26, 2016. Launched in 2006, 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 agricultural programs. Since its inception, the GRAS program has awarded $105,500 to 74 students. College and university credited programs are eligible for up to a $2,500 award. 2016 scholarship recipients: Keir Dennis (Guelph) Ridgetown College, Associate Diploma - Horticulture Quinn Wilson (Harriston) University of Guelph, Bachelor of Commerce - Food & Agricultural Business Josephine McCormick (St. Agatha) Ridgetown College, Associate Diploma - Horticulture Mikayla Clark (Arthur) Olds College, Equine Science - Breeding & Production Katrina Martin (Fergus) Ridgetown College, Agriculture Diploma For more information about Scholarship/Bursary Program, please visit www.GrandRiverAgSociety.com The Grand River Agricultural Society (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 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. Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - September 2 marks the final Fun & Frivolity Friday Night of the 2016 live harness racing season at Grand River Raceway in Elora and the track has a little extra to highlight the occasion. Nine miniature horses will compete in an exhibition race following Race 8 (approximately 9:00 p.m.). The half-mile dash includes returning champion Norton who took the 2015 race with driver Alexis Bandy for owner Jackie Panko. Looking to shine in his driving debut is longtime racehorse owner Bob Frank, proprietor of Frank's Jewellers in uptown Waterloo. Frank will pilot Susie Kerwood's starter, Simba. The field for the Miniature Horse Race: 1. COORS - Driver: Travis Henry | Owner: Nicole Henry 2. NORTON - Driver: Alexis Bandy | Trainer: Jackie Panko 3. PRINCE CHARMING - Driver: Breanna Lawson | Owner: Katie Panko 4. SIMBA - Driver: Bob Frank | Owner: Susie Kerwood 5. MABLE - Driver: Bruce Richardson | Owner: Paula Austin 6. EMMA - Driver: Katie Reid | Owner: Sondra Miller 7. OREO - Driver: Karoline Nielsen | Owner: Tristen Forgie 8. DIAMOND - Driver: Danielle Belec | Owner: Danielle Belec & Mark Etsell 9. CHESTER - Driver: Dawson | Owner: Jackie Panko The Wanna Drive program will offer guests of all ages the rare opportunity to drive a racehorse, on the track, between the races. Guests will ride with a pro in double-seated carts, making one lap of the track at a casual pace. A total of 30 spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign-up at the Tarmac Show starting at 6:00 p.m. The usual Fun & Frivolity Friday Night antics include 107.5 DAVE ROCKS' live broadcast under the Tarmac Tent from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 pm. The track's free kids' program, The NEIGHbourhood, is also offered under the Tarmac Tent, from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The program offers horse crafts and a group photo with the winning horse of Race 5 followed by a behind-the-scenes barn tour. Post time is 6:35 p.m. for the first race on September 2. After September 2, live horse racing continues Monday and Wednesday nights until the season closer on September 28. Kelly Spencer

Grand River Raceway’s popular Horse Name Costume Game returns Friday, August 19, offering $500 in cash prizes. Fans dress in the likeness of the name of a horse racing on the August 19 race card. With 95 horses to choose from, there’s plenty of opportunity for great names and costumes, including: Nashville, Olympic Star, Sports Fever, Hillbilly King, Putt Putt, Coal Black Shadow, Rockstar Drums, AcefourtyfourXman, Royal King, Federal Army, Tymal Wizard, Southwind Jagger, Shes Deadly and Miss Dragonfire, to name a few. • The complete list of horse names for August 19. To finesse their creative inspiration, fans are encouraged to research unique entries from past Horse Name Costume Game contests by consulting the following photo galleries: Gallery 1, Gallery 2, Gallery 3, Gallery 4, Gallery 5, Gallery 6. Contestants must register at the Costume Table in the main lobby between 6:00pm – 7:00pm. The costume parade will take place live on the Tarmac Show after race six (approximately 8:30) where three judges will determine the best Horse Name Costumes for both adults and kids (15 and under). Costumes are judged based on creativity, effort and presentation. Post time for race one is 6:35 p.m. Kelly Spencer

Yvon Giguere passed away on August 8 after a short battle with cancer. He was 63. Yvon was the Simulcast Manager for Grand River Raceway since 2010. The Quebec native was a highly esteemed executive throughout the global harness racing industry. He was an enormous asset to the Elora, ON track with extensive expertise in tote, simulcast and related fields garnered from his 20-year racetrack career in Quebec. A former VP of Racetracks Of Canada and director with Harness Tracks Of America, Yvon held several management titles within Attractions Hippiques, Société National du Cheval de Course (SONACC), and Hippodrome de Montreal/Blue Bonnets. Beyond his thorough knowledge of the harness racing industry, and his thirst for gathering new ideas and concepts, Yvon was a devoted and enthusiastic member of the Grand River Raceway team. He was committed to harness racing and the growth of Grand River Raceway and its employees.  While in Quebec, Yvon also owned, trained and drove Standardbreds and was a passionate advocate for the sport. He was a third-generation horseman. His father Jules, and uncle Georges are both members of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame.  Yvon is survived by his wife Michelle, sons Frederic and Francois, daughter Andreann and brothers Guy, Robert and Michel. A private funeral will be held in Quebec City. Grand River Raceway will air a video tribute to Yvon at the top of the race night broadcast (6:05 p.m. EST) on Wednesday, August 10. Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway staged its 26th annual Industry Day celebration on the afternoon of August 1. The harness racing fan-favourite event saw a record handle of $481,230 wagered on the 11-race card, an increase of 54 percent over the record set in 2015. A crowd of approximately 4,000 people on-track wagered $87,890. 19th annual Battle Of Waterloo Sports Column granted trainer Blake MacIntosh and driver Chris Christoforou their first Battle Of Waterloo victories. The Sportswriter colt put in a commanding front-end effort to take the $159,500 dash for Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing colts and geldings in 1:55.4. The win was Sports Column's third win from five starts and boosted his bankroll to $169,500 for MacIntosh who co-owns the pacer with Hutt Racing Stable and Daniel Plouffe. Happy Trio with Sylvain Filion finished three lengths back in second and Aston Hill Dave was third with Doug McNair. 8th annual Battle Of The Belles James MacDonald captured his second Battle Of The Belles title when he held on to win by a head in a thriller over betting favourite Aint Three OK with Trevor Henry. The Sportswriter filly granted trainer Jeff Gillis his first win in the race. He shares ownership of the pacer with Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay. Bid Writer is a winner in three of her four rookie starts for $76,300. Ontario Sires Stakes Divas Image captured her first Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Gold trophy with a strong gate-to-wire performance in the first $105,000 division to begin the stakes action in Race 2 on Industry Day. New Jersey reinsman Joe Bongiorno was in town for his Grand River Raceway driving debut aboard the Bettor's Delight filly for trainer Richard Johnson and New York owners Our Horse Cents Stables, Jt45 LLC, and J And T Silva Stables LLC. Divas Image remained strong on the lead down the stretch holding off Party In Rome by three-quarters of a length in a career-best clocking of 1:53.3. Party In Rome settled for second while Killean Finale (Jason Ryan) finished third. "I haven't been here before, but I definitely enjoyed the short trip that I was here for," said the 22-year-old reinsman. "The track seems nice to me and I was just very happy with the way the filly raced." L A Delight dominated in the second OSS Gold division of the day with a track record-equaling performance of 1:53.1 for three-year-old filly pacers. With L A Delight beginning to get away on the field, Mayhem Seelster (Sylvain Filion) fanned wide off the fading cover and came on for second. Last year's Battle of the Belles champion, Free Show (Jody Jamieson), finish third. This was L A Delight's seventh straight OSS Gold triumph. "She's the grandmother that baked you cookies and told you when you got a D it's really not that bad. She's just a real sweetheart of a horse," said Waples. Racing Under Saddle Trotters under saddle were in action on Industry Day competing in an $11,000 Racing Under Saddle (RUS) Handicap. A newcomer to racing under saddle this year, Gracies Harmony pulled off a 40-1 upset as she romped to a six-length victory. With regular RUS rider Marielle Enberg aboard for owner/trainer James Tropea of Mono, ON, Gracies Harmony got out to a quick early lead from post two and carved out fractions of :31, 1:02 and 1:33.4 enroute to the 2:04.2 triumph. Muscle Matters (Sarah Town) who was victorious under saddle on July 16 at Georgian Downs, moved into second-place approaching the half and followed hot on Gracies Harmony's heels before the leader took off around the final turn. Muscle Matters stayed for second while Osprey Vision (Amber Lawson Brand) finished third in his RUS debut. Gracies Harmony returned a whopping $84.60 for a $2 win ticket. The nine-year-old Hard Rock N Roll mare is a career winner of 29 races and $134,015 in purses. Bill McDonnell Memorial Race After a mid-afternoon rain shower, the $12,500 Bill McDonnell Memorial Invitation Pace was held to honour the memory of the former member of the Grand River Agricultural Society board and director of the Ontario Racing Commission who passed away last September at the age of 79. "It's very emotional," said Marlene McDonnell, who was on hand for the Industry Day celebrations and the race named after her late husband. "But I know that this would be the biggest honour; there just isn't any greater. He would be so pleased." The race was won by the front-end strider Saulsbrook Peach and driver Robert Shepherd. Leading front start to finish, the seven-year-old Royal Mattjesty gelding set fractions of :27.3, :57 and 1:25.2 before stopping the clock in 1:54.1. Lets Wait And See (Nick Steward) tipped out near the third quarter mark and came on to finish second. Rise Up Now (Sylvain Filion), the 6-5 favourite, followed in third off a pocket trip. Five races prior to his Battle Of The Belles win, driver James MacDonald was unseated from his throne as the winner of five consecutive editions of the Industry Day Bouncy Pony Stakes. Agreeing to level the playing field, MacDonald raced the 30 metre dash with two eyepatches. Despite being unable to see the racecourse, MacDonald still hung on to be nipped at the finish by newcomer Tyler Jones, with Bob McClure and J Harris close behind. The Best In Show competition sponsored by the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) awarded $1,500 to the caretakers of horses racing on the Industry Day card. Fifteen prizes of $100 were presented to the top five in each of the following categories: Best Of Show Head-To-Toe; Horse & Groom; Above & Beyond (braids, sparkles, etc.). The winners were: Bailey Wright, John Archer, Alyshia Williamson, Bernard Lavigne, Natasha Day, Dillyn Jackson, Rick Welsh, Jessica Breese, Tiffany Stein, Emily Auger, Leslie Harris, Steph Horner, Tracy Roberts, Katie Miller, Nicole Pedden, and Vicki Paulic. A garage sale offering assorted horse and horse-racing memorabilia and collectibles raised more than $1,041 for the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. Photos and videos from Industry Day: • Photos from Industry Day • Battle Of The Belles race video • Battle Of Waterloo race video • Bouncy Pony Stakes race video Kelly Spencer

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