Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 4 of 4
1

This weekend will mark the end of a shortened season of harness racing at Fredericton Raceway. The big question that remains is whether it is the final card of racing ever in the long and storied history of Canada's Oldest Racetrack. On September 28, 1887 harness racing began in Fredericton at its current location, on site at the Fredericton Exhibition Grounds. In 2009 Horse Racing New Brunswick took over operations after Fredericton Exhibition Limited indicated that due to their dire financial situation they could not continue racing. HRNB was formed as the provincial governing body for the industry. President Kathy McLean hopes this isn't the end. "Hope is a word we use a lot of in harness racing in New Brunswick these days, although its becoming tough to keep that hope up" she says when asked about whether a long term lease arrangement will be completed between HRNB and the Fredericton Exhibition Ltd group or FEL. "We have asked and offered to meet to discuss a long term arrangement to provide stability to one of the cornerstones of New Brunswick racing however FEL has refused citing pending litigation". McLean is referring to a lawsuit HRNB has initiated against FEL for locking HRNB out of its VLT, simulcast and bar businesses at Winners Lounge located adjacent to Fredericton Raceway. On Monday, May 16, 2016 HRNB attempted to pay FEL for the property taxes to utilize the building housing Winners Lounge and the entire racetrack area. The lease arrangement stated the taxes were due Sunday, May 15, 2016 however HRNB had 30 days to be compliant. Property tax payment was refused by FEL's Mike Vokey and at approximately 3am on May 17, 2016 the locks were changed to Winners Lounge by FEL. A few days later, Justice Paulette Garnett granted an injunction allowing HRNB and its employees to return to work at Winners Lounge. McLean added that the amount of damages, revenues lost and legal fees is "north of $85,000". Something she says "is tough to lose given the state of the industry". "We really want our harness members and our stakeholders to know just how hard HRNB has been working to solve this difficult situation. FEL has cited the lawsuit as grounds not to meet to discuss a long term lease, however HRNB's lawyer contends that these lawsuits shouldn't stop the process. We actually proposed dropping both our lawsuit and their countersuit at the signing of a new long term lease." Under the current lease arrangements that are set to expire December 31, 2016, HRNB must meet certain financial criteria. First was payment of the property taxes for 2016, a total of $33,209.61 which have been paid in full. Second were monthly payments to a "capital fund" of $3,272.73. This fund now totals approximately $26,178.36. The designation for this fund was capital improvements to the buildings at Fredericton Raceway but the decisions are ultimately left up to the discretion of FEL. "The most worrisome part of this mess is our horse people. Come December 31, 2016 will they be evicted? Will they be allowed back to train in the spring? Its a stressful time for HRNB and for members of the NBSBOA," says McLean. "The next troubling part is the pending loss of our VLT business. If there isn't a long term lease signed very soon, ALC has indicated they will reassign the VLT's from Winners to more stable locations in the Fredericton area. This means the damages portion of our lawsuit skyrockets and lots of jobs lost". Although she wouldn't speculate on how high the lawsuit number could go if ALC pulls the VLT's from Winners Lounge and HRNB, McLean says she's "hopeful but not optimistic. Yeah, that would sum up how HRNB is feeling at this point. So, when the wings close on the Trius Truck Centre Starting Gate and track announcer Brock McEachern says "away they GO" in the Chippin Memorial, which is the feature and final race on Saturday's card, the horses really could be going away from Fredericton Raceway. For good. Mitchell Downey      

It was an emotional day at Exhibition Park Raceway on Saturday as a three-horse spill in the fourth event of the afternoon sent two harness racing drivers to hospital.   Going into the first turn, driver Ed Harvey and his pacer Allstar Seelster had obtained a lead from post two and suddenly fell causing Dr. Mitchell Downey to become unseated from his horse Stare Down and also falling hard to track.   Unable to clear the mishap, driver Stephen Trites and Ideal Ticket became involved and Trites was dragged in the sulky until the horse came to a stop at the fence.   Driver Ed Harvey is reported to have a possible broken hand and ribs in the accident and Stephen Trites, a hyper-extended knee injury. Dr. Mitchell Downey walked away from the ordeal and came back to win the final race on the program will Fall Bliss.   Also on the card, pacer Upstairswithron won his first race in over two-years for driver Scott Hubbard and owner/ trainer Bob MacNeil. Horse Racing New Brunswick will provide updates this weekend as the drivers are evaluated further.   All three horses involved walked away from the accident with cuts and bruises and H.R.N.B will report on their condition as soon as news becomes available.   Best wishes from Horse Racing New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Standardbred Owners Association on a speedy recovery to those involved.     Scott Waddell

Fall Bliss, driven by last year's Rookie of the Year harness racing driver, Dr. Mitchell Downey reigned supreme on Saturday afternoon at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Leaving from post-two, Downey sent the eight-year-old son of Blissful Hall to the lead after a scorching :27.2 opening quarter. Downey handed driver Todd Trites and Magical Alex the parking ticket after battling early in the mile.   He was never to be denied after that as he cruised to an easy 2:00 victory over City Of The Year with Magical Alex holding on for third.   Exhibition Park also saw it's first two-year-old winner of the season as first-time starter Puthecherryontop scored a maiden voyage. Tommy & Cindy Gunn bred the filly from the tough race mare Wylde Cherry. She now sports a 2:06.4 win race record.   Racing in New Brunswick will continue on Friday, July 1st at Fredericton Raceway with the prestigious Walter Dale Memorial as the headlining event.            

Make it four in a row for Fall Bliss as he quick stepped to a 1:58.3 win for owner/ trainer and driver Dr. Mitchell Downey on a beautiful Thursday night at New Brunswick's capital city at the harness racing meeting at Fredericton Raceway.   Downey was aggressive with the son of Blissful Hall early as he was fired off the gate and led at every marker to preserve the win.    He flashed a final half-mile of :58.3 as he toiled with his rivals en route to a six-length triumph.   Also on the seven-dash program American Terror came from off the pace to win for driver Ed Harvey in an equal effort of 1:58.3.   This may set up a clash of the titans of sorts this coming Thursday should the duo meet up in the top-class.   Harvey's pacer has won three straight in the weekly top-class.   Racing will continue on Thursday evening as Horse Racing New Brunswick hosts live racing on July 30th at 6:30 P.M.   Scott Waddell

1 to 4 of 4
1