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London, October 20, 2017 -- Saulsbrook Peach captured harness racing's inaugural Veterans Classic Pace - part of the first ever Veterans' Classic night held on Friday at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The London oval was playing host to the first-time event which honoured Military Veterans, past and present, in a unique way during the night's 10-race harness racing program. The evening began prior to the race program with opening ceremonies performed by 1st Hussars Military Troop, followed by the official unveiling of the Raceway's new 'Veterans Inspired' winner's circle. Fans also had a chance to meet several veterans and check out the various military vehicles and displays that were on hand throughout the facility. Video tributes were shown between races as well. The inaugural Veterans Classic Pace went in race 7 and it was the Isabelle Darveau trainee Saulsbrook Peach who went wire-to-wire in 1:56. The eight-year-old notched his 23rd career win for driver Robert Shepherd and owner Catheline Pelletier. Live racing resumes at The Raceway this Monday night with a first post of 6:15 p.m. Greg Blanchard      

TORONTO, October 18 - Live harness racing returns to Woodbine Racetrack on Thursday, October 17 for the 2017-18 Woodbine Fall-Winter meet. The Fall-Winter meet will feature live racing every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. The lone exception is a special matinee card on Boxing Day (December 26) at 1 p.m. The final number of race dates for the meet is pending regulatory approval. The upcoming meet will be the last for harness racing at Woodbine, as Mohawk Racetrack will become the home of year-round Woodbine harness racing beginning in April of 2018. Doug McNair captured the driving title last season at Woodbine and while he carried that momentum over to post leading numbers during the Mohawk meet, the Guelph, Ontario reinsman feels he is a perfect match for racing at Woodbine. "It's good for my style, I like to be aggressive and it's more of a front end track," noted McNair. "They're going such big speed now a days, especially back-halves, you can come a half in :53 and not get a cheque, so you got to be up in the hunt especially going back to Woodbine. "The front end is a real good spot to be and first-over is not that bad either if you have the right horse." As always, Horseplayers can expect competitive racing and strong pool sizes throughout the Woodbine Fall-Winter meet. The wagering menu for Woodbine Standardbreds remains the same and continues to feature the popular multi-leg wagers, including the $50,000 guaranteed Pick-5 and $50,000 guaranteed Early Pick-4. The popularity of the Pick-5 wager reached new heights during the recently concluded Mohawk meet. The average Pick-5 pool for the Mohawk meet was $73,437 and horseplayers can expect much of the same this season at Woodbine. Thursday's opening card features 10-races. A free program can be downloaded by clicking here. Mark McKelvie

FRASERVILLE - Kawartha Downs has become one of Ontario's more successful harness racing tracks the past three years but a dark cloud looms on the horizon. Orazio Valente, who took over as general manager earlier this year when the Fraserville track was placed into receivership, said attendance and wagering are among the best in the province. They've averaged more than 1,000 spectators over the 17 race nights this season entering Saturday's final card. That's more than the province's largest tracks at Woodbine and Mohawk average on a regular night; excluding special events. The KD handle is averaging in the neighborhood of $40,000, which Valente says is exceeded by only Woodbine and Mohawk. Yet, when Great Canadian Gaming closes the Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs in October 2018 to enter its new Shorelines Casino Peterborough facility at The Parkway and Crawford Drive, Valente says the track will lose the rent paid by the casino which is 85 per cent of Kawartha's revenue. He said six per cent comes from Ontario Lottery and Gaming funding for purses and some operating expenses and the remaining nine per cent from wagering and food and beverage sales. "Under the current financial arrangement with the OLG and the government I can tell you, quite honestly, it will be fiscally impossible to provide horse racing at Kawartha Downs beyond the 2018 season. If all else stays the same. That's just an economic reality," Valente said. A lot of discussion is going on with all the stakeholders to find a remedy, he said. "Everyone is aware of the dire situation," he said. Valente said the government originally tied casinos to race tracks to get a footing in the province. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement as the casinos helped fund the tracks. But he says the government gave casino operators permission to move away from the tracks with no contingency plan for those tracks. It's a shame, Valente said, because a lot of work has gone into the track to improve the facility and fans have flocked in numbers not seen in many years. "By all accounts we've had a good season," Valente said. "Kawartha Downs has the highest attendance of any Ontario race track on a normal race night. Kawartha Downs is only second to the WEG (Woodbine Entertainment Group), which is Woodbine and Mohawk, for on-track handle. We do have something special going on at Kawartha Downs." The Downs has applied for 40 race dates in 2018 in an attempt to generate more revenue, Valente said. Races would run from March to December. A shortage of horses, he said, prevents them from running more than one card per week. Jeff Leal, Peterborough MPP and Ontario's agriculture, food and rural affairs minister, said four other Ontario tracks face the same dilemma. He said he's engaged in finding a solution. "We're looking at options right now to see what we can do to keep those race tracks whole beyond 2019, 2020 and 2021," said Leal. "The leasing dollars generated are a key part of the financial model and we need to look at options as to how we might be able to backfill that amount of money." Leal said off-track betting is one option being discussed. He said he'd like to explore the option of Shorelines Casino keeping some slot machines at the track. Another option is for the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation to create a special category for race tracks without a casino to significantly lower their tax rates. "I'm fully engaged in this because I have a great commitment to horse racing in the province of Ontario and the impact it has on rural communities," Leal said. He said he knows this is a pressing issue with the new casino in Peterborough opening next fall. "I'm very cognizant of the calendar," Leal said. First start for Lima Oh So Sweet Lima Oh So Sweet, a new member of the Murray Brethour stable, will make her first lifetime start at Kawartha Downs Saturday night, the final race card of the track's 2017 season. A three-year-old daughter of Credit Winner, Lima Oh So Sweet is owned by Mark Harder, a leading New Jersey based trainer for many years along with Rick Phillips of New York. Harder had trained the filly in the US until earlier this month when she was shipped to Murray to race in Ontario. Many race fans will remember Lima Oh So Sweet’s dam, the Angus Hall mare Oh Sweet Baby who was a force to be reckoned with during her two- and three-year-old seasons in the Ontario Sires Stakes program as well as on the Grand Circuit. The winner of the OSS Super Final at the conclusion of her two-year-old season, Oh Sweet Baby was trained by Ben Baillargeon and driven by his brother Mario. Lima Oh So Sweet is the first foal from Oh Sweet Baby who retired with earnings of more than $660,000. Rick Webb has been tapped to drive the sophomore in the second race where she’ll leave from post five. The card features the annual Shorelines Drivers’ Championship starring Kawartha’s top nine drivers from the 2017 season in races three through seven. Draws and giveaways will be conducted throughout the evening as the track celebrates another successful season of racing. Post time is 7 p.m By Mike Davies, Peterborough Examiner Reprinted with permission of The Peterborough Examiner

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 - Gregg McNair and Ian Fleming have bred and owned horses together for years, but when two-year-old trotting gelding T Barrr arrived in the harness racing winner's circle at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening, McNair learned the partnership did not include the newly minted Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series winner. "I asked him if I owned part of him, but he said no. I said, 'I'll be in on this one too, eh,' 'No, no,' he said, 'I don't think so'," related Guelph, ON resident McNair with a laugh. Londesborough, ON resident Fleming purchased T Barrr as a weanling to serve as a pasture-mate for a colt he and McNair had bred. A son of Adam T, who has produced just eight foals, and mare Lewies Lulu, T Barrr was never expected to be a Gold calibre horse, but when it came time to learn the racing ropes he outshone his pasture-mate. "We had an odd number so we wanted another gelding or a stud to run through the winter with the weanlings, so Ian bought him and he ran with the other one. Of course, the other one's no good," explained McNair ruefully. "He ended up being a nice horse. He was in a few different spots last winter and then we got him as soon as we got home from Florida. I think he'd been right around 2:30 when we got him. Everybody that had him liked him, it seemed like he was going pretty good all winter." T Barr made his debut in a July 25 maiden contest at Mohawk Racetrack and finished a fast-closing third, clocked in 1:57.1. On August 1 the gelding made his first Gold Series start, also at Mohawk, and finished fourth. A fourth-place finish in a two-year-old event at the Campbellville oval followed on August 11, but the youngster was scratched out of the August 18 Gold Leg due to sickness. The McNair team spent almost a month restoring T Barr's health and then sent him out against some of North America's top young trotters in the Sept. 11 William Wellwood Memorial Trot eliminations, where he made his first break and finished ninth. Back in Gold Series action on Tuesday evening, driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville lined T Barrr up at Post 3 in the $125,000 contest and had the colt in gear as soon as the starting car's wings folded. The pair hit the quarter in :29.1 and then yielded to Cousin Rickard, who carried on to a :58.4 half and a 1:28.2 three-quarters. Heading by the three-quarter pole, Saftic tipped T Barrr into the outer lane and the gelding powered down the stretch to a four length victory in 1:58. Cousin Rickard settled for second and Torches Pirate was two more lengths back in third. "He got out of there good and we got covered up," said Saftic from the winner's circle. "I didn't know how much we were going to get home, but it was a perfect trip, I pulled early and he win easy enough." "He drew good and things really worked out good for him tonight," added trainer McNair. "He acted like he was going to trot there every week when we first got going, and that's the first time he's been back to that speed. They didn't go a huge mile tonight, I don't think, a nice hot night like tonight, but he was better than the rest of them." The win boosted T Barrr's earnings from $12,544 to $75,044 and his Gold Series point total from eight to 58, putting him in fourth spot in the standings with one regular season event remaining. The freshman trotting colts will wrap up their regular season at Mohawk on Oct. 5, with the top 10 point earners advancing to the $225,000 Super Final at the Campbellville track on Oct. 14. Just 25 points separate the top five colts and Saftic is hoping that T Barrr's current momentum can continue through his remaining starts. "He's definitely going the right direction," said Saftic. "He's as good right now as anyone, I think." While McNair was disappointed to learn that he was not a co-owner of T Barrr, he will have another shot at some Gold Series hardware when Mohawk hosts the regular season Gold finale for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Monday, Oct. 2. Bills Fella, a horse McNair does co-own with Fleming, will be looking for his second straight victory in the provincial program after earning his first trophy on Sept. 2. Before that, however, McNair will have his attention focussed on this Saturday's Grassroots Championships, which will see the top Grassroots pacers and trotters compete for a total of $400,000 in eight races. The event kicks off at 7:30 pm with the Championship races going postward in Races 1 through 3 and 5 through 9. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

London, September 22, 2017 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District will usher in another exciting season of live harness racing beginning on Monday, October 2nd. The weekly Fall schedule features racing every Monday and Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. and Friday nights at 7:05 p.m. The final leg of the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for two-year-old colt pacers will take place on Tuesday, October 3rd and that will just be the start of a busy month at the London oval. Grand opening festivities will happen on Friday, October 6th and will be held in conjunction with the 250th Anniversary of horse racing in Canada. Some of the special events planned include $1 programs, an 8-foot commemorative cake, 'Wanna Drive' team on hand, seminar for potential new horse owners, a Bouncy Pony media celebrity race and prize giveaways including an opportunity to win a $250 cash prize. "We are looking forward to the return of live racing and have a busy month of October planned to kick it off," said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. "There are some changes and some new events that we are excited about and that we hope will enhance our racing product and on-track experience throughout the season." A brand new event this year is the Veteran's Classic on Friday, October 20th. The event will celebrate military veterans, young and old, in a unique setting as part of the live racing program. The night will kick off with a performance from the 1st Hussars Cavalry Troop and there will also be a showcase of military vehicles throughout the facility, veterans' tributes between races and the Veteran's Classic Pace as the on-track feature. The Raceway will use the occasion to officially unveil its new winner's circle which will also honour military veterans both past and present. Other major events during the month of October include the Forest City Preview on Friday, October 13, in conjunction with the new London Selected Yearling Sale that same weekend, and the 12thannual Harness The Hope night on Friday, October 27. Track management had considered implementation of a passing lane this season and received tremendous response to an online poll asking customers their opinion on the initiative. The overall response was slightly in favour of the move, however management has opted not to make a change for this season and will revisit it for 2018. Customers will notice a change to the Monday Pub Night menu with the addition of some new menu options to go along with the regular favourites - details to come. Customers are invited to come out to the Top Of The Fair every Monday to enjoy great food, live racing, watch their favourite game and have an opportunity at prize giveaways. Reservations are not required. The betting menu will also get a tweak as the early pick-3 each day will now be guaranteed at $2,500. The early Pick-3 has grown into one of the more popular wagers on the daily menu which also includes a pair of $5,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pools and a pair of Super Hi-5 wagers - all are 15% takeout wagers. The Super Hi-5 races were contested at 1-1/16 miles during the final month of last season as a trial and The Raceway team was encouraged by the results. "I think the experiment hit the mark in all the areas we were hoping it would," explained Blanchard. "The longer run to the first turn gave outside horses a better chance to get early position and gave drivers more time to get their horses set for the first turn which is a positive. The longer distance gave each starter an increased chance to overcome a slow start and betting was higher than anticipated on those races. It is something we feel worked very well and that we plan to continue for this season." The added distance races feature nine-horse fields with 10 per cent added to the purse and money paid out to the top six finishers rather than the standard top five. For more details on the upcoming meet visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. To make reservations for Grand Opening night at the Top Of The Fair, email topofthefair@westernfairdistrict.com or call 519-438-7203 (ext. 252). From WFD Media

FRASERVILLE - Kawartha Downs will host its only Racing Under Saddle race this year on Saturday night when Kamikaze Lindy attempts to record his third consecutive harness racing victory. What makes this attempt unique is the fact he has scored his most recent wins in a different fashion. The first, at Mohawk on Sept. 4, was in the traditional style of harness racing with a driver and sulky behind him. The second occurred two weeks ago at Hiawartha Horse Park when he won the RUS race there while being ridden. The five-year-old trotter will attempt his second straight RUS win in Saturday's third race at Kawartha where he'll square off against four other rivals including stablemate Lets Leavem. Both horses are trained by Shane Arsenault who also owns Kamikaze Lindy who will be ridden by Heather Reese. Lets Leavem will be ridden by his owner Sarah Town. The five RUS riders, Sarah, Heather, Marielle Enberg, Maggie Jones and Natalie Elliott will be available to meet and greet with fans in the grandstand following race five. This is the second last race card at Kawartha Downs for 2017. Post time is 7 p.m. KAWARTHA DOWNS GRADED ENTRIES Saturday, Sept. 23 post time 7 p.m. FIRST - PACE, $4,500 (DD, EX, TR) 1. Supersport (N Boyd) 6. Nothing But Bad (J Gillespie) 5. Master Negotiator (R Gassien) 4. Tugs Escape (B Macdonald) 3. Mini Putt (M Wade) 7. Thatsjusthowiroll (D Gassien) 9. Scintillator (S Johnson) 2. Magnify Bliss (J Woodward) 8. Inkerman Rocket (A Kerwood) SECOND - PACE, $5,000 (EX, TR) 6. Four For Orr (R Gassien) 4. Lo Lo Lo Logan (R Webb) 1. St Lads Captain (D Gassien) 8. Iamsam Samiam (J Thomson) 3. Joys Blazingsevens (N Boyd) 7. Imtoobadtobecute (M Wade) 5. Santanna Tony (J Woodward) 9. Pop N Liam (J Turcotte) 2. Rocket Gal (A Kerwood) ae. Diamonds Dance (N Boyd) THIRD - TROT, $4,500 (EX, TR) 1. Lets Leavem (S Town) 2. Kamikaze Lindy (H Reese) 5. Majestic Mystic (N Elliott) 4. Pukka (M Jones) 3. Precious Phoebe (T Enberg) FOURTH - PACE, $4,500 (EX, TR) 6. Liplock (N Boyd) 4. Cold Creek Lacey (J Gillespie) 2. Jo Big (K Benn) 1. True Companion (B Macdonald) 7. Emily Beach (R Doyle) 9. Dolly Dali (J Woodward) 3. Tea Bag (S Gassien) 5. Show Some Machsie (R Gassien) 8. Britches Say What (J Thomson) FIFTH - TROT, $4,100 (EX, TR) 2. Ill Stay Here (B Macdonald) 6. Warken On Air (R Webb) 9. Illusionsndreams (R Gassien) 4. L H Sonofthetimes (J Thomson) 1. Legionsofangels (N Boyd) 5. Quiet Moment (D Graham) 7. Autodynamic (W Hie) 3. Howmac Gypsy (J Woodward) 8. Peeling Out (R Doyle) SIXTH - PACE, $4,000 (EX, TR) 2. Bittersweet Dreams (B Macdonald) 3. Sophie Blu (R Webb) 6. D G Nickabocker (A Kerwood) 4. Rockin Sockem (D Gassien) 9. Hiclass Hanover (R Doyle) 7. Art Of The Deal (J Gillespie) 1. Hazuseenmybucket (N Boyd) 8. Lilys Penelope (J Turcotte) 5. Ima Holy Terror (J Thomson) SEVENTH - PACE, $4,400 (EX, TR) 2. Uf Bettors Hanover (B Macdonald) 3. Kiss Me Or Not (N Boyd) 1. Oakrock Eldorado (R Gassien) 4. Hey Grin (A Kerwood) 5. May To For (R Webb) 6. Harttattack (D Gassien) 7. Galagher Seelster (J Thomson) 8. Dana Salaam (B Collins) 9. Duneside Sport (G Ketros) EIGHTH - PACE, $4,800 (EX, TR) 2. Lock N Reload (R Webb) 3. Emma Ivy (B Macdonald) 5. Jetset Charmer (S Johnson) 9. Real Wicked (R Doyle) 7. Regally Magnified (J Turcotte) 4. Windsun Falls (J Gillespie) 1. Wildcat Jet (J Thomson) 6. Windsong Leopold (N Boyd) 8. Let There Be Rock (A Kerwood) ae. Bet Till Dawn (R Gassien) NINTH - PACE, $4,000 (EX, LD, TR) 7. Big Moment (R Doyle) 6. Putnams New Year (B Macdonald) 1. Who Dey (N Boyd) 8. A Boy Named Suuzz (W Hie) 2. Thundering Bay (D Clancy) 5. Better Art (J Gillespie) 3. Casimir Oppee (R Webb) 4. Stir And Serve (G Ketros) TENTH - TROT, $5,000 (EX, SF, TR) 5. Millers Song (N Boyd) 4. Shestherealthing (R Webb) 1. Rare Ruby (M Harvey) 3. Anutherdynamic (K Jones) 6. Zebs Abbey (J Gillespie) 2. Peace Keeper (P Henriksen) 7. Muscle Museum (B Macdonald) 9. Magic Moss (R Gassien) 8. Muscle Lane (W Hie) Reprinted with permission of The Peterborough Examiner

SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 - Driver Steve Byron and trainer John Bax teamed up to win all three $18,800 divisions of the last regular season Grassroots event for harness racing two-year-old trotting fillies at Flamboro Downs on Tuesday evening. Byron and Bax kicked off their successful evening in Race 1 with Warrawee Trip, who led from gate-to-wire in a contest reduced to five fillies as the result of three scratches due to sickness. The 2:01.4 clocking was a personal best for Warrawee Trip, who trotted under the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of her stablemate Dalliance Seelster. Candid Hally was well behind the leaders in third. "You never know until you get out in a race whether they're going to have that drive to win or not, or that heart, or brains; there's so many variables in this game," said Bax. "She always wanted to do it, that's her biggest attribute." Campbellville resident Bax conditions Warrawee Trip for his partners Glengate Farms of Mississauga, Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown and Bruce Norris of Caledon East, ON. Tuesday's win was the Majestic Son daughter's second in seven starts this season and boosted her career earnings to $22,099. Warrawee Trip, who was a $30,000 purchase at last fall's Canadian Yearling Sale, will have an opportunity to pad her earnings in the Sept. 30 Grassroots Championship. With one win and two seconds in Grassroots action she finishes the regular season in fourth-place in the standings with 100 points. In the second Grassroots division Byron got away fourth with fan favourite Magical Lady, then moved into second behind pacesetter Princess Stephanie when stablemate Tusk and Ladys Intuition went off stride heading for the half. Pretty N Well challenged Princess Stephanie through the final quarter, but when Byron maneuvered Magical Lady into an open lane in the stretch the filly trotted right by the duelling leaders and on to a one-half length victory in 2:02.3. Pretty N Well finished second, with Princess Stephanie settling for third. "That was the first time Steve drove her and he was pretty impressed with her gait," said Bax of the Kadabra daughter. "She was pretty green out there, she did a little sashaying once in a while, but I think when she learns she's going to be useful." It was just the third start of the season for Magical Lady, who finished second in her Grassroots debut at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 4. With a total of 75 points the filly fell one point shy of finishing in the top 10 and joining her stablemates in the Grassroots Championship. SRF Stable of Delray Beach, FL owns Magical Lady, who was a $150,000 acquisition from the 2016 Lexington-Selected Yearling Sale and has returned $15,395 in her first three starts. Bax and Byron completed the Grassroots hat trick with Gradabra in the third division. Starting from Post 3 Gradabra landed on the rail in second behind Precieuse CC, who led the field to a :30.1 quarter and a 1:01.4 half before skipping off stride heading into the third turn. Inheriting the lead, Gradabra demonstrated a bit of inexperience, but rallied when Ms Miller appeared on her flank heading for the 1:32.4 three-quarters. After matching strides with Ms Miller through the final turn, Gradabra found another gear in the stretch and trotted under the wire three-quarters of a length on top in 2:02.3. Ms Miller settled for second with Melanie G well back in third. "She's pretty green too," noted Bax. "Steve had to do a lot of yelling. He was actually happy when a horse pulled out beside him. When she warmed up Matt (Bax) said she was looking at everything, you know, her ears were going every which way. "She fought back really well today, I was real impressed," Bax continued. 'That was kind of the first time she's taken on another horse, so that was good to see." The win boosted Gradabra's point total from 34 to 84, landing her in the Grassroots Championship with Warrawee Trip and Dalliance Seelster. In her first four Grassroots starts the Kadabra daughter had posted two thirds and two fifths. Bax shares ownership of Gradabra with Glengate Farms of Mississauga, ON, Gordon Wright of Charlotte, MI and Dave Hudson of Dallas, TX. The filly, a full-sister to former Bax trainee Juanitas Fury ($416,292), was a $70,000 purchase at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale and has earned $18,339. "It's good to end on a higher note," said Bax. "I'm really pleased with Gradabra and Magical Lady that they started to show me what I kind of thought in the winter time that they had." While the Bax fillies and their peers wrap up their Grassroots campaign at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 30, Flamboro Downs will host one more Ontario Sires Stakes event before the 2017 season comes to a close, welcoming the two-year-old trotting fillies for Gold Series action on Wednesday, Oct. 4. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 12 - The $684,000 Canadian Trotting Classic and $593,000 Maple Leaf Trot headline an outstanding $2.1 million harness racing card this Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. The undercard for Saturday includes the $385,000 Elegantimage Stakes, $256,000 Milton Stakes and three eliminations for the Metro Pace. The $684,000 Canadian Trotting Classic features a talented field of 10 three-year-old trotting colts and geldings, while 10 of the finest older trotters in the sport will compete in the $593,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Trainer John Butenschoen swept last week's eliminations and now looks to finish the job with Bills Man (PP2, Corey Callahan) and Dover Dan (PP3, Brett Miller) in the Canadian Trotting Classic. Corey Callahan steered both Butenschoen trainees to victory last week and has decided to drive Bills Man in Saturday's rich final. "I'll likely stick with Bills Man," said Callahan immediately following the eliminations. "I think he's the fastest of the two, even though (Dover Dan) went a bigger heat tonight, I think just pure speed wise, Bills Man is just a little bit quicker." Bills Man won his elimination by a neck in 1:53.2 over longshot Dancer Hall. The son of Credit Winner is three for 14 this season with five runner-up finishes, including a narrow defeat by a nose in an elimination of the Hambletonian. Bills Man has earned $248,986 earned this season for owners William Wiswell and M And L of Delaware LLC. Dover Dan won his elimination by almost a length in 1:52.3. The son of Andover Hall came into the Trotting Classic elimination off a victory in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship. Owned by Wiswell, Jean Goehlen and Eugene Schick, Dover Dan is 4 for 14 this season with $229,148 earned. Brett Miller picks up the drive behind the elimination winner. The Canadian Trotting Classic field also includes Goodtimes Stakes champion International Moni (PP5, Scott Zeron). The Frank Antonacci trainee finished third, beat three-quarters of length, in the elimination won by Dover Dan. A son of French stallion Love You and the great mare Moni Maker, International Moni is five for eight this season with three of his victories coming at Mohawk in the Goodtimes (elimination and final) and Simcoe Stakes. Another notable in the Trotting Classic is What The Hill (PP4, David Miller), who was the original winner of this year's Hambletonian before being disqualified for interference. The Ron Burke trainee finished third in his elimination and was making just his first start since the Hambletonian on August 5. The Canadian Trotting Classic field is completed by Southwind Cobra (PP1, Yannick Gingras), Seven And Seven (PP6, Doug McNair), Long Tom (PP7, Tim Tetrick), Dancer Hall (PP8, Doug McNair), Victor Gio IT (PP9, Yannick Gingras) and Lindy The Great (PP10, Mark MacDonald). The $684,000 Canadian Trotting Classic is carded as Race 5. The Maple Leaf Trot could be the site of a little redemption, as last year's runner-up Hannelore Hanover (PP5, Gingras) is the probable favourite to win the $593,000 event. The five-year-old trotting mare captured her elimination impressively by more than two-lengths in 1:52. It was the fifth win in nine outings this season for the Burke trainee. A winner of over $1.8 million lifetime, Hannelore Hanover sports a stunning career record of 31 wins in 50 starts. She is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino and J And T Silva Stables LLC. Mohawk has been a favourite spot for Hannelore Hanover over the past two seasons. She is eight for nine at the Campbellville oval, with her only loss coming in last year's Maple Leaf Trot. "She likes the track no doubt about it," said Gingras following Hannelore Hanover's elimination victory. "She's a big track mare...she's a big strong mare, she likes to stretch her legs and she seems to like this place a lot." Hannelore Hanover is not the only mare in the field, as Jimmy Takter sends out Pasithea Face (PP3, Tim Tetrick). The five-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill came to North America this summer after finding plenty of success in Sweden. Pasithea Face has won two of five starts since coming to North America, including posting a 1:50.4 score last month at Tioga. The Takter trainee finished fifth in her elimination, which was her first start against male rivals. Hannelore Hanover and Pasithea Face will look to become the first mare since Bee A Magician in 2015 to win the Maple Leaf Trot and second since Peaceful Way in 2006. The other elimination winner with plenty of momentum heading into Saturday is Antonacci trainee Mambo Lindy (PP4, Tetrick). The six-year-old gelding pulled off a 26-1 upset in his elimination, winning in a career-best 1:52.2. Mambo Lindy had raced exclusively this season at PlainridgePark in Massachusetts prior to trying the Maple Leaf Trot. He is currently eight for 11 this season with $84,000 earned for owner Greathorse of Hampden, MA. Overall, Mambo Lindy is 22 for 36 lifetime with $175,260 earned. An All-Star field for the Maple Leaf Trot is completed by Windsun Revenge (PP1, Rick Zeorn), Odds On Amethyst (PP2, Pat Hudon), JL Cruze (PP6, D. Miller), Warrawee Roo (PP7, Sylvain Filion), Homicide Hunter (PP8, B. Miller), Musical Rhythm (PP9, Marion Baillargeon) and Gural Hanover (PP10, D. Miller). The $593,000 Maple Leaf Trot is carded as Race 9. Saturday's card features many of the sport's top trotters, including superstar filly Ariana G. The three-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill headlines the $385,000 Elegantimage Stakes. Trained by Takter, Ariana G is undefeated against fillies this season, with her only two losses coming against male rivals when she finished second and third, respectively. Last week, she won her elimination by nearly five-lengths in 1:53.2. Owned and bred by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, Ariana G is 17 for 21 overall with $1.4 million in career earnings. She will start from post-four with driver Gingras in Saturday's contest. Pacers will also have a chance to shine Saturday, as a loaded field of 10 older pacing mares will battle in the $256,000 Milton Stakes. Four-year-old Pure Country was one of two elimination winners last week, as she took her split in 1:50. The winner of over $2.1 million is currently riding a three-race win streak and has hit her best stride in the second-half of her four-year-old campaign. Owned by Diamond Creek Racing, Pure Country will start from post-three with driver Mark MacDonald. The other elimination winner is Blue Moon Stride, who struck for a mild 7-1 upset last Friday in 1:50. The Mark Harder trained four-year-old is three for 12 this season and a career-earner of $826,421. David Miller will steer the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover from post-two. Reigning Milton Stakes champion Lady Shadow will look to rebound after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the elimination won by Blue Moon Stride. The six-year-old mare is six for eight this season and has 34 career-wins and $2.1 million in career earnings. Lady Shadow, who earlier this season won her third consecutive Roses Are Red Stakes, will start from the rail with Gingras in the sulky. Saturday's undercard will also feature three eliminations for the Metro Pace. A total of 25 two-year-old pacing colts and geldings were entered on Tuesday morning. They have been split into three $40,000 eliminations with the top-three finishers in each, plus a fourth-place finisher drawn by lot, advancing to the $816,000 final on Saturday, September 23. Saturday's All-Star card gets underway at 7:30 p.m. A free program proof containing the charted lines and entries for Saturday's $2 million card can be viewed by clicking here. Mark McKelvie

The owners of Lady Shadow are pleased to announce that the Horse Racing Appeal Panel of the AGCO in Ontario has issued a stay of the 90 day rule such that Lady Shadow will be permitted to race on the harness racing WEG circuit effective immediately.  "It is our intention to enter Lady Shadow in an overnight race at Mohawk next weekend," Said attorney/co-owner Howard Taylor. "It is further our intention to enter Lady Shadow in the Artiscape at Tioga on August 27.  "While we do recognize that Tioga Downs is owned by Jeff Gural, it is our sincere hope that he will allow this great mare race in light of the Canadian action. "We look forward to watching what we hope will continue to be a successful season.  "While we did contemplate selling Lady Shadow due to our limited racing opportunities, this is a once in a lifetime mare and we felt that we could not part with her." Taylor concluded.  From Harnesslink Media

JULY 30, 2017 - Harness racing fans turned out in droves on Sunday afternoon to celebrate Clinton Raceway's Legends Day and the final drive of Ailsa Craig native John Campbell. "Good crowd today, the weather cooperated, it's great, great for the industry," said Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh. "John deserves it." The autograph session with Campbell and his fellow legends Bill O'Donnell, Doug Brown, Steve Condren, Mike Lachance, Dave Miller, Dave Wall, Ron Waples, Bud Fritz and Keith Waples, was scheduled from 1 to 2 pm, but stretched on well past 3 pm as fans waited their turn to greet the legendary horsemen and bid farewell to both Campbell and O'Donnell. The pair hung up their driving suits in the afternoon's final race, the $15,000 Legends Trot, which went to Ontario Sired mare Lady Caterina, driven by Steve Condren. "I didn't know John made a break, so I feel a lot better now that he made a break," said Condren, to laughter from the large crowd gathered around the winner's circle. The reinsman piloted Lady Caterina to the 1:58.1 win for trainer Alan Fair and owner Elizabeth Fair of Ancaster, ON. Given the last opportunity at the microphone Campbell thanked the fans, the owners and trainers he worked with over his storied career, and most of all his family. The winner of over $300 million then reflected on his career. "It's funny how things work out, I made a break and finished last in my first race, 45 years later I finished last and made a break here at Clinton, but it's been okay in the middle," said Campbell to applause and laughter. "Anybody here that knows me knows what an influence my dad (Jack Campbell) was, and he always told me don't ever say never, it's a really long time. So with that caveat I'll say, in all probability, this will be my last drive," said Campbell, bringing his legendary driving career to an official, if qualified, close. While the legends greeted their autograph seeking fans, Ontario's two-year-old trotting fillies provided the on-track entertainment, competing in a trio of $18,450 Grassroots events. The fastest winner of the three divisions was Bob McIntosh trainee Kant Afford It, who cruised along on the front end to a 2:05 triumph, four and one-half lengths ahead of Melanie G and Dalliance Seelster. Elora, ON resident Bob McClure piloted the fan favourite to her first lifetime victory for Windsor, ON resident McIntosh and his partner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH, who also bred the daughter of Kadabra and Urge To Splurge. "I was pretty confident. She trains on my half-mile track at home so I knew she was good in the turns, she's solid, so I had a good feeling," admitted McIntosh. "She's a big strong filly, she's really big and really growthy, so I think she'll get better and better. At the conclusion of the Legends Day festivities, which saw fans and supporters raise over $57,000 for the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation, McIntosh said he and his wife Patty were having dinner with Campbell and his family. The Hall of Famers have been friends since their earliest days in the business. "Since we were kids in London, at Western Fair, back in the 60s, I'm dating myself," said McIntosh with a laugh. The other Grassroots divisions went to Frick and Sheza Chunkymonkey, who stopped the Clinton teletimer in 2:06 and 2:08.4 respectively, off front-end efforts. Arthur resident Trevor Henry piloted Frick to her first lifetime win for trainer Gary Oliver and his partners Oliver Delmaple Holdings Ltd. and Dawn Hass of Cobourg, ON. Bonnie Breeze and Stand For Justice finished one and one-quarter lengths back in second and third. "She does everything right, unbelievable," said Oliver, noting that the daughter of Johnny William and B Cor Tanya has been a pleasure to work with since arriving in his barn when she was a weanling. "And now we're having fun." Trainer Travis Henry piloted Sheza Chunkymonkey to her first victory for his wife Maddi Henry and their partners Princeton Farms Inc., all of Embro, ON. The daughter of Majestic Son and Stonebridge Amanda reached the wire one length ahead of Justice Rules and Carnegie Hall. "We saw her at Harrisburg, well Maddi McNiven, now Henry, picked her out," said Princeton Farms' Jesse Belore. "Training down all winter, we had a few bumps, but she pulled through today. "As long as she stayed trotting, that's what we were hoping for. It's nerve wracking here," Belore added. The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their fourth Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack on August 10. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Clinton Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 27 with the fourth Grassroots event for the two-year-old pacing colts. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

JULY 20, 2017 - Sixty-six freshman pacing colts invaded Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening and delivered impressive harness racing performances in two Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series and five Grassroots divisions. Phantom Seelster opened the program with his second Grassroots victory, sprinting down the stretch to a 1:52.3 triumph. Pretty Handsome finished two lengths back in second and P H Hippie was two more lengths back in third. "Phantom was perfect tonight," said driver Rick Zeron of Oakville, ON, who sat fourth with the gelding through much of the mile after starting from Post 6. "He's getting better every start. He just waits for me to ask him to go; he's just a pleasure to drive." Zeron guided the roan son of Mach Three to the win for trainer Marcel Barrieau of Cambridge, ON and his partners Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueuil, QC and Conrad Leber of Montreal, QC. A $74,000 acquisition from the Forest City Yearling Sale, Phantom Seelster has earned $22,825 through his first three starts. Phantom Seelster Next up were the Gold Series colts and Shadow Moon made the transition from Grassroots to Gold look easy, doing all the work on the front-end and then digging in down the stretch to hold off Western Passage and Sports Legend. The 1:53.4 clocking matched the effort Shadow Moon delivered in the two-year-old pacing colt Grassroots opener at Mohawk on July 10 and boosted his earnings to $57,775. "This colt's been a nice colt from Day 1, he actually was my favourite all winter long," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore from the winner's circle. "He ran into some problems in March so he got behind the rest of them for about a month, so I opted to start him in the Grassroots - in fact this was probably only his fourth time on a starting gate and fifth time in a bike - so I hummed and hawed about where we should start him tonight. Anyway, a bit of a slow last quarter, but he got it done." "We went a very fast third quarter (:26.4)," added driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON. "I think that's why he didn't pace home that fast, but he's a nice colt. He can leave the gate fast." Puslinch, ON resident Moore shares ownership of Shadow Moon with R G McGroup Ltd. of Bathurst, NB, Serge Savard of St-Bruno, QC and Gordon McComb of Fall River, NS. The son of Moore's former trainee Shadow Play was a $60,000 purchase at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Shadow Moon The other $97,200 Gold Series division was captured by Jimmy Freight, in his first start since being acquired by Adriano Sorella of Milton and moving from Iowa to Ontario. The son of Sportswriter tussled with Lucky Sport and Goth Hanover throughout the mile before prevailing over those two colts, also sons of Sportswriter, by a neck in 1:52.3. "I thought the colt was ultra-impressive considering the fact that he was purchased on Thursday (July 13), shipped from Iowa to New Jersey on Friday, trained Monday in New Jersey and shipped to Canada on Tuesday," said New Jersey-based trainer Tony Alagna. "He bounced off the trailer and got the job done tonight, with a huge step up from county fair racing to Gold action on a big track. "I knew the family, having owned the sister to Jimmy Freight (Frog Pond Princess), and I have driven horses previously on the Iowa tracks he was winning on, I know what kind of miles those were," Alagna added, referring to the colt's record of five wins in five starts on the Midwestern county fair circuit. "Huge congratulations to Adriano Sorella for stepping up and buying the horse." Jimmy Freight and driver Jonathan Drury will have an opportunity to cement their position as top contenders in the Ontario freshman pacing colt ranks in the third Gold Series event on August 19 at Mohawk. Jimmy Freight Owners Brad Gray of Dundas and Denise Guerriero of Toronto, ON made two visits to the Grassroots winner's circle on Thursday as Family Sports and Burning Midnight captured their respective divisions. Family Sports got a perfect pocket trip from driver Jody Jamieson and then powered out in the final quarter to claim a 1:53.3 victory, three and one-half lengths ahead of pacesetter Sprocket. Letjimmytakeover completed the top three. Cambridge, ON resident Dave Menary trains the son of Sportswriter for Gray and Guerriero. Family Sports Two races later Burning Midnight and driver Louis-Philippe Roy also used a late sprint to post a seven and three-quarter length victory in 1:53.2 and give Gray and Guerriero their second trophy. The son of Mach Three, who is trained by Corey Giles of Cambridge, ON, bested Lucky Michael and When You Dance. Burning Midnight The other two Grassroots trophies went home with Chocolate Swirl and Hudson Phil, who delivered identical 1:54.2 clockings. Chocolate Swirl controlled the pace from start to finish for driver Travis Cullen and hit the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of JM Jack Of Hearts and Barn One. Eric Adams trains the son of Mach Three for owner-breeder Millar Farms of Stouffville, ON. Chocolate Swirl Hudson Phil and driver James MacDonald powered up the outside to a one-half length win over Bo Mach and Dismissal Slip for owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. Lansdowne, ON resident Mark Steacy conditions the son of Shanghai Phil. Hudson Phil The colts will make their third Grassroots appearance on August 16 at Grand River Raceway. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday night (July 21) with Grassroots action for the two-year-old and three-year-old pacing fillies. The two-year-olds kick things off in the first race at 7:30 pm and will also compete in Races 3, 5, 7, and 11, while the sophomores battle in Races 2, 6 and 9. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

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

JULY 10, 2017 - Phantom Seelster caught the eye of many yearling shoppers at last fall's harness racing Forest City Sale, and on Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack the roan pacing colt proved he has talent to go along with his looks. Starting from Post 1 Phantom Seelster sat briefly in third, but soon after the :27.3 quarter driver Rick Zeron sent the fan favourite after the lead and Phantom Seelster never looked back, rolling through fractions of :56.1 and 1:25.1 on his way to a four and one-half length victory in 1:53.1. Avalon Hanover finished second and Bo Mach was third. "He's a pretty serious colt, I'll tell you," said Zeron. "Boy, he impressed the living jeezus out of me tonight. "Jody (Jamieson with Avalon Hanover) chased me a little bit coming out of the top turn and I just spoke to him and hit the wheel disk a couple of times and he was gone," the Oakville, ON resident continued. "He enjoys his work immensely and every time I spoke to him he responded to a T, he responded right to what I needed him to do, and he took care of himself the rest of the race." Zeron drove Phantom Seelster to his first lifetime win for trainer Marcel Barrieau of Cambridge, ON and his partners Gestion Mastel Inc. of Longueuil, QC and Conrad Leber of Montreal, QC. The reinsman also piloted the son of Mach Three and Pantecostal in his July 4 debut at Mohawk Racetrack, where they finished a fast closing second and Zeron suggested that Barrieau had a Gold level competitor on his hands. "I said, Marcel I think you've got a Gold colt here, and he says, well I'm just going to take my time with him," Zeron recalled. "Marcel's a pretty sharp veteran trainer, he knows what's right and what's wrong, and he did the right thing, he put him in the Grassroots instead of going in the Gold." Barrieau and his partners, who purchased Phantom Seelster for $74,000 from the Forest City Yearling Sale last fall, will now have to decide whether to continue in the Grassroots or make the move up to the Gold Series for leg two. The second Grassroots and Gold Series events will both go postward at Mohawk on July 20. Phantom Seelster The second $19,150 Grassroots division went to Stock and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON, who hit the wire two and one-quarter lengths ahead of favourite Howmac Dancer and Letjimmytakeover in 1:55. Dany Fontaine trains Stock, a son of Sportswriter and Whycantiforgetyou, for breeder Sotirios Anastasopoulos of Sainte-Therese, QC and Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, QC. Stock Master Of Love made a late charge in the third division to earn a Grassroots trophy for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owner-breeder Alfred Ross of South Dartmouth, MA. Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry crafted the come-from-behind victory, which saw the Vintage Master son reel in pacesetter Wind Blast and pocket-sitter P H Hippie for a one-half length victory in 1:55.3. Master Of Love Bob McClure gave up a full slate of drives at Grand River Raceway to make one appearance in the race bike at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening and fans took notice, sending his mount, Northern Rebel, off as the top choice in the fourth division. The favourites did not disappoint, rolling to a two length victory in 1:56. Phil Dorleans finished a closing second and Lucky Michael was two more lengths back in third. It was the second straight win for Northern Rebel and Elora, ON resident McClure, who also posted a 1:56.3 victory at Grand River on July 3. "He seems to get better every week. He has one heck of a brush, I don't know how far he can carry his speed yet, but I guess throughout the course of the year we'll find out," said McClure, who has made five appearances in the colt's race bike, starting with a schooling mile in early June. "Rene's done a really great job getting him ready and he's just like an aged horse to drive, he's really sweet. So as long as he stays sound and healthy he should have a really good year." Rene Bourassa of Fergus, ON trains Northern Rebel and shares ownership of the colt with Roland Trudel of Becancour, QC and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, QC. The partners offered up $22,000 for the son of Sportswriter and $1 million winner Southwind Madonna at last fall's Canadian Yearling Sale and have recouped $12,750 through the colt's first three starts. Northern Rebel The final Grassroots trophy went home with Shadow Moon, who rang up fractions of :27.3, :57.2 and 1:25.4 on his way to a 1:53.4 victory. Trevor Henry picked up his second Ontario Sires Stakes win of the evening with the fan favourite, who finished three lengths ahead of JM Jack Of Hearts. Blue Moose was three more lengths back in third. Dr. Ian Moore of Puslinch, ON trains Shadow Moon for his partners R G McGroup of Bathurst, NB, Serge Savard of St-Bruno, QC and Gordon McComb of Fall River, NS. The group purchased the son of Shadow Play and Lofty Yankee for $60,000 US at the 2016 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Shadow Moon Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, July 13 with the third Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing colts. The first race gets under way at 7:30 pm and the pacing colts will compete in Races 3, 6, and 8. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

ELORA, ON - Thirty of the toughest wiener dogs in the province will shoot the cute-factor high through the summer sky this Friday night at Grand River Raceway. The third annual Ren's Pets Depot Wiener Dog Races at Grand River Raceway is set for Friday, July 7. The event is title-sponsored by Ren's Pets Depot, and is also supported by Legendary Canine, Big Country Raw and the OLG Slots at Grand River Raceway. Defending race champion, Tank, is reportedly bullish about his chances for a repeat win. Owned by harness racing driver James MacDonald and his wife Jenna, of Guelph, Tank was a winner by open lengths in last year's nine-dog Race Final. Jenna and her mother, Lynn MacDonell, raced the then two-year-old, 14-pound champ. The couple confirmed the feisty canine was "drunk on victory" for weeks after the race. While his formal training resumed only recently, he has spent the winter chasing 1,000 pound Standardbred racehorses in pursuit of the speed and mental stamina required to clinch back-to-back titles. Having been involved in horse racing all their lives, the MacDonalds say they've tried to temper Tank's confidence with a healthy mindset. "He's so hyped right now, I'm not sure he can even fathom defeat," said James. "Jenna and I have been trying to teach him about balancing his accomplishments with realistic expectations." Tank will face four other three-year-olds and five two-year-olds in the middle qualifying heat. In all, the 30 Dachshunds range in age from eight months to 12 years, and from seven to 24 pounds in weight. And, Tank isn't the only menacing name among the bunch: The Mighty Zeus, Froggy, Tank-A-Roo-Boo, Beans, Pedro Gonzales, Pippin, Hershey Kisses and Mustard are just a handful of the monikers that will have the humans-behind-the-wieners quaking in their boots. The evening offers spectators four dog races and 10 horse races. A costume contest for small dogs has been added to the bill. Contenders will strut the red carpet following horse race #3 (approx. 7:15 p.m.). The winner will be determined by popular vote - a combination of online voting through the track's Facebook page and an on-track ballot in the race program. The horse races begin at 6:30 p.m. The three qualifying heats of wiener dog races will be contested consecutively starting after horse race #5 (approximately 8:00 p.m.) The top three finishers from each dash will advance to the race final, after horse race #7 (approximately 8:45 p.m.) All races are 20 meters in length. Trophy presentations to the top three finishers will take place after horse race #8 (approximately 9:00 p.m.). Admission and parking are always free. Although the Captain's Quarters Dining Room is sold-out, there are two other restaurants and outdoor BBQs available. See the Grand River Raceway website for complete bios and photos of the 30 competitors. Kelly Spencer

If civil actions had bookies, these horse folks might be 100-to-1 longshots. Three years ago, a group of Ontario racehorse breeders took Kathleen Wynne’s government to court over claims the province made a “bad faith” decision in 2012 to abruptly end a lucrative revenue-sharing agreement with the horse racing industry. The standardbred breeders allege cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks Program damaged their livelihoods. But the rural plaintiffs — who in 2015 notched a legal victory in obtaining government documents tied to the agreement cancellation, as court-ordered disclosure — continue to battle the government. On Monday, the sides are back in a Guelph courthouse. Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Emery will hear motions from the province and co-defendant Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to quash summonses for 13 witnesses — including Wynne, her predecessor Dalton McGuinty, former finance minister Dwight Duncan and economist Don Drummond. “The evidence shows that these are the folks who are the only ones who can bring any level of transparency to the decision that was made and imposed in 2012,” said Toronto lawyer Jonathan Lisus, who represents the breeders seeking $65 million in damages. “They were directly and personally involved in the decision, its implementation and the response to the harm that was caused.” The province and the OLG deny all allegations of wrongdoing in their statements of defence. Earlier this year, both filed motions to have the case summarily dismissed, a matter scheduled for a November hearing. Emilie Smith, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General, said in a written statement that “Ontario has brought a summary judgment motion” to proceed in Superior Court “to have the action dismissed on the basis that it does not raise a genuine issue for trial.” “After Ontario confirmed that it would be bringing a summary judgment motion, the plaintiffs served fifteen summonses to witness,” Smith said. “Ontario has brought a motion to quash thirteen of the fifteen summonses on the basis that the evidence of the summonsed witnesses is not relevant to the summary judgment motion and that the summonses are an abuse of process.” She continued: “As this matter is subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.” OLG also declined comment. “It would be inappropriate for OLG to comment on matters before the courts,” said spokesperson Tony Bitonti. The defendants have already deposed 17 plaintiffs. Lisus said his clients want the opportunity to examine current and former senior government officials on their witness list, under oath. “I understand the government may not want this decision-making process to be scrutinized but it (ending the slots agreement) caused a lot of harm to a lot of people,” Lisus said. “The documents and evidence demonstrate they (the defendants) knew it would cause a lot of harm to a lot of people.” Around 1998, the slots agreement grew out of the Ontario government’s interest in installing the machines at racetracks. In 2012, then-finance minister Dwight Duncan announced the revenue-sharing deal would be scrapped. With a year’s notice to the horse racing industry, it officially ceased in 2013. Up to that point, horse racing’s share of slots revenue was about $4 billion. A key component of the breeders’ allegations hinges on the five-to-seven-year cycle needed to produce a standardbred racing horse from conception to the start gate. They claim the breeding cycle was well-known to the defendants, who also understood that breeders plan their businesses on this timeline. Lisus said the government’s one-year notice to end the slots deal devastated breeders, noting “the value of horses completely halved overnight.” “It’s not the plaintiffs’ position that the revenue share had to continue forever or could never be renegotiated,” the lawyer said. “The way the government did it, which was to essentially give no notice and say revenue sharing is going to stop, caused the bottom to fall entirely out of the market, and it never came back,” Lisus continued. “The documents show they knew that would happen.” The breeders claim that information contained in the court-ordered disclosure shows senior government officials were planning to cancel the slots program “without warning” even while the province was reassuring the horse industry that the partnership would continue, according to the plaintiffs’ responding factum to the motion to quash summonses. The disclosure documents also contain emails between government officials. Another aspect of the civil action pertains to the government compensating racetrack owners and not those who produce the racing animals after the slots deal was scrapped. “Ontario and OLG paid $80.6 million in compensation to those racetrack owners, while refusing to even discuss compensation for the standardbred breeders,” are among the allegations contained in the breeders’ statement of claim. The standardbred breeders were not a party to the slots contracts, which were signed by individual racetrack owners and OLG. However, Justice Emery, in his 2015 decision to order broad document access for the plaintiffs, wrote that “reports by (the Ontario Racing Commission) and other publications reflected the long-term nature of the commitments Ontario and OLG were making to racetracks and stakeholders in the horse racing industry.” The province, in its statement of defence filed by the attorney general’s office, denied “all allegations of liability and wrongdoing referred to in the plaintiff’s claim” and said at all times “the Crown acted in the public interest.” In addition, government decisions “made in relation to the implementation and termination of the Slots at Racetracks Program were core policy and fiscal decisions made in the public interest and made at the Ministerial and Cabinet level of government and are, accordingly, immune from suit,” according to defence pleadings filed by the attorney general’s office. The province also contends: “If the plaintiffs suffered any losses, which the Crown denies, those losses resulted from something other than actions of the Crown.” By Mary Ormsby Reprinted with permission of The Star        

ELORA, ON - The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) has announced the recipients of its new Community Mini-Grant program supporting projects related to agriculture and the environment. Eleven grants totaling $9,750 were awarded in amounts ranging from $250 to $1,000. The grants were awarded on June 13 at Grand River Raceway. The recipients and projects are summarized below: 1. $1,000 awarded to Beverley Cairns of Elora to fund the updating of cartographic maps for the reissue of the 1995 book "Elora Gorge: A Visitor's Guide" created by Dr. Kenneth Hewitt, professor emeritus in Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. 2. $1,000 awarded to the Drayton Mapleton Agricultural Society to fund new gates required for the relocation of 2017 cattle shows to a more visible area for spectators and a safer environment for cattle show participants. 3. $1,000 awarded to the Fergus Agricultural Society to offset costs of the Fergus Fall Fair's new venture, Breakfast On The Farm at Dirksen's Holsteins near Alma on June 24. The initiative is designed to provide an educational opportunity and social event for the general public to experience farm-to-fork and the operation of a local family-owned dairy farm. 4. $1,000 awarded to the EcoSchool Club at JD Hogarth Public School in Fergus to assist in the cost of acquiring 15 armour stones to be used for amphitheatre-style seating for a new outdoor class space. 5. $1,000 awarded to John Black Public School in Fergus for the purchase of planter boxes and materials for a project to improve to the school's play yard space. The boxes are also used by Kindergarten classes and by Grade 5 classes for class curriculum. 6. $1,000 awarded to Ontario Streams of Fergus to be applied to the funding of Environmental Explorations Workshops for Centre Wellington Grade 7 students on June 26 and the Artistic Responses To The Environment project for the general public. 7. $1,000 awarded to the Rotary Club Of Fergus-Elora to fund the planting of new Vimy Oak trees at Victoria Park in Elora, and accompanying cast bronze plaques. The beatification project is also aimed at educating next generations about Vimy Ridge and other battles during the First World War. 8. $250 awarded to Grand River Raceway employee Sarah Anthony of Fergus to fund a portion of her community contribution while volunteering with Operation Groundswell in small, rural communities in Peru. A fourth-year Bachelor Of Public Health (Honours) Co-Op student at Brock University, Sarah will be working on an organic traditional farm, making Andean medicines, tending to livestock and building a stove to make and sell food to the community. 9. $1,000 awarded to the St. Joseph Catholic School of Fergus for the completion of the Allison Brunt Memorial Butterfly Garden, which will function as a community installation, environmental learning space and designated outdoor classroom environment. 10. $500 awarded to Waterloo Rural Women to offset costs associated with the 22nd annual Children's Farm Safety Day on June 17 at Heritage Hill Farm in New Dundee. The event is geared for families with children ages 4 - 12 and is designed to teach safety and make families aware of the hazards on their farms. 11. $1,000 awarded to the Western Ontario 4-H Beef Invitational to offset costs of the 12th annual show on July 22 and 23 in Stratford, showcasing 80 - 120 4-H members between the ages of 9 - 21. The GRAS owns and 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. Back Row (Left to Right): Ted Clarke - General Manager of Grand River Raceway, Doreen Shantz - Waterloo Rural Women, Arlie Zantinge - Drayton Mapleton Agricultural Society, Brooke Switzer, Marilyn Abraham - Ontario Streams, Kelly Harkness, Jim Gibbons - Rotary Club of Fergus-Elora, Helen Broadfoot - Fergus Fall Fair "Breakfast on the Farm", Dr. Kenneth Hewitt Front Row (Left to Right): Loan De Bock - JD Hogarth Public School, Donna Rogers - Waterloo Rural Women, Sarah Taylor, Paul Walker - President of the Grand River Agricultural Society, Leanne Iravani - Rotary Club of Fergus-Elora, Beverley Cairns, Denise Kankainen - Fergus Fall Fair "Breakfast on the Farm", Melissa Mulligan - John Black Public School, Oliver Mulligan - John Black Public School Kelly Spencer

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