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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

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 14 - The Mohawk Race Office would like to inform harness racing horsepeople that this week's two-year-old qualifiers will be held on Thursday and Friday. Thursday's qualifiers will be for two-year-old trotters and two-year-old pacing fillies. Friday's qualifiers will be for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Qualifiers begin each day at 10 a.m. Also, there will be no training available at Mohawk this Saturday (June 17) due to Pepsi North America Cup preparations. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 10 - Harness racing's finest three-year-old pacing colts and geldings faced off Saturday at Mohawk to contest three $50,000 eliminations to determine the starters for the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup on June 17. Winning was a breeze for Downbytheseaside and driver David Miller in the first elimination. Downbytheseaside got away fifth as Sports Column marched his way to the early lead, pacing past the first quarter in :27. Into the backstretch, Lawrencetown Beach, who was fourth on the rail, was first to make a bid for the front. Downbytheseaside followed. Lawrencetown Beach took command before the midway point, but a looming Downbytheseaside snatched the lead at the half in :54.4. Once the Brian Brown trainee cleared, he started to pull away from his seven rivals. Ultimately, no one could catch the 1-9 favourite. He cruised by the three-quarter pole in 1:21.4 and crossed the wire first by two lengths in 1:50.4. Western Hill and Sports Column rallied for second and third respectively. "I don't think he was at his best tonight for whatever reason. I've seen him better," said Miller. "[The wind] could be playing a factor. You're leaving into it and you're finishing into it and it might have something to do with it. "He was a pretty solid horse last year and got better as the year went on, which is unusual," Miller said. "He came back this year and we can't be happier with him. Just tonight, I wouldn't say he was at his best." Downbytheseaside remains unbeaten as a three-year-old with four victories from four outings. He notched his 12th lifetime victory in 17 starts. With the win, the son of Somebeachsomewhere and Sprig Hanover lifts his career earnings to $858,616 for owners Country Club Acres Inc, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing. Downbytheseaside paid $2.10 to win and place, combining with Western Hill ($8.40) for a $19.80 (4-3) exactor. A 4-3-7 (Sports Column) triactor was worth $254.60, while a $1 superfecta [4-3-7-5 (Some Attitude)] returned $670.55. There was no show wagering. Downbytheseaside Huntsville, who has never been worse than second in his career, added another victory to his record with a 1:49.1 score in the second North America Cup elimination. Huntsville and driver Tim Tetrick dropped into fourth as Classic Pro, Ozone Blue Chip and NormandyBeach battled three-wide into the first turn. Ozone Blue Chip drop back to third while Normandy Beach drove on for the lead, leaving Classic Pro to take the pocket spot. Just after Normandy Beach posted the opening quarter in :26.3, Huntsville was on the move first up. The 1-9 favourite brushed to the front and held command past the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:22.1. Into the stretch, Huntsville was untouchable adding distance between himself and the rest of the field. The sophomore scored by four and a quarter lengths en route to the winner's circle. Classic Pro surged to finish second and Ozone Blue Chip was third. "It looked like it was easy enough and he caught a nice division and he raced really well," said trainer Ray Schnittker. "It was a good mile. Probably in the afternoon or something like that it would be a [1]:48 and a piece mile, I would think. "He's a very fast colt," he added. "He's a great big colt so hopefully he just keeps getting better as the year goes on. You never know though." Huntsville scored his third triumph of the season from four outings and 10th career victory. With the win, the son of Somebeachsomewhere and Wild West Show increases his career earnings to $801,263 for trainer Ray Schnittker, who shares ownership with Theodore Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo, and Steven Arnold. Huntsville paid $2.10 to win and place, combining with Classic Pro ($11.50) for a $39.70 (2-4) exactor. A 2-4-5 (Ozone Blue Chip) triactor was worth $214, while a $1 superfecta [2-4-5-8 (Miso Fast)] returned $951.20. There was no show wagering. Huntsville Driver Dave Miller and trainer Brain Brown teamed up to win their second 'Cup' tilt in the third and final elimination. Fear The Dragon, who is now five-for-five this season, overcame a break in stride to scorch his foes in 1:50. When the gate wings folded, Miller pointed Fear The Dragon towards the three-hole while Ocean Colony was taken to the front and Hurricane Beach took the two-hole spot. After Ocean Colony posted a :27.2 opening panel, Fear The Dragon was given the signal it was time to make a move. Launching a first-over attack on the leader, Fear The Dragon surged to the lead before the half. The 1-5 bettor's choice held command past the mid-way point in :55, which is when an eager Ocean Colony made his bid for the front. The 9-2 third choice couldn't catch up to his front-stepping foe but added pressure as they passed the three-quarters in 1:22. In deep stretch, Fear The Dragon opened up on pack, but the colt jumped over a fallen head number and broke stride. Miller was able to get Fear The Dragon pacing again just steps before crossing the wire. Filibuster Hanover rallied for second and Ocean Colon dropped back to third. "If you watch leaving the gate, Yannick's horse (Ocean Colony) lost his head number as he was crossing over," said Miller. "I didn't even think of it. My horse stepped over it." "I was real happy with him," he added. "He was just cruising along there. I asked him a little bit. He is a little lazy at times. I was real happy with him. He was real comfortable." With the win, the son of Dragon Again and Armbro Cinnamon is captured his 10th career victory and lifts his career earnings to $325,844 for Emerald Highlands Farm. Fear The Dragon paid $2.70 and $2,10, combining with Filibuster Hanover ($5.80) for a $21.70 (7-3) exactor. A 7-3-6 (Ocean Colony) triactor was worth $44.50, while a $1 superfecta [7-3-6-2 (Miso Fast)] returned $56.10. There was no show wagering. Fear The Dragon The top three finishers from each elimination along with Miso Fast, who was the fourth-place finisher to draw into the final, will compete in the $1 million final on Saturday, June 17 at Mohawk. The connections of the elimination winner may select their post positions for the final, which will take place at a press conference held on Tuesday, June 13 at Mohawk. Toronto Maple Leafs winger Matt Martin will be the guest drawmaster for Canada's richest Standardbred race.   Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, June 9 - Elimination weekend kicked off Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack with the Armbro Flight and Goodtimes Stakes. Each harness racing event required a pair of eliminations, with the Armbro Flight splits going for a purse of $35,000 and the Goodtimes for a purse of $30,000. A "Sunday stroll" was the words used by driver Yannick Gingras to describe Hannelore Hanover's easy 1:52.2 victory in the first Armbro Flight elimination for trotting mares. The Ron Burke trained five-year-old got away third in a field of seven and made a second-quarter move to command for Gingras. 'Hannelore' reached the half in :56 and three-quarter pole in 1:24.4 to lead the group of mares into the lane. The stretch drive was a walk in the park, as Hannelore Hanover cruised home in :27.3 and pulled away from her rivals to win by 2¾ lengths. Emoticon Hanover, who was the early leader, finished second, while Renegade Magic took third spot. Ready Any Time and Kestrel rounded out the top-five to advance to next week's final. No Show wagering was available on the first Armbro Flight elimination, but that didn't matter to the "bridge jumpers", who wagered $104,863 to Place on Hannelore Hanover. The daughter of Swan For All now has two wins in three starts this season, with both her 2017 victories coming at Mohawk. "Last week when she raced here, she was really good and she was even better tonight," said Gingras post-race. "She's back to her old self and it was a Sunday stroll." Hannelore Hanover's 28th career victory increases her seasonal earnings to $65,700 and helps push her career earnings to almost $1.6 million. She is owned by Burke Racing LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino and J And T Silva Stables LLC. The Burke trainee paid $2.10. Hannelore Hanover The second elimination featured a battle between last year's sophomore champions Broadway Donna and Caprice Hill. However, Charmed Life stole the show picking both mares off to win in 1:53.1. Caprice Hill was able to get away with relatively easy fractions of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:25.3, as she led the field through the opening three-quarters of a mile. Broadway Donna came first up from third on the final turn to set up a stretch sprint, while Charmed Life got a perfect two-hole trip. In the stretch, Broadway Donna was able to edge by Caprice Hill with less than an eighth of a mile to go, but she couldn't fend off the charging Charmed Life, who was angled to the far outside by driver Louis Philippe Roy and powered by to win by a length. Flowers N Songs finished fourth, while Majestic Presence was fifth to advance to the final. Trained by Rene Allard, Charmed Life won three of her first four starts this season, but was winless in her last two coming into Friday. Young reinsman Roy had never driven the winner of over $1.2 million before and admitted it was a big moment for him. "I talked with Rene before the race and he said she might be a little nervous so try and keep her calm during post parade," Roy shared. "But I think it was me that was more nervous than her because I didn't know her at all and driving her for the first time in elims of a big race like that." Charmed Life, who now has 26 career wins, pushed her seasonal earnings over $100,000 with her elimination score. She paid $4.30 to win. Charmed Life Hannelore Hanover and Charmed Life each earned the right to select their posts for next week's $253,000 final. The Goodtimes eliminations featured a field of nine and a field of eight sophomore trotting colts and geldings vying for a spot in next week's final. International Moni's upset victory in the first elimination created plenty of buzz throughout the sport. The Frank Antonacci trainee was able to come from last to win at 14-1 for driver Scott Zeron in 1:54, but it was the driving outfit that Zeron wore that garnered most of the attention. Zeron wore what appeared to be a skin-tight shirt replicating the Lindy Farms colours. The colours, which were designed by a company named Speed Silks of Amarillo, Texas, are made of a fabric engineered to reduce aerodynamic drag. "The Antonacci's own a lot of thoroughbreds and they like that the jockeys wear their colours," said Zeron. "They feel it represents the owners and trainers and they wanted me to try it and you know I don't say no to anything new and they were nice enough to let me do it here. "(Antonacci) wants to be aerodynamic, he wants everything skin tight almost like a luge. You want every advantage you can have and we ended up coming from last to first to win it by a nose so maybe he was right." International Moni is a son of French Stallion Love You out of the great mare Moni Maker and is owned by Moni Maker Stables. Friday's start was the first of his three-year-old season. The Antonacci trainee had one win in 12 starts last season, but did hit the board eight-times and earned $191,763. International Moni sat ninth for the first half before moving up to eighth and eight lengths from the lead turning for home. The Love You colt was able to trot by on the far outside, as none of his rivals were able to deliver a solid stretch kick. Guardian Angel As, who grabbed the lead at the half, finished second, while Jake, who led at the opening-quarter was third. Seven And Seven, who won last year's Wellwood Memorial, was fourth in his season debut, while Southwind Woody was fifth. International Moni paid $31.80 to win. International Moni The second elimination had no drama, as undefeated colt Enterprise was a gate-to-wire winner in a career-best 1:53.1. David Miller picked up the late catch-drive behind Enterprise and just had to point the Marcus Melander trainee in the right direction. The son of Chapter Seven colt posted fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.1, before trotting home in :28 for a two-length victory. Owned by Courant Inc, Enterprise, who won his only start as a rookie, is now a perfect five for five and has banked $52,450. Awol Hanover finished second, while Shake It Off Lindy was third. Mass Production and Southwind Cobra completed the top-five to advance to next week's $251,000 final. Enterprise paid $3.10 to win. Enterprise Following Friday's eliminations, the post positions were drawn for both finals and the full fields can be viewed below. The Armbro Flight and Goodtimes finals are part of the stacked Pepsi North America Cup card on Saturday, June 17. Live racing continues Saturday night at Mohawk with the eliminations of the Pepsi North America Cup, Fan Hanover and Roses Are Red on deck. Post time is 7:30 p.m. $253,000 Armbro Flight 1. Flowers N Songs by Deweycheatumnhowe 2. Kestrel by Triumphant Caviar 3. Charmed Life by Majestic Son 4. Hannelore Hanover by Swan For All 5. Majestic Presence by Majestic Son 6. Renegade Magic by Kadabra 7. Broadway Donna by Donato Hanover 8. Emoticon Hanover by Kadabra 9. Caprice Hill by Kadabra 10. Ready Any Time by Kadabra AE: Lady Ping by Muscle Mass $251,000 Goodtimes. 1. Shake It Off Lindy by Crazed 2. International Moni by Love You 3. Jake by Muscle Hill 4. Enterprise by Chapter Seven 5. Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill 6. Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven 7. Mass Production by Muscle Mass 8. Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill 9. Awol Hanover by Donato Hanover 10. Guardian Angel As by Archangel AE: Manssive by Muscle Mass   Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred

JUNE 6, 2017 - Trainer Dustin Jones opened the three-year-old trotting colt Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots season with harness racing victories in the first two divisions, but the Waterdown resident is hoping Tuesday's contest at Mohawk Racetrack will be the only time this season Try Try Again and Northern Major earn him a Grassroots double. "We might give both them colts a start in non-winners of two before the Gold and then make up our mind what we want," said Jones. "Well for sure, Try Try Again's going (to the Gold), and then maybe Northern Major also." Try Try Again earned his promotion to the Gold level with an impressive 1:56.2 victory in Tuesday's first race. Starting from Post 4 with Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou, Jr. in the race bike, the heavy favourite got away sixth and watched Yo Yo Mass, Forte and Parkhill Nonstop battle their way through a :28 opening quarter and :58 half. Heading for the 1:26.3 three-quarters Christoforou sent Try Try Again up the outside and the Kadabra colt rapidly reeled in the leaders and then powered down the stretch to a three and one-half length victory. Parkhill Nonstop settled for second and Masster Blue trotted into third. Jones shares ownership of Try Try Again with Ecuries Daniel Plouffe Inc. of Bromont, QC, Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, ON and Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC. Unraced at two, Try Try Again has been flawless through three starts at Mohawk this season, posting a personal best 1:55.1 in a non-winners of two races test on May 29. "I thought he was probably my best horse in the barn last year and he had a knee issue so I had to shut him down for the year," said Jones. "Now he's shown that he's Gold, for sure," the horseman continued. "I'd like to race him in a non-winners of two the week before the (June 27) Gold, that'll be his next start, and then the Gold, hopefully, if everything works out as planned. You have to go week-by-week, but that's the plan for him." Try Try Again Northern Major kept the party rolling for the Jones stable with a tremendous late rush in the second $15,950 Grassroots division. With Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry in the race bike, Northern Major hustled away from Post 7, but found himself parked on the outside in fourth at the :27.2 quarter. Henry eased off the gas and had found a spot on the rail in seventh by the :57.4 half, but at the 1:28.1 three-quarters the pair were out in the middle of the racetrack and seven lengths behind the leaders. As the colts turned for home Henry finally found an open lane and when he asked Northern Major for another gear the Kadabra gelding proved to have a shot of nitro in the tank. Sprinting down the stretch Northern Major reeled in the leaders and hit the wire one-half length ahead of favourite Santini and another length up on Amanforallseasons in 1:58.2. "That was a surprise, because we made a bridle change on him, we went from blinkers to open, and I think that helped him a lot," said Jones of Northern Major's first lifetime win. "Actually that's the fastest last quarter he trotted this year, maybe he's just starting to get into shape. "Last week (June 1) he made a break and, I don't really know, he just sort of jumped it off, or skipped it off," added the trainer. "I'm glad that everything worked out (tonight), because he sort of got a pretty tough first quarter and then he was like four or five wide in the last turn, so it was a pretty good mile actually. We were pretty encouraged with that effort." Owned by Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, Northern Major had been winless through 14 starts prior to Tuesday's Grassroots triumph. With three weeks until the next Ontario Sires Stakes events for the three-year-old trotting colts - Mohawk hosts the Gold colts on June 27 while Hiawatha Horse Park hosts the Grassroots division on July 1 - Jones has time to decide which direction Northern Major will be heading for his second provincial start. "He's a great big tall horse and I think he just needs to come into himself a bit," the horseman noted. "I think once he gets it all figured out he might improve." Northern Major The other three Grassroots divisions saw favourites Warrawee Shipshape, P C Silent Drive and Rose Run Speedster take home the hardware. Warrawee Shipshape and owner-driver Eddie Green of Ohsweken, ON controlled the tempo for the bulk of the third Grassroots division, sailing home one and one-quarter length winners over R First Class and More Than Majestic in 1:58. The Muscle Mass son was also a Grassroots winner at Mohawk as a two-year-old. Paul Reid of De Leon Springs, FL conditions Warrawee Shipshape, who boosted his lifetime earnings to $55,645 with Tuesday's victory. Warrawee Shipshape In the fourth division, P C Silent Drive also did all the heavy lifting on the front-end and then battled down the stretch to fend off challenger Dontcrampmystyle, hitting the wire a neck on top in 1:58.3. Blood Moon rounded out the top three. Curtis Clements engineered the win for his father, breeder and trainer Peter Clements. The Dobbinton, ON residents have guided the Cornaro Dasolo gelding to a record of four wins and two seconds in six starts this season. P C Silent Drive The final Grassroots split went to Rose Run Speedster, who put a nose in front of pacesetter Lucys Man at the wire. Majestic Streak was third in the 1:58.2 mile. Rene Allard of Matamoras, PA trains and shares ownership of the Windsong Espoir colt with Rose Run Speedster Stable of Guelph, ON and Louis-Philippe Roy engineered the victory. The win was the first this season for Rose Run Speedster, who was a two-time Gold Series winner at two. Rose Run Speedster Ontario Sires Stakes trotting action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, June 8 with the three-year-old trotting fillies competing in a pair of $95,600 Gold Series divisions. The fillies will launch their sophomore Gold series careers in Races 1 and 3, with the first race getting under way at 7:30 pm. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: To view results for Tuesday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Tuesday Results – Mohawk Racetrack. Ontario Racing

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway hosted its ninth annual harness racing backstretch Open House on May 28. Attendance topped last year's record. More than 500 people of all ages came for a rare glimpse of horse racing behind-the-scenes. A full tour of the Open House stations included: a tour of the judges' stand and announcer's booth; a tour of the paddock, testing areas, starting car and track maintenance vehicles; a blacksmith station which included free horseshoes for kids compliments of System Fencing, Stalls & Equipment; a booth hosted by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame; kids' crafts and facepainting, and local reinsman Bob McClure hosted a station explaining the role of a racehorse driver. The most popular activity of the day was the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse with the Hands On Horses Program and the Ontario Harness Horse Association. Grand River Raceway extends its gratitude to the following horsepeople and other volunteers who graciously committed their time and horses to help with this event: the Hands On Horses Program (Stacey Reinsma and Brian Tropea of the Ontario Harness Horse Association), Tanya Martin, AJ Moore, Linda Rainey, Bob McClure, Emilia Hautakorpia, Ben Hollingsworth, Jackie Panko, Keith Klages, Stacey Currie, Lynn Gibbings, Esa Myllymaki, Paula McGuire, John Braid, Chris Polifroni, Jane Belore, Debi O’Brien Moran, Kyle Bossence, and George Ketros. • Photos from the event. Grand River Raceway’s 2017 live racing season kicks off on June 2 at 6:30. Kelly Spencer

ELORA - Back by popular demand, Grand River Raceway will host its ninth annual backstretch Open House on Sunday, May 28. Guests are invited to drop-in any time from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a rare glimpse of harness racing behind-the-scenes. A full tour of the Open House's six main stations will last approximately one hour. The itinerary includes the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse. Other interactive stations include a tour of the judges' stand and announcer's booth high atop the grandstand with track announcer Gary Guy. Back in the barn, visitors will learn about the basics of breeding, owning, training, driving and caring for racehorses in sessions led by industry experts. Local reinsman Bob McClure will host a station explaining the role of a racehorse driver and the skills required to communicate with horses during the race and navigate them to victory. All kids will receive a lucky horseshoe during a blacksmith demonstration graciously sponsored by System Fencing, Stalls & Equipment. Machinery enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to view and learn about the equipment and techniques required to maintain the racetrack surface. The starting car will also be on display, and open for photo opportunities. No registration is required for the Open House. The event is suitable for all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The Open House will run rain or shine. Participants are urged to wear closed-toe shoes and casual, comfortable clothing. Admission is free, but participants are urged to make a $2 donation at the door to support the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. A BBQ lunch and beverages will be available for purchase between 11:30 - 1:30. The Grand River Raceway Open House is presented in cooperation with the Hands On Horse Program and the Ontario Harness Horse Association. Nearly 2,500 people have attended Grand River Raceway's Open House event in the past eight years. For more information, visit or call (519) 846-5455 x238 or email Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway's 2017 live harness racing season launches on Friday, June 2 with a splash of royal glitz and glamour. The Elora, ON track will host harness racing's only Drag Queen Race as part of tri-Pride celebrations which run May 23 - June 4 throughout Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge. Retired racehorses and professional drivers will share double-seat jog carts with past winners of the Miss tri-Pride Pageant: Nadia Diamond, Victoria Parks, Jasmine Flowers and Rachael Temptation. The half-mile race will take place after the sixth horse race (approximately 8:00 p.m.). The world's first-ever Drag Queen (harness) Race was staged in 2011 at Grand River Raceway and was won by Madison Hart with driver James MacDonald and pacer Pompus Mac Daddy. The event returned in 2012, but extreme weather forced cancellation of the races before the start of the night. Other festivities on opening night will include a ticketed dinner in the Captain's Quarters dining room and a Penny Auction in the main lobby. Dinner tickets are $40 and include: buffet, meal taxes and gratuity, race program, $10 slots voucher (19+), Pride flag, exclusive door prizes and five tickets for the Penny Auction. Dinner tickets must be purchased in advance, and sales close May 26. Dinner tickets must be purchased online. This is a sanctioned tri-Pride event; a portion of dinner ticket sales and 100% of the Penny Auction sales will benefit the organization. The season-opener will include 10 - 11 horse races which begin at 6:35 p.m. All Fun & Frivolity Friday Race Nights include a live trackside broadcast with 107.5 DAVE ROCKS, the free NEIGHbourhood program for kids, barn tour and extended Tarmac Show between the races. Live harness racing is featured on most Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights from June 2 through September 27. Other special racing events include the Media Race (June 23), Ren's Pets Depot Wiener Dog Races (July 7) and the Industry Day horse racing celebration featuring the 20th annual Battle Of Waterloo (August 7). Complete event information and dinner tickets for Opening Night are available at 2011 Drag Queen Race at Grand River Raceway Kelly Spencer

ELORA, ON - The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) has launched a new Community Mini-Grant program. The organization is accepting applications until May 1, 2017. All projects must be related to agriculture and/or the environment. To be considered for funding, applicants must clearly illustrate how their project will benefit the local community (Elora, Fergus and surrounding areas). Donations may be granted to a local community group or an individual. • Complete information and application form. For inquiries about the program, please contact Dorothy Key at (519) 846-8879 or Kelly Spencer

TORONTO, March 12 - Machal Jordan and harness racing driver Roger Mayotte pulled off a 20/1 upset to win a thrilling Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout race Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A field of 12 older pacers battled in a $25,000 overnight event with horseplayers from all over taking a crack at scoring a piece of the massive Jackpot Hi-5 pool. Horseplayers wagered $1,406,112 of new money into the Jackpot Hi-5 pool, which was then combined with the carryover amount of $578,231 to make up the total pool for the mandatory payout. Machal Jordan capitalized off a perfect second-over steer from Mayotte to win in 1:52.3 at 20-1. A wild finish saw the top-five finishers only separated by three-quarters of a length. Erle Dale N, the 8/5 favourite, finished eighth, which combined with longshots mixed throughout the top-five finishers led to a massive payoff of $38,179.28 for a $0.20 winning ticket. The $1 winning ticket returned $190,896.40. Here are the top five finishers from Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5 race. 1st: #1 Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte) - 20/1 2nd: #6 Dialamara (James MacDonald) - 4/1 3rd: #7 Half A Billion (Jody Jamieson) - 22/1 4th: #2 Casimir Overdrive (Jonathan Drury) - 18/1 5th: #4 Single White Sock (Sylvain Filion) - 18/1 The Jackpot Hi-5 wager requires horseplayers to correctly select the top-five finishers in order. The minimum wager is $0.20 and the takeout is 15 per cent. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m.   Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, March 8 - Harness racing horseplayers can start studying immediately, as the draw is out for this Saturday's (March 11) Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout race at Woodbine Racetrack. A carryover of $578,231.58 is being brought into the Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout, which is offered on Race 10 this Saturday. A 12 horse field has been put together for the Jackpot Hi-5 race. Overnight pacers meeting the conditions of Non-Winners of $10,500 last five or $18,000 last 10 will battle for an increased purse of $25,000. All starters in Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5 race will receive money. The winner of the race will receive 50 per cent of the purse, while horses finishing sixth through 12th will receive one per cent. The remainder of the purse will be split up as usual to the horses finishing second through fifth. The current Jackpot Hi-5 carryover has been growing since the last mandatory payout on December 23rd. On that evening, a carryover of $548,396 was brought into the mandatory payout and horseplayers wagered $2,081,441 of new money into the Jackpot Hi-5 pool. Gregg McNair trainee The Rev won the Jackpot Hi-5 race on December 23rd and once again will be competing in Saturday's mandatory payout race, starting from post position nine. Dialamara (PP6) and Half A Billion (PP7) join The Rev as the only three horses from the most recent mandatory payout race to compete in Saturday's event. A $0.20 winning ticket on the December 23rd mandatory payout returned $4,842.70. If previous mandatory payouts are any indication, a total pool well over $2 million is very likely on Saturday's mandatory payout. This Saturday will be the seventh major mandatory payout on WEG Standardbred racing since the Jackpot Hi-5 was introduced to the wagering menu in the fall of 2013. An average of $1.7 million in new money has been wagered on each of the previous six major mandatory payouts. The Jackpot Hi-5 requires horseplayers to select the top-five finishers in order. The minimum wager is $0.20, while the takeout is 15 per cent. To view early program pages for Saturday's card, click here. Post time for Saturday's card at Woodbine is 7:30 p.m. Below is the field for Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout race. Race 10 - Saturday, March 11 - Purse: $25,000 PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer 1. Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte - Kenneth Switzer) 2. Casimir Overdrive (Doug McNair - Carmen Auciello) 3. Panedictine (Colin Kelly - Laurie Bako) 4. Single White Sock (James MacDonald - Ted MacDonnell) 5. Erle Dale N (Doug McNair - Ron Adams) 6. Dialamara (James MacDonald - Pat Fletcher) 7. Half A Billion (Louis Philippe Roy - Corey Giles) 8. Champagne Phil (Paul MacDonell - Dean Nixon) 9. The Rev (Doug McNair - Gregg McNair) 10. Mach On The Beach (Louis Philippe Roy - Richard Moreau) 11. Darcee N (Travis Cullen - Travis Cullen) 12. Bank Shot Hanover (Trevor Henry - Victor Puddy) Mark McKelvie

London, March 7, 2017 -- Harness racing people in London are once again showing their generosity in support for one of their own. Longtime Raceway paddock employee Bobby Mitz recently underwent surgery after suffering a heart attack and is currently at home and on the mend. Mitz is one of the first faces that horse people see each night when they arrive at the London oval, always there to meet them with a smile and a helping hand as they unload horses that are entered to race that night. A donation box has been set up in The Raceway paddock and will be there all week long for those who wish to donate. In response, several of The Raceway's drivers and trainers have graciously offered to donate a portion of their earnings from next Monday night's program to Mitz. The money raised will assist Mitz as he continues his road to recovery. Greg Blanchard

CAMPBELLVILLE, March 3 - Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced that 60 harness racing three-year-old pacers have been nominated to the 34th edition of the Pepsi North America Cup. The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, Canada's richest harness race, will take place on Saturday, June 17 at Mohawk Racetrack. The eliminations will be held a week prior. Headlining the group of 60 eligible three-year-olds is Ray Schnittker trainee Huntsville and Brian Brown trainee Downbytheseaside. A fantastic rivalry developed over the course of 2016 between Huntsville and Downbytheseaside. The Schnittker trainee held a slight advantage in earnings and awards, but the Brown trainee got the last laugh on the racetrack with a dominant victory over his rival in the $520,000 Governor's Cup at Woodbine. Huntsville finished his rookie campaign with seven wins and four runner-up finishes in 11 starts for earnings of $720,234. The Schnittker trained colt's list of accomplishments includes the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) Championship, Breeders Crown final and the Dan Patch Award as U.S Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year. Downbytheseaside made 13 starts in his two-year-old season and finished with eight wins, three seconds and a pair of third-place finishes for earnings of $644,706. The Brown trained colt won multiple Grand Circuit events, including the Governor's Cup, and finished second in both the PASS Championship and Breeders Crown. Huntsville and Downbytheseaside are both sired by 2008 Pepsi North America Cup champion Somebeachsomewhere and both left their mark on the World Record book as two-year-olds. Downbytheseaside set a World Record of 1:50 over the half-mile track at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in September, while also equaling the mile-track World Record of 1:49 in October at The Red Mile. On the same day Downbytheseaside blazed around the famed red clay oval, Huntsville also turned in a World Record equaling performance of 1:49 at the Lexington track. Huntsville won three of the five meetings against his rival during 2016, while Downbytheseaside won the other two. Metro Pace champion Beyond Delight is also on the list of eligible three-year-olds to this year's Pepsi North America Cup. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee won three of 11 starts last season and earned $423,305. Beyond Delight picked up all three of his rookie victories in consecutive weeks by sweeping the Metro Pace and capturing a division of the Champlain Stakes. The last Metro Pace winner to also win the Pepsi North America Cup was Captaintreacherous in 2013. Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Super Final champion Arsenal Seelster and OSS standout Streakavana are two of 11 Ontario sired three-year-old pacers eligible to this year's Cup. Nominations to the 2017 Pepsi North America Cup were up over last year's nomination total of 58. A total of three sustaining payments are required to remain eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup. The first sustaining payment ($1,000 - $715 USD) is due Wednesday, March 15. The final two payments are due April 15 and May 15. Below is the full list of eligible three-year-old pacers to this year's Pepsi North America Cup. AIR STRIKE AMERICAM NATION AMERICAN SPORTSMAN ARSENAL SEELSTER ART SCENE BEACH HOUSE BECKHAMS Z TAM BETTORS DREAM BETTOR'S WESTERN BEYOND DELIGHT BLOOD LINE CALVIN K CLASSIC PRO CLOUSEAU HANOVER DARLING'S DRAGON DIAL THE BOSSMAN DOWNBYTHESEASIDE DRAGNET ALERT EDDARD HANOVER FEAR THE DRAGON FILIBUSTER HANOVER HENRY THE DRAGON HUNTSVILLE HURRICANEBEACH IDEAL WHEEL LAWRENCETOWNBEACH LINDYTHEFOURTEENTH LYONS WELSH PRIDE LYONS WILLIAM MAC ATTACK MACS JACKPOT MAJOR MOE MC MACH MISO FAST MR VARSITY NORMANDYBEACH OCEAN COLONY ODDS ON DELRAY OFFDAHOOK BLUECHIP OZONE BLUE CHIP PASSPORT TO ART PERFECTLY CLOSE PHOTOBOMBR HANOVER R J P RICHARD HILL ROCK IT SCOTT ROCK THIS WAY SANTAFE'S COACH SHADOW ROUGE SOME ATTITUDE SPORTS COLUMN STEALTH BOMBER STREAKAVANA TALBOT ROMEO THREE MORE SMILES TWIN B COWBOY WESTERN HILL WHO SAID NOT TO WINDSONG NAPOLEON YOUNG DRUNK PUNK   Total horses nominated - 60   Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, February 22 - Mohawk Racetrack, in partnership with multiple organizations in the Town of Milton, will be hosting the first Community Job Fair on Monday, March 6 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The inaugural Community Job Fair will connect job seekers with multiple employers in the Town of Milton. The Community Job Fair is free to attend and job seekers are encouraged to bring multiple copies of their resume. The following organizations will be represented at the Job Fair, with many more to be announced. Woodbine Entertainment Group Staples ClubLink The Centre for Skills Development & Training HMC Connections Milton Banquet & Conference Centre Moffat Scrap Iron & Metal Inc. Some of the positions that organizations will be hiring for include Customer Service, Hospitality/Food & Beverage, Security, Property Maintenance/General Labour and Office/Admin. The inaugural Community Job Fair will be covered by TVCogeco. Woodbine Entertainment Group is committed to supporting an inclusive, barrier- free recruitment and selection process in a work environment where all employees feel valued, respected and supported. If you are contacted by a member of our team, please advise them if you require any accommodations with respect to WEG's recruitment, selection and assessment process to ensure you have access to a fair and equitable process. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, February - The classy pacing mare Waasmula found the winner's circle for the first time in 2017 and the 30th time of her harness racing career Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The nine-year-old daughter of Million Dollar Cam converted off a second-over trip from driver Trevor Henry to win this week's top class for pacing mares in 1:51.3. Friday's victory was extra special for Waasmula, as it was the Bruce Goit trainee's first win since surpassing $1 million in career earnings on January 27th at Woodbine. Bred and owned by Brent Vincent of Allenford, Ontario, Waasmula was making the 131st start of her career Friday and fourth of her nine-year-old season. Last year, she won seven of 28 starts while banking over $293,000. Waasmula has been competing regularly in the top classes for pacing mares on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit since 13 days after capturing the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final for three-year-old pacing fillies back in November of 2011. The Vincent homebred's career totals now sit at 30 wins, $1,016,038 earned and a mark of 1:49.2. She paid $7.30 to win. In recognition of recently surpassing $1 million in career earnings, Waasmula and her connections were presented with a sign from the Woodbine Entertainment Group following her victory Friday. While Waasmula won the $25,000 feature race Friday, leading driver Doug McNair continued to add to his impressive early-season totals. The Guelph, Ontario resident picked up three more victories Friday to give him 47 this season at Woodbine. McNair now has a 26-win lead over nearest rival Louis Philippe Roy, who won two-races Friday. McNair will look to grow his lead on Saturday, as he is scheduled to drive in all 10-races. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

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