Horse Racing New Brunswick played host to week ten of the year-long handicapping challenge this past Saturday at Exhibition Park Raceway. Handicapper Brad MacPherson has taken a big lead in the challenge and now sits with a total of $ 170.10. Rose Doyle continues to stay in the top three and sits in second spot with $ 148.00. In third place, Saint John capper Kayden Buchanan rounds out the top-three with a total of $ 142.10. Overall winner at seasons end will receive a trip to Toronto to see the Ontario Sires Stakes finales. This week's H.P.I winner of a $ 25.00 prize is Adam Saunders who enjoyed a big week with a total of $ 28.10. Here is a look at the total standings Brad MacPherson 170.10 Rose Doyle 148.00 Kayden Buchanan 142.10 Adam Saunders 141.20 Jenn Ritchie 98.80 Bruce Smith 54.10 Wayne Hubbard 40.40 Roy Flowers 31.00 Dale Spence Sr 18.60 by Scott Waddell, for HRNB
Georgian Downs rolled out the red carpet on Saturday night for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series with five $18,000 dashes going behind the gate. When the dust had cleared, it was Shadios who shined brightest, turning in a career-best 1:50.3 clocking in the fourth Grassroots flight. With Billy Davis Jr. in the bike, Shadios sat in second while Warrawee Phoenix (Scott Coulter) rattled off fast fractions of :26.4, :53.4, and 1:22.2. Davis Jr. already had his charge out of the pocket at three-quarters and he took control entering the far turn. From there, Shadios set sail for the wire, which he reached five lengths to the good over runner-up Regal Babe (Mike Saftic). Twin B Spy (Robert Shepherd) finished in third. Tony Alagna trains Shadios, a Shadow Play gelding, for Great Britain-based owner Tom Hill. Shadios has won three times from six starts this year and he has four career victories. He has earned $26,860 in 2014 and $41,150 in his life. Davis Jr. also won the Grassroots opener with Some Major Beach, the Major In Art half-brother to the great Somebeachsomewhere. Making his first start for trainer Dave Menary, Some Major Beach worked out a second-over trip and then converted it into a 1:52.4 victory. He defeated Major Homer (Travis Henry) by two and three-quarters lengths with Allstar Seelster (Mike Saftic) back in third. Muscara Racing Trust of Ivyland, Pennsylvania, Robert Watson of Ashfield, Australia and Martinez Equine of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania own Some Major Beach. This was his second career win from 17 tries and he has banked $154,226. The other three divisions were all won by driver Scott Coulter. He guided Andreios Kardia to a 1:53.1 decision in the second split; Regal Son to a 1:54.1 tally in the third division; and Lucky King to a 1:53.1 triumph in the Grassroots nightcap. Andreios Kardia, a gelding by Badlands Hanover, is trained by Jeff Madill for owner/breeder Ina Madill of Innisfil, Ont. Unraced as a freshman, Andreios Kardia is four-for-16 this year with $55,350 in the bank. Regal Son, a Stonebridge Regal colt, is trained by Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ont, who also bred Regal Son with long-time partner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. Gordon Wright of Charlotte, Michigan is also part of the ownership contingent. Regal Son is a four-time winner in his racing career and he has earned over $55,550. Andrew McCabe sent out Camluck colt Lucky King for owner Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. This was the first Ontario Sires Stakes win this year for Lucky King, who won last year’s Grassroots Championship for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. He has six career victories and he has stashed away $91,053 for his connections. The next event for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series is slated for August 3 at Hanover Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Three-year-old pacing fillies lined up in five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions on Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack, and it was a host of fillies who had yet to taste Ontario Sires Stakes success in 2014 emerging with victories. Mea Lilley Mark (Mike Saftic), who hadn’t been to the winner’s circle since last November, was the fastest winner, turning in a 1:52 spin of the seven-eighths mile oval in the Grassroots finale. After a first-over trip in the final three-eighths of the mile, Mea Lilley Mark wore down leader and favourite Artful Impulse (Steve Condren) to post the victory by half a length. An Angel Shes Not (Paul MacDonell) finished third. Sue Marie Gangell trains the victorious Whosurboy filly for owner/breeder Kimberly Mark of Simcoe, Ont. Mea Lilley Mark is a two-time winner from 21 career starts and she has earned $39,368. Driver Chris Christoforou scored a pair of off-the-pace wins, guiding Dana Dearest to a 1:53 triumph in the first Grassroots test and then overcoming post 10 to get a 1:54.4 tally with Shadows Wonder in the fourth split. Dana Dearest, a daughter of Jeremes Jet, was making her first start in the Casie Coleman stable for owner/breeder Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, Ont. Dana Dearest was winless in four starts last year, but she’s turned it around in her sophomore campaign, going five-for-nine. She has a career bankroll of $48,148. Trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Guelph, Ont. also bred and co-owns Shadows Wonder, a filly by Shadow Play, with partners R G McGroup Ltd. of Bathurst, N.B. and Hockey Hall of Famer Serge Savard of Saint-Bruno, Que. Shadows Wonder, who won last year’s Grassroots Championship for two-year-old pacing fillies and this year’s Kin Pace at Clinton Raceway, picked up her sixth career win and she has now put away $107,020. Murrayfield (James MacDonald) and Badlyinclined (Jack Moiseyev) were the other winners, and both of them stopped the clock in 1:53. Murrayfield, who was positioned eighth at the half and sixth at three-quarters, rallied through the lane and got up in the final stride to nail leader Alibi Seelster (MacDonell) to win by a neck while Badlyinclined led through panels of :27, :55.3, and 1:24 on her way to a half-length decision over Nefertiti Bluechip (Jody Jamieson). Ben Wallace trains Murrayfield, a Jeremes Jet filly, for owner Holland Racing Stable of Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ont. She has seven wins from 15 career tries and she has now pocketed $78,964. John Kopas handles the training of Badlyinclined, a daughter of Badlands Hanover, for co-owner/breeder Big Als Stables Inc. of Woodbridge, Ont., Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Ont., and LLK Stable of Mississauga, Ont. She has won four times from 19 attempts in her racing career and she has banked $98,994. Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series action for three-year-old pacing fillies will take place next on August 3 at Clinton Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Campbellville, ON --- Joanne Colville of Moffat, Ontario, wears several hats in the Ontario harness racing industry. She’s the Program coordinator for the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, the agency charged with finding new homes for retired Standardbreds. She also operates a breeding farm and is an accomplished rider serving as outrider at racetracks. Friday night (July 25) at Mohawk she’ll have her owner’s hat on, as a filly she co-owns with long time friend Nancy MacNevin will compete in the second of five C$18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Bet Ya, a filly by Jereme's Jet, will leave from post two in the sixth race. Joanne’s father, Frank, handles her training while her fiancée Jack Moiseyev will drive. Bet Ya comes into the contest with four wins, two seconds and a third in 10 starts so far this year. In the first Grassroots event of the season for this group, Bet Ya was a winner in a life best 1:53.2. She wasn’t as successful in her most recent start, an overnight at Mohawk, where she was ninth, five lengths off the leader, after cutting the mile. “In the Thoroughbred world you’d call that a bounce. We really have no answer, hopefully we can dismiss it,” noted Colville, who was in the news last fall when she and the horse Digga Digga gave Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne a ride around Grand River Raceway on a two seated jog card prior to the Premier’s announcement regarding the five-year plan for racing in Ontario. The story of Bet Ya begins a few years back when Nancy MacNevin was at a mixed sale and bought her dam Star Princess, a daughter of Astreos, as a 2-year-old. "Nancy fell in love with her, and I think felt sorry for her when she wasn’t selling for much so she bought her. Nancy and I have been friends for 30 years. “I grew up in Toronto, but we had a cottage near Kawartha Downs. We were more interested in horses than boating and water skiing, so we spent a lot of time with the LaRush family and I met Nancy when I was a kid and she worked at one of the breeding farms near Peterbough,” recalled Colville, who worked alongside MacNevin for a number of years at the Canadian Trotting Association (now Standardbred Canada). “Nancy put Star Princess in training, she was a retirement project for her. But when her husband Norm got sick with cancer I took the mare for her and we bred her to Jereme's Jet.” The resulting foal was Bet Ya, who was called Betty when she was young and Nancy turned that nickname into Bet Ya on the official papers. In keeping with the Flintstones theme, the mare’s current yearling and weanling colts are known as Barney and Fred in the barn. While Bet Ya is fairly easy going she does have a few quirks. “She won’t wear a head check, she won’t let you put one on her. She loves her food and she’s a really nice going filly, a natural. But you have to be on your toes with her in the paddock. She can be a handful on race day.” The two friends are hoping that fractious temperament can translate into victory Friday night at Mohawk. The OSS fillies are featured in races four, six, seven, eight and 10 on Mohawk’s program. To view the full card, please use this link. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Three of the two-year-old trotting fillies competing in tonight’s third $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division at Grand River Raceway came into the contest riding two race winning streaks. Danielle Hall and Juanitas Fury had both won a division of the first Gold event for this group of the 2014 season while newcomer Muscle Baby Doll was making her first appearance in Ontario after starting her career on the Indiana Fair circuit. In their division Muscle Baby Doll left sharply from post five for Doug McNair and easily obtained the lead. Jody Jamieson sent Danielle Hall up to take over just past the :30.1 opening quarter. She continued on top by the 1:01.1 half but just past that point Bistrobistro Taj came to call and had a head in front by the 1:31 three-quarters. Those two fillies battled it out around the final turn while McNair tipped his filly three wide and cruised on by to win in 2:00, the fastest of the three divisions tonight. Danielle Hall (Deweycheatumnhowe) was second with Bistrobistro Taj (Pilgrims Taj) taking third. This was the first start for Muscle Baby Doll under her new ownership of Frank Bellino and Sons Stable of New York and trainer Tony O’Sullivan. The Bellinos purchased the daughter of Muscle Mass–Have You Ever last week. Another recent acquisition for the Bellinos and O’Sullivan is Youre Majestic who won her first outing for her new connections in the first OSS Gold test last week at Mohawk. She raced very well tonight but had to settle for the bridesmaid spot. That division saw Amoureuse Hanover and Randy Waples gain early control to head the fillies by the opening marker in :29.2. Just past that point she was overtaken by Ditcherquicknhide and Jack Moiseyev who trotted by the half in :59.4. Waples pulled his filly back out from second and she hit the three-quarters first in 1:30.2. Three wide and driving on through the final turn was Youre Majestic but she could not catch the leader who tripped the timer in 2:00.3. Youre Majestic (Majestic Son) was second followed by Sumthintotalkabout (Muscle Mass). It was the first win in three lifetime starts for Amoureuse Hanover, who finished second and third in her previous outings. Trained by John Smith for Brian Peterson of Port Hope, Ontario, the daughter of Pilgrims Taj was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. The second split saw favourite The Grand Filly make a break just before the opening quarter while trying to overtake Desis Dream who hit that point in :30.3 and the half in 1:00.3. She had pressure at that point from Magical Gem but that filly miscued, taking herself out of contention. Just past the 1:30.3 three-quarters Gee Okeeffe came out from second for James MacDonald and flew by Desis Dream to win by more than six lengths in 2:00.3. The Grand Filly (Muscle Mass) recovered to take second while Mischief Smile (Majestic Son) was third. It was the first lifetime win in three starts for Gee Okeeffe who finished second in her first two tries. From the first crop of Holiday Road, the filly is trained by Chris Beaver who co-owns with breeder Wilbur Lang, both of Ohio. The rookie trotting fillies will next meet for Gold action on August 10 at Rideau Carleton Raceway in Ottawa. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Elora, ON --- A total of seven $16,740 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers were featured on Monday night (July 21) at Grand River Raceway and they saved the fastest split for last as Single White Sock toured the half-mile oval in 1:56. With Scott Coulter at the lines, Single White Sock was in front through fractions of :27.4, :58, and 1:27.3. Single White Sock turned away a big three-wide bid by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon) past three-quarters, and he then kicked clear in the lane to prevail by 2-1/4 lengths. Twin B Scandal wound up second with Pan Street USA (Bob McClure) back in third. It was the second win in three starts for Single White Sock, a Badlands Hanovercolt trained by Barry Treen for owner Len Gamble. Tanya Prescott bred Single White Sock, who was purchased for $24,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale. Single White Sock, an earner of $17,281, is the fifth foal out of the Apaches Fame mare Love You Dear, making him a half-brother to millionaire and former Ontario Sires Stakes winner Ramegade Bruiser. Camluck, the long-time stalwart sire of the Ontario Sires Stakes program, had a pair of winners with Big Moment winning the second division in 1:56.1 with Alfie Carroll handling the driving assignment and Mike's Powerhouse picking up a 1:56.4 victory in the third section for driver Trevor Henry. Big Moment broke his maiden in his second attempt for trainer Bob McIntosh, who also bred the colt with CSX Stables. McIntosh and partner Max Newham own Big Moment, the fourth foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Breathtacular. Breathtacular is related to two six-figure earners in Breathdefying and Lucky Encounter. Mike's Powerhouse, who is out of the Artsplace mare Michelle's Jackpot, making him a full brother to the likes of 2012 Little Brown Jug champion and millionaire Michael's Power and millionaire Michelle's Power, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner-breeder Jeff Snyder. Mike's Powerhouse was victorious at first asking after finishing fourth and first in two qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack. Coleman was right back in the winner’s circle in the next race after Mike's Powerhouse’s victory as her Sportskeeper (Jody Jamieson) romped to a an 8-1/4 length decision in 1:56.3. Coleman also bred and co-owns Sportskeeper, a Sportswriter colt, with partner Merlin Howse. Sportskeeper, who was also making the initial start of his racing career, is the third foal out of the Nuclear Flash mare Keeper Flying, which means Sportskeeper is a half-brother to former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Keepers Destiny (Intrepid Seelster, $702,855). Sportswriter had another siring credit with Half A Billion, who was a 1:57.3 victor in the sixth Grassroots flight. Mike Saftic drove the colt for trainer Marcel Barrieau. Half A Billion is a homebred for the Hudson Standardbred Stable and he is a perfect two-for-two in his career and in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series competition. Half A Billion, the fifth foal out of the Western Hanover mare Racey Miss, is a half-brother to multiple OSS winner Racey Miss ($214,571) and Petite Courageuse ($195,733). Also picking up victories were: Bridge Of Stone, a Stonebridge Regal-Dreamlands Sachi (Western Hanover) gelding, who halted the clock in 1:57.3 for driver Scott Coulter, trainer Carmen Auciello, and owners Denarben Stables and Rocco Auciello. He has won both of his Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series tries The Fire Within, a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover. The half-brother to Illusionist ($893,246) picked up his second win from three attempts for driver Jody Jamieson and breeder/owner/trainer Fred Drouillard. The next time the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series will be in action is August 15 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results of Monday’s night’s events, click here. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Harness racing father and son trainer and driver teams combined to win the final two $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for two-year-old pacing fillies this afternoon at Clinton Raceway. Both duos won their respective events with a daughter of Mach Three, the fastest of which was Wicked Speed. With Scott Young in the sulky for trainer, co-owner and dad Bob Young, the diminutive lass went gate to wire in :30, 1:00, 1:30.2 and stopped the clock in 1:59 over Brilliant Idea and Hurricane Trina. It was the second straight win in as many lifetime starts for Wicked Speed who made her debut in an overnight at Clinton last Sunday where she won by five lengths to earn $2,000. That effort combined with today’s winnings find the filly paid for as she cost $10,000 at last year’s Lexington Select Sale for Bob Young of Guelph, Ontario and partner Marsha Sugarman of Status Stables, Ma. Young noted that the filly’s price was likely as a result of her stature. “She’s grown quite a bit since we got her and I think she’ll grow more by the time she’s three. She has a big, powerful rear end on her. She wears a fairly long hopple, 57 1/2 inches and no boots. “She’s done everything right from day one. She’s got tons of brains and likes her work,” he praised. Doug McNair was at the lines for dad Gregg in the fourth division with Mach Denali who managed to win by more than two lengths despite suffering interference just past the three-quarters when the lead filly made a break. Mach Denali was home in 2:01 over Jinglewriter and Ok Heartbeat. Gregg McNair, also of Guelph, shares ownership of the filly with Tony Lawrence and William Brown of Hanover and Paul Kidd from Guelph. This was the first lifetime win for the filly in three tries. Doug McNair also piloted the fastest winner on this afternoon’s card, Kastie Snoops who tripped the timer in 1:58.4. Tony O’Sullivan trains the Sportswriter filly, a half-sister to $573,000 winner Dalhousie Dave, for owner/breeder John Fielding of Toronto. The other two divisions were captured by Stonebridge Quest (Camluck) and Trevor Henry in 2:00.4 and Chase The Shadows (Shadow Play) with Ryan Holliday up in 1:59. The next Grassroots test for this group will be at Mohawk on August 11. To view the complete results from today’s card, please click Clinton Results - July 20. Ontario Sire Stakes
ELORA, ON — Casie Coleman is just 33, but she has already been voted Canada’s harness racing trainer of the year five times and won many of the sport’s biggest races. Yet, the Cambridge, ON resident says she nearly walked away from the game at the height of her career. Despite all her success, her stable was too big, her health was suffering and she says she was absolutely miserable. “There were times I would say ‘I’ve had enough, I want to get out. I don’t like it.’ I didn’t like going to the barn,” she said July 15, a day before she swept all three $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Gold events at Grand River Raceway for two-year-old pacing colts — all three sons of her former stakes star Sportswriter driven to victory by Chris Christoforou. On July 18, at Grand River, Coleman will try to repeat the hat trick when she sends out a trio of Sportswriter fillies to compete in OSS Gold events the same night the track celebrates the 40thanniversary of the sires stakes program. Saturday, her world champion McWicked will race in eliminations for the $600,000 Adios at The Meadows near Pittsburgh. In June, McWicked set a 1:47.3 world record on a five-eighths mile track when he won the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Regardless of what happens on the track, Coleman says her biggest victory came this winter when she lost 57 pounds and worked herself into peak shape in Florida as part of a number of major life changes. “I hired a personal trainer. I worked with him all winter. Basically, I was doing anywhere from two to four hours every single day. I never took a day off,” she said. “The diet thing was a huge. All I drink is water and green tea now, whereas before I would drink about four coffees a day (double-doubles), Grey Goose and Sprite, probably three or four Starbucks frappuccinos, Pepsi. You name it. I was drinking about 3,000 calories a day, I figured out. Now, all I have is 1,000 calories a day on the diet I’m on.” In recent years, Coleman was more of a barn manager overseeing 120 horses. Today she’s cut back to 41 — 20 in Ontario and 21 at her New Jersey stable. She is also back on the track training many of her horses herself. “I couldn’t be any happier. I’m glad I’ve finally seen how out of shape I was and I wasn’t training my own horses and a million different things that I was doing wrong. I got them all corrected and back on the right path now,” Coleman said. “I feel awesome now. I used to always be tired and just not really feel that good all the time and always in a (bad) mood,” she said. When she returned to Ontario this spring after five months of training horses in Florida, Coleman said many people have done double takes. “You’ll hear them say, ‘Is that Casie?’ They don’t even recognize me. Everyone says I look 10 years younger,” she said. “I had some people tell me, ‘You’ve trained a lot of good horses, but the best training job you’ve ever done is on yourself.’” To hear our conversation with Casie Coleman — including wild tales of O’Brien Award parties, driving her new Maserati and what music she thinks is playing on repeat in hell — check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway By Dave Briggs, for Grand River Raceway
Elora, ON --- It was a banner night for trainer Casie Coleman and driver Chris Christoforou as they teamed up to sweep the trio of C$70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series events for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Wednesday (July 16) at Grand River Raceway. All three winning colts – Bob Ben And John, Southwind Indy, and Rollwiththepunches – are from the first crop of Sportswriter, who Coleman also trained throughout his career, including his victory in the 2010 North America Cup. In the first Gold Series test Bob Ben And John and Christoforou moved from third to first before the :56.3 half-mile marker. From there, he would go on to reach three-quarters in 1:26.2 before he closed with a :28.2 final kicker to win by a length and three-quarters in 1:54.4, which was the fastest of the three divisions. Go Daddy Go (Randy Waples) challenged Bob Ben And John first-over in the final half but had to settle for second and early leader Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell) checked in third. West Wins Stable of Cambridge and Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ontario, own Bob Ben And John, who is a perfect two-for-two in his career, with both victories coming in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series events. Bob Ben And John, who was bred by Frank Coleman and sold for $17,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, is the fifth foal out of the Cambest mare My Best Girl, making him a half-brother to the likes of Ohmybelle ($223,097). Odds-on favorite Sporting The Look (Jody Jamieson) was in control through stations of :28, :58.1, and 1:27.1 in the second section, but he would make a break in stride and leave the course just past three-quarters. With Sporting The Look out of contention, Southwind Indy and Christoforou inherited the lead from the pocket, and Southwind Indy would go on to win by a length and a quarter in 1:56.3. Sports Bettor (Randy Waples) was the runner-up and Windsong Lightning (Eddie Green) grabbed third. It was the first win in two tries for Southwind Indy, who is owned by West Wins Stable, Steve Calhoun of Chatham, Ontario, and Southwind Farms LLC. of Pennington, New Jersey. Southwind Farms also bred Southwind Indy, who was purchased for $45,000 out of the 2013 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Southwind Indy is the first foal out of the Rocknroll Hanover mare Its Only Rocknroll. Its Only Rocknroll’s dam is Armbro Wallflower (Village Jasper), a multiple-time OSS winner at two and three, including the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final for 3-year-olds in 2002. Deetzy (Randy Waples) showed the way through fractions of :29, :58, and 1:26.4 in the OSS Gold Series nightcap, but Christoforou fanned Rollwiththepunches wide for the drive following an off-the-pace trip, and Rollwiththepunches would take the lead at the top of the stretch. Once he was in control, Rollwiththepunches drew away to score by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:56.2. Win One Soon (Phil Hudon) finished second, followed by Lyons Jimmydean (James MacDonald). Like Bob Ben And John, Rollwiththepunches improved his record to two-for-two in his career and in OSS competition for owner West Wins Stable. Bred by Concord Stud Farm LLC., Paul Stromick, and Birnam Wood Farms, Rollwiththepunches was taken out of last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for $17,000. Rollwiththepunches is the first foal out of the Western Terror mare Terroronthebeach, a half-sister to Guestimate ($656,546) and Dinner Guest ($554,867). Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action for the rookie colt and gelding pacers will resume on August 10 at Georgian Downs. For full results and charts from Wednesday night’s events, please click - http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0716grvrn.dat From the Ontario Sire Stakes
ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway's Industry Day Celebration is just around the corner, and the event esteems to be one of the best days of the summer for harness racing fans. Festivities and the TV broadcast kick off at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, August 4. Post time for the first dash is 1:30 p.m.. The 24th annual event includes an 11-race card worth more than $350,000 in purses. The main feature of the day is Grand River Raceway's signature dash, the 17th annual Battle Of Waterloo. There are 159 Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing colts eligible to start in the $180,000 (estimated) dash. The sixth annual Battle Of The Belles will be contested for $120,000 (estimated) and 150 Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing fillies remain eligible. The nine finalists for each of those races will be determined during eliminations contested a week prior (July 28, post time 6:30 p.m.). Post position draws for both finals will be conducted during the TV broadcast on July 28. Among the eligibles is Ace Of Clubs, a half-brother to 2013 Battle Of Waterloo champ Three Of Clubs. Trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, ON co-owns both horses with Tony Lawrence and Hall Of Famer Keith Waples. Rounding out the Industry Day race card are consolation races for the Battles, plus a Gold Leg for three-year-old pacing colts in the Ontario Sires Stakes. During the afternoon event, Grand River Raceway and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame will salute the track's General Manager, Dr. Ted Clarke, who will be inducted into the Hall Of Fame on August 6. As always, Industry Day offers many other horse racing delights: RUS Ontario will feature back-to-back racing under saddle events, beginning with a Canada vs. Norway race on Friday, August 1. On Industry Day, it's the RUS International, featuring riders from several different countries. Fans are invited to meet Paula Seelster and her Badlands Hanover youngster from 1:00 - 3:00 and submit their best entries for the Name The Foal contest to win a family dinner outing at Grand River Raceway. Grand River Raceway will donate $1 to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society for each name submission. Standardbred Canada's I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club will be on-hand with the Wheel Of Fame and Fan Club merchandise. The tenth annual Drivers' Edition of the Bouncy Pony Stakes. An All-Access Kid's Pass is available onsite for $5 and includes face painting, balloon artists, bouncy castles, and pony rides (1:00 - 5:00). Online Handicapping Challenge, presented by Standardbred Canada's I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club (starting August 1). $500 Cheerleading Squads: $250 awarded to each cheerleader representing the winning horse in the Battle Of The Belles and Battle Of Waterloo. HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI) is offering the chance to win a $500 deposit for those who wager $50 or more on the 2014 Industry Day card through their HPI account. For complete event details, visit http://industrydaycelebration.com/ by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 16 - Driver Doug McNair turned in a five-win performance Tuesday night at Mohawk Racetrack. McNair got his night off to a good start in the first race winning with Second Sister in the first $18,000 division of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots for two-year-old filly trotters. Second Sister, who is trained by Doug's father Gregg, won by 3 Â¾ lengths in 2:00.3. She paid $10.80 to win. In the evening's fourth race, the McNair's teamed up again with three-year-old pacing gelding Regal Babe, who won by 5 Â½ lengths in 1:52.4. He returned $7.20 to win. The McNair's then completed the hat-trick in the seventh race with two-year-old pacing colt Late Night by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.4. Late Night, a son of Art Major - Dreamlands Jo Jo, was a $125,000 Harrisburg Yearling Sale purchase. The victory was the first of his career in his second start and he returned $5.60 to win. McNair reached the grand slam in the ninth race, the final $18,000 Grassroots division, with Bistrobistro Taj for trainer Rick Zeron. The daughter of Pilgrams Taj - Freda Hall won by 2 Â¼ lengths in 2:00.3 and paid $8.20 to win. In the final race of the evening, McNair picked up his fifth win with Sword Of The Spirit for trainer Tony O'Sullivan. McNair sent the three-year-old to the front and put up solid fractions en route to a four length victory in 1:51. He returned $5.80 to win. The five win night pushes McNair over the 100 win mark on the season and up to sixth in the WEG driver's standings. This season, McNair has 102 victories and earnings of over $1.5 million. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 15 - A stellar 13-race card featuring the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot has been assembled for Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk Racetrack. Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), highlights the field of ten for the 63rd edition of Canada's most storied trotting event, the Maple Leaf Trot (Race 9). The eight-year-old "Scandinavian Powerhouse" won his elimination last Friday (July 11) for trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt in 1:52.2. Upon earning the right to select his post position for the final, Svandstedt selected the rail as the starting spot for his prized trotter. Svandstedt, a top horseman in his native Sweden for many years, relocated his stable to North America this season and is in the midst of a successful campaign, thanks in large part to Sebastian K who is a perfect five for five on North American soil. The high point of the season thus far for Sebastian K was a seven-length victory in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs on June 28, in which he became the fastest trotter in the history of harness racing with a jaw-dropping mile time of 1:49. Before coming to North America, Sebastian K had victories in top events such as the 2013 Oslo Grand Prix, a heat of the 2013 Elitlopp and the 2012 UET Trotting Masters. The nine rivals who will look to knock Sebastian K off the top of the mountain, include the last two Maple Leaf Trot winners, Mister Herbie ('12) and Market Share ('13). Market Share won the second elimination last week in 1:53 with a last quarter of :26.4 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano. His connections selected post position two for the final. The five-year-son of Revenue - Classical Flirt is the richest horse in the field with over $3.2 million in career earnings. Market Share followed up his Maple Leaf Trot victory last year with a triumph in the Breeders Crown. His career highlights also include two million-dollar race victories in 2012 in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk. Leading the charge for the local horses will be Mister Herbie, who finished runner-up to Market Share in not only his elimination last week, but also in last year's final. The Jeff Gillis trainee won the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4 and was last year's O'Brien Award winner as top older trotter in Canada. Mister Herbie will start from post six and will be driven by Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image. The seven other challengers in the field are a group of well accomplished standardbreds. Intimidate, a past Breeders Crown and O'Brien Award winner, will start from post three for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. Ron Burke, North America's leading trainer, will send out two starters. Archangel, post four, was the 2012 Yonkers Trot champion, while Wishing Stone, post five, has had success in both North America and Europe with victories in the 2012 Copenhagen Cup in Denmark and the 2013 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia. Creatine, last year's Kentucky Futurity winner, will start from post seven for the duo of Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance and trotting conditioner Bob Stewart. Undercover Strike will leave from post eight and is a Preferred winner at both Mohawk and the Meadows. He is sent out by trainer Tony O'Sullivan and will be driven by Doug McNair. Flanagan Memory, who won last year's Goodtimes, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and an O'Brien Award, starts from post nine for trainer Rene Dion and Woodbine/Mohawk's leading driver Chris Christoforou. Modern Family, a multiple stakes winner, will start from post ten for trainer Daryl Bier and will have Ron Pierce, a two-time Maple Leaf Trot winner, in the sulky. The field of ten for the Maple Leaf Trot has combined for 188 career victories and career earnings of $13,837,506. The Maple Leaf Trot undercard will feature four Canadian Breeders Championships (Races 2,3,7,10) for three-year-olds. Trevor Ritchie, a three-time Maple Leaf Trot winning driver ('03 Rotation, '06 Peaceful Way, '07 Equinox Bi), recently announced his retirement from driving. Ritchie will be on hand Saturday night to present the trophy to this year's winner and will be a special guest on Mohawk Racing Live's pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m. Post time for Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot card is 7:25 p.m, with the Maple Leaf Trot expected to go behind the gate at 10:05 p.m. Here is the field for the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Race 9 - Maple Leaf Trot - Purse: $603,000 PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer/Morning Line 1. Sebastian K - Ake Svandstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 2/5 2. Market Share - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano - 6-1 3. Intimidate - Sylvain Filion - Luc Blais - 12-1 4. Archangel - Jody Jamieson - Ron Burke - 10-1 5. Wishing Stone - Randall Waples - Ron Burke - 20-1 6. Mister Herbie - Steve Condren - Jeff Gillis - 15-1 7. Creatine - Mike Lachance - Bob Stewart - 15-1 8. Undercover Strike - Doug McNair - Tony O'Sullivan - 25-1 9. Flanagan Memory - Chris Christoforou - Rene Dion - 25-1 10. Modern Family - Ron Pierce - Daryl Bier - 20-1 AE: Wheeling N Dealin - Jody Jamieson - Luc Blais - N/A by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway is celebrating the 40th birthday of the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) program with an OSS themed Fun & Frivolity Friday night. On Friday, July 18, visitors to the Elora, ON track will enjoy birthday cupcakes, OSS themed trivia games, OSS betting contests, and OSS merchandise giveaways. Fans will also vie for a shot at a $40 betting voucher to be wagered on one of the four OSS Gold divisions of two-year-old pacing fillies featured that night. The prize wheel and birthday cake giveaway begins at 6:00 p.m. at the OSS table in the Main Lobby at the front entrance of the Grandstand. Post time for the 11-race card is 6:30 p.m. Other Fun & Frivolity Friday night activities include the ever-popular Bouncy Pony Stakes, the NEIGHbourhood program for kids, 107.5 DAVE FM's live broadcast from the Tarmac Tent, plus an extended Tarmac Show with more games and prizes. The Standardbred Ontario Sires Stakes program was established in 1974. The objective of the program is to improve the breed and provide viable incentives for breeders, owners and trainers to breed, buy and race horses in Ontario. To be eligible to the Ontario Sires Stakes program, foals must be sired by a stallion registered and standing in Ontario. The program has exceeded all expectations and has evolved into the leading sires stakes program in all of North America. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway
Five RUS ladies and their trotters descended on the Huron County oval Sunday afternoon to partake in the very first Racing Under Saddle Wagering Event in North American RUS history. It was a gate to wire victory for rider Sarah E Town and five year old mare Radical Dreamer, clocking a time of 2:04.4 but only after a photo to determine the winner. Dayplanner, trained by Julie Walker, and ridden by Marit Valstad was a close second, with Twin B Excalibur and rider Evelyn Harms rounding out the triactor. "What a huge privilege it was to win this race" states Town, "I want to make a mention that second place finisher Marit Valstad won with this horse last week at Mohawk and had another great race this week". Town is looking forward to the rest of the season riding with RUS. The next scheduled Racing Under Saddle event is set for Georgian Downs on July 19. Ex Blue Jay Kelly Gruber was also on hand to greet racing and baseball fans of all ages as part of a fundraiser for the Clinton Minor Baseball Association. Two tickets were auctioned off to the highest bidder (Shannon Henry) to any destination that Air Canada flies. LH Hollys Cam in the fifth took home the lions share of the purse for owner Lois Anderson of Clinton, trainer Robert Anderson and driven to the wire by Ryan Holliday. Ontario Sires Stakes action makes its first appearance at Clinton Raceway for the 2014 season on Sunday July 20, with two year old filly pacers, and celebrates it's 40th Anniversary. Fill'er Up at Clinton Raceway with free coolie cups, anniversary cake, the chance to win $50 gas cards after each OSS race on the day's card, as well as OSS T-shirts and hats all afternoon on the Super Sunday Show! Post time 1:30pm by Jessica Carnochan, for Clinton Raceway
Two-year-old colt and gelding trotters were in the spotlight on Saturday night at Georgian Downs as five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions for freshman colt and gelding trotters went behind the starting gate. Hemi Seelster (Steve Byron) was the fastest of the five winners as he trotted a :29.1 final quarter to rally from sixth at three-quarters to a 2:00.4 decision in the third division. He defeated Win The Day (Trevor Henry) by three-quarters of a length with Tarot (Riina Rekila) back in third. It was the first win in two starts for Hemi Seelster, who is trained by John Bax for his Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough along with John Houston of Cobourg, Ontario. Sired by Holiday Road, Hemi Seelster was bred by Seelster Farms Inc. of Lucan, Ontario, and sold for $19,000 at last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale. His dam is Hollywood Beauty, who is by Angus Hall. To view the rest of this story click here.
The Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations for the three-year-old trotters are currently underway at Mohawk Racetrack. Fresh off a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold victories, White Becomes Her ($3.50) kicked off the CBC eliminations for filly trotters with a 1:54.2 triumph as the 3-5 favourite for the driver and trainer team of Mario and Ben Baillargeon. O'Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie was scratched. After getting away third through a :27-second opening panel, Baillargeon made his move with White Becomes Her as they neared the half-mile mark in :57. White Becomes Her swept past early leavers Tosca (Chris Christoforou) and Muscle Babe (James MacDonald) down the backstretch and led the way to three-quarters in 1:25. Miss Aultsville (Jack Moiseyev) attempted a first over bid from fourth, but broke stride as she began to advance. Down the stretch, White Becomes Her drew away from her rivals to win by four lengths. Tosca followed in second with Chelseas Chance (Steve Condren) coming on for third. Muscle Babe finished fourth and Belgravia (Ake Svanstedt) was fifth. To view the rest of the story click here.