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Moffat, ON — Talented equine artist Michelle Hogan first met iron tough pacer Conrad Seelster when she was in her early twenties and he was a grizzled racetrack veteran with eight years of harness racing under his harness. Eighteen years later they are still together and Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society graduate Conrad Seelster is a beloved member of Michelle’s family. “He moved in with us when we bought our first home, he was there on our wedding day and now he’s here while my twins grow up. My daughter, Autumn, in particular, loves him dearly,” said Hogan. Michelle, whose twins Owen and Autumn will be four this August, stays connected to horse racing now through her art. She is a juried member of the American Academy of Equine Art and her first award from AAEA was for “Shady Daisy Shadow Roll.” “It is most unusual to see Standardbred art hanging in an AAEA show, so to see my racing art not only be accepted, but awarded, is something I am thrilled with. I have worked so hard to get here,” she said at the time. More recently, Hogan’s beautiful ink drawing of the great trotter San Pail was selected by Owen Sound’s juried art show to be on a banner that is hung on the town’s harbor for a year. Like San Pail, Conrad Seelster is enjoying retirement surrounded by people who love him. And for both, it is a well-earned retirement. Conrad Seelster may not have been horse of the year in Canada twice, but he was an absolute iron horse throughout his 13 year racing career which saw him face the gate an incredible 445 times. His lifetime summary was 54 wins, 61 seconds and 61 thirds for $279,176 in earnings. The son of Threefold bred by Seelster Farms never left Ontario during his racing days and he competed at 16 different racetracks in the province including several which are no longer operating (Sudbury, Elmira, Belleville, Barrie and Windsor). He was ultra consistent, averaging 37 starts per year from age three through 14. Conrad Seelster was trained at the start of his career by John Yake of Woodstock, Ontario, who campaigned him until the end of his 4-year-old season. Fred Maguire would take over the training responsibilities for a handful of starts. In May of Conrad Seelster’s 5-year-old season Jeff Houghton claimed him from a race at Elmira for $3,500. It was the only time in his long career that he was claimed and from the age of five until 14 he was owned by trainer Jeff and his wife, Catherine, and it was in the Houghton barn that Hogan first met Conrad Seelster. She grew up close to Flamboro Downs and her love for horses led her to become a caretaker. She worked in the Houghton stable looking after Conrad Seelster from 2002 until 2004. “Conrad was always a gentleman. He was the barn favorite, of course. Jeff’s boys grew up with him. He could be strong on the track to jog and warm up, he liked to do things his way,” Hogan remembers. Jeff’s son, Eddie, was two when the horse first came into the stable. “For my brother (Will) and I it was our routine for many years, each week watching Conrad race somewhere. He was such a special horse, he knew how to take care of himself and that’s why I think he raced as long as he did,” Eddie Houghton recalled recently. Conrad Seelster’s most successful season was at age eight when he banked just over $70,000 from 44 starts. Jeff Houghton wasn’t afraid to race the consistent pacer throughout the province and Conrad Seelster spent quite a bit of time that season in Northern Ontario competing at Sudbury Downs. In late 2000 he had a four race win streak at Sudbury, including two in the $20,000 preferred. “Dad would race him where he thought he could be the most successful and never touched WEG tracks. He excelled on a half-mile track. I remember racing at Sudbury and we’d eat at a restaurant that would give kids stuffed animals with their breakfast. I chose a horse and named him Conrad and took him everywhere with me for a long time,” said Houghton with a laugh. The horse would earn his life record of 1:56.3 as a 10-year-old and Houghton remembers the amusing story behind that race at Clinton on July 14, 2002. Trevor Henry was up behind Conrad Seelster with the plan to leave with him. Just before the race was about to start the horse beside Conrad Seelster fell to the track (he was fine, but taken off the track and scratched). “Conrad just took off, he ended up winning by five lengths. My dad always said he just wanted to get off the track as fast as he could after he saw that horse fall,” Houghton recalled. Conrad Seelster made headlines at the end of his racing career. On New Year’s Eve in 2006 Rideau Carleton Raceway hosted a ‘Clash of the Iron Horses’ race that pitted Conrad Seelster against Kendal Python who was two years younger at 12. At the time Conrad Seelster had more lifetime starts than any horse in North America while Kendal Python had the second most. Kendal Python would surpass him in that category though, as he retired with 494 lifetime trips behind the gate two years later. In that Rideau match-up Conrad Seelster set the pace, and down the lane his rival swept up the inside and the pair battled down the stretch with Conrad Seelster prevailing by a slight margin. It was Conrad Seelster’s last racetrack appearance and fittingly Houghton drove him for the first and final time. Many of the extended Houghton family were on hand for Conrad Seelster’s final performance. That race may be watched through this link. At the end of the race, following the winner’s circle presentation, one of the commentators noted that a horse of his caliber deserved a decent retirement home and Hogan has certainly provided that for him. After his racing career concluded at the mandatory age of 14, Conrad Seelster was part of the OHHA Youth Camps which saw children spending the week learning the basics of harness racing, and working with four retired Standardbred horses. At the end of the week they put their skills to the ultimate test, competing in two four-horse exhibition races while accompanied by professional drivers. “Conrad hadn’t been off the track for too long and I think they found he was too competitive for those races, he still wanted to compete,” said Houghton. “I believe he was with the camp for two years before being given to OSAS. I was working as a vet assistant at the time and came across an advertisement in Horse Trader magazine for him. I immediately sent an email saying I would bring him home. He has been with me now since July of 2010,” noted Hogan. Conrad Seelster was part of Hogan’s wedding to her husband Tim Casson and her photographer on that special day, Carrie Clarke Scott, was thrilled to see Conrad Seelster. “Carrie was his caretaker while he was with OSAS and she was my wedding photographer and was so happy to see him again,” said Hogan. He also has other regular visitors. “Jeff and his family come up and stay every so often to have a good visit with him,” explained Hogan. “I remember the last time I went to visit him with Dad,” said Houghton. “We walked up to the paddock and couldn’t see the horses. Dad called out ‘Hey Conrad’ and we hear this nickering and then see the horse come running. I’m sure he remembered Dad’s voice. My Dad often says what a relief it is that he’s found a home with Michelle, she is awesome.” Conrad Seelster spends most of his days hanging out with Hogan’s other horse, a paint. He’s been lightly ridden and she’s hoping to let Autumn sit on him this summer. “He really is a special horse. He has been so lucky to have so many good people in his life,” said Hogan. Judging by the beautiful photo Hogan recently posted of the now 28-year-old Conrad Seelster looking fantastic, the feeling is mutual. by Heather MacKay. for the OSAS

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway hosted more than 400 guests at its 10th annual backstretch Open House on Sunday, May 27. Guests were treated to a rare glimpse of horse racing behind-the-scenes. The full tour of the Open House's seven stations included the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse. Admission was free, but participants made donations totaling $300 at the door to support local organizations which aid in the retraining and placement of retired racehorses into new riding and driving careers. Other interactive stations included a tour of the judges' stand and announcer's booth, a mare and foal, horse themed crafts and face painting, and photos in the starting car. Members of Racing Under Saddle Ontario were onsite to demonstrate the versatility of the Standardbred racehorse in different disciplines. Representatives from the Youth Literary Derby chatted with kids and parents about their horse-themed writing contest designed to engage Ontario-resident youngsters in Grades 5 through 8. The Grand River Raceway Open House is presented in cooperation with the Hands On Horses Program and the Ontario Harness Horse Association. Grand River Raceway extends it appreciation to all of the associations and volunteers who assisted with this event. More than 3,500 people have attended Grand River Raceway's Open House events over the past ten years. Grand River Raceway's live racing season opens this Friday at 6:30 p.m. and continues most Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights all summer. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

A horse is never too old to learn new tricks. Or so it seems with the wonderfully different Standardbred The Painted Pony as he's recently added 'jumper' to his diverse resume. A very uniquely coloured harness racing horse being a red roan/grey, The Painted Pony's main occupation these days is as an ambassador for the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society.   He participates in many of OSAS's Meet & Greets which allow race fans to get up close and pet and take photos with him and also in the very popular HOPE (Horses Offering People Encouragement) program.   Because of his unusual colouring he attracts many who just want to catch a glimpse of his coat. The Painted Pony also participates as a post parade leader for special events at a number of Ontario racetracks. OSAS's administrator Joanne Colville coveted the horse for several years before having the opportunity to purchase him seven years ago. "I had admired him for a long time and tried to buy him when he sold as a two-year-old but he went beyond my price point," Joanne remembered. "When I finally did get him he was pretty hot so I sent him to a trainer, Emily Mahood, to break him. "He spent several months with her, there was no rush. When he finally figured out he didn't have to race anymore he started to settle down. She did a marvelous job with him. He was very hesitant to canter which was understandable as he'd be trained not to make a break when trotting."   The last two years Joanne's daughter, Emma Christoforou, has been using The Painted Pony as her horse in the Standardbred Showcase Series. This year they've expanded to open jumper shows and the horse has responded well winning three ribbons at his most recent show.   "It's wonderful exposure for the Standardbred breed to have a horse like him doing well at the open shows. The more people who realize how trainable Standardbreds are for other disciplines the better," Joanne noted.   And it certainly helps that the Standardbred in the open shows is as striking at The Painted Pony.   "He draws a crowd wherever we take him. This summer I'm hoping to have he and Hiltons Hot Stuff (a beautiful Standardbred mare who looks like a paint horse), together at some events, I think people would love to see them together."   Heather MacKay

June 25, 2015 - Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), in harmony with Horses Offering People Encouragement (HOPE), the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS), the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA), and Halton Police’s COMMANDE (Community, Mobilization and Engagement) program, are pleased to announce the launch of a spring session of HOPE at Windrush Stable in Moffat, Ontario. “We are thrilled to see the HOPE program expand into Halton Region,” says Jamie Martin, Executive Vice-President, Racing, WEG, of the event that launched this May. “WEG remains committed to supporting and assisting racehorse adoption and placement programs that work tirelessly to ensure these horses are provided with the welfare, safety and dignity they so deeply deserve in their retirement. HOPE is a shining example of how retired racehorses can continue to have a positive influence on people after their racing careers are over.” A therapeutic horsemanship program, HOPE unites retired racehorses with the community’s most vulnerable citizens. “COSA is very pleased to support the effort to bring the HOPE program to Halton Region,” says, Bill O’Donnell, President, COSA. Participants receive hands on training in basic horsemanship skills like grooming, haltering, tacking, herd dynamics and horse anatomy from experienced horse caretakers. OSAS is thrilled at the opportunity to have HOPE participants enjoy their program’s horses. “We are very excited and proud to work closely with HOPE and our other partners,” says Joanne Colville, Events Coordinator, OSAS. “Not only will people have the chance to be face-to-face with these wonderful horses, they will also get a better sense of farm life through tending to gardens and learning and interacting with other farm animals.” It’s a sentiment echoed by Lesley Ridout-Gauer, General Manager, Windrush. “Windrush is honoured to open its’ doors to HOPE,” says Lesley. “We look forward to uniting people with these horses, creating a truly memorable experience for everyone involved in the program.” Last October, a five-week pilot was launched in partnership with COMMANDE, LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society and WEG. It was hosted at Emerald Lane Farm, a longtime LongRun foster farm, located in Thornton, Ontario. About WEG: WEG is the largest horse racing operator in Canada offering world class horse racing at both Woodbine (Toronto) and Mohawk (Milton) racetracks. WEG also operates off-track wagering through its Champions teletheatre network, which includes WEGZ Stadium Bar in Vaughan, Turf Lounge in the heart of Toronto's financial district and Greenwood in the Beach area of Toronto. WEG also operates Horse Player Interactive; Canada's premier online and telephone wagering service and HPItv, a digital broadcast channel dedicated to horse racing. A “Caring Company” since 1997, Woodbine Entertainment Group is a member of Imagine Canada @imaginecanada, a national program that promotes public and corporate giving, volunteerism and support to the community. For more information about WEG’s CSR agenda and its performance outcomes, visit Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS) The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS) is an approved charitable organization, founded in 1996 to assist the adoption and relocation of retired and non-racing Standardbred horses within Ontario. OSAS matches the desires and abilities of each adoptive family to the temperament and capabilities of the horse. Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) COSA was formed in the spring of 2009 to provide a united voice for harness horsepeople racing at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks and currently representing over 1,500 members. Windrush Stable Therapeutic Riding Centre Windrush Stable T.R.C. is a non-profit charitable organization which helps people achieve personal growth and accomplishment through programs that encourage a special partnership with horses while allowing a chance to be successful at a unique activity with educational and therapeutic benefits. COMMANDE (Community Mobilization and Engagement) has been operating since the fall of 2013, and its success to date has convinced the Halton Regional Police Service to expand it to Burlington and Oakville, possibly by late summer 2015. It is a policing initiative involving multiple agencies focusing on a co-ordinated response to community safety and public health issues. The partnership brings together representatives from a variety of sectors — health, addiction treatment, youth, emergency services, non-profit social services, housing and municipalities; to provide real-time, co-ordinated responses to “acutely elevated risk” situations involving individuals, groups and places. One of the objectives of Commande is to encourage and support community involvement and social development in order to have a sustainable effect on community safety, security and wellbeing through non traditional programs such as HOPE. The Halton Regional Police Service and Commande are honoured to be partnering with WEG, OSAS, Windrush Stable and COSA. For more information about WEG contact John Siscos at For more information about OSAS contact Joanne Colville at For more information about COSA contact Bill O’Donnell at For more information about Windrush contact Lesley Ridout-Gauer at For more information about COMMANDE contact Maureen Andrew at Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred

The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society is pleased to announce that their 2015 Stallion Auction will begin this Monday, February 23, at 9 a.m.   The Stallion Auction is a major fundraiser every year for OSAS which has been finding forever homes for retired harness horses for almost 20 years. We are very grateful to those who have donated stallion services as well as those who will purchase them.   Bids may be made for each stallion via email to The auction will conclude at 4 p.m. on February 28. Questions regarding the auction should be directed to Joanne Colville at 905-854-6099 or 905-339-6748.   The stallions available for auction this year are as follows:   Stallion                         Donated By Windsong Espoir                          Bill Loyens Big Jim                                       Seelster Farms Justice Hall                                 Seelster Farms Sunshine Beach                          Seelster Farms Holiday Road                              Seelster Farms Sunfire Blue Chip                        Tara Hills Stud Glidemaster                                Winbak Canada   Heather MacKay  

Not many 12-year-olds own stakes winning horses, but given Emma Christoforou’s family tree, it would be rather surprising if she didn’t have an interest in horses having been around them from birth. The grade seven student from Moffat, Ontario, owns a number of Standardbreds, including Cowgirl Tough, a starter in Monday night’s Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for two-year-old pacing fillies at Mohawk. She bred and co-owns the daughter of Ponder with her mother, Joanne Colville, the administrator of the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, owner of High Stakes Farm, director of Standardbred Canada and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association and outrider at the Woodbine Entertainment racetracks. Emma has the luxury of having two of the best drivers in North America available to drive her horses in her father, Chris Christoforou and her step-father Jack Moiseyev. The latter also handles the training for Cowgirl Tough who was victorious in her first OSS contest on August 10 at Georgian Downs, scoring by two lengths in 1:54.1. But Emma notes it was her second place finish in the Eternal Camnation Stake a week later that is her favourite to date. “I was on the sidelines watching the race and I couldn’t find her and then all of a sudden I spotted her pink browband and she was just zooming up to get second. Jack was really pleased with her and everyone was so happy,” recalled Emma who was on hand when Cowgirl Tough was born at their farm in April of 2012. “That was amazing how everything happened so quickly,” noted Emma who added that she sensed early that the filly might be something special. “She was really nice to be around but she had a look in her eye as if to say ‘game on.’ And when she was a yearling she was the biggest one in the paddock and the leader.” When it came time to name the filly with personality to spare, they decided to honour Joanne’s sister, Annemarie. “She’s had cancer a couple of times and she’s been so strong. There’s a group called Cowgirls Kicking Cancer’s Butt and Lope For Hope and that’s gave us the idea for her name. Their motto is ‘tough enough to wear pink.’” Cowgirl Tough demonstrates that sentiment through her equipment. “She wears a lot of pink,” explains Emma. “We’re now trying to find a pink harness for her.” Cowgirl Tough’s pink and Moiseyev’s familiar black, white and yellow colours, will line up behind the gate in post three in the second of two $105,000 OSS Gold divisions Monday night at Mohawk. Emma’s dad Chris is aboard the five horse in the same race, Business As Usual while next door in post six is Sports Chic, the leading point earner in this division to date. That filly will be driven by Jody Jamieson, father of Emma’s good friend, Hailey Jamieson, whose step-dad, Tony O’Sullivan, trains Capela, who has post 10 in the same race. Cowgirl Tough’s dam is Almost A Lady, who was trained throughout her career, during which she won $185,000, by Emma’s grandfather Frank Colville. Almost A Lady is sired by Astreos, the million dollar Little Brown Jug winner who was trained by Emma’s paternal grandfather Charalambos Christoforou. In fact Emma and her brother Niklas Christoforou bred and co-own a two-year-old trotting filly by Holiday Road trained by the senior Christoforou, Emmas Misty Angel who made two starts in the OSS Grassroots. “She’s taking some time to mature now,” Emma notes. In addition going to school, helping with chores and watching her horses race, Emma is also an accomplished equestrienne, competing in numerous horse shows around the province with her horse Kash, noting her favourite event is jumping. Her career aspirations aren’t surprising. “When I’m older I plan on being a vet, having a farm and working with harness horses.” Given her experience to date, she’s certainly well on her way. To view the complete card for Mohawk’s Monday card, please click Mohawk Entries - September 15. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

NICHOLS, NY - When nine of North America's top harness racing drivers compete at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs later this month in the 8th Annual All-Star Drivers Championship, they'll be racing for more than just prize money and bragging rights. They'll also be raising money for the charity of their choice. All nine drivers will donate their 5% driving commission to charity. The amount will be matched by Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs plus the tracks' owner, Jeffrey Gural. Last year, more than $9,000 was donated. "This event is the premier driving tournament in the country with a first place prize of $25,000," said Jason Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing and Simulcast at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. "Anytime we can use this big stage to raise awareness and money for some great organizations, we're happy to do it." Defending champion Jimmy Marohn, Jr. will be donating his earnings to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. Two-time champion Yannick Gingras and first-time participant Matt Kakaley will also support the SRF. Tim Tetrick and Scott Zeron will be competing on behalf of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Corey Callahan has selected the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Canadian representative Jody Jamieson will be donating to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. Vernon Downs representative Chris Lems will be competing for locally based Sunshine Horses and David Miller has chosen to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Round 1 of the All-Star Drivers Championship takes place on August 29 at Vernon Downs and the final round moves to Tioga Downs on September 1. Both days will also feature a Jimmy Marohn, Jr. bobblehead giveaway, commemorative t-shirt giveaway and other fan-friendly promotions and contests. by Justin Horowitz, for Tioga & Vernon Downs  

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

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 by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway    

Grand River Raceway hosted its sixth annual backstretch Open House on May 25/14. Attendance was higher than ever. Nearly 300 people of all ages attended for a rare glimpse of horse racing behind-the-scenes. Donations at the door topped $200 for the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. A full tour of the Open House stations included: a tour of the judges' stand and announcer's booth with track announcer Gary Guy; the basics of breeding, owning, training, driving and caring for racehorses; a tour of the paddock, testing areas, starting car and track maintenance vehicles; and the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse. Grand River Raceway extends its sincere appreciation to the horsepeople who graciously volunteered their time, and horses, to help with this event: staff of the Hands On Horses Program (Stacey Reinsma, Natalie Elliott, Ken Ellis), Brian Tropea of the Ontario Harness Horse Association, Chris Munroe, Murray Small, Marit Valstad, Anna Glide, Kristen Cobb, Paula McGuire, Ken Middleton, John Braid, John Newell, Gary Guy, Jim Ellis, Justin Herod, Chris Polifroni, Ron Waples, Julie Walker, Jane Belore, Ron O'Neill, Debi O'Brien Moran and Hannah Beckett from Trot 4 Kids. To view photos from the Grand River Raceway Open House: To view the CTV coverage of the event: Grand River Raceway's 2014 live racing season kicks off on June 2 at 6:30. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway

The ownership group of world record setter Dali p,2,1:50.2; 3,1:48.2f ($1,436,363) has announced that he will be returning to Ontario to stand stud in 2014. Dali's oldest foals were two-year-olds in 2013, from a test crop of mares he serviced while still racing. This is the first time the gorgeous speedster will be available in Ontario for commercial breeding. Dali possesses all the attributes to produce top racehorses and attractive yearlings for the commercial market. Dali's magnificent early speed at two, including being the fastest two-year-old first-start winner in the history of the sport, and his dominant wins in the Niatross and Woodrow Wilson stakes, says he has the right genetic tools to get his offspring to the races early. Dali's great conformation, toughness, and soundness, were highlighted by the fact that in spite of his precocious early start, he remained competitive at the highest level of the sport late into his three-year-old campaign, including his vicious world record setting Matron win in 1:48.2f in December.  From a very small test crop, Dali proved that his pedigree and performance would convert into him being a high percentage sire of offspring that can make it to the races and compete in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold program. Thirteen of 14 of his offspring raced this year at two (the only one that did not was untrained), and included the brilliantly quick Witch Dali p,2,1:52.3s as well as competitive Gold performers Blacktree and Weatherly (both race timed in 1:52). Dali returns to Ontario to stand at the very economical rate of $2,000 to give breeders the opportunity to get commercially attractive foals while keeping their costs in line given the state of our industry. All collection will be done at Emerald Ridge Farm in Rockwood, Ontario and 10 per cent of all proceeds from stud fees collected will be donated to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS). Please contact Aaron Waxman of Velocity Stallions at 905-517-7997 for more information. Video & bookingapplication are available at Submitted by Velocity Stallions

Grand River Raceway hosted its fifth annual backstretch Open House on Saturday, October 19. Despite dark skies and showers, 156 people of all ages attended for a rare glimpse of horse racing behind-the-scenes. More than $150 was raised at the door for the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. A full tour of the Open House stations included: a tour of the judges' stand and announcer's booth with track announcer Gary Guy; the basics of breeding, owning, training, driving and caring for racehorses; a tour of the paddock, testing areas, starting car and track maintenance vehicles; and the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse. Grand River Raceway extends its sincere appreciation to people who volunteered their time to help with this event, and provided horsepower, including: staff of the Hands On Horses Program (Stacey Reinsma, Natalie Elliott, Ken Ellis), Brian Tropea of the Ontario Harness Horse Association, Kristen Cobb, Kyle Bossence, Paula McGuire, Ken Middleton, Ben Holliday, John Newell, Bob McClure, Caroline Holliday, Gary Guy, Joe Currie, Tom Williams and Debi O'Brien Moran. The Grand River Raceway event is the final Open House of the season presented in cooperation with the Hands On Horse Program and the Ontario Harness Horse Association. Earlier events were staged at The Raceway at Western Fair District, Clinton Raceway and Hanover Raceway. For information about similar upcoming events, visit The Hands On Horses Program returns to Grand River Raceway for the track's 2013 season finale on Wednesday, October 30, when fans can win a spin around the track in a double-seated jog cart between the races. For more information about this event: To view photos from the Grand River Raceway Open House: by Kelly Spencer for Grand River Raceway  

ELORA, ON - Back by popular demand, Grand River Raceway will host its fifth annual backstretch Open House on Saturday, October 19. Guests are invited to drop-in any time from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a rare glimpse of horse racing behind-the-scenes. Admission is free. A full tour of the Open House's four main stations will last approximately one hour. The itinerary includes the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse. Standardbred racehorses and double-seated jog carts from the Hands On Horses Program will provide the horsepower. Other hands-on stations include a tour of the judges' stand and announcer's booth high atop the grandstand, and the opportunity to call a pre-recorded race alongside track announcer Gary Guy. Back in the barn, visitors will learn the basics of breeding, owning, training, driving and caring for racehorses in sessions led by industry experts. Machinery enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to view and learn about the equipment and techniques required to maintain the track surface. The ever-popular starting car will also be on display, and open for photo opps. No registration is required. The event is suitable for all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The Open House runs 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 - 2:00. The Grand River Raceway Open House is presented in cooperation with the Hands On Horse Program and the Ontario Harness Horse Association. More than 1,000 people have attended Grand River Raceway’s Open House event in the past four years. To view photos from the 2012 event:   For more information, visit or call (519) 846-5455 x238 or email By Kelly Spencer

Entry forms for this year's Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society's always popular horse show are now available. The show will be held on Sunday, September 1 at Touch N Go Farm in Campbellville. There will be more than 20 classes featured at this year's show concluding with the fun costume class. The annual show gives the opportunity for horse owners to demonstrate the versatility of their Standardbred horses away from the racetrack. Please click here to download an entry form. For further information, please call 905-854-6099 or email: by Joanne Colville  Administration/Events Coordinator  

The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society's 2013 stallion auction has now concluded. OSAS extends sincere appreciation to the harness racing farms and stallion owners who generously donated the breedings and to everyone who bid on this year's auction.

The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society will once again be conducting a stallion auction as a fundraiser this year, thanks to the incredible generosity of the stallion owners, but with a different twist.

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