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Trot Insider has learned that longtime Standardbred trainer Mike Weller, who had recently been battling cancer for the second time, has passed away at the age of 60. It was announced in early April that Weller, who had previously battled and defeated stomach cancer in 2016, had been re-diagnosed with the disease, this time in his esophagus. After the April announcement, Weller and his wife, Sue Woodyatt, took a leave of absence from their positions in the industry to explore treatment options outside of Canada. Weller was no stranger to the win column during his extensive career in the harness racing industry, as the successful horseman’s starters won 1,315 races and banked $6.7 million in purse earnings. He campaigned a solid stable south of the border for many years before relocating his stable to Ontario roughly nine years ago. Weller, a resident of Milton, Ont., was a much-loved and respected horseman throughout the industry, and will be missed by his peers and those closest to him. Arrangements and an official obituary for Weller have yet to be announced, but Trot Insider will update this story with the information when it is made available. Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Mike Weller.   Standardbred Canada

The search for 22-year-old Standardbred racehorse owner Jordan Hicken has been called off in the late hours Tuesday, May 21. Halifax's Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre has declared Hicken a missing person and handed the case over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. According to multiple reports, Hicken, a resident of Lower Montague who has fished for six or seven years, went overboard early Tuesday morning near Naufrage and was the subject of an intensive search and rescue operation that was underway all day. It has been estimated that roughly 60 vessels – including those of fishermen, firefighters, police and the Canadian Coast Guard – had been searching for Hicken. Halifax’s Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre received a transfer call via 911 P.E.I. at roughly 5:26 a.m. which stated that a man had gone overboard in the area of Naufrage. The CBC has reported that Jordan with fishing with his father, Standardbred horseman Trevor Hicken, at the time he went overboard. Multiple media outlets have received confirmation that several of Jordan’s personal items that had blown overboard have been retrieved. Trot Insider will update this story with more information when it is known. Please join Standardbred Canada in wishing for the safe return of Jordan Hicken.   Standardbred Canada

Standardbred Canada is calling for entries for the 2019 International Media Awards competition which is a component of the World Trotting Conference to be held in Sweden this May. No cash prizes are associated with the awards and no entry fees are required. Competition will be held in nine categories, and the programs, advertisements, or photos must have been published, originally broadcast or otherwise distributed between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018 on a broadcast station, cable system, website, newspaper or magazine in Canada during that time. A single submission per entrant will be eligible in a category. Entries should be received at Standardbred Canada not later than noon (EST) on Friday, March 8. All entries should include a cover letter with the name, address, phone number, and email address of the producer, author or photographer, and the name of the station, cable system, or publication on or in which it appeared, along with the date of broadcast/publication. Send entries to: Kathy Wade Vlaar Standardbred Canada 2150 Meadowvale Blvd. Mississauga, ON L5N 6R6 Please direct any questions, via email, to kwvlaar@standardbredcanada.ca. The categories are as follows: BEST NEWS ARTICLE For articles written 'on deadline' about 'breaking' events, including reporting about races, racing industry happenings and so forth, and published in daily or weekly newspapers or online publications. Please send an electronic word doc or pdf version of the article. BEST MAGAZINE ARTICLE For 'long-form' articles written as 'features' and published online or in magazines. Please send an electronic word doc or pdf version of the article. BEST PHOTOGRAPHY Photos, not enhanced by any computer-aided special effects, other than those used to clarify the subject matter contained in the photograph; must be submitted as an 8-inch by 10-inch print, and / or a high resolution digital version of the photo (minimum 300 dpi jpeg file). BEST PRINTED OR WEB-BASED ADVERTISEMENT For advertisements promoting races, breeding services and any other product, service or activity related to the sport of harness racing or Standardbred horses. Please send an electronic pdf version of the ad. BEST VIDEO OR FILM (ONLINE VIDEO INCLUDED) ADVERTISEMENT Video or film-based advertisements for racing, breeding or any other product or service related to the standardbred industry. Please send a DVD or provide a link via email to the video/film and provide a short summary of what the submission is about. BEST TELEVISION PROGRAM OR DOCUMENTARY (ONLINE OR BROADCAST) For programs that air on broadcast or the internet, whether long or short-form that do not include advertising content. Please send a DVD or provide a link via email to the program and provide a short summary of what the submission is about. BEST POSTER For printed posters used to promote racing, breeding or any other industry-related activity, product or service. Please mail the actual poster and email an electronic pdf version. BEST WEBSITE For publications, organizations or non-commercial entities that appear on the internet. Please provide the url and jpeg of a screen shot from the home page. BEST SOCIAL MEDIA For demonstrated excellence in social media usage and innovation. Please include date of broadcast / publishing for your country’s entry if not visible on the file. From Standardbred Canada

Standardbred Canada is a non-profit association incorporated under the Animal Pedigree Act and is the National Registry for Canada. We are seeking an individual to fill an important part time role of SC Field Representative at Truro Raceway. Core Functions: To represent Standardbred Canada at Truro Raceway and ensure that all racelines and pertinent data are accurately and timely recorded on the SC database To assist members, Judges and Racetrack Personnel Various duties will include, but are not limited to, entering all race results, collection of memberships (SC and APHRC), eligibility fees, invoices, transfers, leases and claims, and recording on the SC database and remitting to Standardbred Canada on a regular basis. Successful candidate must: Have a good knowledge of the Standardbred industry Have strong customer focus Have good analytical and organizational skills Be able to work in a co-operative environment with others Be able to type accurately Be willing to travel to train at a track designated for training Be able to meet deadlines for all responsibilities Correspond with head office in a timely manner Be able to work well under little or no supervision Interested applicants are asked to email your resume and cover letter to vboom@standardbredcanada.ca and put ‘TRURO’ in the subject line, or fax it to Valerie Boom at 905-858-8047 by Friday, March 8, 2019. No phone calls, please.

On Saturday, February 2, Standardbred Canada announced the harness racing winners for the 2018 O’Brien Awards, at the 30th edition of the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala held at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale hotel in Mississauga, Ont. The O’Brien Awards honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season and are named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Richard Moreau of Puslinch, Ont. won his sixth consecutive title as Canada’s Trainer of the Year. He put up some incredible numbers in the 2018 season, sending 315 winners postward and training horses to more than $4.6 million in earnings, a new personal best. He was the leading trainer in both wins and earnings at Woodbine Racetrack’s final meet and at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Moreau trained O’Brien Award winner Jimmy Freight for part of the sophomore season including his victories in the Ontario Sires Stakes and Somebeachsomewhere. Other top performers from the Moreau Stable in 2018 included pacing colt Backstreet Shadow, trotting horse Big Rich, and pacing mare Witch Dali. To read the rest of this story, click here. 

Mississauga, ON — On Jan. 9, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario issued harness racing trainer-driver Rick Zeron a fine of C$10,000 and suspension of 180 days. As a result, Standardbred Canada has disqualified Mr. Zeron as a finalist for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship, as well as 3-year-old trotting filly Atlanta, trained and co-owned by Mr. Zeron. Standardbred Canada’s O’Brien Award eligibility policy states: “An O’Brien Award will not be presented to any individual or entity who has served, or is currently serving a penalty for a continued period of 180 days or more during a calendar year. If the penalty continues through any part of the following calendar year, said individual is also ineligible for an O’Brien Award in the second year of the penalty. Outstanding appeals and/or stays do not alter the conditions of eligibility for O’Brien Award consideration.” “This is a very unfortunate situation for all those involved, that clearly no one is happy about,” said Dan Gall, President and CEO of Standardbred Canada. Guy Gagnon, the other finalist in the Horsemanship category, has been acclaimed as the winner, and Illusioneesta, the other finalist in the 3-year-old trotting filly category will be honored as the O’Brien winner on Saturday (Feb. 2) at the O’Brien Awards Gala. Standardbred Canada

Odds-on favourite Absolut Seelster ($2.90) led all the way to deliver a winning performance in the $11,500 Preferred 2 Trot featured on Monday evening's harness racing program at The Raceway at Western Fair District. To read the full article click on this link Monday Results - Western Fair Raceway Standardbred Canada

Standardbred Canada is seeking submissions for its 2018 Media Excellence Awards, to be presented at the O'Brien Awards ceremony on February 2, 2019. For the third consecutive year, Ontario Racing is pleased to sponsor the Media Awards. There are three awards categories: Outstanding Written Work, Outstanding Video, Film or Broadcast, and Outstanding Photograph. The program is aimed at honouring those who have, through one piece of exceptional work, covered Canadian harness racing in a manner that is extraordinary and of broad national appeal. Submissions for award consideration must pertain to some aspect of the Canadian Standardbred racing industry. Submissions for 2018 must have been published or broadcasted for the first time, between November 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018. The deadline for all submissions is November 30, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. (EST). For complete details and criteria for the categories, click here. All submissions and inquiries should be directed to: Kathy Wade Vlaar Industry Marketing Standardbred Canada 2150 Meadowvale Blvd. Mississauga, ON L5N 6R6 kwvlaar@standardbredcanada.ca 905-858-3077 (Ext. 207)

-The trilogy is complete. Written in a period of four years, Dr. Roland 'Roly' Armitage's Trilogy of The Way it Was and Now, Now About Yesterday and Straight From the Horse's Mouth provides a glimpse of a bygone era to present day, covering the journey of a true and dedicated Canadian who was a force in Canadian harness racing. Written in his inimitable, folksy Ottawa Valley style, it traces a colourful career from farm boy to soldier at age 17 , to veterinarian, energizing Standardbred industry leader , race track president, mayor and politician. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in the builder category in 1999. Roly Armitage had many roles in the sport - breeder, owner, administrator and racetrack manager. He served as president of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society (1972-1974) and the Canadian Trotting Association (1974-1980). An innovator with foresight , and following a long battle with racing authorities, he was responsible for the removal of hub rails on race tracks, saving injuries and death to the nation's harness trainers and drivers. Along with others he was instrumental in introducing electronic eligibility to the sport, putting Canada on the leading edge of technology in horse racing. His books are a wonderful reflection of an extraordinary veteran, a dedicated veterinarian and a grass-roots Canadian leader. His books capture his spirited childhood and early devotion to farm animals while growing up on the family farm in Dunrobin, Ontario. An accomplished wordsmith, his trilogy covers a multitude of subjects, none more fascinating and entertaining than his experiences with farmers and their animals during his 52 years as a practising veterinarian. From his chance meeting with one of the heirs of the giant Heineken brewery in Holland following the war, to treating the horses of one of the Ottawa Valley's most notorious bank robbers, Paddy Mitchell, his books are an enjoyable read of both personal observations and sound country advice and wisdom. Roly Armitage served as the mayor of West Carleton from 1991 to 1994, managed the construction of the Carp, Ontario airport named in his honour, and for nine years was general manager of Rideau Carleton Raceway. He also bred and raced standardbreds, and his Armstead Farms campaigned several noteworthy horses over the years. He worked closely with the organizer of the 1979 Ice Races on the Rideau Canal, remembered as an iconic day in the long history of the trotting sport in Canada. He served with the Royal Canadian Artillery in World War 2, took part in the Normandy invasion and the liberation of France, and his many medals for meritorious service include the National Order of the Legion of Honour, Government of France. There is a story attached to each and every one of his successful undertakings which were always attacked with his inherent vigour. Sometimes heartwarming and sometimes heartrending, but always authentic and poignant . He is a man of intelligence, honesty and integrity who has seen and done it all. Now on the sunny side of 90 years of age, he has lived life to the fullest with a gusto and spirit that continues today as a Standardbred breeder and manager of a public stable at his Dunrobin, Ontario farm. Copies of his books are available at the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) in Campbellville (905-854-6442), the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) (905 854 2672), or you may contact Dr. Roly Armitage directly at armsteadfarms@xplornet.com.   by Bill Galvin

SUMMERSIDE, PE – Sodwana Bay’s rivals were no match for her Sunday afternoon in the Atlantic Aged Pacing Mares series final, presented by Standardbred Canada, at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway. Under the command of Gilles Barrieau, Sodwana Bay settled mid pack at the start of the $15,517 final as the heavy post time favourite while Traces Of Purple (Driven by Kenny Arsenault) gained the early lead then released Drivingthedragon N (Jason Hughes) to the front. Traces Of Purple would retake the lead and that is when Barrieau pulled the trigger and launched his trainee to the lead at the 28.1 opening quarter and opened up for the duration of the mile. She tripped the half in 57, the three-quarters in 1:26.2 and trounced her competition in the lane by five lengths to stop the clock in 1:55.2. Traces Of Purple finished second over Collective Wisdom (Walter Cheverie). Wayne MacRae of Fall River, N.S., and Howmac Farms Ltd., of North Wiltshire, P.E.I., hold the ownership papers of Sodwana Bay. The Sunday afternoon card was action packed with stakes races featuring the Lady Slipper stakes for trotters and the Joe O’Brien Memorial for three-year-old pacing colts and the Lady Slipper stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies. Barrieau had four wins on the program as he clicked with Bettim Jackie in a $12,000 Lady Slipper Gold division for sophomore pacing fillies in 1:56.1 for trainer Jeff Lilley of Milton, L Weather B in a $6,500 O’Brien grassroots division in 2:00 and Mile Hill Willie from his own stable in 2:05.2 in a Lady Slipper two-year-old trot stake for a $7,500 pot. Sock It Away remained perfect on the year with another victory to give him 15 straight trips to the winner’s circle. Marc Campbell was in the seat for trainer Kevin MacLean in the $10,000 O’Brien gold division in a time of 1:54.3. The other $10,000 O’Brien Gold split was won by JJ Powerball and trainer-driver Austin Sorrie of Montague, P.E.I., in 1:57.1. Royaltywestho claimed her $12,000 Lady Slipper Gold division for three-year-old pacing filles in a mile time of 1:56.2 for driver Cheverie and trainer Joe Baxter of Windsor, N.S. Dusty Lane Titan hit the wire first in his $7,500 Lady Slipper two-year-old trot stake in 2:03.1 for trainer-driver Marc Campbell. The $8,000 Lady Slipper three-year-old trot divisions were won by West River Cindy (Ken MacDonald) in 2:00.4 and Buckaroo in 2:00.1 to give Campbell three wins as a driver and two wins as a trainer on the day. Form more information check out www.Redshores.ca. By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

By virtue of four wins in tournament races, Doug McNair claimed the 2018 National Driving Championship (NDC), presented by Standardbred Canada, on Wednesday night (Sept. 26) at Grand River Raceway. This was reported by Standardbred Canada/. A winner of over 3,000 races and close to $50 million in purse earnings, McNair has enjoyed recent success on both sides of the 49th, most notably with Tony Alagna trainee Stay Hungry, winner of this year's Cane Pace and Messenger after capturing the Breeders Crown last year. The Guelph, Ont. resident was also the primary driver of 2013 Shes A Great Lady winner Precocious Beauty and was Canada's Driver of the Year in 2017. "It's a big thrill," said McNair of earning the NDC title not even a week after his bid for a Triple Crown with Stay Hungry came up short in the Little Brown Jug. "Racing's got a lot of highs and lows. When you have a bad day, it makes these days a whole lot better." McNair, who was an eleventh-hour replacement for Louis-Philippe Roy in the NDC, won aboard Dry Creek Image ($32.20), Jdcyril ($9.80), Donald Doc ($12.10) and Lumiere ($2.90), and also recorded two second-place finishes and one third-place finish in the eight-race tournament. His early dominance guaranteed him the title with two races to go, and his 92 tournament points out of a possible 120 outpaced runner-up Stephane Brosseau (62) and third-place finisher Kelly Hoerdt (51). “When that horse from the eight-hole won parked the whole way, I figured I had a good shot since a lot of my better ones were later on, I thought," McNair continued. McNair will represent Canada alongside 2017 World Driving Champion James MacDonald in the 2019 World Driving Championship, to be held in Sweden next May. "I think we're gonna have a whole lot of fun; it's going to be a great time," McNair concluded. A race-by-race recap follows: Race 2: Despite being parked the entire journey, GMC Trooper ($35.00) and Kelly Hoerdt sprung a 16-1 upset to open the competition. The four-year-old Daylon Frontier gelding left for early second-over position, was left uncovered as Hashtag Hughie (Redmond Doucet) worked clear at the end of a :27.3 first quarter, and then overcame the breeze to duel Hashtag Hughie down before edging away at head-stretch for a 1:58.3 score. Invitation Todream (Doug McNair) split rivals out of traffic to finish second, while Badlands Badboy (Guy Gagnon) chased off the winner's cover to take third. Trainer George Large co-owns GMC Trooper with Michael Doersam; the pair also bred the two-time winner. Race 3: Not only did Dry Creek Image ($32.20) and Doug McNair overcome the outside post 8 and a sustained first-over grind, but they also battled back in the lane after being headed by runner-up Apple Tart Hanover (Redmond Doucet) to narrowly claim the second of eight NDC races. The four-year-old Rockin Image mare was left uncovered five-sixteenths in as Lady Everlong (Guy Gagnon) cleared amid a contested early pace, and she worked on to apply pressure at the :57.4 half-mile station. Dry Creek Image dueled to a narrow lead with five-sixteenths to go, but had to brace for the three-wide challenge of Apple Tart Hanover, who angled off third-over cover to make her sweeping bid. While Apple Tart Hanover claimed the lead at head-stretch and started to extend to a length, Dry Creek Image battled back to just nose out her outside rival in 1:59.3. Rousey Ronda (Kelly Hoerdt) circled belatedly down the grandstand side to take third. "I knew I had the best horse in the race, but the trip didn't work out at all," said McNair. "Down the lane, I thought I was going to be second. From the eight-hole, you just try to get as many points as you can, but the win certainly helps." Trainer Daniel Martin co-owns eight-time winner Dry Creek Image with Gilles Tremblay. Race 4: Jdcyril ($9.80) and Doug McNair defied a presser-stalker bias and stole the third NDC race on the front, rating a comfortable :59 middle half en route to a 1:56.4 score. The four-year-old Carlspur gelding cleared Prince Adiran (Stephane Brosseau) on his way to a :27.4 first quarter, and then immediately backed down the pace through the middle stages of the race before sprinting away at the eighth pole. Prince Adiran held second, while Melanies Magic (Redmond Doucet) rallied three-wide off failing cover to save third. Randy Van Meer trains seven-time winner Jdcyril for Donna Van Leer. Race 5: A sweeping last-to-first push from Donald Doc ($12.10) gave Doug McNair a third straight win in the NDC and a hefty lead at the turn. After Sheldonthepsychic (Jamie Gray) controlled early fractions of :27.3, :57.2 and 1:26.4, McNair pointed the five-year-old Big Band John gelding four-wide into the final turn, and the pair made ground immediately. "In the last turn, I figured I had a decent shot," McNair said after the race. In fact, Donald Doc was able to chase down Face Of War (Stephane Brosseau), who circled from third-over to take the lead nearing head-stretch. Donald Doc lunged to just reach at the winning post in 1:57. Face Of War was second, while Little Clayt (Kelly Hoerdt) was third off a ground-saving tirp. "I've just got to pick away at it, and I figure I'll be successful," McNair continued. "The more you win, the better you drive." Trainer Don Beatson co-owns 11-time winner Donald Doc with Cole England and Ken Beatson. Race 6: A pillar-to-post effort from odds-on favourite Mollie McGeoch ($3.70) gave Maritimer Gilles Barrieau his first win of the tournament. "She was the best one that I've driven tonight so far," Barrieau said of the four-year-old Badlands Hanover mare. "I was looking forward to her coming up, because things haven't been that great." Mollie McGeoch and Barrieau protected the lead from the pole and seated Im Rylan (Trevor Henry) into the pocket through a :27.2 quarter. The two-mare breakaway held separation over a struggling second flight through middle fractions of :57.2 and 1:26.4 and, despite late deceleration to the end of a 1:58 mile, crossed the line one-two. Eataams Trauma (Doug McNair) rallied mildly to just nab Cold Creek Lacey (Stephane Brosseau) for third. Bud Sinclair trains four-time winner Mollie McGeoch for Linda Richardson and Lindsey Sinclair. The win lifted Barrieau from sixth into a share of third with Brosseau, but McNair maintains a 26-point lead over Kelly Hoerdt. Race 7: Larjon Legacy ($15.40) and Guy Gagnon split leavers to secure the lead, controlled a comfortable middle half, and turned aside steady first-over pressure from So Bananas (Kelly Hoerdt) on the final turn en route to a 1:58.1 victory. After edging clear of So Bananas, the three-year-old Mister Big Filly held her ground to the winning post to hold off Falls Creek (Doug McNair) by half a length. The runner-up finish was enough to put McNair out of reach of Hoerdt, who faded to also-ran status. Greg Campbell owns and trains six-time winner Larjon Legacy. Race 8: Lumiere ($2.90) gave Doug McNair his fourth win in the NDC, battling back in the stretch after being headed by Little Turk (Stephane Brosseau) to take the penultimate leg of the tournament in 1:58.1. The nine-year-old Lis Mara gelding had no trouble clearing Highland Bogart (Redmond Doucet) into the first turn and hung Stonebridge Bettor (Kelly Hoerdt) out through early fractions of :28.2 and :59.1. After his first-over challenger stalled with three-eighths to go, Lumiere braced for the bold three-wide challenge of Little Turk. The pair passed three-quarters in 1:29, and Little Turk worked to a narrow lead on the final turn. Off the home corner, Lumiere dug back in and reached to win by a widening length. Little Turk was second, while Highland Bogart (Redmond Doucet) chased from the pocket for third. "I thought I had an average card, to be honest," McNair said of his thoughts coming into the night's tournament. "Once he made it there, I didn't want to give it up to anybody." McNair's lead expanded to 40 points with a race to go, while Brosseau passed Kelly Hoerdt for second by way of his runner-up finish in the race. Patrick Shepherd trains 35-time winner Lumiere for Carl Kuepfer. Race 9: April Bandit ($10.80) and Stephane Brosseau parlayed a pocket trip to take the final NDC race in 1:58. After drafting behind So Long Sugar (Guy Gagnon) through splits of :28, :57.4 and 1:27.3, Brosseau moved the nine-year-old Real Artist mare off the pegs at the top of the stretch. The pair edged away to prevail in the final 40 yards, while Mighty Mouse (Kelly Hoerdt) saved ground and hooked wide in the stretch to take third. "I'm very happy about it," said Brosseau of his runner-up finish in the NDC. "To be beaten by Doug McNair, I don't think it's a bad thing. Being second with all these good drivers is surely a nice feeling. It doesn't matter the age, you try to improve yourself. I really like the way I'm driving right now; it's fun. I want to always do better, and I think there's a couple years left where I can be as good as I am now." Steve Coulter owns and trains April Bandit, now a 28-time winner. The final NDC standings are as follows: 1. Doug McNair - 92 2. Stephane Brosseau - 62 3. Kelly Hoerdt - 51 4. Guy Gagnon - 43 5. Gilles Barrieau - 40 6. Redmond Doucet - 38 7. Trevor Henry - 29 8. Jamie Gray - 21 The National Driving Championship was an eight-race event and drivers earn points based upon their finishing positions. Drivers were able to have input into the horses they will be driving as a hockey pool style “draft” was conducted Friday for them to choose their horses in each race before the post position draw was made. Eight drivers from across the country qualified in four regional events co-ordinated by Standardbred Canada and congregated in Elora, Ont. for the event. To view Wednesday's harness racing results, click the following link: Wednesday Results – Grand River Raceway.

As reported by Standardbred Canada, Doug McNair, Canada’s Driver of the Year in 2017, will take the spot of Louis-Philippe Roy in the National Driving Championship on Wednesday, September 26 at Grand River Raceway. McNair, who finished third in the Ontario Regional Driving Championship on May 16 at The Raceway at Western Fair District, was automatically offered the spot when Roy, who finished second, withdrew from the event on Friday afternoon. Upon receiving the offer, McNair immediately jumped at the opportunity. “It’s my first National Championship,” said McNair. “It is a tough way to earn the spot, and I do feel for Louis. I haven’t seen the horses I’ll be driving yet but I’m excited and pretty sure I’ve got a good shot. “It’s a good rebound of my bad day yesterday,” McNair said, referring to the placing (from first to fourth) of Stay Hungry in the second elimination of yesterday’s Little Brown Jug. Stay Hungry was ultimately scratched from the final. Roy’s withdrawal was the result of racing commitments he felt he had to fulfill on Tuesday, September 25. In addition to other drives, he will drive Shower Play in the $125,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Drivers are required to participate in all promotional, charitable and media events related to the National Driving Championship, on both Tuesday and Wednesday. “Unfortunately I’ll have to give up my chance to represent Canada in Sweden,” said Roy. “It’s not an easy decision, but I think it’s the best thing to do for my career and my business.” Roy’s withdrawal came shortly after the draft took place for National Driving Championship horses. Because of that, McNair has agreed to drive the horses originally selected by Roy. In addition to being the O’Brien Award winner as Canada’s top driver last year, McNair currently has 242 wins and $4,384,381 in earnings this season. He will join the seven other drivers competing in Wednesday’s NDC, including Trevor Henry who won this year’s Ontario Regional Driving Championship. From Standardbred Canada

Forest City Standardbred Sales and Standardbred Canada are proud to announce the dates for the 2nd Annual London Selected Yearling Sale are Saturday Oct. 13 and Sunday Oct. 14 beginning at noon each day. The 2017 sale enjoyed increases in average and gross. Harness Racing Update’s Dave Briggs said the “London Sale was beyond expectations”. 306 yearlings grossed $7,536,000 total for an average of $24,627. Combining the results of 2016 two sales shows 276 yearlings were sold for a total gross of $6,452,200. The 2016 average was $23,378. By that measure, this means the 2017 gross was up 16.8 per cent and the average was up 5.3 per cent compared to 2016. Popular sires such as Kadabra (5) averaged $46,400, Bettors Delight (11) $41,818, Sunshine Beach (34) $36,544, Mach Three (17) $34,059, Royalty For Life (21) $31,690, Sportswriter (36) $31,139, and Shadow Play (29) $24,931.  With the tremendous success of last year’s collaboration, the companies have decided to add an extra day on Monday October 15 to host a mixed sale; the London Mixed Horse Sale. The Yearling Preview days will be Thursday Oct. 11 and Friday Oct. 12 at the Metroland Media Agriplex at the Western Fair District in London, Ontario beginning at 9:00 am each day. Entries are now being accepted for both the London Selected Yearling Sale and the London Mixed Horse Sale – Applications can be downloaded from www.londonselectedyearlingsale.com . For more information or any questions please call Ann Straatman, sale manager or Kim Gilmour, administrative assistant at 519-319- 0650 or email: londonselected@quadro.net .  

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce the host tracks and dates for the 2018  Regional Driving Championships and National Driving Championship which will ultimately determine Canada’s representative to the harness racing 2019 World Driving Championship. The 2018 National Driving Championship will take place at Grand River Raceway, in Elora, Ont., on Wednesday, September 26. "Grand River Raceway is truly thrilled to host‎, for the first time, the National Driving Championship," said the track's Marketing Manager, Kelly Spencer. "We're keen to showcase our beautiful community and facility on the national stage and welcome the country's finest reinsmen in what is sure to be a first-class event. We're riding the momentum of James MacDonald's WDC win in 2017 which will only elevate the already prestigious spirit of the event. Oh Canada!" Grand River Raceway has hosted the Ontario Regional Driving Championship several times, including the most recent event in 2016. Drivers must earn their way into the National Driving Championship by finishing first or second in their respective Regional Driving Championship. In addition to a first time host for the National event, there are also two first time hosts for the Regionals – Kawartha Downs in Fraserville, Ont., will host the Eastern Ontario / Quebec Regional Driving Championship and Truro Raceway in Truro, NS, will host the Atlantic Regional event.   Century Downs near Calgary, Alta., will host the Western Regional and The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont., will be the site of the Ontario Regional. “Standardbred Canada is looking forwarding to partnering with our host tracks to present four exciting and competitive Regional Driving Championships which will lead into the National Driving Championship.  We are very pleased to see the interest that tracks across the country have in hosting these events, including our two first time track partners this year for Regional events, Kawartha Downs and Truro Raceway,” said Dan Gall, President & CEO of Standardbred Canada.  “We are also looking forward to working with the team at Grand River Raceway to deliver an exceptional National Driving Championship experience for both the drivers and the fans.” Here are the locations and dates for the four regional events: Western Regional -- Century Downs; Saturday, June 23 (Includes drivers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)   This will mark the second time that Century Downs will host the Western Regional.  They were the host track for the 2016 event. Ontario Regional – The Raceway at Western Fair District, Wednesday, May 16 (Includes drivers from Ontario) The Raceway hosted the 2016 National Driving Championship and the 2014 Ontario Regional Driving Championship. Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional – Kawartha Downs, Saturday, June 30 (Includes drivers that compete regularly at Kawartha Downs and Rideau Carleton Raceway in addition to Hippodrome 3R) Atlantic Regional – Truro Raceway, Friday, June 29 Includes drivers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) Regional events will feature either eight or nine drivers who will compete in a minimum of eight races. Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two point earners will advance to the National. Past winners of the NDC title include Brandon Campbell (2016), Jody Jamieson (2014 & 2011), Brad Forward (2009), and Gilles Barrieau (2007). The winner of the 2018 National Driving Championship will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship, and join 2017 World Driving Champion, James MacDonald, in the 2019 World Driving Championship in Sweden. SC hosted the 2017 World Driving Championship (WDC) in August and MacDonald’s victory earned him an automatic invitation to the 2019 event in which he will become the representative for the International Trotting Association. Canada was invited to send a second driver to the 2019 event and Standardbred Canada accepted the invitation.

On Wednesday, December 20, Standardbred Canada announced the finalists for the 2017 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past eason. The winners will be announced at the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale hotel in Mississauga, Ont. This will mark the 29th edition of the O’Brien Awards, named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Seven past O’Brien Award winners are looking to add to their trophy collections and are either defending titles or are nominated in a new division. Past winners include: McWicked, Ariana G, Hannelore Hanover, Marc Campbell, Richard Moreau, Louis-Philippe Roy and the partnership of Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. In the driver of the year category, Doug McNair and Louis-Philippe Roy are the two finalists.  McNair, a  resident of Guelph, Ont., was a finalist for this award in 2013.  He tops the charts in earnings for drivers in Canada with almost $5.9 million in purse money, while driving 315 winners postward. (as of December 19)  He’s enjoying a career year and is the regular driver for O’Brien Award finalists, Stay Hungry, Bettors Up, The Joy Luck Club, and Sandbetweenurtoes. Louis-Philippe Roy, of Mont-Joli, Que., is also having a career year.  Having won the Future Star O’Brien Award for 2016, Roy has become a regular driver on the Woodbine Entertainment Group Circuit and currently sits in second for wins in Canada with 369 trips to the winner’s circle to his credit while driving horses to $5.6 million in purse earnings. Richard Moreau is looking to add to his trophy collection with another O’Brien Award in the Trainer of the Year category and is up against fellow nominee Gregg McNair, who is looking to clinch his first national title. Richard Moreau, of Puslinch, Ont., is the defending Trainer of the Year and is looking to take home his fifth consecutive O’Brien bronze.   Moreau, who trains O’Brien finalist Sandbetweenurtoes, leads all Canadian trainers in the wins column with 269 wins to his credit and over $3.6 million in earnings. Gregg McNair of Guelph, Ont., is enjoying a productive 2017 campaign with 63 winners and over $1.6 million in purse earnings recorded in Canada.  McNair trains and co-owns O’Brien finalist The Joy Luck Club. Marc Campbell of Winsloe, PEI, is a finalist for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship along with Guy Gagnon of Gatineau, Que. Campbell, who won this award in 2012, is enjoying a career season in the sulky, as he has recorded 245 wins and over $574,000 in purse earnings.  On the training side, Campbell has 126 victories and almost $370,000 in earnings this season. Campbell topped the charts for training and driving at both Red Shores properties – Charlottetown Driving Park and Summerside. Guy Gagnon is a regular trainer-driver at Hippodrome 3R and Rideau Carleton Raceway, where he topped the driver's standings for wins in 2017. To date this year, Gagnon has driven 199 winners and horses to earnings of almost $900,000. On the training side, he’s sent 77 winners postward and his stable has earned in excess of $334,000. Two Shadow Play fillies, Kendall Seelster and Percy Bluechip, are the nominees in the two-year-old pacing filly division. Kendall Seelster hit the board in 10 of her 11 season starts with four wins and over $453,000 in purse earnings. The two-time Ontario Sires Stakes Gold winner took a mark of 1:51.1 in her commanding victory in a division of the Champlain Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. Percy Bluechip, co-owned and conditioned by Dr. Ian Moore, who also managed her sire, scored five wins in nine races on the season and racked up over $440,000 in earnings. In addition to four wins in Ontario Sires Stakes events, including the season-ending Super Final, the talented filly also posted a wire-to-wire victory in the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk Racetrack. Somebeachsomewhere colts Pedro Hanover and Stay Hungry are finalists in the two-year-old pacing colt division. Pedro Hanover won five races in eight starts and almost $350,000 in earnings.  He took a mark of 1:51 in the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Final at The Meadows, his richest payday of the season. Stay Hungry won six of nine races and bankrolled over $557,000 during a season that saw him score wins in a division of the Champlain Stakes, and an elimination of the Metro at Mohawk Racetrack.  His crowning moment came in a sweep of the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park where he took a nose victory in his elimination and came back one week later to score a neck victory in the final. Bettors Up and The Joy Luck Club are competing for O’Brien honours in the sophomore pacing filly category. The Bettors Delight filly, Bettors Up,  put together an outstanding season, finishing first or second in ten of her 17 races while adding over a half million dollars to her bankroll.  She scored a career best 1:49.4 effort at Mohawk Racetrack in the Fan Hanover Final. The Joy Luck Club is the other finalist in this category on the strength of a productive campaign that included 14 victories and over $333,000 in earnings for the Camluck filly and included an Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final victory at Mohawk Racetrack. Classic Pro and Mateo earned nominations in the three-year-old pacing colt division.  Classic Pro won four of 14 starts and earned over $293,000 on the season.  Two of those wins were in Ontario Sires Stakes events and one of those gave the Shadow Play colt his mark of 1:51. Mateo, sired by Alberta stallion Blue Burner, hails from the west and posted 15 top three finishes from 16 races and over $232,000 in earnings.  His richest payday was a victory in the Western Canada Pacing Derby at Northlands Park.  He also won several Alberta Sires Stakes events over the season. Two millionaire daughters of Somebeachsomewhere, Sandbetweenurtoes, and Pure Country are the two finalists for Older Pacing Mare honours. Sandbetweenurtoes was a model of consistency, hitting the board in 24 of her 30 starts and earning over $243,000, while primarily competing in the Fillies and Mares Preferred races at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks. Pure Country had five wins and $471,000 in earnings this season which included a victory in the Breeders Crown Mare Pace. McWicked and Sintra are the Older Pacing Horse finalists.  McWicked was awarded an O’Brien for his outstanding three- year-old campaign in 2014.  Now six, the son of McArdle had seven wins in 27 races and almost $600,000 in earnings.  His richest payday came in winning the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs.  He also posted runner-up efforts in an elimination and the final of the Breeders Crown. Sintra’s first year in the Older Pacing Horse division was productive as he won nine of 19 races and over $617,000.  The son of Mach Three won Canada’s oldest harness stakes event, The Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack, to take home the lion’s share of the $615,000 purse.  He also won a leg and the final of the Graduate Series. On the trotting side, Kadabra Queen and Smoke And Mirrors, both daughters of Kadabra, are the two-year-old filly nominees. Kadabra Queen won five of 10 races and over $328,000 on the season.  All five of her victories were in the Ontario Sires Stakes, including a win in the season-ending Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack, her final start of the season. Smoke And Mirrors won two races and over $176,000 in purse earnings.  Her richest payday was a runner-up finish in the Super Final. Alarm Detector and You Know You Do are the finalists in the juvenile trotting colt division. The Chapter Seven colt Alarm Detector was almost perfect in his debut season, winning six of seven races and $276,000.  Stakes victories included the Define The World and an elimination and final of the William Wellwood Memorial. You Know You Do won five of 12 races and over $401,000 while scoring wins in the Bluegrass, a division of the Champlain, and sweeping the Peter Haughton Memorial. Ariana G, a winner of an O’Brien at two, came back as a sophomore stronger than ever.  The Muscle Hill filly won 12 of 15 races during her million-dollar season.  Her major victories included the Breeders Crown, Elegantimage, the Simcoe, the Hambletonian Oaks, the Delvin Miller Memorial and the New Jersey Sire Stakes final. The other finalist in the sophomore trotting filly division is Magic Presto.  Despite an abbreviated season, the Kadabra filly had five wins and earnings of over $417,000, which included a victory in an elimination of the Hambletonian Oaks and a solid runner-up effort in the final. International Moni and R First Class earned nominations in the three-year-old trotting colt division.  International Moni won nine of 15 races and $620,000 this season, which included wins in the Erskine, a Breeders Crown elimination, a Kentucky Futurity elimination, the Bluegrass, a division of the Simcoe, an elimination of the Hambletonian and a sweep of the Goodtimes. R First Class boasted 11 top-two finishes in 12 starts for $307,000 in earnings.  The son of Kadabra won three of six Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final.  Hannelore Hanover is back to defend her title in the Older Trotting Mare division and is up against Emoticon Hanover. Emoticon Hanover finished on the board in 12 of 13 starts and earned $446,000.  The daughter of Kadabra won the Breeders Crown, the Allerage, the Miss Versatility, and the Joie De Vie. Hannelore Hanover won 10 of 17 races this season while also posting five runner-up finishes.  The Swan For All mare scored victories against male rivals in an elimination and final of the Breeders Crown Open Trot, the Allerage, and the Maple Leaf Trot.  She also swept the Armbro Flight. Musical Rhythm and Odds On Amethyst are the Older Trotting Horse nominees.  Musical Rhythm, a son of Cantab Hall, was a solid preferred campaigner on the Woodbine Entertainment Group Circuit and finished the year with six wins and $178,000 in purse money. Odds On Amethyst, a son of Muscle Hill,  scored 10 wins and surpassed $215,000 in earnings, while also primarily competing in the preferred and free for all trotting ranks. In the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category, partners Marvin Katz of Toronto, Ont., and Al Libfeld, of Pickering, Ont., will defend their title against first-time finalist Stan Klemencic of Trenton, Ont. The Katz-Libfeld partnership has evolved into one of harness racing's most respected breeding enterprises.  From the ten horses bred by this partnership and that raced in 2017,  there were 27 wins and earnings of just over $1.5 million. Their top horse was O’Brien finalist Ariana G, a winner of over $1.1 million. Breeder Stan Klemencic had 18 horses that raced in 2017, with 57 wins and over $1.6 million in earnings. Leading the way was Breeders Crown champion What The Hill, a winner of more than $1 million. The Future Star Award finalists are Brett MacDonald of Manotick, Ont., and Maxime Velaye of Mirabel, Que.  In only his third season of full time driving, MacDonald, who was a finalist in this category last year, posted some very impressive numbers.  The 21-year-old competes regularly at Rideau Carleton Raceway, and has driven 110 winners and horses to almost $590,000 in purse money.  Trainer Maxime Velaye conditioned 23 winners and horses to over $323,000 in purse money.  Although he raced mainly at Hippodrome 3R and Rideau Carleton Raceway, he also competed in the Ontario Sires Stakes events with a pair of sophomore colts, trotter Capteur De Reve, and pacer Histoire Enchantee. One of the 24 horse nominees will be honoured as Canada’s Horse of the Year. The winners will be announced at the O’Brien Awards Gala on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, Ont. A complete list of the finalists and their respective owners follows.   2017 O’Brien Award Finalists Pacers   Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer   Kendall Seelster Owned by 1187422 Ontario Inc., Ottawa, ON   Percy Bluechip Owned by Shadow Two Stable, Puslinch, ON James B & Wilma J MacKenzie, Ennismore, ON Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc., Hudson, QC   Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer   Pedro Hanover Owned by Brad D Gray, Dundas, ON Denise Guerriero, Toronto, ON   Stay Hungry Owned by Bradley J Grant, Milton, ON Irwin Samelman, Las Vegas, NV   Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer   Bettors Up Owned by Bradley J Grant & Teresa Davidson, Milton, ON Michelle Y McEneny, Waterdown, ON   The Joy Luck Club Owned by R A W Equine Inc., Burlington, ON Mark Horner, St Marys, ON R Gregg McNair, Guelph, ON   Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer   Classic Pro Owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Puslinch, ON R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB Serge Savard, St Bruno, QC   Mateo Owned by Christine Cutting, Airdrie, AB Jim R Marino, Surrey, BC   Older Pacing Mare   Pure Country Owned by Diamond Creek Racing, Wellsville PA   Sandbetweenurtoes Owned by Bradley J Grant, Milton, ON   Older Pacing Horse   McWicked Owned by S S G Stables, North Boston, NY   Sintra Owned by Brad D Gray, Dundas, ON Michael E Guerriero, Brampton, ON Menary Racing Inc., Rockton, ON   Trotters Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter   Kadabra Queen Owned by Harness Horsepower Inc., Campbellville, ON Frank Monte, Markham, ON   Smoke And Mirrors Owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON David H Mc Duffee, Delray Beach, FL Little E Llc, New York, NY   Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter   Alarm Detector Owned by Thomas R Rankin & Elizabeth C Rankin, St Catharines, ON Claude Hamel, Ayer’s Cliff, QC Santo Vena, Brampton, ON   You Know You Do Owned by Howard A Taylor, Philadelphia, PA Order By Stable, Boras, Sweden Bud C Hatfield, Columbus, OH Mkatz Alibfeld Sgoldband, Toronto, ON   Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter   Ariana G Owned by Marvin Katz, Toronto, ON Al Libfeld, Pickering, ON   Magic Presto Owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON Herb A Liverman, Miami Beach, FL David H Mc Duffee, Delray Beach, FL Little E Llc, New York, NY   Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter   International Moni Owned by Moni Maker Stable, Enfield, CT   R First Class Owned by Thomas A Rankin & Elizabeth C Rankin, St Catharines, ON   Older Trotting Mare Emoticon Hanover                                                                                                                     Owned by Determination, Montreal, QC   Hannelore Hanover Owned by Burke Racing Stable Llc, Fredericktown- Weaver Bruscemi Llc, Canonsburg, PA Frank D Baldachino, Clarksburg, NJ J and T Silva Stables Llc, Long Beach, NY Older Trotting Horse Musical Rhythm Owned by Santo Vena, Brampton, ON Nunzio Vena, Bolton, ON Claude Hamel, Ayer’s Cliff, QC Benoit Baillargeon, Guelph, ON   Odds On Amethyst Owned by William G Cripps, Acton, ON Charles M Gazzola, Waterloo, ON Patrick J Hudon & Adam Kean, Rockwood, ON   People Awards   O’Brien Award of Horsemanship   Marc Campbell Winsloe, PE   Kathy Wade Vlaar Manager of Industry Marketing  

Mississauga, ON --- Mohawk Seelster fetched the highest price of the second session of the London Selected Yearling Sale as the inaugural two-day harness racing sale concluded in London, Ont. on Sunday (Oct. 15). Mohawk Seelster sold for C$220,000 to Millar Farms of Stouffville, Ont. A son of Sportswriter-Macapelo Rose, Mohawk Seelster is a half-brother to speedy pacing mare Mayhem Seelster p,2,1:53s; 3,1:51.3s-'16 ($300,709). "It was the place to be this weekend," said Standardbred Canada's Heather Reid, co-manager of the London Selected Yearling Sale. "Wonderful sale, the crowds were great and consistent throughout the weekend. With the way the industry has been the last couple of years I was glad to see a horse sell for more than C$200,000." Reid believes that the C$220,000 price tag is a record price for a Standardbred yearling sold in Canada. "He's been a standout since he was a young colt," Seelster Farms' Ann Straatman told Trot Insider. "So intelligent, just perfect conformation, great pedigree to go along with it. We knew he was special but we didn't think he'd bring that amount of money...we expected maybe C$100,000 for him but a lot of people waited for him. "I think that's fantastic that you can sell high-priced horses in Ontario." The second day featured 192 yearlings, with total sales of C$5,051,500 and an average of C$26,309. Overall, 306 yearlings passed through the sales ring at the inaugural London Selected Yearling Sale. Gross sales surpassed C$7.5 million at C$7,536,000, providing a sale average of C$24,627. Speaking as the co-manager of the sale, Straatman was elated with the overall sale results. "I'm thrilled with how things have turned out today, beyond our expectations. We thought about a C$23,000 average -- which was the combined average of the two great sales last year. And to exceed that is beyond expectations. "I think the format was great, the auctioneers and the ringmen were superb, everything ran very smooth today. I'm thrilled with how things have worked out." Straatman feels the sale's strength speaks to both the quality of the horses entered as well as the demand for Ontario sired product. "People recognize the strength of the Ontario Sires Stakes program and they showed that; they paid some top dollar for some really nice horses. I think that speaks volumes for what we have here in Ontario. "I think this sale, this venue, having all the horses together under one roof...I thought everyone was very enthusiastic about this combination." Average-wise, trotting and pacing colts boasted a higher average than their female counterparts. Pacing colts (115 sold) averaged C$26,978, while pacing fillies (100 sold) brought an average of C$21,645. The 51 trotting colts sold averaged C$27,480 while trotting fillies (40 sold) provided an average of C$21,687. To view results from the second session of the London Selected Yearling Sale, click the following link. A video of Mohawk Seelster the top priced lot. A pedigree of the top priced lot   from Standardbred Canada

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