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TORONTO, January 15 - A pair of four-year-old pacers will have an opportunity at a Snowshoe Series sweep after returning to the harness racing winner's circle in Friday's second leg at Woodbine Racetrack. A total of 18 horses were split into two $17,000 divisions for Friday's second leg of the Snowshoe Series. Fresh off a 3¼ length victory in round one, Shades Of Bay continued his hot streak Friday with an impressive 1:51.3 victory over a 'Good' track. Driven by Phil Hudon, Shades Of Bay, the 1/9 favourite, got away fourth in the early stages, but moved into third and eventually the lead in the second-quarter. Three Truths, who was leading heading to the half, made a break and Hudon immediately moved Shades Of Bay to the front. After fractions of :55.1 and 1:24, Shades Of Bay kicked into high gear in the stretch and cruised home in :27.3 for a 1¾ length victory. Sabine Pass finished second at 23/1, while Shippen Out was third at 30/1. A four-year-old son of Art Major, Shades Of Bay now has five wins in six starts for trainer Sean Mehlenbacher. Friday was the pacers sixth career triumph and increased his career earnings to over $69,000. Owned by Timothy Kim, Shades Of Bay paid $2.10 to win. Shades Of Bay Rafa delivered another ace with a 1:52.2 victory in the second division. Sent off as the 2/5 favourite, Rafa and driver Sylvain Filion sprinted off the wings of the gate and locked up with Pistopackinpiper for a first-quarter battle. Pistopackinpiper cleared to the lead, but was forced to pace a :25.3 opening-quarter to grab command. Rafa quickly got his cue to go in the second-quarter and circled to the lead. The public's choice posted middle-fractions of :55.1 and 1:24.3 to turn for home with the lead. In the stretch, Tylers Beach Boy came off cover and Tower Of Power continued to pace hard after being first up, but Rafa held them at bay and impressively cruised through the wire first to win by a length. Trained by Richard Moreau, Rafa is now four for four to begin his career. The four-year-old son of Camluck now has a pair of victories this season to go with two wins last season. Owned by Robin Morley, Rafa knocked a fifth of a second off his career mark with Friday's victory and increased his career earnings to $27,500. Rafa paid $2.80 to win. Rafa In order to be eligible to the Snowshoe, the three and four-year-old pacers had to be non-winners of two races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2015. Shades Of Bay and Rafa will both be seeking a series sweep in next Friday's (January 22) $47,200 final. The Snowshoe Final will also be joined by the $45,200 Blizzard Series final on next Friday's card. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, January 8 - Great finishes and impressive harness racing efforts was the story of Friday night's first round of the Snowshoe Series at Woodbine Racetrack. A total of 24 three and four-year-old pacers were split into three $17,000 divisions for the first leg of the three-week series. In the first division, just a head separated the top-five finishers, as St Lads Charger scored a 14/1 upset. After a first-quarter battle, Every Intention led the field down the backstretch and by the half in :55.1. St Lads Charger and driver Trevor Henry came first-up around the final turn from third and sat less than a length from the lead turning for home. In the stretch, St Lads Charger was able to edge by Every Intention in the final-eighth, but a trio of challengers made it a five-across finish. At the wire, St Lads Charger prevailed in 1:54.3 by a nose over Brown Dirt Cowboy and Hickory Terrific. Hp Black Shadow and Every Intention finished fourth and fifth, respectively, by a head. The top-seven finishers were separated by less than two-lengths. A three-year-old son of Sportswriter, St Lads Charger is trained by Victor Puddy for owners Randy Christopher, Limco Inc., and Bill Manes. The sophomore pacing colt won just one of 10 starts as a rookie in 2015. St Lads Charger increased his career earnings to over $20,000 with the victory. The Puddy trainee paid $30.40 to win. St Lads Charger Fresh off a victory in the Valedictory Final, Shades Of Bay scored a three-length victory in the second division at odds of 1/5. Driven by Phil Hudon, Shades Of Bay got away fourth, but made a powerful backside move to the lead and posted a half-mile time of :56.2. After pacing a third-quarter of :29.1, Shades Of Bay cruised home in :27.2 to win in 1:52. Tower Of Power finished second, while Swapportunity was third. A four-year-old son of Art Major, Shades Of Bay is trained by Sean Mehlenbacher for owner Timothy Kim. Last season, Shades Of Bay won four of 11 starts for earnings exceeding $50,000. The four-year-old has now won four of five starts since joining the Mehlenbacher stable in November. Shades Of Bay now has five wins and over $60,000 in career earnings. He paid $2.50 to win. Shades Of Bay In the final division, Richard Moreau trainee Rafa scored a four-length victory at 9/5 in 1:52.3. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Rafa was third around the first turn, while Thoughtyoudlikeit battled with outside challenger Pistopackinpiper. The lead pair continued to battle through a half of :55.4. Around the final turn, Thoughtyoudlikeit put away Pistopackinpiper, but faced a new challenge from Tylers Beach Boy, as Rafa continued to pace along in the pocket. In the stretch, Rafa was able to convert off the inside trip and charged by the leaders to win by open-lengths in 1:52.3. Tylers Beach Boy finished second, while Shippen Out got up for third ahead of Thoughtyoudlikeit. A son of Camluck, Rafa is trained by Moreau for owner Robin Morley. The four-year-old was making just his third career start Friday and is now a perfect three for three after winning both of his starts in 2015. Rafa now sports a career bankroll of $19,000. The Moreau trainee paid $5.90 to win. Rafa In order to be eligible to the Snowshoe, the three and four-year-old pacers had to be non-winners of two races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2015. The second leg of the Snowshoe will take place next Friday (January 15). Live racing continues Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, January 2 - Fresh off a fantastic 2015 harness racing season, Sylvain Filion and Richard Moreau were recognized Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Filion led all drivers on the Woodbine/Mohawk circuit in 2015 with 320 victories and over $6.2 million in earnings. The Milton, Ontario resident finished 101 wins ahead of Doug McNair in second-place. Filion split his 320 wins evenly between Woodbine and Mohawk with 120 at each track. Similar to the driver's category, Richard Moreau was a run-away winner for top trainer. The Puslinch, Ontario resident won 149 races in 2015, 34 more than runner-up Carmen Auciello. Moreau's trainees earned more than $2.6 million. Both Filion and Moreau were honoured in the winner's circle following Saturday's first-race. The Woodbine Entertainment Group was pleased to present both individuals with framed photographs in recognition of their accomplishments. Filion and Moreau have both been named finalists in their respective categories for the 2015 O'Brien Awards. Mark McKelvie  

TORONTO, December 26 - The 2015 harness racing season wrapped up Saturday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack with the annual Boxing Day matinee card. The 221st and final racing day was action-packed with series finals, milestones and meet titles all being handed out. The feature race of the day was the $34,600 Valedictory Series final for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Mohawk Warrior, who was aiming for a series sweep, led a trio of starters sent out by trainer Richard Moreau in the eight-horse contest. Rockinonby, Moreau's newest recruit, sprinted off the gate to the front and posted a sizzling opening-quarter of :25.2. Mohawk Warrior and Cajon Lightning lined up in behind their stablemate to situate the Moreau trainees in the top-three spots entering the backstretch. Mohawk Warrior made a backstretch move to take the lead at the half in :53.3, but Cajon Lightning quickly overtook his stablemate and carried the lead into the final turn. Shades Of Bay, who was pacing fifth, was angled out in the final turn by driver Phil Hudon and was first-up in fourth. After a three-quarter time of 1:22, Cajon Lightning led the field into the lane, while Shades Of Bay grinded towards the leader on the outside and Mohawk Warrior looked for room up the rail. Shades Of Bay had the most to offer in the lane and powered by the leader in deep stretch to score a 5/1 upset by a length in 1:50.3. The Moreau trainees rounded out the top-three, as Cajon Lightning held on for second ahead of Mohawk Warrior. A son of Art Major, Shades Of Bay came into the Valedictory final off a victory Monday night in an overnight event. The Sean Mehlenbacher trainee finished third in the opening leg of the series on December 12. Shades Of Bay now has three wins in four starts since being purchased by Timothy Kim of Toronto in November. The sophomore pacing colt was winless in three starts as a rookie, but now has four wins in 11 starts this season for earnings of over $51,000. The clocking of 1:50.3 established a new Valedictory Series record, breaking Lucky Terror's mark of 1:51 set in 2010. Shades Of Bay paid $13.60 to win. Shades Of Bay In the Niagara Series final, Wanda Bayama completed the series sweep with a dominating victory in the $33,400 contest. A field of ten three-year-old pacing fillies lined up, but all eyes were on Wanda Bayama, the 1/5 favourite. The public's choice paced out comfortably into second, but driver Sylvain Filion quickly right-lined and circled the filly to the lead in the second-quarter. After posting fractions of :56 and 1:25.1, Wanda Bayama waved goodbye to her rivals and opened up more than nine-lengths of separation in the stretch. The Stephane Larocque trainee cruised home under wraps to win by 7¼ lengths in 1:53. Pinky Tuscadero finished second, while Amazing Control was third. A daughter of Western Ideal, Wanda Bayama swept the Niagara Series with a trio of impressive victories. Owned by Bayama Farms Inc, the sophomore pacing filly now has seven wins and over $72,000 earned this season. Wanda Bayama paid $2.70 to win. Wanda Bayama In order to be eligible to the Valedictory and Niagara Series, the three-year-old pacers had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2015. Also on Saturday's card, Sylvain Filion and Richard Moreau completed their impressive seasons by capturing the driving and training titles for the 2015 season. Filion led all drivers on the WEG circuit in 2015 with 320 victories, 101 more wins than Doug McNair in second-place. He capped off his season with a three win performance Saturday afternoon. Richard Moreau was also a run-away winner in the trainer category, as he led all conditioners with 149 victories in 2015. Filion and Moreau will be recognized for capturing the WEG driving and training titles on Saturday, January 4. The busy Saturday also included milestone victories for a pair of veteran trainers. Ben Baillargeon celebrated his 2,000th career training victory Saturday, while Dustin Jones recorded his 1,000th training victory. Trotter Musical Rhythm went gate-to-wire in the sixth-race to record the milestone victory for Baillargeon. Baillargeon, 57, finished third this season in the WEG Trainer Standings with 73 victories. The veteran trainer has sent out the winners of over $1.8 million in 2015. Over the course of his career, Baillargeon's horses have won over $32 million. Four-year-old pacing mare Nat A Virgin captured the afternoon's eleventh-race to give Jones his 1,000th training victory. Jones, 54, has won 39 races and sent out the winners of over $1 million this season. His 39 victories is his highest win total since a 43 win season in 2007, while 2015 marks the fifth-time Jones has topped the $1 million mark in seasonal earnings. The Standardbreds will now take a short-break, but live racing resumes with the first card of 2016 next Saturday, January 2. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, December 18 - A week after a 6-1 harness racing victory, Wanda Bayama was back in the winner's circle Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The three-year-old Stephane Larocque trainee defeated nine rivals in the $18,000 second leg of the Niagara Series. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Wanda Bayama, the 6/5 favourite, got away seventh in the early stages and sat along the pylons until the midway point. Much Adoo, the 2-1 second choice, made a second-quarter brush from third to take command at the half in :57.1. Around the final turn, Wanda Bayama got into the outer flow and sat third-over at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Filion brought his filly to the far outside and she surged by Much Adoo in the final-eighth to win by 2½ lengths in 1:54. Much Adoo held on for second, while Amazing Control finished third just ahead of Pinky Tuscadero. A daughter of Western Ideal, Wanda Bayama now has back-to-back victories and six overall in 2015. The sophomore pacing filly increased her career earnings to over $55,000 for owners Bayama Farms Inc. Wanda Bayama paid $4.70 to win. Wanda Bayama In order to be eligible to the Niagara Series, the three-year-old fillies had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2015. Wanda Bayama will now look for the series sweep in the $33,400 series final on Boxing Day. The Niagara Series final will be joined by the Valedictory Series final on the matinee Boxing Day card. Post time December 26 is 1 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, December 11 - Wanda Bayama came into the "Six" Friday night and ran out of town with a 1:52.4 victory in the first round of the harness racing Niagara Series. A field of ten sophomore pacing fillies contested the $18,000 first leg of three-week Niagara Series at Woodbine Racetrack. Dustylane Msvickie sprinted off the wings of the gate to grab the front and post an opening-quarter of :27.1. However, Trevor Henry was not content to sit the in the two-hole with Much Adoo, the 8/5 favourite, and circled to the front. Wanda Bayama and driver Sylvain Filion sat back in third at 6/1, while Much Adoo caught a breather and took the field by the half in :57.1. Amazing Control came charging first up from mid-pack around the final turn to battle with Much Adoo. The tempo picked up in the third-quarter, as Much Adoo paced a :27.3 quarter to lead the field into the stretch. Filion was able to slide Wanda Bayama, who continued to pace third along the rail, off the pylons at the three-quarter pole for the stretch drive. Much Adoo continued to battle with a stubborn Amazing Control in the stretch and although it appeared the favourite had the victory in reach after putting away the challenger, Wanda Bayama surged by on the far outside to score a 2½ length victory. Much Adoo had to settle for second, while Amazing Control turned her first-over trip into a third-place finish. A daughter of Western Ideal, Wanda Bayama had been racing at Rideau Carleton for Yves Filion before shipping into the Stephane Larocque barn for Friday's starts. Wanda Bayama now sports a record of five wins in 16 starts this season. She made only one start as a rookie and finished off the board. Friday's victory pushes Wanda Bayama's career earnings to over $46,000 for owner-breeder Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, Quebec. She paid $14.90 to win. The second leg of the Niagara Series will take place next Friday (December 18). Winter Series action continues Saturday night at Woodbine with the first leg of the Valedictory. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, December 5 - For the second Saturday in a row, harness racing duo Sylvain Filion and Richard Moreau put on a harness racing clinic at Woodbine Racetrack. Filion drove six winners on the 11-race card, five of which were trained by Moreau. Woodbine's leading driver started his night off strong by winning the first race with pacer Galagher Seelster for trainer Charlie Peake. Filion's next visit to the winner's circle came in the third-race with three-year-old pacer Mohawk Warrior for Moreau. That dangerous driver-trainer combination connected again in the seventh-race with three-year-old pacer American Rock and again in the eighth race, the Autumn Series Final, with sophomore pacer Cajon Lightning. Filion and Moreau's hot streak continued into the late double, as they swept the last two races with veteran pacer Grin For Money and three-year-old pacing filly High Fashion Mel. Filion and Moreau have now won six and five races, respectively, on each of the last two Saturday night cards. The six-pack of victories Saturday night for Filion now gives him 303 on the season at WEG, an 85 win lead in the driver standings over Doug McNair. Moreau's five-wins gives him 142 victories at Mohawk and Woodbine this season and a 35 win cushion over Carmen Auciello atop the trainer standings. Filion and Moreau will look to keep the hot streak rolling on Monday evening. The duo will team up in five of the ten-races. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, December 5 - The harness racing favourites came out on top in a pair of Autumn Series finals Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The three-week Autumn Series for three-year-old colts and geldings wrapped up with a pair of $38,000 finals. Cajon Lightning completed the series sweep with an easy-looking 1:51.3 victory in the pacing final. The Richard Moreau trainee got situated fifth in the early stages with driver Sylvain Filion, while stablemate Doctor Royal led the field by the opening-panel in :26.2. Mach On The Beach, also a Moreau trainee, made a second-quarter brush to the lead from fourth, which allowed Filion to follow and touch down on the front with Cajon Lightning at the half in :55.1. Cajon Lightning opened up several lengths on the field around the final turn and cruised by the three-quarter pole in 1:23. In the stretch, Cajon Lightning coasted home in :28.3 under no urging from Filion to win by 2½ lengths. Naturescape finished up well for second, while Mach On The Beach finished third. A son of Mach Three, Cajon Lightning was sent off as the 1/5 favourite after scoring a pair of impressive victories in the preliminary legs. The sophomore pacer has now won five of 18 starts this season for earnings of over $76,000. Unraced as a two-year-old, Cajon Lightning is owned by Wm Wood, William Dittmar Jr, Stephen Iaquinta and Minisink Farms LLC. The Moreau trainee paid $2.40 to win. Cajon Lightning My My Hey Hey turned in a spectacular performance to win the $38,000 Autumn Series trot final. A trio of scratches left just a field of seven for the series finale. My My Hey Hey, who won a second leg division, was sent off as the 4/5 choice from the rail. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, My My Hey Hey had a rocky beginning and got away last, while P L Icabod cut an opening-quarter of :26.4. Baillargeon was not content to sit at the back with the Ben Wallace trainee and made a bold last to first move in the second-quarter to take command. After reaching the half in :56.3, My My Hey Hey continued to power along on the front and opened a lead of close to seven lengths to trot by the three-quarter pole in 1:25. In the stretch, My My Hey Hey kept the momentum going and trotted home comfortably in :29.3 to win five lengths in a series record clocking of 1:54.3. Stormont Wizard, the second choice at 9/5, trotted up to finish second, while Love Hunter was third. A son of Deweycheatumnhowe, My My Hey Hey has now won four of 13 starts this season for owners Wallacestandardbreds Inc. and Birnam Wood Farms. The sophomore trotter has earned over $54,000 in his first season of racing. My My Hey Hey's clocking of 1:54.3 knocked three-fifths of a second off his previous career mark set last week. The Wallace trainee paid $3.70 to win. My My Hey Hey In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, the Ontario sired three-year-olds had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime or $30,000 in 2015 as of September 30, 2015. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, November 27 - The Murmuring Pan and Much Adoo will have a shot at an Autumn Series sweep after victories in round two of harness racing action Friday night at Woodbine. A total of four $18,000 Autumn Series divisions for three-year-old fillies were contested Friday night. Both the pacing and trotting divisions required two splits. In the first pacing division, Amazing Control came through as the public's choice with a 1:55 victory. The Meg Crone trainee and driver Jody Jamieson got away third and sat in the position through the opening half-mile. Around the final turn, Amazing Control came first up to overtake the lead from Mach Magic and post a three-quarter clocking of 1:25.1. In the stretch, Amazing Control was able to create a few lengths of separation on her rivals and paced a :29.2 final-quarter for a 2¾ length victory. Show Some Leg came from seventh at the three-quarter pole for second, while Double Olives was third. A daughter of Shadow Play, Amazing Control finished second in last week's opening leg. Friday's victory was first of the season for the sophomore pacing filly and second of her career. Amazing Control is owned by Hutt Racing Stable. She has now banked over $25,000 this season and $53,000 overall. Amazing Control paid $4.50 to win. Amazing Control Much Adoo was a repeat winner with a gate-to-wire performance in the second division. The Isaac Waxman trainee was put on the front by driver Trevor Henry and hung up an opening-quarter of :27.4. After fractions of :58.2 and 1:27.2, Much Adoo scooted away from her rivals with ease and scored a 2¾ length victory in 1:55.2. Aniston Seelster, the heavy 1/5 favourite, finished second, while Pinky Tuscadero was third. A daughter of Classic Card Shark, Much Adoo was making her second start for Waxman after posting a 1:54.4 victory in last week's first leg. The sophomore pacing filly has now visited the winner's circle on five occasions this season. Much Adoo is a perfect two for two for owners Aaron Waxman and Alan Alber. Her seasonal earnings currently sit at over $59,000. Much Adoo paid $9.50 to win. Much Adoo On the trotting side, The Murmuring Pan picked up right where she left off last week with another easy-looking victory. Driven by Henry, The Murmuring Pan floated out from post eight and cleared to the lead just after an opening-quarter of :28.1. It was game over for the seven other trotting fillies once the heavy favourite took the lead. The Murmuring Pan posted panels of :57.4 and 1:27.1, before trotting home under wraps in :29.4 for a 4½ length victory in 1:57. Brinkers Dream got up for second, while P L Indyanaca finished third. A daughter of Kadabra, The Murmuring Pan is owned and trained by Paul Reid. The sophomore trotting filly has now won five of eight in 2015, including last week's opening leg in 1:57.2. The Murmuring Pan now has seven career wins and earnings exceeding $75,000. The Reid trainee paid $2.10 to win. The Murmuring Pan After a pair of narrow defeats, Tymal Fireitup was able to come out on top Friday night in the second trotting division. The Julie Walker trainee and driver Sylvain Filion got away fourth in the field of eight. Filion pulled on the right line nearing the halfway point to put Tymal Fireitup first over. Around the final turn, Tymal Fireitup and Filion were able to charge up and poke a head in front at the three-quarter pole in 1:28. In the stretch, Tymal Fireitup trotted home in :29.3 to win by a length in 1:57.3. Aspen California trotted home well to finish second, while Hope Rises was third. A daughter of Kadabra, Tymal Fireitup now has four wins in 20 starts this season for earnings of over $51,000. Walker co-owns the filly with Steven Williamson and Jean Bernard Renaud. Tymal Fireitup now has seven career victories and a bankroll of over $63,000. The clocking of 1:57.3 lowered her career-mark by almost a full-second. The Walker trainee paid $3.90 to win. Tymal Fireitup In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, the Ontario sired three-year-old fillies had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime or $30,000 in 2015 as of September 30, 2015. The fillies will wrap up the Autumn Series next Friday with both finals. The pacing fillies final will go for a purse of $37,800, while the trotting fillies will battle for a purse of $36,800. Autumn Series action continues Saturday night with the second-leg for the three-year-old colts and geldings. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, November 21 – Ontario three-year-old harness racing colts and geldings kicked off their Autumn Series with four divisions Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A total of 18 pacers and 20 trotters made up four $18,000 round one divisions. Mach On The Beach kicked off the night with a 1:52.2 victory in the first pacing division. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Mach On The Beach flashed early speed aiming for the front, while Twin B Sportsman was pacing hard early looking for the lead. Mach On The Beach got to the pylons first and Filion opted to stretch Twin B Sportsman out by the opening-quarter in :26.2. Filion eventually released the challenger at the top of the backstretch. After a half of :55.1, Mach On The Beach came to the outside and surged by Twin B Sportsman to take the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.1. In the stretch, Mach On The Beach left his rivals in his dust and paced away to an easy-looking four-length victory. The Rock finished up with a strong final-quarter to come from eighth to finish second. Sports Lightning finished third, while Windsong Lightning was fourth. A son of Mach Three, Mach On The Beach is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. The sophomore gelding now has seven wins from 24 starts in his first season of racing. Mach On The Beach pushed his earnings to over $60,000 with the victory Saturday, while also lowering his career-mark by more than two-seconds. The Moreau trainee paid $3.90 to win. Mach On The Beach In the second division, Cajon Lightning came first up to win in 1:52.4. Driven by Mike Saftic, Cajon Lightning got away fifth in the early stages, while Doctor Royal and Major Dan took turns on the lead through panels of :26.1 and :56.1. Saftic sent Cajon Lightning first up around the final turn and the even-money favourite was second and less than two-lengths from the front at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Cajon Lightning powered by Doctor Royal and paced home strong in :27.2 for a length and a half victory. Jack Reacher finished second, while Naturescape finished third just ahead of Doctor Royal. Another son of Mach Three, Cajon Lightning is trained by Scott Bell for owner John Taylor. Saturday’s victory was the third from 16 starts this season for the gelding. Cajon Lightning has now earned over $48,000 in his first season of racing. The clocking of 1:52.4 matched his career-mark taken October 12 at Woodbine. Cajon Lightning paid $4.10 to win. Cajon Lightning On the trotting side, Stormont Wizard took the first division in 1:56.1 at odds of 3/5. Driven by James MacDonald, Stormont Wizard trotted out strongly to grab command at the opening-quarter in :28. Down the backstretch, Win The Day came first up from fifth at the half to challenge the leader. MacDonald kept his trotter moving well and turned aside the first-over challenger to lead the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1. In the stretch, Stormont Wizard sealed the deal with a :30 final-quarter to score a two and a quarter length victory. P L Icabod finished second, while Lmc Mass Oak was third. Win The Day rounded out the Superfecta in fourth. A son of Kadabra, Stormont Wizard is trained by Kevin Benn for Stormont Meadows. The sophomore gelding now has two wins in 12 starts this season. Last year, Stormont Wizard scored a single victory in seven starts, while hitting the board five-times. The Benn trainee has banked over $48,000 this season and $74,000 lifetime. Stormont Wizard paid $3.40 to win. Stormont Wizard Love Hunter turned a two-hole trip into a victory in the second trotting division. The Nick Gallucci trainee left quickly for driver Trevor Henry to challenge for the lead, however Gronk, the even-money favourite, pushed forward for the lead and forced Henry into the pocket. After setting fractions of :26.4, :57.3 and 1:27.1, Gronk carried the lead into the lane with Love Hunter on his back. In the stretch, Love Hunter came to the outside and waged war with Gronk, eventually edging by in deep stretch to win by half a length in 1:57. Freddie closed with good speed for third, while Thoughtful Leader was fourth. A son of Holiday Road, Love Hunter entered Saturday’s contest with one win in 10 starts this season. The Autumn Series division victory pushes the gelding’s earnings in 2015 to over $34,000. Love Hunter paid $12.20  to win. Love Hunter In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, the Ontario sired three-year-olds had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime or $30,000 in 2015 as of September 30, 2015. The second round of the Autumn Series for the colts and geldings will take place next Saturday (November 28).

TORONTO, November 16 - Sylvain Filion became the newest member of the elite 8,000 win driving club Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Filion entered the evening just two wins shy of the milestone and wasted little time getting to the winner's circle. After winning an Autumn Series final in the second-race, Filion recorded the milestone victory in the eighth race behind 11-year-old veteran pacer Val America. Filion is the 29th driver in North American harness racing history to reach 8,000 wins. The reinsman reached the milestone mark in his 45,014th career drive. A resident of Milton, Ontario, Filion is currently in the midst of his best season since 2012 with 299 wins on the campaign. He also leads all Canadian drivers in earnings this season with over $6.2 million. The 46-year-old leads all drivers in 2015 on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit with 276 wins and over $5.6 million in earnings. The next milestone on the horizon for Filion is the $100 million mark, as his career earnings total currently sits at over $92 million. The Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to congratulate Sylvain on reaching 8,000 wins. Liberty Lane & Top Royal upset in Autumn Series finals Ontario sired two-year-old fillies were in the spotlight Monday night at Woodbine Racetrack for a pair of Autumn Series finals. The $29,400 final for trotting fillies and $31,800 final for pacing fillies wrapped up the three-week series event In the trotting final, Liberty Lane picked the perfect time to break her maiden, as she scored a 6/1 upset in 1:57.3. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Liberty Lane started from post seven in the field of seven and trotted out strong to try for the lead. After being parked by the opening-quarter, Liberty Lane eventually cleared to the front ahead of the favourite Haileysgonedancing. After posting fractions of :57.3 and 1:27.4, Liberty Lane would not be denied her first victory and held off Haileysgonedancing for a length and a half victory. Jagersro had good closing speed to finish third, while Erja was fourth. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe, Liberty Lane is trained by Paul Reid for owner Robert Key. The rookie trotting filly entered the Autumn Series final winless in 10 starts and exited with earnings of over $33,000. Liberty Lane paid $15.40 to win. All eyes were on Lay Lady Lay, the 2/5 favourite, in the pacing filly final, as the Chris Matthews trainee aimed for a series sweep. However, things did not go as planned. Several fillies flashed early speed seeking the front end with Lady Marina the quickest away. Noone To Depend and Jody Jamieson were not content with the two-hole and quickly circled to the front at the opening-quarter. The lead was short lived for Noone To Depend On, as Top Royal (Phil Hudon), who had yet to see the pylons, touched down on the front early in the backstretch. Meanwhile, Lay Lady Lay did not show early speed and got away seventh. After posting a half of :55.4, Top Royal, who was 12/1, carried the lead around the final turn with Active Lady coming from fifth to press first up. Lay Lady Lay got into the outside flow and was third-over around the final turn, but the favourite made a break and took herself out of contention. Top Royal reached the three-quarter pole in 1:24.3 to bring the field into the stretch. Lady Marina was able to slip off the rail to the outside to try and track down the leader. Lady Marina would get to within less than a length of the lead, but Top Royal showed plenty of grit to fight her off and hold on for the victory in 1:54.1. Noone To Depend On shot up the rail late and nosed out Lady Marina for second, while Active Lady was fourth. A daughter of Royal Mattjesty, Top Royal is trained by Heather Toll and now has six wins from 15 starts in her rookie season. Toll shares ownership of the filly with Brydown Farms Inc. Top Royal matched her career-mark of 1:54.1 with the victory and pushed her earnings to over $44,000. The Toll trainee returned $26.90 to win. In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, the Ontario sired two-year-olds had to be non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of September 30, 2015. Autumn Series action continues Thursday evening (November 19) with the finals for the two-year-old colts and geldings. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications  

Heading into Saturday's $400,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack just one point separates drivers Sylvain Filion and Trevor Henry in the Ontario Sires Stakes Lampman Cup race. Filion has 498 points earned from 204 Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) starts, 40 wins, 28 seconds and 25 thirds, while Henry has accumulated 497 points in 215 starts, scoring 29 wins, 32 seconds and 35 thirds. In the weeks leading up to the Grassroots post season the race between Filion and Henry had been close, but Henry closed the gap when he captured four Semi-Finals last weekend and the Arthur, ON resident is optimistic about Saturday's prospects after drawing inside posts with four of his five Championship mounts. "I drew pretty good I thought," said Henry. "The one filly (Traviata) didn't draw too good, she drew the nine-hole, but I think she can overcome that." Henry won both two-year-old trotting filly Semifinals, guiding Myretirementticket and Traviata to identical 1:57.1 clockings, and the reinsman chose Richard "Nifty" Norman trainee Traviata for the Championship in spite of her outside post. Henry will also steer two-year-old pacing filly Semi-Final winner St Lads Smokin Hot from Post 3, three-year-old trotting colt and gelding Semi-Final winner Duh Bubbees from Post 2, three-year-old pacing filly Stonebridge Quest from Post 2 and three-year-old pacing colt Win One Soon from Post 5. After getting nudged aside by Henry following the two-year-old Semi-Finals, Filion reclaimed his narrow lead in the standings when he captured a three-year-old trotting filly Semi-Final with Meadow Seelster. That filly will make her bid for a third straight win from Post 5, with Filion's other mounts - two-year-old trotting gelding Dynamic Edge, three-year-old trotting gelding Buzz, three-year-old pacing filly Aniston Seelster and three-year-old pacing colt Western Bayama - starting from Posts 1, 9, 1, and 8, respectively. "I think it might be a tough assignment for me, but you never know. Hopefully we'll get lucky," said Milton, ON resident Filion, who also had to overcome outside posts with Buzz and Western Bayama in the Semi-Final round. "We'll need some points." This is the second time Henry and Filion have been neck-and-neck in the race for the Lampman Cup, which is awarded annually in memory of long time Ontario Jockey Club harness racing publicist Jim Lampman. The duo also battled for top spot in 2012, with Filion capturing what would be the first of back-to-back titles. While he was bested by Filion in 2012, Henry is no stranger to the title, having won the point race in 1996 and 2007 What has changed for Henry this time around is the way he has accumulated points. Three years ago the reinsman was plying his trade at the province's smaller ovals - Grand River Raceway, Hanover Raceway, Clinton Raceway and Western Fair Raceway - but in the fall of 2014 he made the decision to race full-time at Mohawk and Woodbine, where Filion has been a fixture among the top reinsman since relocating from Quebec in 2008. "I wanted to slow down and not drive as much as I used to, just drive four or five days a week instead of seven," said Henry, while admitting that peak OSS season remains a seven-day a week commitment. "In the summer it's pretty much every day anyways, with the Sires Stakes and that. I think the other day was the first day off I had in, it was almost three months," added the 44-year-old reinsman. "It's more in the winter-time, in the winter they only race four days at Woodbine." While they are in a virtual dead-heat in the OSS driver's race, Filion is sitting on a comfortable lead in the Mohawk/Woodbine driver standings with 152 wins, 111 seconds, 113 thirds and earnings of $3,353,366 as of Sept. 21. Henry currently sits fifth, with 83 wins, 92 seconds, 117 thirds and $1,795,318 in earnings. "I had a really good start of the year, it's kind of tailed off a bit at the end, but I can't complain," said the 41-year-old Filion. "It's been a very good year." While Saturday's Championship marks the end of the OSS season for the Grassroots competitors, Filion and Henry will continue to duel through the Oct. 10 Gold Super Finals. Both resinmen have impressive mounts at the Gold level, with Filion the regular pilot for top sophomore pacing filly Wrangler Magic and two-year trotting filly Emoticon Hanover and Henry the regular guide for two-year-old trotting colt division leader Deweylovernleaver and his stablemate Smoke Monkey. While Filion and Henry are duelling on the racetrack Saturday, fans can test their Ontario Sires Stakes knowledge in the Spin & Win Trivia game, where every correct answer earns an OSS prize. In addition, fan arriving early for the Grassroots Championship program will receive a special gift with their program purchase and each program contains a ballot for a Super Final Dining and Wagering package for four. The two-year-old colt and gelding trotters kick off the Grassroots Championship at 7:25 pm and the other seven Championships go behind the Mohawk Racetrack starting gate in Races 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 11. Ontario Horse Racing

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, September 4, 2015 - The richest day of harness racing in the province of Quebec for 2015 takes place Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R with the $500,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. There are eight finals on the 13-race program that gets underway at 1:30 pm. The four two-year-old finals each go for a purse of $55,000 and the four three-year-old finals each go for $65,000. The finals culminate three weeks of preliminary races with the top eight pointer earners returning for the finales. Trainer Dany Fontaine leads the way with seven horses from his stable in the finals, four of them look to be the race favorites in their respective divisions. Fontaine's race favorites include Mr Mach Jimmy, Mach On The Beach, Miss Babe Delight and National Trace. Owner Gaetan Bono of Montreal owns six of the seven horses trained by Fontaine and a close second is the Hudson Standardbred Stable of Hudson, QC, who has five entered in the finals. Two full brothers, Seeyou Men (age 3) and Wildwild Men (age 2), both sired by Muscle Mass from the Angus Hall mare, Seeyouinthecircle, head their respective trot finals for trainer Isabelle Darveau. The $55,000 two-year-old trotting filly final is the only race that is not open for betting. It will be held between the 5th and 6th races on Sunday as a non-wagering event. Ontario's top drivers, Sylvain Filion, Mario Ballargeon and Simon Allard are coming to compete in the finals and will go against 3R's best reinsmen, Denis St. Pierre, Pascal Berube, Mario Charron and Stephane Brosseau. "This will be a great day of racing," said Vincent Trudel, the general manager of the Hippodrome 3R. "It shows that our Quebec-bred program is very viable with nearly $750,000 in total purses this year for two and three year-olds in the series." The Hippodrome 3R offers a free race program and live video of the race card at www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Jack Darling​ hauled five two-year-old pacing colts to the harness racing meeting Georgian Downs on Sunday evening and went home with two Grassroots trophies and two runner-up cheques. The Cambridge, ON trainer, who owns all five horses, paired up with driver Jody Jamieson to win the second $18,000 division with Continual Hanover and the final division with St Lads Moonwalk. Notetoself Hanover and King Of Sports were second in the third and fourth splits, with only Vegas Dream failing to earn a pay cheque in the first race. "Continual Hanover is the best Grassrooter, in my opinion." "He's right on the cusp of being a Gold colt," said Jamieson of the duo's first winner." "He was a very easy winner tonight, got a perfect trip." "St Lads Moonwalk also got a great trip and won very handily," added the Moffat, ON resident. Starting from Post 1, Jamieson settled Continual Hanover into second as fan favourite Derecho zipped through fractions of :27, :56.3 and 1:24.4, then popped the colt out coming off the final turn and sprinted home to a five and one-quarter length victory in 1:53.2. Derecho settled for second and Instant Shadow finished third. "1:53.2 tonight is a pretty darn good mile on that track." "I thought it was a pretty impressive mile," said Darling. "He acts like he's kind of, he's almost borderline Gold, but he's had some bad luck." "This is actually the first Grassroots he's won." "These Grassroots this year are a very tough bunch," added the horseman. "By far the best that I've seen, and there's a lot of them." The win was Continual Hanover's first through six starts, with his previous best effort being a pair of seconds in the July 17 and Aug. 13 Grassroots events. Darling trained the colt's Sportswriter half-sister Code One Hanover to earnings of $182,325 last season and was willing to shell out $120,000 for the colt at last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale based on that experience, but the trainer says Continual Hanover has little in common with his sister. "He does a lot of squealing at other horses and when you go on the track he likes to do a lot of bucking and rearing and he's a real pain," said Darling. "He's actually lazy when you're jogging him and training him, but he's just one of those horses, when you put him in a race he puts his game face on and he's just a different horse." "He's all racehorse, where his sister had huge talent but she doesn't try her hardest all the time." "This horse has lots of try when he gets in a race." Darling says desire is also St Lads Moonwalk's best trait. "He's just a real gamer, got all kinds of try to him," said Darling. "He got a nice trip tonight and he finished it off real well." The Mach Three colt got away fifth from Post 4 in the last Grassroots division and Jamieson was able to slide into the outer lane behind Gotti heading for the half and trail that colt through the three-quarters. Coming around the final turn Jamieson sent St Lads Moonwalk out three-wide and the colt accelerated down the stretch to a two length win in 1:56.2. Only Half Bad and Moot Court also closed well to be second and third. The win was the second straight for St Lads Moonwalk, with his first coming in the Aug. 13 Grassroots event at Rideau Carleton Raceway. In five lifetime starts the $47,000 yearling purchase has posted two wins, one second and one third. Darling did not earn a share of the $18,000 purse in the first division, which went to Sutton Seelster off a pocket trip behind Twin B Machniven. Sutton Seelster and driver Tyler Moore of Guelph, ON hit the wire one-half length ahead of Twin B Machniven in 1:55.3, with Day Trade Hanover three more lengths back in third. Dr. Ian Moore of Guelph trains Sutton Seelster, a Camluck colt acquired from the Forest City Yearling Sale for $31,000 by Nor Easter Stable of Guelph. Sunday's win was the pacer's first, and came in his third lifetime start and first Grassroots appearance. The third division trophy went home with Perseverant, who got a come-from-behind steer from the Ontario Sires Stakes program's leading reinsman Sylvain Filion. The Vintage Master son powered home to a one length victory in 1:55.1, besting Darling's Notetoself Hanover and Rockstar Dreams. The win was Perseverant's third straight and first in Grassroots action. Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC conditions the colt for owner-breeder Determination of Montreal, QC. Kokanee Seelster moved to the top of the two-year-old pacing colt division point standings with his second Grassroots win. The only colt to win on the front end, Kokanee Seelster and driver Phil Hudon of Guelph rang up fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:25.2 on their way to a 1:54.3 score in the fourth division. Darling trainee King Of Sports finished two lengths back in second and Three Truths was hot on his heels in third. Acton, ON resident Anthony Montini conditions Kokanee Seelster for Ming Siu of Richmond, BC and Edmund Lui of Parkhill. In three Grassroots outings the Camluck son has two wins and one second for a point tally of 125, 11 more than St Lads Moonwalk and Blue Zombie. The freshman pacing colts will make their fifth Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack on Aug. 31 and then wrap up their regular season at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 7. The top 20 point earners from the six regular season events will square off in a pair of Semi-finals at Mohawk on Sept. 17, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 26. Ontario Horse Racing

AUGUST 21, 2015 - In the second last regular season Grassroots event, at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening, Western Bayama proved he belongs at the top of the three-year-old pacing colt standings. Starting from Post 8 in the last of four $18,000 Grassroots divisions, Western Bayama and driver Sylvain Filion used enough power to land in fourth on the rail as favourites Jody Jamieson and Sporting The Look zipped out to a :27.2 opening quarter. As the pacesetters reached the :57 half, Filion fired Western Bayama up the outer lane and took clear command of the lead before the 1:24.3 three-quarters. Turning for home with a three and one-half length lead, Western Bayama and Filion sailed under the wire one and a half lengths on top in 1:52.3, a new personal best for the colt. Dialamara and Sporting The Look attempted to rally in the stretch, but had to settle for second and third. "Western Bayama was very good tonight. We might have caught Jody off guard," said Milton, ON resident Filion about his third-quarter sweep to the front. "He's a nice little horse with a lot of speed, and he's very handy. "I've got to give trainer Stephane Larocque credit for having him fresh and good," added the reinsman, who currently tops the Ontario Sires Stakes driver standings with 400 points. Carlisle, ON resident Larocque conditions Western Bayama for owner-breeders Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC. Through the first five Grassroots events the colt has posted three wins, one second and one fourth for a total of 183 points. Western Bayama Driver Randy Waples and trainer Bob McIntosh took two of the other three Grassroots divisions, teaming up with Artful Way in the second split and Thinkofagameplan in the third. Starting from Post 5, Artful Way rang up all the fractions on his way to a 1:52.3 clocking, digging in down the stretch to hold off mild favourite Mach Code and claim the half-length victory. Twin B Scandal finished two lengths back in third. Windsor, ON resident McIntosh bred, owns and trains Artful Way, who jumped to second in the division standings with the win, also his third in Grassroots action. In addition to his trio of wins, the Artistic Fella son has one third and one fifth for a total of 167 points. In the third division Milton, ON resident Waples once again opted to control the tempo and fan favourite Thinkofagameplan rolled along through fractions of :27.1, :57 and 1:26 before battling down the stretch to a neck victory over Filion and Ace Of Clubs in 1:53.2. The Fire Within was one and one-quarter lengths behind the leaders in third. Friday's win came in Thinkofagameplan's first appearance in the Grassroots program. The Ponder colt started his Ontario Sires Stakes season at the Gold Series level, logging one third, one fourth and one seventh before McIntosh decided to alter course. The Hall of Fame horseman shares ownership of the homebred with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, ON. Artful Way Thinkofagameplan Favourite Southwind Indy posted the fastest time of the four Grassroots divisions, sailing under the wire in a personal best 1:51.3 to kick off the evening's Ontario Sires Stakes action. The Sportswriter gelding and driver Steve Condren bested Make Some Luck by one and three-quarter lengths, with Waples and McIntosh trainee Regal Sight rounding out the top three. Milton, ON resident Condren crafted the win for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, ON, West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON and breeder Southwind Farms LLC of Pennington, NJ. In four Grassroots starts Southwind Indy has two wins, one second and one third for 137 points and sole ownership of fifth spot in the division standings. Southwind Indy The top 20 colts in the standings following the regular season finale at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 2 will qualify for the Sept. 18 Semi-finals at Mohawk. The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will secure a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at the Campbellville oval on Sept. 26. Ontario Horse Racing

Throughout his career Luck O The Irish has been a consistent player on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit, but the three-year-old trotting colt has recently found a new gear, posting his third straight victory and his first Gold Series win of the season at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday. "I'll tell you what it is, he's a big-strided colt and he's finally developed power to drive his stride," said trainer Tom Durand of the colt's win streak. "He always had the big stride, but he just couldn't power it, and it's just like all of a sudden it kind of clicked." "The combination of that and starting to race him a little more aggressively, once he saw the front end there a few starts ago he kind of woke up," added the Puslinch, ON resident, who trains the colt for his wife June Durand. Luck O The Irish found the winner's circle for the first time this season off a front-end effort in a July 28 non-winners of two races contest at Mohawk, stopping the teletimer at 1:55.2. Two weeks later he lowered his personal best to 1:54.4, winning a three-year-old conditioned event crowded with his Gold Series peers. On Monday, starting from Post 5 in the second $70,000 Gold division, driver Sylvain Filion powered the colt off the gate and landed in third on the rail. Rubber Duck rang up the :27 opening quarter, but he was not in charge for long as Milton, ON resident Filion moved Luck O The Irish to the front. The fan favourites led the field to a :55.4 half and a 1:25.4 three-quarters and then Luck O The Irish demonstrated some grit, holding off the pocket-sitting Rubber Duck to record a quarter length victory in a personal best 1:53.3. Boli finished well behind the leaders in third. "His form's coming really good, a new lifetime mark three weeks in a row now, so it probably won't happen again," said Durand with a chuckle. In 11 starts this season Luck O The Irish has tallied three wins, four seconds and one third for earnings of $80,040. At two the colt captured one Gold Leg, finished second three times and third once in nine starts, for earnings of $141,210. A homebred by Holiday Road and out of Kavita, the consistent youngster has become one of the Durand's favourites. "He was a very shy boy as a yearling, very shy." I wouldn't say nervous, but very shy." And I think for that reason I didn't have people begging to be partners on him." He didn't strike you as a brave horse that would be such a good racehorse," recalled the trainer. "Other than that he's been pretty straightforward." "He's kind of a dream horse in many ways, we kind of love him." Monday's win, added to the second, sixth and ninth Luck O The Irish posted in the first three Gold Legs, give the colt a total of 78 points and put him among the top 10 point earners with one regular season event remaining. Last year's division champion Dont Rush earned his second Gold trophy of the sophomore campaign with a three and one-half length triumph in Monday's first Gold division. The Infinitif colt lowered his personal best to 1:53.2 with the victory over Madman Hall and Olympic Son. Trainer-driver Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON shares ownership of Dont Rush with Greg Judson of Athens, ON. Through six starts this season the colt now has three wins and one third for earnings of $104,160, boosting his lifetime earnings to $401,145. With two wins and one fifth in Gold Series action, Dont Rush sits in second spot in the standings with 105 points. Eternal Quest leapt to top spot in the division standings with a 1:53.4 score in the final division. Sylvain Filion picked up his second Gold Series win, and fourth of the evening, steering Eternal Quest through deep stretch traffic to nab the neck victory over Covert Operative and Platoon Seelster. Guelph, ON resident Chad Milner conditions Eternal Quest for Murray Ferguson Jr. of Sutton West. In eight starts the Pilgrims Taj son has three wins, three seconds and one third for earnings of $114,440. In four Ontario Sires Stakes appearances Eternal Quest has one Grassroots win, two Gold Series wins and one runner-up result in the Gold Series. He currently leads the division with 125 points. The three-year-old trotting colts wrap up their regular season at Mohawk Racetrack on September 28. The top 10 point earners from the regular season will return to the Campbellville oval for their $250,000 Super Final on October 10. Ontario Horse Racing

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