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London, February 27, 2019 -- The Camluck Classic is now less than three months away at The Raceway at Western Fair District and officials at the London oval have released some of the details for the track's Signature harness racing event. The Camluck Classic is a $150,000 Invitational Pace which headlines the Closing Night program. The event will move back to its traditional Friday night time slot on May 31st - after switching to a Saturday night last year. The powerful undercard will include the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old filly pacers, a quartet of City Of London Series finals as well as several Preferred races. Rockin Ron captured the inaugural Camluck Classic in 2018 in a track-record time of 1:50.1 for driver Louis Philippe Roy and trainer Ron Burke. The $1.6 million winner is expected back to defend his title while local stars such as Jimmy Freight and Sintra are also on management's radar. Visitors will once again have a chance to enjoy the action from the confines of the giant Infield Tent which was a hit with guests last year. It offers a unique vantage point and entertainment experience with fantastic food and beverage offerings for just $50 plus tax. Tickets to the Infield Event will go on sale April 1st. The Party on the Patio will be back this year bigger and better than ever. Along with the delicious food and beverage offerings that will be available, popular local entertainers Sarina Haggarty and Connor Morand will be on hand performing their unique mix of new material and cover songs throughout the evening. Fans enjoying the Infield Party at the 2018 Camluck Classic There will be many other contests and giveaways that night with more details to come. To stay up to date on the Camluck Classic and everything happening at The Raceway, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard

London, ON  - The Raceway at the Western Fair District honoured its top performers from 2018 during the annual awards night on Saturday, February 23 at the Carousel Room at the London, Ont. raceway. A capacity crown was on-hand for the event which included a reception, dinner, dancing and the awards presentation. Spicey Victor was the star of the show as the claiming trotter took home three awards, including Horse of the Year for regular trainer Len Lalonde. He was also crowned Older Trotter of the Year and Claiming Trotter of the Year. The veteran gelding scored 20 victories in 2018 with 12 of them coming at The Raceway. Driver Scott Coulter captured his first driving title at Western Fair thanks to an outstanding season in 2018. Patrick Shepherd also notched his first training title with a one-victory score over Vic Puddy. The annual Walltyme Stable Lifetime Achievement Award went to the husband and wife team of John and Linda Yake. Jennifer Pinkerton was named Ruth Herbert Horsewoman of the Year. Finally, Dillyn Jackson was crowned Caretaker of the Year. Here is a look at the complete list of the 2012 Western Fair award winners: A list of the 2018 Raceway Award winners appears below. Horse Of The Year: Spicey Victor Older Pacing Horse: Artistic Pick Older Pacing Mare: Casino Classic Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt: Maximus Power Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly: Together We Run Older Trotting Horse: Spicey Victor Older Trotting Mare: Espoir Go Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt: Cold Beer Here Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly: Miller Time Claiming Pacer: So Long Sugar Claiming Trotter: Spicey Victor Driver: Scott Coulter Trainer: Patrick Shepherd Owner: Rebecca Williamson by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway

London, ON - February 18, 2019 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District has announced that long time horseman Larry Fitzsimmons will be inducted into its prestigious Wall of Fame during the annual ceremony which will take place this year on Friday, May 17th. The native of Hanover, Ontario first fell in love with the horses as a youngster when he would attend the Fall Fairs with his father. In 1965, he turned that passion into a career when he opened his own stable. Since that time, Fitzsimmons has not missed a race meet at Western Fair and during his 54-year career has won many Trainer of the Year titles at the London oval. He has bred and developed many top performers and some of the horses he is best known for include quarter-million dollar winners Stonebridge Celest ($440,000) Angels Uprising ($309,000) and Laurstar ($251,000). One of his favourites is Chicopee Star who was his first OSS winner and became his first broodmare. She is the grandmother of current Fitzsimmons' barn favourite Jake Parrish. Fitzsimmons will be inducted into The Raceway's Wall of Fame during a ceremony at the track that night which will also include the Wall of Fame feature race. From the Raceway Media Department    

Officials with The Raceway at Western Fair District have announced that the track has been forced to cancel its harness racing live card that was scheduled for Wednesday (February 13). The cancellation has come due to unexpected heavy snow and snow squalls in the region along with treacherous travelling conditions for racing participants. The next card of live racing at Western Fair is scheduled for Friday, February 15. First-race post time for the card has been slated for 6:55 p.m. By Greg Gangle, for The Raceway      

Please find below a Statement from The Raceway in regards to the CPMA's investigation into an unusually low exactor payout which occurred on January 16th at The Raceway at Western Fair District. STATEMENT An unusually low exactor payout in 7th race on January 16th, 2019, at The Raceway at Western Fair District, prompted management to contact AGCO officials along with the local CPMA (The national regulator responsible for oversight of Pari-Mutuel wagering) rep in order to investigate the wagering patterns for that race and the origin of the winning tickets. Our tote provider immediately provided us with wagering information which showed that the bulk of the winning tickets were sold at a tote hub in Kentucky. The CPMA investigation into the race in question has concluded that the bets were placed in accordance with the regulations. The investigation found no evidence of any wrongdoing and found that all protocols were properly adhered to. In response to this occurrence, The Raceway has instituted a new 'stop betting' protocol whereby wagering will be closed earlier to reduce the chances of a similar situation happening in the future. From Greg Blanchard, for the Raceway  

Woodbine Entertainment has announced that tonight’s card (February 4) of live Standardbred racing at Mohawk Park has been cancelled due to unsafe track conditions caused by mild temperatures. Live ​harness racing is scheduled to resume Thursday evening (February 7) at 7:10 p.m. The Raceway at Western Fair District has been forced to cancel its live harness racing program which was scheduled for this evening due to deteriorating track conditions caused by unseasonably warm temperatures. The thawing conditions are a result sunshine and temperature of plus-10 degrees Celsius while coming on the heels of a deep freeze which gripped Ontario last week. The track will be closed for training on Tuesday morning and live racing is scheduled again for Tuesday night at 6:15 p.m. Track officials will monitor the track overnight and into Tuesday and will update the status of the program at that time.      

Due to the extreme cold and concern for the health and welfare of the drivers and the horses, live racing on Wednesday January 30 at both Monticello Raceway in New York and The Raceway at Western Fair in Ontario, has been canceled.    .      

January 29, 2019 - A group of Ontario's signature race tracks - Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway and The Raceway at Western Fair District - have jointly announced a new ownership integrity stakes condition which will take effect on February 15, 2019 and will apply to some of the province's most high profile races. Those races include the Confederation Cup, Earl Rowe Memorial, Battle of Waterloo, Battle of the Belles and Camluck Classic, all administered by the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) which implemented a similar stakes condition on January 1st of this year. The new stakes condition, which has received the approval of both the AGCO and COSA, is listed below in its entirety: The Tracks Any owner who participates in an added money or invitational event with a purse greater than $50,000 and administered by Woodbine Entertainment Group on behalf of Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, The Raceway at Western Fair District, and/or Grand River Raceway with a trainer who has an outstanding Class 1, Class 2 or TC02 positive test under appeal in any jurisdiction, shall be ineligible to participate as an owner in any of the below added money or invitational events for 12 months following the trainer's conviction, if such trainer is later found guilty relating to the Class 1, Class 2 or TC02 positive test. (The above condition is only applicable to a positive test occurring on or after February 15, 2019.) The Races Confederation Cup conducted at Flamboro Downs Earl Rowe conducted at Georgian Downs Camluck Classic conducted at the Raceway at Western Fair District Battle of Waterloo conducted at Grand River Raceway Battle of the Belles conducted at Grand River Raceway by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment          

An unusually low exactor payout in Wednesday's (January 16) 7th race at The Raceway at Western Fair District prompted us to contact Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) officials along with our Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) rep in order to investigate the wagering patterns for that race and the origin of the winning tickets. Our tote provider provided us the pertinent wagering information which showed that the bulk of the winning tickets were sold at a tote hub in Kentucky. This type of wagering anomaly has occurred before during the past couple of seasons and in each of those instances the bulk of the winning tickets have been traced back to the same Kentucky Hub. A prior investigation included officials from that location and found no evidence of collusion or anyone driving in a questionable manner in that race. We are continuing to look into this instance and we support the regulators in investigating this situation to the fullest extent required. Greg Blanchard The Raceway at Western Fair District    

London, January 3, 2019 -- Veteran trotter Spicey Victor and pacing mare Casino Classic will headline the winners of the Raceway at Western Fair District's 2018 harness racing awards. Spicey Victor captured both Aged Male Trotter and Claiming Trotter of the Year while Casino Classic picks up her second Raceway Award - she will be honoured as top Older Pacing Mare after capturing Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year last year. Officials with The Raceway have announced the majority of the track's 2018 award winners to be honoured during the Western Fair's annual awards night, which will take place this year on Saturday, February 23. The Raceway's top performers for 2018 will be honoured in a variety of categories. Awards for the three-year-olds and older horses are based on the top money earners who made at least six starts at The Raceway during 2018. The top claimer awards are based on total number of claiming wins at The Raceway in the same calendar year. Trainer Patrick Shepherd will take home his first Raceway Trainer of the Year award while Scott Coulter will be honoured with his first Top Driver award. The Owner of the Year award, sponsored by Standardbred Canada, goes to the owner who finished in the top 10 for money winnings and had the highest number of starters during the season. The popular Caretaker of the Year award will be handed out once again. To qualify, caretakers must be nominated by Friday, February 1st. To nominate someone, send an email outlining their contributions to one of the following: gblanchard@westernfairdistrict.com, sdoyle@westernfairdistrict.com, ggangle@westernfairdistrict.com, or aotoole@westernfairdistrict.com. The Raceway will announce its Horse of the Year the night of the event. The Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award, Caretaker of the Year and Ruth Herbert Horsewoman of the Year awards will also be announced at the event. The evening will include dinner and dancing. Tickets go on sale beginning Friday, January 11th with the deadline to purchase on Wednesday, February 20th. Anyone interested in attending should note that tickets for this year's event will not be sold at the door so are urged to purchase before the deadline. They will be available in both the race office and marketing department. For more information, call 519-438-7203 (Ext. 299). A list of the 2018 Raceway Award winners appears below. Older Pacing Horse • Artistic Pick Older Pacing Mare • Casino Classic Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt • Maximus Power Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly • Together We Run Older Trotting Horse • Spicey Victor Older Trotting Mare • Espoir Go Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt • P C Glideline Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly • Miller Time Claiming Pacer • So Long Sugar Claiming Trotter • Spicey Victor Driver • Scott Coulter Trainer • Patrick Shepherd Owner • Rebecca Williamson Greg Blanchard  

The Raceway Announces Dates Changes For 2019 London, January 1, 2019 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District kicks off its 2019 season tonight and officials at the London half-mile oval have announced some of the details of the track's upcoming Spring season. The Raceway will once again host 125 race dates in 2019 and one of the important date changes will be that of the second edition of the $150,000 Camluck Classic Invitational on closing night. The track's signature event will move back to the traditional Friday night time slot - Friday, May 31 - after being raced on a Saturday night this past season. "We tried a change to Saturday night this past year for a variety of reasons and were not satisfied with the results, so have opted to go back to our traditional spot this year," said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. "We race in the Friday slot all season and customers have become accustomed to that. I know we are excited to make the change back to Friday and I think the fans will be too. It gives us more overall visibility than we would get on a Saturday night." The Raceway will also host a special Mother's Day matinee card on Sunday, May 12. First race post time will be 12:55 p.m. In lieu of the holiday card, The Raceway will be dark on Monday, May 13. The Raceway will be also be dark on Wednesday, May 29 in preparation for the Camluck Classic card that Friday. Fans are reminded that beginning tonight, live racing shifts to a four-day-a-week schedule through May 31. Live racing goes each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. and Fridays at 6:55 p.m. The Raceway will be announcing its 2018 award winners in the coming days along with the date for the annual award's dinner and presentations. For more information, please visit www.westernfairdistrict.com.   Greg Gangle

Two provincial organizations say they fear for the future of harness racing in the region and want the province to financially back the sport at the Western Fair District.  Gateway Casinos and Entertainment announced it had signed a lease in the city's south end, instead of the current Western Fair grounds, for an expanded facility.  Gateway casino cashing out will be a blow to racing at Western Fair District London Councillors raise questions about Gateway's casino plans That puts the future of racing in the region in jeopardy, said Bill O'Donnell, president of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association.  "We're very concerned about the future of racing in the London region which has been a hotbed for harness racing for many decades," O'Donnell said.  "We were very disappointed with Gateway's decision and the effect it will have on racing in the London area." The Raceway at Western Fair has more than 100 race dates annually and provides a livelihood for thousands in the region, O'Donnell said in a statement.  The daily amount of money wagered is second only to the Woodbine Entertainment tracks in Toronto, he added.  The Western Fair has asked for financial support from the province to continue the racing operation.  "We have confidence that the Ford government will work with us to ensure that the necessary funding will be made available to continue racing at The Raceway at Western Fair supporting our horse people, our rural regional communities and the city of London," Fair officials said  O'Donnell and John Hayes, chair of Ontario Racing, say they support the request for provincial cash.  "We solidly support this request and are optimistic it will be honoured given the Ford government's very vocal support of the restoration of the slots at racetrack program and horse racing," O'Donnell said.  Reprinted with permission of CBC News

LONDON...With just three cards of harness racing remaining in the calendar year, The Raceway's trainers title could come down to the wire. Heading into the Boxing Day card at the London oval, Patrick Shepherd holds a slim one-win lead over fellow conditioner Vic Puddy. Shepherd is in search of his first London training title and is in the midst of a career-best season with over 200 wins along with surpassing $1 million in season earnings. Puddy has been one of the top conditioners at The Raceway in recent years and will look to defend his title after being crowned The Raceway's top trainer in 2017. O'Brien Award finalist Richard Moreau has been a dominant conditioner at The Raceway for many years is currently sitting third, just two wins back of Shepherd. Another O'Brien Award finalist, Kyle Bossence, is stalking in fourth with 31 wins this season. The Arthur, Ont resident has been named a finalist for the Rising Star Award. Name - Wins Patrick Shepherd - 35 Vic Puddy - 34 Richard Moreau - 33 Kyle Bossence - 31 Three final cards are remaining in the calendar year, which will be hosted on Boxing Day (1:15 p.m.), December 28 (6:55 p.m.) and New Year's Eve (6:55 p.m.). Greg Gangle

London, December 21, 2018 - The great Foiled Again returned to the scene of his two harness racing Molson Pace victories with a stop at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Friday night. The visit was part of the 14-year-old's Farewell Tour and gave Local fans the opportunity to meet the sport's richest ever performer in person. Fans had the chance to meet the legend during the night and were then invited to join him in a winner's circle photo later in the evening where he was presented with a jumbo greeting card that had been signed by fans and horse people. 'We want to thank the connections of this great champion for bringing him to London one last time,' said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. 'He has had many great moments on this track and I was happy to see so many local fans get a chance to pay tribute to him.' Foiled Again made 7 appearances over the half mile oval during his career, including back to back wins in the Molson Pace in 2011 and 2012. He will race Saturday night at Mohawk Park in his last Canadian appearance before facing the starting gate one last time at his home track The Meadows in New Year’s Eve. Live racing returns to The Raceway tomorrow afternoon at 1:15 pm then again on Boxing Day, December 26th, at the same 1:15 pm start time. Greg Blanchard

Amid fears the loss of a proposed $140-million hotel-casino complex could cripple it, London's Western Fair District is already banking on other money —  not all of it certain — to keep the 150-year-old organization alive. Winded, but not down. Amid fears the loss of a proposed $140-million hotel-casino complex could cripple it, London’s Western Fair District is already banking on other money —  not all of it certain — to keep the 150-year-old organization alive. Part of that hope rests on the Ontario government, which the chief executive is counting on to extend a helping hand to the Western Fair’s horse-racing track, as it has done elsewhere in the province, even though Doug Ford’s government is battling a huge budget shortfall. Hugh Mitchell, president of the Western Fair District, said the organization asked the government seven weeks ago to shore up horse racing in London if the private casino operator that runs the slots pulls out of the site. Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, which had been locked in long-running negotiations to get a better lease deal at Western Fair, this week confirmed it has signed a lease in southwest London that will take it out of the fair district, planning instead to build a new casino complex along Wonderland Road near Wharncliffe Road.   Casino giant inks site deal to leave Western Fair District Canada’s largest private casino operator has ditched plans for a new hotel, restaurant and casino complex at the Western Fair grounds in London, instead inking a deal at a site in the city's south... Under the existing lease for the slots casino at the fairgrounds, Western Fair District rakes in $6.2 million a year — money that may be gone for good after the lease expires in March 2020 unless the Progressive Conservative government steps in to help fill the loss. “There’s a silver lining in every cloud, and we’ll find it,” Mitchell said Thursday, after issuing a news release that stressed Gateway’s move puts the fair’s horse racing “in jeopardy.” “The important thing is that we’re not asking for any more than the current lease than was negotiated with government for racing,” Mitchell said. But whether that help will come is far from a sure thing. The Ford government faces huge hurdles trying to whip Ontario’s budget red ink, which the province’s fiscal watchdog says will rise to $12.3 billion this year — half a billion dollars more than originally forecast. Asked by The Free Press whether the province plans to support horse racing at Western Fair, one London-area MPP in Ford’s cabinet was sparse on details. “The PC government understands the importance of live racing in Ontario, including here in London.  We will continue to support the industry moving forward,” Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek wrote in an emailed response. “However, this is a matter between Gateway, the City of London and the Western Fair. We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely,” added Yurek, the Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP. Support for horse racing, meaning help to pay racing purses that support the industry, was one of the reasons Ontario first located its mini-casinos with slot machines, like London’s, at racing locations. RELATED Casino giant inks site deal to leave Western Fair District City hall moves on rezoning for Gateway casino and hotel Is price paid for Southwestern Ontario casinos still a secret? You bet Western Fair boss focusing on big-ticket plans as departure nears Politicians endorse expanded gambling in London Ontario has since moved to get out of directly running gambling operations, hiving off big chunks of the business to private operators like Gateway, which was awarded gambling rights for much of Southwestern Ontario. The government announced this fall that slots will remain in a number of communities where the racing industry depends on the revenue, including in Hiawatha in Sarnia — just minutes away from a new casino opened by Gateway in Point Edward. That’s a good sign, politicians said Thursday. “Both the Western Fair and the city and the province seem to be committed to a vibrant harness racing industry,” said Coun. Josh Morgan, who also sits on the Western Fair board, but spoke in his capacity as a city politician. “Aside from harness racing, I’m not concerned about the viability of the Western Fair as an organization,” he said, adding it continues to diversify and add other business attractions, including its hockey arena, animal and trade shows and its farmers’ market. Morgan added Gateway’s southwest location will be a “benefit for taxpayers” because it’s a fully-taxable site. “The business units still stand on their own merits,” Mitchell said, adding there are events at the fairgrounds every weekend from September through June. Mayor Ed Holder weighed in on Gateway’s move, saying he has “a lot of confidence” in leadership at Western Fair to keep the organization profitable. “Western Fair has been around for 150 years, and part of the strength is that it continues to reinvent itself. I’ve lived in London long enough to see them make great strides,” he said, citing the slots, market, arena and Agriplex. Horse racing has had a “see-saw” relationship with provincial governments, Holder said, noting Gateway’s move could be a challenge but that it’s still early to figure out next steps for the Western Fair. Keeping Gateway’s investment — “hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs” — in London is good for the city, he added. “Businesses have the right to choose their own location, what works best, and I have to applaud Gateway for their strong financial commitments to the city,” Holder said. The British Columbia-based company needs rezoning for its new southwestern site before it can build a casino along Wonderland Road. “Councillors want to keep the jobs in London, have the direct investment in London. Gateway, to their credit, wants to be in London,” Holder said. “My feeling is that council will look at one of two choices: Either they’ll (Gateway) be in London at a place of their choosing, or not. To me, that’s the clear thing. I’m not sure that it’s government’s place to tell business where they should do their business.” Megan Stacey, The London Free Press Reprinted with permission of The London Free Press

London, December 19, 2018 -- The Foiled Again farewell tour will make one final stop at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Friday, November 21. The 14-year-old, 108-time career winner is the richest Standardbred of all-time with more than $7.6 million in earnings. The Standardbed icon will lead a post parade and enjoy a meet-and-greet with fans. Customers and horse people are also encouraged to participate in a winner's circle photo with Foiled Again which will take place during a special ceremony during the race card. A giant 'Happy Retirement' greeting card will also be available for horse people to sign in the paddock and will be presented to the connections that night. The Raceway will also offer an exclusive giveaway featuring commemorative Foiled Again hockey pucks. A limited edition of 150 of the pucks will be given away trackside that night. Foiled Again has been travelling North America in recent months making stops at various tracks giving fans one final glimpse of the champion. The son of Dragon Again is set to retire at the end of this season following stops at Woodbine, Mohawk Park on December 22 along with The Meadows on New Year's Eve. Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stable, Foiled Again raced in London's Molson Pace six times, winning the event back-to-back in 2011 and 2012.   Greg Gangle

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