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London, February 22, 2018 - The Raceway at Western Fair District wishes to advise harness racing people that Friday morning's qualifying session has been postponed and will instead be held next Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. The switch has been made to allow the track crew to perform maintenance on the racing surface ahead of Friday night's live race program which is scheduled for 6:55 p.m. The track will also be closed for training on Friday morning.            

London, February 21, 2018 -- Two days of steady rains and warm temperatures have forced The Raceway at Western Fair District to cancel its Wednesday night harness racing card of racing due to unfavourable track conditions. Live racing is scheduled to resume on Friday evening with a first race post time of 6:55 p.m.  

February 19, 2018 - The Raceway at Western Fair District was forced to cancel its Monday night harness racing program after six races due to deteriorating track conditions caused by steady rains and warming temperatures throughout the evening. The track has canceled its Tuesday night program as temperatures are forecasted to climb overnight along with heavy rainfall. The weather prognosis looks slightly better for Wednesday evening's card and management will update the status of that program on Wednesday morning.  

Friday night’s action at The Raceway at Western Fair District saw the Ontario harness racing debut of barn fire survivor Bad Bad Diva. Now owned by Lou Sorella and Katie Miller, the four-year-old ‘pint-sized’ daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven is one of two survivors from a tragic barn fire that left five horses dead last August. Trainer Brittany Bounds, of Seaford, Delaware, lost five horses (My Little Tater Tot, Gangster Granny, In Front Charlie, Ezekiel Kandu and Standtuecemewin) to the blaze, but Mi Six and Bad Bad Diva were able to escape. “Being a survivor – she’s just meant to be with us,” mentions Sorella. “My wife Maria is a breast cancer survivor and this little mare is a great fit for our ‘Team’.” Lou Sorella, aka #LouKnows – a guest handicapping regular at The Raceway, is the director of Team To The Moon – a campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. The ‘Team’ consists of horses, trainers and drivers coming together in support of this most worthy cause through harness racing. Team members donate one percent of their earnings with all proceeds going towards Breast Cancer Awareness.     Bad Bad Diva, leaving from the trailing spot over The Raceway’s half-mile oval, got away in fourth position early – before making the first up move prior to the half. Driver J Harris would ask the mare for more with a quarter of a mile left to go and she would respond in a big way. “J said she was huge,” says Sorella. “When he kicked the ear-plugs out - she was gone!” And gone she was… A going-away winner under wraps - by four open lengths at the finish line - in 2:07 at the added distance of 1-1/16M. “That was a big trip,” stated Sorella. “She was out well before the half mile and what a show of speed when my driver asked for it… Away from the races for well over a month – that was some return – we’re so happy to have her!” Conditioned by young ‘up-and-coming’ trainer Kyle Fellows, Bad Bad Diva had the betting public behind her as she returned $4.20 on a win ticket, but she would still top a massive Super Hi 5 payout worth $5741.47 on a $.20 cent ticket. Racing resumes at The Raceway Monday at 6:15 ET.   By Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Track Announcer at The Raceway

London, February 12, 2018 - Horseplayers will have some added incentive to tune into the Tuesday night harness racing program at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the addition of a $20,000 Instant guaranteed pool in the early Super Hi-5 in race 6. The late Super Hi-5 riddle on Monday night's program - won by 9-2 shot Twilite Zone - went unsolved triggering a carryover of almost $5,800 into the Tuesday program. Post time for Tuesday night's card is 6:15 p.m. Free programs, analysis and live streaming video are all available at www.westernfairdistrict.com. Track announcer Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle will break down the Super Hi-5 and the entire Tuesday program on the pre-game show which airs at 5:45 p.m. (E.T.). Greg Blanchard

After a successful 25-year run as the The Raceway at Western Fair District's signature race, the Molson Pace, will have a new name in 2018. Introducing The Camluck Classic, a $150,000 Invitational Pace, featuring the best older harness racing horses in North America. It will make its debut on a new date this year - Saturday, May 26 at the London half-mile oval. The new race name is a tribute to the late world champion pacer who went on to become the most prolific stallion in Canadian harness racing history. The Raceway is very excited to announce our new title sponsor for the biggest night of racing in London - Seelster Farms of Lucan, Ontario. "We thank Molson for what has been a wonderful partnership for a quarter century," said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. "But change is inevitable and this marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for this race and for racing in this part of the province. Camluck helped put this area on the harness racing map and we think it's fitting that the race be renamed in his honour." Camluck hit the race track in the early 1990's under the tutelage of trainer Bob McIntosh and compiled an excellent record at ages two and three for McIntosh, who was part of the New Destiny Stable that co-owned the pacer along with Al McIntosh. At age four, he competed as one third of the powerful McIntosh-trained trio that also included triple millionaire Artsplace and the $1.4 million winner Odds Against. Camluck concluded his career on the race track with 26 wins from 69 starts and just over $1 million in purse winnings. However, it was in the breeding shed where the handsome son of Cam Fella would truly make his mark and, in the process, he raised the bar for the Standardbred breeding industry in Canada. Camluck sired close to 2,400 foals with more than 2,000 of those making it to the races. "When he first went to stud I was cautiously optimistic," recalls McIntosh. "He was a tough race horse and had great conformation but sons of Cam Fella hadn't really hit as sires to that point. I took a shot and bred about 18 mares that first year and it all turned out pretty well. I'd have to say he's one of the greatest pacing stallions ever." His offspring combined for earnings in excess of $235 million and included 635 $100,000 winners and 28 winners of $1 million or more. "To have this race named after him is very special to myself and the entire group associated with the horse. As a kid, London was the track I came to most with my dad and I have a lot of fond memories over the years. I've watched this race grow and was even fortunate enough to win it so this is definitely a big deal, said McIntosh." Ann Straatman of Seelster Farms in Lucan, home of Camluck for more than 20 years, shares the sentiment of the entire group. "We are delighted to have him immortalized in the prestigious Camluck Classic at The Raceway at Western Fair District, which is our home track and thrilled to be be the Presenting Sponsor," she said. "Camluck's legacy will live on for generations through his sons and daughters and having this race named in his honour will now add to that legacy." The Raceway's signature night of racing got its start in 1972 and was sponsored by Labatt until 1992 when Molson took over sponsorship. "This race is almost 50 years old now and it's amazing to look back to watch its evolution,' said Blanchard. "It has become more than a race, it is also a terrific event we look forward to enhancing in the future. We are very proud to host a race of this stature and are fortunate to have attracted some of very best in the sport who have produced some of the most memorable and exciting races in recent years" Additional Event details will be available in the coming weeks at www.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard

London, January 29, 2018 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District has announced its five harness racing finalists for 2017 Caretaker of the Year. They will be recognized at the annual awards night on Saturday, February 17. Horse people were asked to submit nominations throughout the month of January and the five finalists chosen will now be voted on by horse people this week at The Raceway to determine this year's recipient. A ballot box will be set up in the paddock and voting will take place during the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday programs. The five deserving finalists are Marta Dicicco, Brad Doyle, Cassidy Schneider, Tammy Durbridge and Taylor Fritz. All five will be honoured at the awards celebration and the winner will take home the Caretaker of the Year trophy. Tickets for the awards night are still available at the race office or by contacting Amy O'Toole at aotoole@westernfairdistrict.com. Tickets are $40 per person or $45 at the door and the evening includes a cocktail reception, dinner, awards ceremony and DJ and dance to follow. The Raceway at Western Fair District      

London, January 2, 2018 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District wishes to advise customers and harness racing people that it has made a slight adjustment to its first race post on Friday night programs to 6:55 p.m. "It is a small change of 10 minutes, but as other tracks have recently changed their post times, this better positions us in the simulcast marketplace and gets customers and horse people home a bit earlier on Friday nights," said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. The new post time will come into effect this Friday, January 5th. The Raceway is now operating on its four-day-a-week racing schedule as follows: Monday - 6:15 p.m. Tuesday - 6:15 p.m. Wednesday - 6:15 p.m. Friday - 6:55 p.m. The Raceway at Western Fair District

London, January 1, 2018 -- Goldstar Badlands and Jagersro, with 11 wins each, headline the list of 2017 harness racing award winners at The Raceway at Western Fair District. Officials with The Raceway have announced the majority of the track's 2017 award winners to be honoured during the Western Fair's annual awards night, which will take place this year on Saturday, February 17. The Raceway's top performers for 2017 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 2017. The top claimer awards are based on total number of claiming wins at The Raceway in the same calendar year. Trainer Vic Puddy will take home his second consecutive Trainer Of The Year award while Bob McClure, who is enjoying a career-best season in the race bike, captured his first ever London driver's title. 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, January 26. To nominate someone, send an email with your reason why 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. Also that night, Racing Under Saddle (RUS) Ontario will present its Outstanding Service Award and recognize its top performers of 2017. The evening will include dinner and dancing and tickets go on sale beginning Friday, January 12. 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 2017 Raceway Award winners appears below. Older Pacing Horse • Goldstar Badlands Older Pacing Mare • Solid Queen Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt • Mach One Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly • Casino Classic Older Trotting Horse • Liam Needsome Older Trotting Mare • Jagersro Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt • Pingaling Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly • Ionia Claiming Pacer • Remus Blue Chip Claiming Trotter  • Riddle Me Miss Driver • Bob McClure Trainer • Vic Puddy Owner  • Jeff Williamson Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award • TBA Caretaker • TBA Horse Of The Year • TBA Ruth Herbert Horse Woman Of The Year • TBA RUS Outstanding Service Award    TBA Greg Blanchard

December 28, 2017 -- The race for top harness racing trainer at The Raceway at Western Fair District for 2017 looks as though it could come right down to the wire on New Year's Eve. With just two programs remaining, conditioner Gord McDonnell holds a one-win lead in the standings over defending champion Vic Puddy (35-34) while Craig Gilmour sits two back at 33. McDonnell, who is in search of his first Raceway training title, will send out just one starter over the final two programs - veteran Katherine B who is the 9-5 morning line choice in Friday night's fifth race. Gilmour sends out two starters on Friday night in Zahfire and Big Lis but does not have any horses entered for New Year's Eve. Meanwhile, Puddy has strength in numbers, sending out three starters on Friday and three more on the final card this Sunday. The Auld Lang Syne Trot and Pace will highlight the New Year's Eve program and it will mark the final career start for a pair of 14-year-old London fan favourites. Weskey, a 59-time career winner with more than $326,000 earned will leave from post 5 in the trot in race 8 while Pacific Oak, a 56-time career winner of more than $453,000 will occupy post 3 in the pacing event in race 9. Those on track Sunday night will have a chance to win a set of tickets to next summer's Trackside Music Festival at The Raceway, featuring Dierks Bentley, and a Coors Light Snow Board. Live racing will be followed by a New Year's Eve 'After Party' at the Top Of The Fair. The 2018 live racing season will kick off on Monday night (New Year's Day) with a 6:15 p.m. start time. The Raceway adds Wednesday's to the weekly schedule which is as follows: Monday - 6:15 p.m. Tuesday - 6:15 p.m. Wednesday - 6:15 p.m. Friday - 7:05 p.m. Live racing continues through the end of May and will be capped off by Molson Pace Night which has been moved this year to Saturday, May 26th. Greg Blanchard

London, December 22, 2017 - For harness racing fans looking to get their racing fix over the holidays, The Raceway at Western Fair District kicks off a busy stretch of 8 race programs in 13 days with an excellent 10-race program tonight at 7:05 p.m. The London oval will also host a special Saturday matinee program tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. along with the traditional Boxing Day afternoon card next Tuesday, also starting at 1:15 p.m. A pair of Alliance Series Finals - both contested at 1-1/16 miles - will highlight the Boxing Day program. The $13,700 Final for $7,000 horse and gelding claiming pacers goes in race 6 and is led by 2-1 morning line choice Veroi Bayama who was a solid winner in leg two of the series, a race he was claimed out of by trainer Lindsey Kerr. The 8-time winner this season starts from post 4 with Garret Rooney listed to drive. Remus Blue Chip enters the final fresh off a pair of wins in London, including a 2:05.3 win at the distance two starts back. He will have to overcome the trailing post 9 on Tuesday with Nick Steward in the bike. A wide open field will square off the in the $14,400 Alliance Final for $15,000 claiming pacers in race 11. Phone In, Godro Hanover, Lyons William and Now What Hanover were all impressive winners in the series with Godro Hanover given morning-line favourite status from 4 with Colin Kelly listed to drive for trainer Joe Pereira. A number of local drivers, along with Santa, will be on hand to greet fans as they arrive on Boxing Day with a commemorative giveaway item. Three lucky fans will have a chance to pick a prize from the Gift Tree and there will be second chance draws throughout the afternoon. There is limited seating available for the Boxing Day Brunch at Top Of The Fair. To make a reservation, email topofthefair@westernfairdistrict.com or call (519)-438-7203 (ext. 252). Live racing is also scheduled for next Friday, December 29th and again on Sunday, December 31st (New Year's Eve). Fan favourites Weskey and Pacific Oak will make their final career appearances in the Old Lang Syne Trot and Pace as part of the New Year's Eve card. The night also features a pair of fantastic prize giveaways including a pair of tickets for next summer's Trackside Country Music Festival at The Raceway and a Coors Light Snowboard. The wagering menu will be bolstered by a $10,000 guaranteed pool in the late Pick-4 that night and there will be a New Year's Eve after party following live racing at the Top Of The Fair. Fans are reminded that there is live racing on New Year's Day, Monday, January 1st, which kicks off the track's 4-day-a-week schedule throughout the end of May. The Raceway will feature live racing every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. and Friday at 7:05 p.m. For complete details, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard

London, December 14, 2017 -- The race for the 2017 "Trainer Of The Year" at The Raceway at Western Fair District is coming right down to the wire with just nine programs remaining in the harness racing season. Heading into Friday night's card at the London oval, Craig Gilmour holds a slim two-win lead (33 to 31) over fellow conditioner Gord McDonnell. Defending champion Vic Puddy isn't far behind with 30 wins to his credit so far. Gilmour is in search of his first London training title and is in the midst of a career-best season with 79 wins overall and close to $500,000 in seasonal earnings. McDonnell, has been one of the top conditioners at The Raceway in recent years and may be the hottest of the trio right now having sent out four winners from his last six starters. Puddy, who won last year's training title in London, has surpassed $1 million in seasonal earnings for the fourth time in the last five seasons and recently went over 2,000 wins lifetime. He sends out two starters Friday night and will have a chance to close the gap on his two rivals who both have no horses entered on the program. The Raceway will be a busy place over the next three weeks and here is a look at the complete holiday race schedule: Friday, December 15 - 7:05 pm Monday, December 18 - 6:15 pm Tuesday, December 19 - 6:15 pm Friday, December 22 - 7:05 pm Saturday, December 23 - 1:15 pm Tuesday, December 26 - 1:15 pm Friday, December 29 - 7:05 pm Sunday, December 31 - 7:05 pm Monday, January 1 - 6:15 pm Greg Blanchard

CAMPBELLVILLE, November 21, 2017 - The Standardbred Alliance today released details regarding a group of harness racing claiming series to take place during the month of December at Flamboro Downs and The Raceway at Western Fair District. The Alliance Holiday Claiming Series will have six events with three held at Flamboro and three at Western Fair. Each series will have two preliminary legs and an added-money final. The conditions for each series are as follows: Event A: Trot, Claiming $8,500. Allowances for Age & Sex. Event B: Pace, Horses & Geldings, Claiming $7,000. Allowances for Age & Sex. Event C: Pace, Horses & Geldings, Claiming $15,000 for Non-Winners of $30,000 lifetime, as of midnight, December 1, 2017. No allowances on earnings. Event D: Pace, Fillies & Mares, Claiming $7,000. Plus Allowances. Event E: Pace, Fillies & Mares, Claiming $15,000 for Non-Winners of $30,000 lifetime, as of midnight, December 1, 2017. No allowances on earnings. Event F: Trot, Claiming $15,000 for Non-Winners of $30,000 (Fillies & Mares $37,500) lifetime, as of midnight, December 1, 2017. No allowances on earnings. (Note: Events A, B, C will be raced at Western Fair and Events D, E, F will be raced at Flamboro) The nomination fee for each event is $100 ($80 USD) and nominations close Friday, December 1. The nomination form can be viewed by clicking here. If sending nominations by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than December 1, 2017 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. Alliance Holiday Claiming Series payments can also be made online at www.woodbineentertainment.com/sbpayments.   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Media Communications

London, November 20, 2017 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District is gearing up for another busy and exciting holiday season featuring 14 live harness racing  programs during the month of December and some exciting events to go along with it. There will be a special afternoon program on Saturday, December 23rd beginning at 1:15 p.m. It will give customers a final opportunity to play the horses prior to the short Christmas break and there will be draws for holiday gift cards throughout the afternoon. The Top Of The Fair dining room will be open featuring the track's Pub Night menu. The always popular Boxing Day afternoon program will take place on December 26th, also featuring a 1:15 p.m. start time. Three patrons will be selected that afternoon to pick a fantastic prize item from the Gift Tree and there will be second chance drawings throughout the day as well. The Top Of The Fair will feature the annual Boxing Day Brunch and the Carousel Room will be open for customers to watch and wager on the races with food also available. The Raceway will be the place to celebrate New Year's Eve in London. The live race program will get underway at 7:05 p.m. and features the annual running of the Old Lang Syne Trot and Pace for the veteran performers. Among the expected starters this year will be 14-year-old trotter Weskey and 14-year-old pacer Pacific Oak - both have become fan favourites at the London oval. There will be a grand prize draw that night for a Coors Light snowboard and second chance draws for tickets to the Wine and Food Show and Home Show along with betting vouchers and more. Guests are invited to stay following racing and ring in the New Year with dancing and party favours at the Top Of The Fair. The Raceway is currently operating on a three-day-a-week schedule - Mondays and Tuesdays at 6:15 p.m. and Fridays at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night programs will be added in the new year with a 6:15 p.m. first post. Seating at the Top Of The Fair is filling up quickly. To make a reservation call (519)-438-7203 (ext. 252) or email topofthefair@westernfairdistrict.com. For full details on everything happening at The Raceway at Western Fair District, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard

An industry older than Confederation, one that looms especially large in Southwestern Ontario, is shut out of behind-doors deal-making that could spell its demise. Harness racing in North America dates back to 1788 and was thought as recently as five years ago to support up to 60,000 jobs in Ontario. But five years after Ontario slashed funding from slots revenue to the industry by more than half, those who depend on horse racing in the London region — breeders, trainers, drivers and many who supply the business — fear the death knell may be approaching. “You got to feel kind of helpless,” said Mark Horner, who owns a stable in St. Marys and is a director of Standardbred Canada and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association. Big change is coming to the Western Fair District after the province’s gambling arm, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., (OLG), licensed away gaming in much of Southwestern Ontario in private bidding won by Vancouver-based Gateway Casinos & Entertainment. That winning bid has led to a complex set of negotiations, with Gateway demanding more favourable terms than what OLG paid to use the slots building at the fairgrounds in London, home to the region’s largest racing operation. Gateway is in the business of casinos, not horse racing, so when its spokesperson threatened to moved the casino from the fairgrounds if the company can’t secure a good deal, that sent shock waves through the local horse racing industry that’s been on shaky grounds since 2013. “It put a knot in your stomach,” Horner told The Free Press. In horse racing, it’s the greyhound-like thoroughbreds that draw the biggest spotlight, from the rolling hills of Kentucky to the racetrack at Woodbine. But while thoroughbreds are a high-stakes game and the domain of the wealthy, sturdier standardbreds — the horses used in harness racing, where they pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky — are the lifeblood of Ontario racing because they can race four times as often and deliver more predictable returns, Horner said. Western Fair offers the second-biggest racing purses in Ontario, he said, and if that’s lost or even diminished, the entire industry in the province may be trotting towards extinction. Hugh Mitchell, the chief executive at the Western Fair District, knows the stakes. “Without the lease payments we can not support live racing,” Mitchell said. “We’re working with the government and Gateway to find a solution.” Negotiations are tough because they involve agreements between four different entities: Gateway, OLG, Western Fair and the city of London, which co-owns most of the fairgrounds. “I’ve never seen something so complex — not in my lifetime, and I’m 63. . . There’s a lot of heaving lifting left,” Mitchell said. “It really has (created) apprehension . . . This is thousands of jobs . . . The horse people are anxious. Most have spent their lives in this business (and) they’re not at the (negotiating) table.” Horner is confident Mitchell does want to save horse racing – but he doesn’t know if the Western Fair has the leverage to get what it wants and Horner doesn’t see an ally in OLG, calling talks with the government agency an “uphill battle.” As for Gateway, it has no interest in subsidizing horse racing. And while it hopes an expanded casino can partner with the racetrack, it’s the former that is the company’s focus. “They are two separate entities,” Gateway spokesperson Rob Mitchell said. “We bid on a casino. (It) has nothing to do with horse racing.” Gateway wants a larger casino that would also host table games and its signature restaurants, and possible a hotel as well — plans that require a far bigger piece of real estate than what’s now home to the building housing slot machines at Western Fair District. Gateway has asked the city and Western Fair to sell it land they jointly own or to reduce the $6 million a year OLG pays to lease the casino building, a deal that expires in 2020. The company’s bargaining pitch is simple: If you want 700 new jobs and more than $140 million in investment, sell us the land or give us a better deal. So while Fairgrounds CEO Hugh Mitchell never imagined a hotel at the fairgrounds, he concedes that’s what Gateway wants, and if a deal is to be made to save horse racing, there may need to be new streams of revenue. “We’re looking for complimentary uses that benefit all four parties,” Hugh Mitchell said. “Horse racing is in our DNA.” Whether a hotel fits in city plans remains to be seen, however. Possible opponents include those who represent existing hotels. “I know none of the hoteliers are happy about it, the early rumblings,” said Luca Monti, sales manager at Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites London and a board member of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association’s London branch. “We welcome the tourists coming to the city, for sure, but if that’s going to be a one-stop destination, and have everything covered in that complex there, it’s worrisome to all of us.” “We don’t think it will put us out of business, by any means. But it’ll hurt numbers.” His concerns resonate with Coun. Phil Squire, who’s skeptical a new hotel and expanded casino will breathe more life into the Old East Village. “I don’t think people should get too excited about the economic development in the area around it, because normally a casino creates a little area around it where you don’t get as much development, because everything is self-contained. “The gambling, the restaurant, the accommodation is all in the casino structure,” Squire said. The ward councillor, Jesse Helmer, shares that view. “Casinos are not like other kinds of business. Generally speaking, they face inward. The goal is to keep people in there as long as possible, and provide everything they need in the facility, so it can tend to be a bit of an island,” he said. Even residents in the Old East Village have mixed views of an expanded casino, said Helmer, citing “a mix of cautiously optimistic and just cautious.” Helmer himself sees potential pitfalls and benefits to an expanded casino. “The social impacts that come with gambling, especially problem gambling, are really significant,” and it’s easy to “underrate” the negatives, he said. “(But) if (Gateway) relocates the casino out of the community, there might be an impact of millions of dollars on the city budget, and we’d have to make changes in the budget to accommodate that. We’d have to raise taxes or cut some services or push things off in the future. People need to understand those trade-offs,” Helmer said. “The licence is for a big geographic area. Conceivably, Gateway could operate in a different location. That’s something else we have to keep in mind.” Gateway has said it prefers the Western Fair site but will look elsewhere in London if a favourable deal can’t be struck. Once Gateway completes a deal with London, it will turning to gaming operations and horse racing elsewhere in the region, including Clinton and Dresden, said Ian Fleming, manager of the Clinton Raceway. “People are obviously nervous, Fleming said. “There have been a lot of changes the past four or five years.” By Jonathan Sher, Megan Stacey, The London Free Press Reprinted with permission of The London Free Press   PLAYERS AT THE TABLE City of London Now getting about $4.5 million a year from OLG, based on a percentage of slot revenue. Received $597,500 in rent in 2017 from Western Fair District. An expanded casino and hotel would bring construction jobs and long-term employment but also create competition for existing hotels and other entertainment venues.   Western Fair District Getting $6 million a year from OLG for use of the slots building, according to Gateway. With its agricultural roots, wants to keep horse racing viable. Most of its lands are co-owned by the city.   Gateway Entertainment and Casinos Won licensing bids to run government gambling enterprises in southwestern and northern Ontario. Wants a much bigger London casino that includes table games, signature restaurants and possibly a hotel.   Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Wants to modernize — squeeze more cash — out of gambling operations in Ontario by handing the keys to private operators that win bids. Giving about $160 million a year in benefits to the horse racing industry through the Horse Racing Partnership Funding Program and tax relief for horse-race wagering.   NOT AT THE TABLE (BUT WITH STAKES IN THE OUTCOME) Horse racing industry Saw its share of slot money slashed in 2013 from $345 million a year to about $90 million plus tax reductions Before the change in funding, about 60,000 jobs were directly or indirectly related to horse racing; about half those jobs were lost   London hotel industry Doesn’t want to lose customers to a hotel built on city-owned land   Old East Village Redevelopment there might get an assist from an expanded casino and hotel.   THE EXISTING DEALS: OLG and Western Fair District: Facility lease through 2020 that pays the fair $6 million a year, according to Gateway OLG and city of London: City gets about $4.5 million a year from a deal signed in 2013 that lasts until there are no longer games there or the licensing permit is no longer available. City and Western Fair District: Lease payments that resulted in $597,500 in 2017; the fair is exempt from property taxes, since most of its land is co-owned by the city. Any new or expanded building need the written approval of the city as well as the required permits. City also co-owns the existing grandstand slots building and half of the parking lots in front of the grandstand where the casino might be extended. OLG and Gateway: Gateway won bid for southwestern gaming services that include a casino in Point Edward and slots in London, Woodstock, Clinton, Dresden and Hanover, the last three of which have raceways.   HORSE RACING HISTORY 1788: An English thoroughbred stallion named Messenger is shipped to America through whom all Standardbreds, a more durable but less speedy breed, trace their ancestry.   1849: A great grandson of Messenger and the first standardbred, Hambletonian 10, is born in a rural hamlet about an hour north of New York City. He would go on to produce more than 1,300 foals by 1875 and make rich an illiterate stable hand named Rysdyk. 1879: The National Association of Trotting Horse Breeders agreed upon standards that require a stallion to trot a mile in two minutes and thirty seconds or better, or 2:35 if hitched to a wagon. The new name of the breed is called a standardbred and is best known for harness racing. * Source: Standardbred Canada

London, October 20, 2017 -- Saulsbrook Peach captured harness racing's inaugural Veterans Classic Pace - part of the first ever Veterans' Classic night held on Friday at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The London oval was playing host to the first-time event which honoured Military Veterans, past and present, in a unique way during the night's 10-race harness racing program. The evening began prior to the race program with opening ceremonies performed by 1st Hussars Military Troop, followed by the official unveiling of the Raceway's new 'Veterans Inspired' winner's circle. Fans also had a chance to meet several veterans and check out the various military vehicles and displays that were on hand throughout the facility. Video tributes were shown between races as well. The inaugural Veterans Classic Pace went in race 7 and it was the Isabelle Darveau trainee Saulsbrook Peach who went wire-to-wire in 1:56. The eight-year-old notched his 23rd career win for driver Robert Shepherd and owner Catheline Pelletier. Live racing resumes at The Raceway this Monday night with a first post of 6:15 p.m. Greg Blanchard      

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