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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

London...The Raceway in London, Ontario, will once again be one of the busiest tracks in North America during this upcoming holiday season featuring seven harness racing programs over a 13-day period. For the second consecutive year, The Raceway will team up with long time industry partner Wilson Tack to present Christmas In The Paddock on Saturday, December 22nd. This will be the final program prior to the Christmas break with a special start time of 1:15 p.m. All horse people racing that week (December 17,18, 21 and 22) will have a chance to fill out a ballot for one of dozens of prizes to be drawn during the Saturday afternoon program. Fans are reminded that in addition to that program, The Raceway also features live racing on December 26 (Boxing Day) at 1:15 p.m., December 28 at 6:55 p.m.,December 31 (New Year's Eve) at 6:55 p.m. and January 1 (New Year's Day) at 6:15 p.m. The first Wednesday program of the new year is slated for January 2nd at 6:15 p.m. The great Foiled Again will make his final appearance in London on the evening of Friday, December 21st. The richest pacer of all-time and two-time Molson Pace champion will be on hand to meet fans during the night and there will be a special retirement presentation during the night were 150 fans will have a chance to take home a commemorative Foiled Again hockey puck. Seats at the Top Of The Fair are going quickly for both the Boxing Day Brunch and New Year's Eve Buffet. To make reservations, call (519)-438-7203 (ext. 239) or email topofthefair@westernfairdistrict.com. For full details on what's happening at The Raceway in December, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. The Raceway Holiday Draw Schedule The Raceway at The Western Fair District would like to remind horse people of the holiday draw schedule and a pair of special post times over this holiday season. There will be live racing on Boxing Day (Dec. 26) at 1:15 p.m. (Eastern) as well as a special New Year's Eve program with first post at 6:55 p.m. The holiday draw schedule is as follows: Race Date - Draw Date Friday, Dec. 21 - Monday, Dec. 18 Saturday, Dec. 22 - Tuesday, Dec. 18 Wednesday, Dec. 26 - Wednesday, Dec. 20 Friday, Dec. 28 - Friday, Dec. 21 Monday, Dec. 31 - Thursday, Dec. 27 Tuesday, Jan. 1 - Friday, Dec. 28 Wednesday, Jan. 2 - Friday, Dec. 28 Friday, Jan. 4 - Saturday, Dec. 29 All boxes close at 9 a.m Greg Gangle

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

London, November 29, 2018 -- The Foiled Again farewell tour will make a special stop at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Friday, November 21. The 14-year-old, 106-time harness racing 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 leading up to the event and will be presented to the connections that night. "Foiled Again has truly become the people's horse and we really appreciate the fact that the connections have agreed to bring him here one last time during this farewell tour," said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. "He obviously has a special place here as a two-time winner of the track's long time signature race The Molson Pace." 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 Fair and Pari-mutuel tracks and giving fans one final glimpse of the champion. "He really is that once in a lifetime horse," said Blanchard. "To achieve what he has over such a long illustrious career sets him apart from the other great champions. And, we are thrilled that our local fans will have a final opportunity to come out and see him in person and pay tribute to this superstar." The son of Dragon Again is set to retire at the end of this season following stops at Woodbine, Mohawk Park on November 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  

London, November 27, 2018 -- Ontario Sires Stakes graduate Daylon Magician etched himself into the harness racing provincial history books Tuesday night at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The 10-year-old son of Kadabra-Daylon Marvel, with Bruce Richardson in the bike, captured the $11,500 Preferred 2 event which catapulted him over the $2 million mark in career earnings. In the same race, his four-year-old son Scene A Magician was just nipped at the wire for second in the 1:59.2 mile. Owned, trained and bred by Dave Lemon, the 33-time winner, Daylon Magician, made just his second start of the season after standing stud the past two seasons. Daylon Magician was voted as Canada's Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the year in 2011 following victories in the $1 million Canadian Trotting Classic, Canadian Breeders Championship and multiple Ontario Sires Stakes victories. From 83 career starts, Daylon Magician has compiled a record of 33-10-14. Greg Blanchard

LONDON... Harness Racing participants hosted a fundraiser on November 19 at The Raceway at Western Fair District along with Woodbine, Mohawk Park in support of Kirsty Dustin, who is undergoing treatment for Breast Cancer. Organizers Shannon Henry and Natasha Day are pleased to announce that over $15,000 was raised in the forms of cash, personal cheque e-transfers and gift vouchers. "We didn't have any expectations going into this fundraiser," trainer Shannon Henry said. "We just wanted to help our friend in the industry. We would have never guessed that we could do what we did and we are so grateful to everyone who supported Kristy. There is no doubt how strong of an industry we have." Kristy Dustin, 33, was on-hand in Race 4 on Monday evening at The Raceway and was greeted by many trainers and drivers along with family and friends. Racing participants at Woodbine, Mohawk Park also took the time for a group photo in honor of Dustin. Following the completion of the fundraiser, Dustin wanted to acknowledge her 'thank you' to the industry. During the past few months, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, I have been faced with challenges, fears and emotions that one never expects to experience. But with each step, something profound always appears that takes my breath away - right in the midst of all the chaos. Some blessings or occurrences I might have otherwise missed. The benefit night on November 19th was most certainly one of those blessings and an amazing act of kindness to help my family and I get through this time a little easier. Words don't seem adequate when it comes to the gratitude that my family and I have for the support, both emotionally and financially, that has been shown to us. We are in awe of the fundraising efforts that took place at The Raceway in London, at Woodbine Mohawk Park and on social media reaching even as far as Florida. We are so grateful to everyone that helped make it possible and organized all the efforts, especially Natasha Day and Shannon Henry. Getting to see so many friendly faces that night, whether it be in person or over the simulcast, it has lifted my spirits and reminded me of how privileged I am to have grown up in and be a part of such a loving industry and community of horsemen and women. If I could have been in two places at once, I would have in an instant, if only to thank and hug every driver, trainer, owner, groom or staff member that showed their support for me. Even the simple act of those who wore a pink ribbon is truly heartwarming and something I will never forget. So, if going through breast cancer is one of the toughest challenges that I have to go through in my life, all of you have made it that much easier to continue the road ahead to being cancer-free. Sincerely, Kristy Dustin & Family If anyone is looking for more information about the fundraiser or interested in donating, please contact organizers Shannon Henry (519-831-6921) or Natasha Day (519-498-3203). Greg Gangle

London, ON - November 15, 2018 - Due to the inclement weather that is forecasted for overnight and into Friday morning in London, the qualifying session slated for the London oval has been postponed until next Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. The track will also be closed for training Friday morning to allow the track crew time to remove snow and get the track ready for live racing on Friday night. First post for the Friday night program is 6:55 p.m. by Greg Blanchard, for The Raceway

London, ON  - The harness racing drivers' title for the 2018 season at The Raceway at Western Fair District could go right down to the final program on New Year's Eve as Scott Coulter and Robert Shepherd are stride-for-stride for wins at the half-mile oval. Coulter currently leads all drivers with 111 wins on the season while Shepherd isn't far behind with 102 trips to the winners circle. With 20 cards remaining on the calendar this year, the dash title could come down to the wire. "It wouldn't surprise me," said leading driver Scott Coulter. "'Shep' and I have enjoyed ourselves this year, but we also can't count out Alfie (Carroll) and Colin (Kelly). Those guys have been on a big run as of late." The veteran driver said his devotion to The Raceway this season is a prime reason for his success. "I really dedicated myself to Western Fair all season compared to other years," he said. It's been really paying off. I've had success and that comes from the trainers giving me their confidence and horse power. "I think I've been more patient as of late and not over-driving," he continued. "I've been able to pick up the pieces late in the mile and not be as aggressive." The Brantford resident banked over $1.6 million in earnings this season and is just one win shy of 250 trips to the winners circle. Robert Shepherd is also on the verge of a milestone as the reinsman is one win away from 300 for the year. "The main thing is staying healthy. I've had my fair share of accidents over the years," Shepherd said. "I have a young family at home so it's more important as ever to make sure I'm healthy." The Flamborough resident was quick to credit the trainers and owners. "I've had a lot of good clients all year that have stuck with me and that really means a lot. It's always nice to show up to work and have the power between the shafts." Shepherd remains nine wins back of Coulter with seven weeks of racing left. "It should be a lot of fun," said Shepherd. "Hopefully I can close the gap and make it interesting." The Raceway is entering one of its busiest times of the year, currently operating on a three-day-a-week schedule - Mondays and Tuesdays at 6:15 p.m. and Fridays at 6:55 p.m. Wednesday night programs will be added in the new year with a 6:15 p.m. first post. For more information, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway

Racing participants from both Woodbine, Mohawk Park along with The Raceway at Western Fair District are stepping up in support of Kristy Dustin. Kristy, the daughter of long-time horsemen Greg and his wife Doreen Dustin, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer this past summer and is currently undergoing treatment. The 33-year-old and husband Matt, share two young daughters, Abbigael, 9, and Kamryn, 3. Kristy along with her mother began The Raceway's Harness The Hope in support of Breast Cancer 13 years ago after Doreen was diagnosed. Doreen is cancer free, while Kristy begins her own fight. Kristy has already began treatment which will continue for the next six to eight months followed by another surgery. Driver Natasha Day along with trainer Shannon Henry spearheaded the idea of horse people stepping up in support. "Our industry is one of a kind and we always seem to support people in need," said Shannon Henry. "Natasha and I spoke about this idea and thought it would be a great idea to have a night that trainers/driver/owners could donate a portion of their winnings to a great cause." Day echoed Henry's thoughts. "I mentioned the idea to a few of our drivers at Western Fair and there wasn't any hesitation. People want to help," she said. "That snowballed into the Mohawk drivers room and the whole idea quickly came to fruition. It's really great to see the industry coming together." Monday, November 19 both Woodbine, Mohawk Park and The Raceway at Western Fair District will host an evening to support Kristy Dustin. Drivers/trainers and owners on that evening that are willing to donate a portion of their earnings are encouraged to contact Natasha Day and/or Shannon Henry. "Everyone is encouraged to participate in their own way as well," Henry said. "We've started a conversation on social media and it's gone viral. We have people participating as far as south Florida. What a wonderful gesture as we begin the holiday season." Day will be a special guest with track announcer Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle on Tuesday evening at The Raceway. The pregame show is set to begin at 5:45 p.m. For more information please contact Shannon Henry (519-831-6921) or Natasha Day (519-498-3203). From The Raceway at Western Fair District      

London, ON - October 23, 2018 -- The Raceway at the Western Fair District, in partnership with KYIS Embroidery, will host the 13th Annual Harness the Hope Fundraiser this Friday, October 26th with proceeds going to benefit the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. Harness the Hope has become a staple at The Raceway and one of the major events that kicks off each racing season in London. It is the brainchild of Doreen Dustin a survivor herself and wife of local horseman Greg Dustin, along with their daughters Kristine and Brandi. With two diagnoses in the family now, most recently being her youngest daughter Kristine at the age of 33, this year only stresses the importance of why these events and efforts are necessary. "The reason we've continued this each year is because of the tremendous support we've received from the industry. And, every year we have women in our community who are diagnosed and it keeps reminding us of the importance of this cause." Doreen explains. The Raceway will be decked out in pink once again with festivities beginning at 6:00 p.m. Some of the events include the popular "Winning Key Contest" with 5 Grand Prizes this year instead of 3, in which keys can be purchased for $20 each and after Race 6 everyone will be able to try their keys in the locked boxes to unlock a grand prize. Grand prizes total over $5,000 combined value and include; an Apple iPad 128GB with Apple Pencil, a Yamaha Complete Surround Sound Audio System, a Samsung 58" 4K Ultra Smart TV, a Broil King Baron 320S Grill and a luxury brand name Handbag and accessories for the ladies! Additional fundraising efforts include a 50/50 draw, silent auction and penny auctions in both the grandstand and paddock. Horsemen and women racing that night are encouraged to participate in the "Best Dressed Horse" Contest. The horse that shows up with the most "PINK" in support of the cause will win a prize! Fans who wear pink to the track can fill out a ballot for mystery prize giveaway during the night. All patrons, sponsors, donors & volunteers are invited to join in trackside after Race 3 for a commemorative event photo of the "Harness the Hope" winning blanket presentation. Post time is 6:55 p.m. and customers are advised that the Top Of The Fair restaurant is completely sold out for Friday night's event. For more information, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. From Harness The Hope:

Ten sophomore trotting fillies made the trip to The Raceway at Western Fair District on Tuesday evening to compete in a pair of $94,000 Gold Series divisions, and both races featured upsets as the favourites failed to live up to fan expectations. Apprentice M scored her first win of the season in the first division, inheriting the lead around the final turn when pacesetter Zorgwijk Sophia and fan favourite Illusioneesta made breaks as they battled for control. Unfazed by the chaos, the steady Apprentice M and driver Paul MacDonell simply carried on down the stretch to a 2:01 victory. Miller Time also delivered a flawless effort to finish three-quarters of a length back in second and Illusioneesta recovered quickly enough to claim third. "That's why they race horses," said the philosophical MacDonell. "She's pretty solid gaited, which helps on the half-mile track, and then as you saw, things worked out." MacDonell steers Apprentice M for trainer John Bax of Campbellville, Ontario and owner Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, Kentucky. In her four previous Gold Series starts the Kadabra daughter had recorded one second, one third and two fifths. Tuesday's victory pushed her point total to 97 and puts her in fourth spot in the standings heading into the Oct. 13 Super Final. "She just hasn't really kicked in like she probably should have, but again I think she's got $100,000 made, so it's hard to knock her," said Guelph, Ontario resident MacDonell. "It's late in the season and a few of the fillies are getting tired and stuff, so you can take advantage of that sometimes." Tuesday's victory pushed Apprentice M's 2018 earnings to $109,253 and put her less than $10,000 shy of $200,000 lifetime. MacDonell finished second with Bax trainee Magical Lady in the other division, following Collateral Beauty and driver Louis Philippe Roy as they went gate-to-wire in 1:59.2. Pocket-sitter Town Hall Justice settled for third, well ahead of favourite Smoke And Mirrors, who took herself out of contention with an early break. The win was Collateral Beauty's second in the Gold program. The Kadabra daughter was also victorious at Georgian Downs on July 21 for trainer Herb Holland and owner Carolyn MacIsaac of Milton, Ontario. "She's a little bit of a lazy filly, but looking at her lines, it seems like she takes her job a little more seriously when there's big money on the line," said Roy, who was making his first appearance in the filly's race bike. "Herb told me she's better when you put her into play right off the gate, so that was the plan today and it worked good." With two wins, one second and one seventh in four Gold Series starts, Collateral Beauty heads into the $225,000 Super Final tied for second with 127 points. Tuesday's win bumped the filly's sophomore earnings to $123,800. The top 10 point earners from the five regular season events will now head to Woodbine Mohawk Park for the Oct. 13 Super Final. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

LONDON, ON - Sept 27 -- One of the most recognizable names on Ontario's B track circuit this season is Colin Kelly. The 25-year-old native has enjoyed a career year with over $1.2 million in earnings and 183 wins. The young reinsman began his driving career in his home province of Nova Scotia at age 19 before making his way onto the Ontario Circuit just a few years ago. As a matter of fact, it's just Kelly's second full year in the province and he was recently named Grand River Raceway's leading driver for the recently-concluded meet. "I've had a great season and very fortunate with the quality of horses I've been able to drive," Kelly said. "Obviously my success comes from the trainers and owners putting me on good horses and giving me the confidence. It's translated quite well." Kelly admits that he didn't predict his early success. "It's actually taken off faster than I originally thought. I've had to adapt to the Ontario circuit and make the necessary adjustments," he said. "It comes with experience and just trying to put horses in the right spots and take advantage of certain situations." The Guelph resident has his sights on bigger goals going forward. "I think any driver wants to advance himself onto the WEG Circuit and hopefully that time comes eventually," he said. "Obviously I'd love to go there right now for a drive or two, but for now, I'm more than happy with the work that I'm getting. It's been a great ride." Kelly hopes his success continues on Monday when The Raceway at Western Fair District begins its season. "London has been good to me this year. I always enjoy going there," he said. "I was able to pick up a lot of work earlier in the year while racing there and that translated into more work at Flamboro, Grand River and Georgian Downs. I'm looking forward to heading back to London for the fall." The Raceway will begin in another exciting season of live racing beginning on Monday (Oct. 1). The weekly Fall schedule features racing every Monday and Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. and Friday nights at 6:55 p.m. The popular wagering menu will once again feature a trio of guarantee wagers. The Pick-3 will consist of a $2,500 guarantee, while a pair of $5,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pools and a pair of Super Hi-5 wagers will be offered; all are 15 percent takeout wagers. The Super Hi-5 races will be contested at 1-1/16 miles. Customers can also enjoy a fantastic promotion at the Top Of The Fair restaurant. Every Friday in October two can dine for the price of one -- just $39.99. Grand Opening festivities are slated for next Friday, October 5th featuring the Dachshund Dash wiener dog races, draws and giveaways (including a 40' Flat Screen TV) and food specials throughout the night. For more details on the upcoming meet visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. To make reservations at the Top Of The Fair, email topofthefair@westernfairdistrict.com or call 519.438.7203 (ext. 252). From Western Fair Media Department

London, ON - September 25, 2018 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District advises horse people that the Raceway's main paddock entrance, located off Eggerton Street, will be closed due to City construction when live racing returns on October 1st. Construction is expected to continue into November so horse people are urged to keep that in mind when planning their route to the track. Horse people can access the paddock off Florence Street - the roadway situated between the Western Fair District Sports Complex and Agriplex - and are asked to view the accompanying map for more detail. The map will also be posted on The Raceway's web page at www.westernfairdistrict.com and The Raceway's social media platforms. Raceway management apologizes for any inconvenience. The draw for the first program of the season takes place this Thursday. The live racing season kicks off next Monday, October 1st at 6:15 p.m. From Greg Blanchard at The Raceway  

The 2018 Fall race season at The Raceway at Western Fair District is set to kick off with the first harness racing program slated for Monday, October 1st at 6:15 p.m. Live racing will take place each Monday and Tuesday (6:15 p.m.) and Friday (6:55 p.m.) through December 31st. The month of October will be a busy one at the London oval and the celebration will continue all month long with a fantastic promotion at the Top Of The Fair restaurant. Every Friday in October two can dine for the price of one - just $39.99 - while enjoying the Fall Harvest menu created by executive chef Neil Mackay. Grand Opening festivities will take place on Friday, October 5th, highlighted by the Dachshund Dash weiner dog races, sponsored by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. Three heats, featuring 10 weiner dogs in each, will be contested at 6:30 p.m. prior to that evening's race card and then the top three finishers from each heat will come back for the finale after race two. There will also be special draws and giveaways throughout the night, food specials at the Homestretch Grill and the Hands On Horses program giving fans a chance to ride behind a horse between races that night. The caretakers - the people who look after the magnificent horses that race night in and night out - will also be recognized as part of the National Caretakers initiative that has been happening at racetracks across the country this season. "We are looking forward to another great season of racing and entertainment at The Raceway," said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. "October has become a really busy month for us and we're pleased to offer this excellent promotion at the Top Of The Fair. When you combine this deal with exciting live horse racing you have one of the most unique and affordable dining experiences in the city." The month of October also features the second annual Veteran's Classic on Friday, October 19 - a night that honours our military veterans past and present in a fun and celebratory way. The 13th edition of Harness The Hope, in support of the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, will take place on Friday, October 26. The second annual London Selected Yearling Sale will once again take place at the Western Fair District Agriplex the weekend of October 12-14. Following last year's successful merger of the former Forest City and Standardbred Canada yearling sales, organizers are planning even bigger and better things for this year. Ontario Racing's newly-announced Autumn Series will kick off the opening-night program at The Raceway. The track will host events for two and three-year-old colt trotters and filly pacers with the $20,000 added finals taking place on October 15th. The last Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event of the season for three-year-old filly trotters is slated for Tuesday, October 2nd. Condition sheets for the first week of the season are now posted on Standardbred Canada. To find out more, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. by Greg Blanchard, for The Western Fair

LONDON, ON....May 26 - The Ron Burke trainee Rockin Ron with Louis-Philippe Roy in the sulky, captured the first edition of the $150,000 Camluck Classic in a track record time of 1:50.1. The son of Real Desire was first off the car leading through an opening panel in :27.1 Evenin Of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) settled in the pocket with rail starter Sunfire Blue Chip (Trevor Henry) third. Rockin Ron remained on top in comfortable fashion past the half in :55.1 with Easy Lover Hanover (Doug McNair) advancing first-over with Bit Of A Legend (Jordan Stratton) tracking him. Louis Roy began to separate himself from his rivals past three-quarters in 1:23.1 before winning by eight lengths in commanding fashion. Evenin Of Pleasure finished second, while Easy Lover Hanover. "He was as strong at the half as he was at the wire," Roy said following the race. "I wanted to leave hard and make sure I could get everyone behind me. The horse was just terrific tonight and I'm thankful for the drive." The now 34-time winner boasts his career earnings to $1,383,483. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi, RTC Stable and J And T Stable. Percy Bluechip won the first of two the two OSS splits going wire to wire in 1:54.3. The filly by Shadow Play took hold of the pace while tracked by Kendall Seelster through fractions of :28.3, :57.4 and 1:26.4. Rounding the final turn, Write Me A Song applied first-over pressure and chased the 1-9 favourite through the lane, while Kendall Seelster, lacking room, kept pace behind in third. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, Percy Bluechip, owned by Shadow Two Stable and James and Wilma MacKenzie, returned $2.10 to win. Wiring the field despite a loose saddlecloth, Big Thong strolled to a 1:55.2 victory in the latter OSS division over pocket-sitter Quite A Sight. Sent the 3-5 favourite, driver James MacDonald positioned the Scott McEneny-trained daughter of Big Jim on the lead, pacing uncontested through a :27.4 opening quarter, :59.1 half and 1:27.3 third quarter. Quite A Sight pulled pocket into the stretch, chasing in second while Cabowabocuttie shot through the inside for third. The $3.40 winner races for owners Michelle McEneny, Teresa Davidson, Martwest Racing Stable and Cora Marshall. Ezee Tiguan, fronting a field of breakers, took command past a :30.2 opening quarter and trotted unchallenged to a 2:02 win in the $24,200 City of London Filly and Mare Trot. She took the top from Miller Time, who sat pocket through splits of 1:00.3 and 1:31 while Candid Hally made a short pursuit first over into the final turn before fading. Owned by Linda Wellwood and Tammy Aspden, the Lyle MacArthur trained-and-driven Angus Hall filly paid $2.70 to win, while Windsong Ophelia rallied through horses to finish second and Miller Time held third. Following a front battle between tempo-setter Just Jewel and Sicario venturing first over after a slow start, Edstone jimmied his way in between horses around the final turn and found room to angle to the center of the track and reel in leader Daylon Phantom to win at 9-1 in the $25,200 City of London Trot. The three-year-old gelding by Glidemaster sat in the pocket while Just Jewel and Sicario carved times of :29.3, :59.2 and 1:29.2 on the lead. Trevor Henry tipped the Shannon Henry trainee off the rail rounding the final turn while Daylon Phantom circled to the lead from second over into the lane. Once shown racetrack, Edstone rallied through the center of the course and nabbed Daylon Phantom at the wire in 2:01.1. Owned by Trevor Henry Stables Inc., Shaun Baines, Dave Hudson and James Dennie, Edstone paid $17.90 to win. Luc Blais trainee and 3-2 second choice Sweet Toujours, owned by Determination Inc., swept back to the top in the stretch, taking the $28,200 City of London Filly and Mare Pace in 1:56. Following a :28.2 opening quarter, James MacDonald circled the three-year-old Mach Three filly to the lead and soon resigned to the pocket as Shadowofhersmile ambushed the pacesetter for the front and cleared after a :57.2 half. She held control through three quarters in 1:25.4 and only faced Sweet Toujours as her closest threat into the stretch, with Sweet Toujours pacing by with ease to return $5.10 to win, while Macharita, blindswitched around the final turn, emerged for third. Treasure Writer pushed first over to win the $26,200 City of London Pace in 1:55.4 over pacesetter and 4-5 favourite Blue Moose. Driver James MacDonald tipped the Mike Smith-trained Sportswriter gelding uncovered following a :27.4 opening quarter to press the pace and remained at Blue Moose's side through a :58 half and three quarters in 1:26.2 before powering past the favourite in the stretch to win, with Delorean Seelster finishing third off a pocket trip. Trainer Mike Smith co-owns the $9.70 winner with Brooke Smith. Second-betting choice Champagne Phil scored going wire to wire in the $15,000 Preferred 2 Pace in 1:54.1 over pocket-rider Mohawk Warrior. The eight-year-old Shanghai Phil gelding trained by Dean Nixon set the pace unfettered on the lead, going fractions of :28.1, :58 and 1:26 with Mohawk Warrior on his back. He held control through the lane while The Loan Ranger sneaked through the inside to finish third. Trevor Henry piloted the $4.90 winner for owner Icr Racing. Sitting off a swift pace by odds-on favourite Drunkonaplane, Adore Him, driven by Trevor Henry for trainer Curt Blake and owner Robert Blake, catapulted off the rail to the center of the course and powered through a stampede to claim victory in the $11,000 Preferred 3 Pace going a mile and a sixteenth in 2:02. Drunkonaplane brushed to the front over Bestofthebunch, clicking the first quarter in :27 and maintaining that speed through a half in :54.3. The backfield assembled in chase of Drunkonaplane into the backstretch, with Audreys Dream leading the charge from first over moving to three quarters, timed in 1:24. Audreys Dream overtook the favourite into the lane, but Adore Him fanned to the center of the course and shot through a seam to edge past Audreys Dream in the final strides to score, with Another Great Pick finishing third. The six-year-old Shadow Play gelding returned $6.10 to win. Fading Shadow flew from the grandstand side to take the $11,000 Fillies and Mares Preferred 3 Pace going a mile and a sixteenth in 2:03.3. Driver Scott Coulter positioned the Michael Carther-trained daughter of Shadow Play sixth while Teachers Vet blazed by the quarter in :27. She slowed the pace by the half in :56.2 as Pinky Tuscadero initiated the two-wide flow moving to lap two with the rest of the field bundling into contention passing three quarters in 1:26.3. Sodwana Bay circled off cover to take a narrow lead to the inside of Dazzling Rockette while Fading Shadow began her bid widest of all at the head of the stretch. Fading Shadow, the $16.80 winner owned by Malcom MacPhail, launched by Sodwana Bay in the final strides to score, while Dazzling Rockette finished third in a dead heat with Teachers Vet. Party In Rome wired her competition in the $13,500 Fillies and Mares Preferred 2 Handicap in 1:57. Driver Trevor Henry led with the Gerald Lilley-trained daughter of Big Jim through a :27.3 opening quarter while Southwind Ion sat second. Bourbon Seelster, third at the quarter, pulled first over circling the far turn and pressed Party In Rome on the lead through a :57.1 half and through three quarters in 1:26.1 before retreating in the stretch. Party In Rome, owned by Bill Manes, William Cripps and Steven Papillon, bested pocket-sitter Southwind Ion shaking loose late for second, while Request For Parole rallied off cover for third. She paid $6.20 to win. From Standardbred Canada and The Raceway  

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