Pulling off a 20-1 upset, Winzel prevailed by a nose over Thundering Ovation in the $11,000 Preferred 2 Handicap Trot on Wednesday evening's harness racing card at The Raceway at the Western Fair District. Driven by Nick Steward, the 10-year-old Royal Strength gelding earned his 40th career win in 2:01.3 while the pacesetting mare had to settle for second-place honours after winning her last two starts at the Preferred 3 level. Thundering Ovation led the field of eight through fractions of :29.2, 1:01 and 1:30.4 over an off track beforeWinzel rallied off the cover of Tornado Tim and got up in the final stride to steal the glory. House Of Cash finished nearly four lengths behind in third. To view the rest of this story click here. Woodbine Super Jackpot at $104,000 With frigid temperatures now the norm, it’s only fitting that Woodbine Racetrack’s Jackpot Hi 5 carryover has ‘snowballed’ to a six-digit figure going into Thursday evening’s card of racing. The precise carryover number is $104,179.14 after multiple winning combinations shared in a portion of the pool during Monday’s 10-race program. Monday’s final race went to the odds-on favourite, #6 Evasive Card Shark, with #2 Shippen Out (50-1), #3 OK Gladiator (8-1), #5 Whos In The Mist (7-1) and #8 Mister Accumulator (12-1) rounding out the top-five finishers. That combination kicked back a return of $4,236.70 for a $1-based wager. For a free, printable program page for Thursday's card of racing, courtesy of TrackIT, click here.
London, January 12, 2015 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District will hold its annual awards night on Saturday, February 21 at the Carousel Room at The Raceway. The Raceway's top performers for 2014 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 a minimum of six starts at The Raceway in 2014. The claiming awards are based on the most number of claiming wins at The Raceway in 2014. 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 starts during the season. The Caretaker of the Year award will be handed out for the second consecutive year. To qualify, caretakers must be nominated by Tuesday, January 13th. To nominate someone, send an email with your reason why to one of the following: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The Raceway will also honour its Overall Horse of the Year the night of the event. Tickets will go on sale next week and will be available in both the race office and the promotions department. For more information, contact 519-438-7203 (ext. 380). The 2014 award winners are as follows: Older Pacing Horse - Kendal Gustav Older Pacing Mare - Twilight Seelster Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt - Good Side Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly - Delta Grace Tone Older Trotting Horse - Moonbeam Hall Older Trotting Mare - Thundering Ovation Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt - M C Wood Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly - Sonny With A Chance Claiming Pacer - Cat Four Claiming Trotter (Tied) - Strike A Light and Weskey Driver - Alfie Carroll Trainer - Vic Puddy Owner - Keith Cassell Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award - TBA Caretaker - TBA Horse of the Year - TBA From the Western Fair Media Department
London, January 9, 2015 -- Horse people are advised that this morning's qualifying session at the raceway in London has been canceled. Today's qualifying session will be carried over to Monday morning at 11 a.m. Live racing is scheduled tonight with a 7:15 pm first post. From The Raceway Media Department
London, January 7, 2014 - The Raceway at Western Fair District has cancelled its Wednesday night program due to the combination of snow squall conditions and extreme cold temperatures in the London area. Heavy snowfall and blowing snow hit the region overnight leading to several cancellations and road closures. The forecast is calling for more of the same into Wednesday evening. The track will be open for simulcasting today with live racing set to resume this Friday night with a first post of 7:15 p.m. From The Raceway Media Department
For the second week-in-a-row Kendal Gustav proved to be a cut above the others thanks to his Tuesday evening triumph in the $11,000 Horses & Geldings Preferred 2 at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The productive pacer from the Scott McNiven outfit went to the front and didn’t look back en route to his latest triumph. Lorne House hustled Kendal Gustav through fractions of :28.4, 1:00.3 and 1:30.1 over a track rated ‘good’ with a two-second variant before roaring home in :28.4 for the one-length score over For A Bettor Time in 1:59. Third prize was earned by Stoney Durkin. McNiven shares ownership on the six-year-old son of Life Sign-City Of Dreams with Tom Brodhurst of London and Shirley Griffin of St. Thomas, Ontario. It was the 29th lifetime tally for the gelding who went 11-for-39 last season. He banked more than $61,000 last year and to date has potted in excess of $187,000. To view the rest of this story click here. Training canceled at The Raceway The Raceway at Western Fair District wishes to advise horse people that the track will be closed on Wednesday morning for training due to some substantial snowfall expected overnight and into the morning. The first Wednesday program of the season is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Track management will assess weather conditions and the forecast Wednesday morning and will advise by 12 noon the status of Wednesday night’s program. Dali to stand at Kendal Hills Equine Officials with Kendal Hills Equine have announced that Dali p,3,1:48.2f ($1,436,363) will stand at its Campbellcroft, Ont. nursery for the 2015 breeding season. Dali (Real Artist – Armbro Tea, by Matts Scooter) showed magnificent early speed at age two, punctuated by his dominant wins in the 2007 Niatross and Woodrow Wilson stakes. Even though he showed amazing speed right at the beginning of his career, Dali still had a high-octane motor right through to the end of this three-year-old campaign in 2008. That speed was on display yet again in the 2008 Matron Stakes final when he scorched Dover Downs’ five-eighths mile oval in a then-world-record 1:48.2. To view the rest of this story click here. Quebec's Rene Grand'Maison passes Longtime horseman Rene Grand'Maison of Rosemere, Quebec passed away on Sunday, January 2 at the age of 94. Well known by the harness racing community in Quebec and eastern Ontario, Grand'Maison was active until the age of 74 and drove in a schooling race at the age of 72 at Hippodrome de Montreal in the 1990s. Husband of the late Annette Villeneuve and predeceased by daughter Laurette. He is survived by his children: Lyne (Philippe Lissardi), Michel (Sylvie Racine), Andrée (Jean-Pierre Magnan), François (Chantal Legault), Claude (Chantal Dufresne), grandchildren: Guy Alexander, Marie-Eve Marie-Michelle, Julian Martin, Morgan Frédérique, and Claude Mathieu; his grandchildren: Samuel, Travis, Emile, Marley, Charlie and Tyler; Réjeanne his sister, his brother Leonard (Gilberte) and Germain and other relatives and friends. To view the rest of this story click here.
The Ontario Racing Commission has announced via a notice to the industry that it has approved applications for variance to the 2015 race date schedule made by The WFA Raceway Corporation for The Raceway at Western Fair District (Western Fair) and Grand River Agricultural Society for Grand River Raceway (Grand River). Via release, the ORC announced that its director approved the following changes: GRAND RIVER Add • Wednesday, September 30(Post time 6:30 p.m.) WESTERN FAIR Delete • Friday, October 2 • Monday, October 5 WESTERN FAIR Revised Post Times • All Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays – Post Time: 6:15 p.m. (change from 4:05 p.m.) • All Fridays – Post Time: 7:15 p.m. (change from 7:05 p.m.) In addition, a correction has been issued for the 2015 race date schedule at Clinton Raceway (Clinton). The corrected version of Clinton’s approved 2015 calendar – along with the Grand River and Western Fair schedules – can be accessed by clicking here. From the Ontario Racing Commission
London, December 30, 2014 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District will wrap up what has been a successful month with its annual New Year's Eve racing program on Wednesday night - the final program of the 2014 season in London. The 12-race program will once again feature the Auld Lang Syne Trot and Pace which are open to horses that last competed in a $5,000 claimer, with the oldest entrants receiving preference. The night will also feature a 'Heart of Harness Racing' calendar giveaway with program purchase (while supplies last) as well as prize giveaways, a Raceway t-shirt toss and special editions of the Fun Wheel and Deal or No Deal. On the wagering side, the early pick-4 will offer a $7,500 guaranteed pool while the late one has been bumped up to $10,000. It is also the last night for the Horseplayer Interactive (HPI) promotion where customers who wager $50 on The Raceway are entered for a chance to win one of 15 draws of a $150 deposit in their account. "We start a little bit later on New Year's Eve," said Racing Manager Greg Blanchard of the 8:00 p.m. start time. "We look to end the card just a little bit before midnight and give customers a chance to ring in the New Year with us afterwards. There will be something for everyone and this has become one of the most anticipated nights on our racing calendar." Alfie Carroll and Vic Puddy will look to end off the season on a high note as they will capture their first driver and trainer title respectively at The Raceway. Carroll had three more wins on Tuesday night to put further distance between him and Trevor Henry in the driver's race while Puddy added two more wins to his meet-leading total. Both will be in action on Wednesday night. Customers have been showing their support at the windows for the month of December with the London oval on pace to easily surpass its single-month wagering record. The handle has topped $500,000 on four different occasions, including a $700,000 night on December 23rd, and fans can expect large pools once again on the New Year's Eve. For more information and to download free race programs for Wednesday night's card, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. From the press box at The Raceway
London, December 23, 2014 -- The final program prior to the Christmas break at the Raceway at Western Fair District proved to be a lucrative one as the London oval recorded what is believed to be a record single-night handle of $700,685. Fuelled by a favourable schedule, a strong program and a pair of $7,500 guaranteed Pick-4 pools, fans responded in a big way as they looked to take home some last minute holiday cash. "It was a huge night for us and a great way to wrap things up before our Christmas break," said Racing Manager Greg Blanchard in regards to the 14-race program. "For tracks like ours it's big when we can capitalize on our opportunities and it's terrific to see customers respond to our product on night's like this. We've still got plenty of racing planned for the rest of this month, so hopefully we can maintain the strong numbers." The next program at The Raceway comes up this Friday (Boxing Day), with a pair of 14-race programs scheduled for next Monday and Tuesday and then the annual New Year's Eve program on December 31st. Fans are reminded that special post times of 1:15 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. will be in effect for Boxing Day and New Year's Eve respectively. From the Raceway Media Department
London, December 23, 2014 - The Raceway at The Western Fair District wishes to remind patrons and horse people that the special Boxing Day program features a post time of 1:15 p.m. Racing will return to the usual first post of 6:15 p.m. on Monday, December 29. Horse people are also reminded that the track will be closed for training on December 24 (Christmas Eve Day) and on December 26 (Boxing Day) with no qualifying races scheduled that day as well. The next regular qualifying session will be held on Friday, January 2. From the Raceway at Western Fair
There was no stopping driver Alfie Carroll during the Monday evening program at The Raceway at Western Fair District, as the sulky sitter scored a touchdown and kicked the point after. Carroll had the hottest hands of them all as noted in the seven-win performance he manufactured over the course of the 14-race card. In the midst of what has been a career season, Carroll got on the scoresheet with Little Turk (1:57.3) in Race 3. He went on to win the next three races in succession thanks to wins with Monster In Law (1:56.4), Off By Heart (2:00.1) and Billy White Sell (1:59.2). To view the rest of this story click here. Driving triples for Allard-Jamieson at Woodbine The Monday evening program at Woodbine Racetrack featured a festive edition of “anything you can do, I can do better” between reinsmen Simon Allard and Jody Jamieson. The sulky sitters took turns exchanging victories on the 11-race program before each of them finished the card with three trips to the winner’s circle. Jamieson drew first blood thanks to his win with Vague Traces (1:54.1) in Race 2, and he came right back to take Race 3 with Escuela (1:54.1). Allard then got on the scoresheet thanks to his win in Race 4 behind Sky Desperado (1:51.3). He was back to victory lane in Race 7 thanks to the hard-closing skills of No Bu (1:50.4). To view the rest of this story click here.
Since returning to the races following a bout of sickness in late October, Milliondollarspree has been on a winning spree for trainer Ross Hardy. The pacing mare has racked up three wins in her last four trips to the track, and that includes her gate-to-wire score in Tuesday’s $7,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 3 at The Raceway at Western Fair District. Trevor Henry hustled Milliondollarspree to the lead from Post 3, and after parking past the quarter pole in :27.2 she led the group through sensible middle panels of :57.3 and 1:27.4. A :31.2 closing frame is all took for her to win by three-quarters of a length over Angel On The Wing in a time of 1:59.1 over a track rated ‘good’ with a three-second variant. The show dough was earned by Racey Miss. To view the rest of this story click here. Sunfire Blue Chip to Tara Hills Stud It has been announced that the royally bred and supremely talented Sunfire Blue Chip p, 2, 1:52.4f, 3, 1:48.3f will join the stallion roster at Tara Hills Stud Farm in Port Perry, Ont. Sunfire Blue Chip, a four-year-old son of American Ideal, retires with $917,374 in earnings and several stakes titles to his credit, including this year’s revitalized Prix d’Ete in Quebec. As a sophomore, the Jimmy Takter-trained horse captured the Adios elimination and final, an elimination of the Messenger (second, by a head, in the final), the Tattersalls, Empire Breeders Classic elimination (second in final), Hempt elim (third, by a half length in final) among other victories. Sunfire Blue Chip hails from one of the sport’s most well-bred families. He is the second foal of the Cams Card Shark mare Shot Togo Bluechip, his full brother is $1.7 million winner Heston Blue Chip p, 3, 1:48f. Their half-sister sold at last month’s Harrisburg sale for $160,000. To view the rest of this story click here.
Fans that backed rookie pacer Weapons Dealer in Race 2 during the Monday evening program at Woodbine Racetrack likely needed a hand - or a wheelbarrow - to help tote home their winnings. The overlooked son of Western Ideal-Scootin Belle turned a two-hole trip into a pari-mutuel explosion for the tandem of driver Trevor Henry and trainer Isaac Waxman. Weapons Dealer got away in the two-hole behind the 1-5 favourite, Sports Warning, and those two held their positions through panels of :28, :58.2 and 1:26.4. Sports Warning rolled into a break coming out of the final turn, however, and that changed the whole complexion of the race. Weapons Dealer inherited the lead in the lane, and he wound up winning by a pair of lengths over His Boy Elroy in 1:54.3. Sports Warning regained his composure and re-rallied to finish third. To view the rest of this story click here. Raceway Preferreds to "Gustav" & "Winzel" A set of Preferred 3 events went postward Monday evening at The Raceway at Western Fair District, with Kendal Gustav and Winzel winning their respective assignments. Kendal Gustav shot to the front from Post 2 and rolled to an easy victory in his $7,400 affair for driver Lorne House. The public’s top choice, who closed at odds of 6-5, carved out splits of :27, :58 and 1:26.4 before sealing the deal with a :29.2 closing panel. He was 2-1/2 lengths better than Pacific Oak in 1:56.1. Lawmen Reign rounded out the top three finishers. Trainer Scott McNiven co-owns the five-year-old son of Life Sign-City Of Dreams with Tom Brodhurst of London and Shirley Griffin of St. Thomas, Ontario. The partnership has watched the gelding go 10-for-37 this season and 27-for-112 in his career. The lion’s share of Monday’s purse lifted his overall cash stash to $177,749. To view the rest of this story click here.
London, December 12, 2014 -- Staff of The Raceway at Western Fair District and some local horse people have teamed up this holiday season to help spread some Christmas cheer and show their support for the Salvation Army's Hamper program which provides food and toys to the less fortunate in the city of London. The group joined a large number of volunteers on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 10th and helped sort toys which will be distributed to families just prior to Christmas. "Western Fair District always strives to make a difference in the communities we serve and with the Salvation Army Hamper Program setting up on our grounds, it made perfect sense for us to give what we could to help out," said Marketing Coordinator Sarah Imrie. "Many of the staff and friends of the Raceway jumped at the chance to donate their time and energy to help this great cause and I'm very proud to work beside them." Another group of Raceway volunteers will be assisting on December 18th, just one day before the Hamper program ends for this year. Customers can donate a new, unwrapped toy in the lobby of the grandstand up until December 16th while horse people can drop their gifts off at the race office. "I was looking forward to this day. I get a lot out of volunteering and we had a great mix of people showing up to support the cause on behalf of The Raceway," said track announcer Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle. "It just gives one a great a feeling knowing that he or she may have played a role in making someone's Christmas just a little bit brighter." The Raceway will once again be a busy place this holiday season with all sorts of live racing scheduled, including special programs on December 26 (Boxing Day) at 1:15 p.m. and December 31 (New Year's Eve) at 8:00 p.m. For full details, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. From the Raceway at Western Fair
Waasmula converted off a perfect pocket trip to defeat the streaking American In Paris by a neck in the $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred Pace featured on Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Even-money favourite Waasmula and slight second choice American In Paris (Chris Christoforou) charged off the gate with the latter clearing before the first turn. Riding a three-race win streak in the Mares Preferred class, American In Paris led the field through fractions of :27, :56.3 and 1:24.1 before being collared in deep stretch by the Trevor Henry-driven Waasmula, who hit the wire in 1:51.4. Marlee B (Sylvain Filion) followed along third at the pylons throughout the mile to show. To view the rest of this story click here. Gate to wire for Emmasphere again at Northlands Emmasphere was a wire-to-wire winner again in Friday's featured $8,800 Fillies & Mares Open Pace at Northlands Park while Edmonton's leading trainer Travis Cullen won six of the evening's 10 races. Leaving from outside her six rivals, the Travis Cullen-trained Emmasphere and driver Philip Giesbrecht crossed over to command in the feature race and set fractions of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:25.3 en route to the 1:55.1 victory over the frozen track. Blue Star Beauty (J.F. Gagne) came on for second over the winner's stablemate, Feelin Flush (Cullen). A winner in her last start in the Mares Open on Nov. 21, Emmasphere paid $7.20 to repeat as the favourite. To view the rest of this story click here. Secretsoftheknight likes Raceway oval Woodbine regular Secretsoftheknight took a tour of the Western Fair District's half-mile raceway in London, Ont. on Friday night and came away a winner in the $7,000 Preferred 3 Pace for Canada's leading trainer Richard Moreau. Secretsoftheknight was caught three-wide early on before clearing to command through a speedy :26.4 first quarter. But once the favourite took the lead, he never looked back. He proceeded to the half in :56.4 and three-quarters in 1:26, and then held off longshot Bestofthebunch (Paul MacKenzie), who rallied off the cover of third-place finisher Stompin Tom Creek (Robert Shepherd). Secretsoftheknight prevailed by a quarter-length in 1:55.3 to notch his third win of the season from 32 starts. To view the rest of this story click here.
London, December 2, 2014 -- There will be plenty of reasons for fans to tune into The Raceway in London on Tuesday night - 15,000 reasons to be exact. Fuelled by a carryover of close to $5,700 into Tuesday's early Super Hi-5 wager, The Raceway is offering an instant guarantee of $15,000 on the gross pool. Whosurpapa posted a massive 78-1 ($158.10) upset in Monday's final race, sweeping the field in the backstretch and going on to 7-3/4 length win. Since no one correctly selected the winning combination with the longshot winner on top, it triggered the carryover into Tuesday's early Super Hi-5 in race 7. Survivor Tuesdays, a new free handicapping contest sponsored by Horseplayer Interactive (HPI), will also kick off Tuesday night. Contestants will make one selection (plus an alternate) on all 12 races and their pick must finish in the top three to advance (survive) to the next race. The last person (s) standing will receive a $100 deposit into their HPI account or Raceway merchandise. For full contest rules and for FREE program downloads for Tuesday's card, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. from the press box at The Raceway
It was a very tough night for the favourites during Monday’s 10-race card at Woodbine Racetrack. Just one of the public’s top choices managed to visit the winner’s circle, and that lone winner was St Lads Penny Lane ($5.00) in Race 4. The class-dropping daughter of Million Dollar Cam powered off cover in the lane and drew clear to win by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:54.2. Doug McNair mapped out the winning trip for the Larry Hall trainee who paid $5.00. Driver Jody Jamieson produced a driving triple during Monday’s 10-race card. He rallied Ozzy Ozzy (1:55.3 - $11.60) to a narrow win in Race 5 to get the ball rolling, and he tacked on wins with Vague Traces (1:56.1 - $22.10) in Race 7 followed by a score with ER Zach Attack (1:52.3 - $6.60) in Race 10. Trot Insider has learned that the fans of veteran trotter Equity that tuned into Woodbine Racetrack's card of racing on Monday (December 1) watched the veteran eight-year-old race for the final time in his career. Horseman Charalambos Christoforou, who also bred the bay, had let Trot Insider know that Equity’s tilt on Monday (Race 5, 8:45 p.m.) would be the last of his career, regardless of the outcome. “We will retire him tonight, wherever he finishes,” Christoforou said earlier on Monday. Heading into Monday’s action, Equity, who has made 103 trips to the starting gate in his career, has notched 28 wins, 18 second-place finishes and 16 thirds. He took his mark of 1:52.1 over Mohawk Racetrack at age five and has banked over $822,000 in career purse earnings. His biggest win came in the 2009 Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk Racetrack in the midst of an eight-race win streak. To view the rest of this story click here. Upset winners in Raceway Preferreds Nothingbutmach and Excellence were upset winners in their respective Preferred assignments during Monday’s 12-race card at The Raceway at Western Fair District. Excellence, who was sent off at odds of 3-1, pulled off the mini surprise in the $7,000 Preferred 3 for trotters. Robert Shepherd came first-over with the Ian Downey trainee, and the mare drew clear to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Incredable Frank in 2:00.2. Cimeronken, who supplied the field with splits of :29.3, 1:01 and 1:30.2, tired late and settled for third prize. Susan Downey of St. George Brant, Ontario owns the seven-year-old daughter of Kadabra-Noble Message. The victory was her ninth of the season and the 22nd of her career. The lion’s share of the purse bumped her lifetime bankroll to $194,660. To view the rest of this story click here.