Racing Under Saddle is an innovative new concept in harness racing in Canada, and the schedule for the racing under saddle season has been finalized and will be an exciting season for riders, horses, the bettor, and the general public at large. The Ontario Racing Commission has approved wagering with Standardbred Canada setting the standards for equipment and riders. There will be ten scheduled races at seven tracks from July 1 at Mohawk Racetrack to October 1 at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The first race will be held at Mohawk Racetrack on July 1 and the invitational trot will be carded as “Trot For The Cure” in conjunction with a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. After a stop in Clinton for a Sunday afternoon tilt on July 13, which will be the first RUS event that bettors will be able to wager on, comes the first signature event of the RUS season. On July 26 there will be the first half of Norway versus Canada as part the eliminations of the Balanced Image at Hanover Raceway with the second half being held at Grand River Raceway on August 1. Three days later, as part of the Battle Of Waterloo, RUS Ontario will hold an international race featuring riders from Norway, Sweden, Finland, the United States and host Canada. This event will strive to be an annual event in Canada growing with world popularity. On July 19, Georgian Downs will play host to RUS, and on August 29 Mohawk will play host to a second RUS invitational trot, as a prelude to the Canadian Trotting Classic card on September 13. The last invitational trot will be hosted at Mohawk Racetrack. Flamboro Downs will play host to RUS on September 20 and The Raceway at Western Fair District will close out the season with a race on its opening night card on October 1. RUS would like to thank the management at all Ontario tracks for the support and cooperation shown to racing under saddle for this inaugural season as an entity of the Ontario racing scene. Please come out and support racing under saddle and enjoy the excitement of Ontario racing. For further information on sponsorships of races or riders, please contact Julie Walker at (519) 379-7244 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the website click here. From RUS Ontario
This Week: Currier & Ives filly division, The Meadows, Washington, Pa; Armbro Flight, Goodtimes, North America Cup, Fan Hanover and Roses Are Red eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Charlie Hill Memorial, Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; and Hanover Stakes (3-year-old colt and filly trot), Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at four locations this week. Action begins on Wednesday (June 4) at The Meadows with three divisions in the $93,860 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will host Grand Circuit racing on Friday (June 6) with two C$35,000 eliminations in the Armbro Flight for trotting mares and two C$30,000 eliminations in the Goodtimes for 3-year-old trotting colts. The Saturday (June 7) card at Mohawk features a trio of C$50,000 eliminations for the North America Cup for 3-year-old pacing colts and two C$35,000 eliminations in the Roses Are Red for pacing mares and the Fan Hanover for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Scioto Downs will offer its second Grand Circuit stake of the season on Saturday, with the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for open trotters, while Balmoral Park will host a pair of Grand Circuit events on Saturday with the $35,000 (est.) Hanover Stake for 3-year-old colt trotters and the $35,000 (est.) Hanover Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the Meadows, Scioto Downs and Balmoral Park races can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Molson Pace for older pacers at The Raceway at Western Fair District, the Art Rooney at Yonkers Raceway and the Roll With Joe at Tioga Downs. State Treasurer (#1) gets up on the outside to narrowly defeat Apprentice Hanover (#4) and Foiled Again (#7) in the Molson Pace. In one of the most exciting editions of The Raceway at Western Fair District's signature race, the $138,000 Molson Pace, last year's winner State Treasurer defended his title despite a terrible start and an inquiry on May 30 at the London half-mile track. Driver Chris Christoforou had State Treasurer three wide down the backside and picked up the cover of Apprentice Hanover and Jody Jamieson heading into the stretch. It was a great race to the finish with State Treasurer getting up on the outside to win by a neck in 1:51.4. Apprentice Hanover was a close second followed by the always game Foiled Again, just a half-length back in third. The winning connections, trainer Dr. Ian Moore and owners Sally MacDonald and Paul MacDonald, had to wait out an inquiry regarding the start before the race was declared official. "I sweated a little bit last year too, but this is a little different this year," noted Moore. "He's a real good little horse, he tries his heart out and he showed that tonight for sure." Odds-on favorite All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley, $2.60) was both anxious and effective on May 31, winning the $300,000 final of Yonkers Raceway's Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. All Bets Off was a 1:52.2 winner in the Art Rooney Pace. All Bets Off collared leader Maxi Bon early in the lane, then held off a rallying Some Playa by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:52.2. Maxi Bon held third. All Bets Off, a son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Frank Baldachino, Panhellenic Stables and Rosemary Shelswell, is now three-for-four this season with earnings of $180,250. "Oh, yeah, I was worried," Kakaley said. "I thought giving up the lead (to Stevensville) was the right thing to do. Then I saw Danny's (Dube, with Maxi Bon) coming fast and I knew I was in trouble. I was lucky to get out. If I don't, I'm shuffled out, and probably last. "He's (All Bets Off) handy enough for the half-mile, but I think he can carry his speed to bigger tracks, too. Every start (All Bets Off) has been on his toes. Give Ronnie (Burke) and his crew an A-plus. I'm just fortunate to have the drive." Utilizing a powerful push clear in the far turn, Sweet Lou could not be caught in the $160,000 Roll With Joe Open Pace at Tioga Downs on June 1, turning in an impressive 1:48.3 victory. The 5-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser floated forward to track Bolt The Duer in the early stages, brushing to the front after a :26.2 first quarter and keeping the pace solid en route to a :53.4 half-mile. On the backstretch, Ron Pierce pushed clear with Sweet Lou, putting four lengths on the field in a :26.3 third quarter. Approaching the final 200 yards, it seemed the pace may have been too taxing, as Sweet Lou was all-out through the stretch and Heston Blue Chip found room to chase after being locked in. Sweet Lou dug in late, staving off Heston Blue Chip to prevail by 1-3/4 lengths. Bolt The Duer stayed on to be third. Ron Burke trains Sweet Lou for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 291; 2. Tim Tetrick - 255; 3. George Brennan - 164.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 143: 5. Brian Sears - 121. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 485.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 155; 3. Joe Holloway - 117; 4. Jimmy Takter - 95; 5. Julie Miller- 80. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 128.5; 2. Burke Racing - 111.05; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 103.55; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 60; 5. Brad Grant - 49.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at Mohawk and the Meadowlands next weekend. Mohawk will host its five stakes finals, led by the C$1 million North America Cup, on Saturday night (June 14), while the Meadowlands will card the Meadowlands Maturity for 4-year-old open pacers and a leg of the TVG Free For All series for open trotters on Friday (June 13). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
London, June 2, 2014 -- An outstanding field and great weather this past Friday night helped spur Molson Pace night wagering numbers at The Raceway in London to their highest levels in more than a decade. The overall handle of $407,000 was up 24% over last year. Meanwhile, wagering on the Molson Pace itself jumped from $98,000 to $117,000, marking an increase of almost 20% over the 2013 totals. "It was very encouraging to see and was a great way to cap off the meet," said Racing Manager Greg Blanchard. "There seemed to be a lot of buzz around the event this year and I think the main reason was the quality of the field that was assembled. The atmosphere was electric here by the time the Molson Pace went to the gate and the race did not disappoint." The London oval is now dark for live racing until Wednesday, October 1. The track will be open 7 days a week throughout the summer offering simulcast racing from across North America. There have been several changes at the track in recent weeks and those will continue this month with the conversion of the tote system over to AmTote as part of Ontario's new Standardbred Alliance. Customers will now be able to wager on a state-of-the-art platform and will also now be able to use their HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI) account for wagering, deposits and withdrawals at any of the Alliance locations and earn rewards on every betting dollar. The conversion is expected to be completed by Tuesday, June 3. From the Media Department Western Fair
In one of the most dramatic come backs of the year in harness racing, State Treasurer, the 7/5 betting favorite, went off-stride at the start of the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair but was able to rebound for driver Chris Christoforou, sweep three-wide from near last place on the final turn and win by a head. It was the second straight Molson Pace victory for State Treasurer and the five-year-old stallion by Real Desire posted his fourth straight win in 2014 for trainer Dr. Ian Smith and owners Sally MacDonald of Souris, PEI and Paul MacDonald, Regina, SK. The feature race began with world record holder Dancin Yankee (Brett Miller) shooting to the early lead as State Treasurer and Christoforou made a break and had to pull out of the race momentarily, regroup and start back after the field in dead last place. With Bettor’s Edge (Trevor Henry) sitting in second, Dancin Yankee led the field to the opening quarter mile in a speedy :26.1 but was collared and pasted by world champion Foiled Again and driver Yannick Gingras. The momentum picked up at the half mile pole in :54.4 as Bandolito and driver Mark MacDonald came first-over to challenge Foiled Again but they not catch up to the leader as Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson) was stalking the leaders second-over. At the three-quarters in 1:23, Bandolito began to tire and Apprentice Hanover was three-wide trying to loop everyone and who was following them? None other than State Treasurer and Christoforou. Around the final turn State Treasurer fanned three-wide as Apprentice Hanover was able to collar Foiled Again but as they came to the wire, State Treasurer was on the move and won by a head in 1:51.4. Apprentice Hanover was a game second with Foiled Again close for third and Dancin Yankee fourth. Sent off as the 7/5 wagering favorite, State Treasurer paid $4.90 to win. “It feels real good for sure,” Said trainer Dr. Ian Moore about winning the Molson Pace for the second time. “He was good last year too. It wasn’t that big a problem leaving. He was on the bit pretty good. He is a good little horse and tries his hardest.” “There was a tremendous amount of worry around the first turn,” Christoforou said. “With a smaller track its harder to get around early on. I was sitting behind the right horse and I had the best horse. I think he proved that tonight. “I was hoping on the last turn going three-wide that I could get on Jody’s back (Apprentice Hanover) and it worked out good,” Christoforou explained, “That way he was not three-wide all the way around the turn. I know my horse drifts out a little in the stretch so I don’t have to steer him much to get around so I just started driving him before we hit the stretch. He kinda swooped his way by and put his head in front and I am real proud of him. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
LONDON, Ontario . . . Mark MacDonald, one of harness racing's most talented drivers, made his return to The Raceway at Western Fair District where he made his start and was leading driver for several seasons, and captured two of the four City Of London finals tonight, part of the Molson Pace undercard. The third and fastest City Of London final, a $38,200 contest for pacing distaffers, had tons of action with MacDonald, now a regular on the New York circuit, scoring a victory. As the race got underway Trevor Henry and Face To Face overtook Miss Brandi K by the :27.3 opening panel. She hit the half in :55.3 with pressure from favourite Milliondollar Babe who was neck and neck with the leader down the backside but they were both overtaken by Lyons Katrina and MacDonald, whoâ€™d been stalking second over, and were absolutely flying by the 1:25.4 three-quarters. Lyons Katrina slowed in the stretch but held on to win in 1:57.1. Played By Anangel was a close second followed by Miss Brandi K. It was first lifetime win for Lyons Katrina, a three-year-old daughter of Major In Art owned by Geoffrey Lyons of Burford, Ontario and trained by James Morrison. Bred by Bill Loyens of London, Ontario, the filly is the second foal from $457,000 winner Milliondollarsmile, her first being $482,000 winner Windsong Jack. The fourth and final City Of London final, the $39,000 test for pacing horses, saw MacDonald and Fortune Playboy cutting the pace early as he hit the opening quarter in :27.3. He had pressure from Teranadawn at the :57.2 half but rebuffed that challenge and hit the three-quarters in 1:26 and held his position through the wire in 1:57.3. Hussys Blu Boy was second with Decroft Havaball third. Fortune Playboy, a four-year-old gelding by Rambaran, was recording his seventh win in 10 starts this year for trainer Patrick Shepherd and owner Holland Racing Stable of Niagara On The Lake, Ontario. In the $35,600 final for male trotters it ended up being a four horse race thanks to a late scratch and several breakers in the early going. That allowed Trevor Henry and Shadywood Kid easy access to the front end early and they never relinquished it. The three-year-old gelding by Pegasus Spur tripped off splits of :29, 1:00.2 and 1:30.4 and was a comfortable winner in 2:01.3 over Crime Novel and Kdazzle. Henry, the leader driver at The Raceway, co-owns the winner with John MacLeod who bred the Shadywood Kid with Henry's father Ross. Trained by Shannon Henry, Shadywood Kid was recording his first lifetime win in his 11th attempt. An exciting photo finish took place in the $34,800 final for mare trotters which saw Ja El Diamond setting the early tempo for Steve Byron through fractions of :29.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1. Heroine Seelster sat the pocket the entire mile and was trapped in that spot until late going when she finally found racing room and trotted up quickly but was just a nose short at the wire in 2:02.1. Oaklea Wand was third. Pat Hunt trains the winner, a three-year-old daughter of Angus Hall owned by Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Ontario. Unraced last year at two, Ja El Diamond now has three wins in six starts this year for $31,000 in earnings. From the Raceway Media Department
London, May 29, 2014 -- A familiar face, and former leading driver at The Raceway at Western Fair District, is coming back to London for the Molson Pace. Mark MacDonald has been one of North America's top pilots for many years, but this is one race he has yet to win. "I've been in The Pace with some very nice horses," he said. "Tigerama set the track record there (1:50.4 in 2008) in his elimination, but he drew the outside post in the Final and things didn't work out." "I finished second with Dr No to Our Lucky Killean (2006) and I've been there with Sand Olls Dexter (2004) and others... Having lived in London and driven there lots - it's just one of those marquee events that a guy like me would love to win." There's a 'tank' of a horse from south of the border that goes by the name of Bandolito, co-owned, trained and driven, for the most part, by Daryl Bier. He's a son of Ponder and MacDonald has yet to sit behind this 'tank', but he's very familiar with the Ponder family. "I know them well," he stated. "I've driven Ponder and I've driven his stakes champ son's Thinking Out Loud and Bolt The Duer - they're both world class and I think Bandolito is ready for his coming out party too. He hasn't beaten the big boys yet, but The Pace would be a nice spot to start." Bandolito is a lightly raced 4-year-old with just 19 career starts, but he has 13 wins, a mark of 1:48 F and he's banked over $250,000. Charles Dombeck, Dave Bier and brother Daryl all share in ownership and they've recruited MacDonald to pilot this speed demon is this year's edition of the $150,000 Molson Pace taking place Friday, May 30. "I was at Yonkers watching a race from Dover Downs, in April, and I was like 'Who is this pacing out of his harness?'" Turns out it was Bandolito, with Daryl Bier in the bike, cruising to a gate-to-wire 1:48.2 win - his 3rd quarter in 26.2 and final quarter in 25.4 - that's a final half in 52.1 after cutting it! So it is evident that Bandolito has tremendous speed over the five-eighths ovals, but how will he respond to his first test over the half-miler? "He's a very slick pacer and he doesn't wear a boot," said MacDonald. "His speed is just crazy... The half mile track should be just fine for this guy." Some say Bandolito rolls along on the lead like the late Riyadh. A front-end, half-mile track specialist who took on the best there was back in the early to mid 90's. "We'll see how he draws and go from there," added MacDonald. "I know he'll be a serious contender... I know he's ready for the big boys in London... They'll need their 'A+ Game' to beat him!" A confident Mark MacDonald will join London track announcer Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle on Friday's Molson Pace pre-game show to discuss his return to the London oval and offer more insights into this year's Molson 'Dark Horse'. First post on Friday night is 7:05 p.m. and fans will receive a commemorative Foiled Again post card with program purchase. There will also be contests, giveaways, the Molson 'Party on the Patio' and much more happening throughout the night. Full-card coverage will be available on HPItv. On the Wagering side, the early Super Hi-5 will offer an 'Instant Guarantee' of $15,000 while the late Super Hi-5 (Molson Pace) has a $10,000 guaranteed pool. Both Pick-4 wagers offer guaranteed pools - the early at $7,500 and late at $10,000. For more information, including free programs and live streaming video, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. by Greg Blanchard, for The Raceway
The Raceway at Western Fair is pulling out all the stops on Friday for their special Molson Pace Night of harness racing with more than $530,000 in purses headlined by the $150,000 Molson Pace. The weather forecast for Friday’s 12-race program is clear skies and temperatures in the 50’s (10 Celsius) which will make for near perfect race conditions. In addition to the Molson Pace featuring many of the best older pacers in the sport, the track is also hosting four $52,500 Gold Divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes for three-year-old trotting colts and four finals of the City of London Series for trotters and pacers. In total, nine of the twelve races on the program are major stakes events. With such an outstanding race program, any number of track records could fall by the wayside at the Western Fair half mile oval. With the exception of perhaps Captaintreacherous and Vegas Vacation, the 12th race Molson Pace is a star-studded field of world class performers including two world record holders in Foiled Again and Dancin Yankee. The 3-1 morning line favorite is State Treasurer and rightly so. The local horse is trained by Dr. Ian Moore and has been on a tear at Mohawk and Woodbine, coming into the race with three straight win for driver Chris Christoforou and last week ripped off a 1:48.3 lifetime mark. Foiled Again at 4-1 is the class of the field, in fact he is the class of all of harness racing with $6.2 million in career earnings, 80 lifetime wins and comes into the race off a brief layoff but as a tune-up for this race he won a qualifier at the Meadowlands in 1:51.2 over none other than Captaintreacherous. Dancin Yankee is the nation’s speedster this year with an impressive eight wins including a world record 1:47.2 triumph in his last start at Pocono Downs. He has won three of his last four starts and has the gate speed needed to set himself in perfect scoring position. Rounding out the field are Bettor’s Edge, Bandolito, another local favorite in Apprentice Hanover, $567,000 Levy Pace Final winner P H Supercam and Captive Audience. The Molson Pace is the last race on the Western Fair program Friday evening but with such a superb undercard it will be the icing on the cake for every die hard harness racing fan. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Western Fair Raceway's leading driver Trevor Henry won both of the Preferred 3 pacing events on Wednesday night's harness racing card in London, Ont. Henry steered favourites Rock N Go and Rave On to victories in the $7,000 co-features for horses and geldings. Rock N Go ($3.40) was a wire-to-wire winner in 1:56.3, drawing away by seven lengths down the stretch. Bestofthebunch was second-best tonight for driver Nick Steward while Czar Seelster and Brad Forward finished third. To read the rest of this story click here.
This Week: Molson Pace, The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, Ontraio; Art Rooney and Lismore, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Somebeachsomewhere, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Roll With Joe, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at four locations this weekend. Action begins on Friday (May 30) at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the C$150,000 Molson Pace for free for all pacers. In addition to the appearance of defending champion, State Treasurer, who will start from the rail, two-time winner Foiled Again drew the outside post seven in the eight-horse field and will be making his sixth appearance in London's signature race. Yonkers Raceway will host the $300,000 final of the Art Rooney Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings) and the $124,744 Lismore Pace (3-year-old fillies) on Saturday (May 31). Elimination winners Stevensville and All Bets Off lead the field in the Art Rooney Pace, while the Lismore is led by Southwind Silence and Tyra, who captured last weekend's pair of eliminations. Also on Saturday, Mohawk Racetrack will host a trio of C$75,000 divisions in the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old pacing colts. The Grand Circuit action concludes on Sunday (June 1) as Tioga Downs will host the $200,000 (est.) Roll With Joe for free for all pacers. Complete entries for the Yonkers and Tioga races can be found by clicking on this link. Western Fair and Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Maxie Lee Memorial for trotters and the Betsy Ross for Market Share won the $250,000 Maxie Lee by two lengths over Sevruga in 1:50.2. The time established the record for history's fastest on a five-eighths-mile track, which previously was 1:50.3 and shared by Sevruga and Uncle Peter. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite, Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick settled into fourth place behind Sevruga, Arch Madness, and Daylon Magician in the early part of the race. Market Share moved into second place on the backstretch before challenging Sevruga for the top spot on the final turn. Sevruga finished second followed by DW's NY Yank and Arch Maness. "Nowadays, when you win a stakes race it's either a stakes record or a world record," trainer Linda Toscano said. "The horses are faster, the equipment is better; you just have to go (speed wise) where you have to go to win. These are good horses, all of them." Market Share, a 5-year-old who won for the second time in three starts this season, is owned by Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable and Bill Augustine. Gutnick, a Philadelphia native, won the 2012 Maxie Lee with Chapter Seven. Two races later on the card, Anndrovette and Tetrick won the $250,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers by two lengths over Rocklamation in 1:50.2. Anndrovette won the $250,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers by two lengths over Rocklamation in 1:50.2. Anndrovette took the lead from Monkey On My Wheel as the field headed to the halfway point and never looked back. Rocklamation made a late charge from the rear of the pack, but finished second. Jerseylicious was third, followed by Monkey On My Wheel. Sent off at odds of 5-1, Anndrovette paid $13.40 to win. Morning line favorite Shebestingin was scratched. It was Anndrovette's second win in seven starts this season and first since winning a leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on April 4. She was fourth in the Matchmaker final on April 26. Anndrovette, who captured the 2011 Betsy Ross, is owned by Bamond Racing and Joe Davino. The 7-year-old mare, a three-time Dan Patch Award winner, has won 37 of 95 career races and $2.77 million. She is trained by P.J. Fraley. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 286; 2. Tim Tetrick - 225; 3. George Brennan - 144.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 113: 5. Brian Sears - 101. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 410.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 155; 3. Joe Holloway - 97; 4. Jimmy Takter - 95; 5. Julie Miller - 80. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 128.5; 2. Burke Racing - 96.85; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 94.35; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 40; 5. Brad Grant - 39.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at four different racetracks next weekend. The Meadows will host 3-year-old filly trotters with the Currier & Ives on Wednesday (June 4). Mohawk will feature three sets of eliminations for 3-year-olds, plus the Armbro Flight and Roses Are Red for older mares. The Goodtimes eliminations for colt trotters and the Armbro Flight eliminations for mare trotters will take place on Friday (June 6), while on Saturday (June 7) the track will host elims in the North America Cup (colt pacers), Fan Hanover (filly pacers) and Roses Are Red (mare pacers). Also on Saturday, Scioto Downs will host the Charlie Hill for free for all trotters and Balmoral Park will offer Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
Can you imagine taking slapshots in your backyard with Sidney Crosby or catching perfect spirals in the schoolyard from Tom Brady? How cool would it be to practice free throws with Lebron James or hit a bucket of balls at the driving range with Tiger Woods? It would be a whole bunch of awesome - almost as awesome as the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity one fan will be treated to thanks to the Burke Racing Stable, Hands On Horses Program and The Raceway at Western Fair District. One lucky patron will have the chance to ride along in a double-seated jog cart with Foiled Again - the sport's richest pacer of all-time - during his warm-up prior to facing the starting gate in Friday's $150,000 Molson Pace Invitational at the London, Ontario half-miler. Foiled Again, a two-time Molson Pace winner (2011-12) who enjoyed a multiple award-winning campaign in 2013 for trainer Ron Burke, is scheduled to make an unprecedented sixth appearance in The Raceway's marquee event. The nine-year-old son of Dragon Again-In A Safe Place is an 80-time winner who boasts career earnings totalling $6,219,750. He'll look to add to that staggering stash of cash Friday evening, but it won't be easy considering he's drawn Post 7. Fans attending Friday evening's program at The Raceway will be given a ballot for their chance to win the ride of a lifetime with the undisputed king of toughness. First race post time for Friday's 12-race card is 7:05 p.m. For more information about the Hands On Horse Program visit www.handsonhorsesprogram.com. by Stacey Reinsma, for Hands On Horses Program
London, May 27, 2014 -- He defies what you would expect from a world-class professional athlete at the top of his game in just about every category except heart. He lacks size, is an old man in a younger man’s game and isn’t blessed with blinding speed or a chiselled physique. Yet, Foiled Again stands atop the globe as the richest horse in harness racing history and is an epic overachiever by any sport’s standards. Friday night at The Raceway at The Western Fair District in London, fans will get a chance to sit mere metres away from this superstar as Foiled Again competes in his sixth consecutive Molson Pace. One lucky fan will be sitting even closer. The Raceway will draw one name to sit behind the great horse in a special two-seat jog cart when Foiled Again completes an early warm-up trip of the downtown oval. As for the $150,000 race, Quebec native Yannick Gingras will be in the sulky behind Foiled Again, a horse that has earned over $6.2 million in his career. Gingras, who lives and works in New Jersey, is Foiled Again’s regular driver and one of the pacer’s biggest fans. He calls Foiled Again “The People’s Horse”. “He’s that third-line guy, the sixth round draft pick that scores 50 goals six years in a row,” Gingras said. To further the hockey analogy, Foiled Again not only is a grinder, he’s also pushing 40. He’s 10 years old in a sport where most racehorses are retired at half his age and mandatory retirement comes when they reach 15. “He’s an overachiever that wasn’t an expensive yearling, wasn’t a great two- and three-year-old,” Gingras said of horse racing’s most lucrative years. “He’s a horse that’s done it the hard way his whole life. Not only did he have to earn it against the best in the world, the $6 million he’s earned he’s earned it in the open company. He didn’t make $3 million by the time he was three against restricted horses. He’s made the most the last six years racing against the best North America has to offer… He’s a very easy horse to love.” In the 42nd edition of the Molson Pace, Foiled Again will start from the outside post seven in the eight-horse field as he tries to win the race for the third time in his career to go along with victories in 2012 and 2011. Gingras said Foiled Again’s post might not be as big a hindrance as it may first appear. “He never takes his trip with him. He likes it roughed up. He’s a fighter,” Gingras said. Last year’s champ, State Treasurer, drew the rail in a deep field in which the horses have combined earnings exceeding $10.5 million, as well as 215 career victories between them from nearly 650 starts. The Molson Pace will be race 12 on a card that kicks off Friday with a 7:05 p.m. first-race post. Apart from the chance to win a trip around the track behind Foiled Again, commemorative Foiled Again post cards will be given away to fans while supplies last. The Molson team will have games, contests, giveaways and a grand prize draw at its Party on the Patio. The track will have a grand prize draw for a VIP package for eight people to annual London Beer and Barbecue Show June 20-22 at The Western Fair District. The OLG will be giving out slots vouchers to all customers in attendance. Radio station 98.1 FREE FM will also be on site, broadcasting live. On the betting side, there will be a $7,500 guaranteed pool on the Early Pick-4, a $10,000 guaranteed pool on the Late Pick-4 and a $10,000 guaranteed pool on the Super Hi-5. HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI) will be running an online promotion to give away a Pepsi North America Cup VIP package and the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) is promoting the Late Pick-4 by asking people to vote for the races they’d like to see make up the sequence. Gingras said he likes his chances to win a third Molson Pace with Foiled Again despite an ultra-talented field that, apart from State Treasurer, also includes: Bettors Edge, Bandolito, Apprentice Hanover, Dancin Yankee, P H Super Cam and Captive Audience. “He’s actually gotten better and better and better every year,” the driver said of Foiled Again’s age-defying performance. Meanwhile, Foiled Again’s fan following has grown substantially. “I love that,” Gingras said. “At the end of 2012, I think he earned a lot of people’s respect. It was definitely when he went over Gallo Blue Chip’s money record in the Canadian Pacing Derby… It started a little bit there, but it snowballed into last year. At the end of last year all the attention was well, well deserved. I’m very proud of him.” by Greg Blanchard, for The Raceway
It was a good night for the gals during Monday’s card of harness racing at The Raceway at Western Fair District, with Just One Day and Random Majority reigning supreme in their respective assignments versus Preferred company. Just One Day clicked for Team Holliday in the $7,350 Preferred 3. The eight-year-old daughter of Earl-Just One Night rallied to win by three-quarters of a length over Heres The Magic in 1:59.3. Scottish Cross, who set most of the speed, faded late and finished third. Sent off at odds of 11-1, Just One Day scored the win for driver Ryan Holliday, trainer Dave Holliday and owner/breeder Graham Jackson of Listowel, Ontario. It was the mare’s fourth win of the year – and the 39th lifetime – and the lion’s share of loot lifted her bankroll to $264,061. To read the rest of the story click here.
London, May 26, 2014 -- The post position draw for this year's Molson Pace was conducted earlier today at The Raceway in London, Ontario and it was defending champion State Treasurer who came away with the coveted rail position in this Friday night's $150,000 event. State Treasurer has been off to a great start this season, winning his last three in a row, including a 1:48.3 national season's record in his latest outing at Mohawk. Two-time winner Foiled Again drew the outside post seven in the eight-horse field and will be making his sixth appearance in London's signature race. Dancin Yankee, who set a 1:47.2 world record in his most recent start at Pocono, drew post five in the star studded field which also includes Bettors Edge (PP2), Bandolito (PP3), Apprentice Hanover (PP4), PH Super Cam (PP6) and Captive Audience (PP8). First post on Friday night is 7:05 p.m. (E.T.). There will be commemorative Foiled Again post cards given to customers with program purchase and one lucky fan will have a chance to ride behind Foiled Again in a double-seated jogger earlier in the night. The Molson girls will be on hand hosting a Molson 'Party on the Patio' with plenty of contests and giveaways throughout the night. There will also be a pair of grand prize draws for VIP packages to both the Beer and Barbecue Show and the Pepsi North America Cup. On the wagering side, the Early Pick-4 will feature a $7,500 guaranteed pool with a $10,000 guarantee on the Late Pick-4. The Super Hi-5, in race seven, will also feature a $10,000 guaranteed pool. For more information on this year's Molson Pace, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. by Greg Blanchard, for The Raceway
May 26, 2014 – When Bob Zanakis scored a net profit of $521.60 on Saturday night’s TVG FFA Series at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, followers of the 2014 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs may have thought this weekend was going to be more of the same with the usual leaders performing the best. They would have been wrong. For on Sunday, Josi Verlingieri, who was lingering near the bottom for most of the contest thus far, made a statement of ‘Not so fast boys ’ by scoring a net profit of $1,164.50 on Sunday’s card at Harrah’s Philadelphia thanks to a $2 Superfecta Box of four horses in the Betsy Ross FFA Mares Pace which paid $1,496.40.which brought her contest-to-date net profit to $267.80, moving her from 14th to 6th place. In a week where the cards were shuffled on the standings, Brandon Valvo returned to the top of the leader board with the second and third place handicappers being within $50 of the leader. Some of the big hits this weekend were by Sally Hinckley, $60 Show bet on Thinking Out Loud paying $120 in the TVG Series; Earl Paulson, $75 Place bet on Rocklamation in the Betsy Ross paying $240; Brandon Valvo, $250 Win on Sweet Lou in the TVG Series paying $425; Josi Verlingieri, $48 (total) in a Superfecta box tickets on the Betsy Ross paying $1,496.40; Bob Zanakis, $126 in Trifecta bets on the TVG Series race grossing $771.60. The shuffling of the standings show the contest standings as being: As of May 25, 2014 - Leg 7 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $175.00 $880.00 2nd Derick Giwner ($163.00) $842.20 $37.80 3rd Bob Zanakis $317.60 $832.75 $47.25 4th Earl Paulson $217.50 $345.00 $535.00 5th Mark McKelvie ($13.00) $310.50 $569.50 6th Josi Verlingieri $1,165.40 $267.80 $612.20 7th Brian McEvoy $30.00 $197.50 $682.50 8th Garnet Barnsdale ($500.00) ($48.00) $928.00 9th Sally Hinckley $49.50 ($91.90) $971.90 10th Gordon Waterstone ($350.00) ($320.00) $1,200.00 11th Rusty Nash ($250.00) ($645.00) $1,525.00 12th Ann Stepien ($250.20) ($876.20) $1,756.20 13th Ray Garnett ($440.00) ($1,037.20) $1,917.20 14th Ray Cotolo ($460.00) ($1,213.00) $2,093.00 15th Dennis O'Hara ($451.30) ($1,432.30) $2,312.30 This coming week, the contest stakes action picks up beginning with Friday night’s $150,000 Molson Invitational (The Raceway at Western Fair District), Saturday night’s $150,000 Somebeachwhere (Mohawk Raceway), $150,000 Lismore and $300,000 Art Rooney Pace (Yonkers Raceway), and Sunday afternoon’s $200,000 Roll With Joe (Tioga Downs). by Allan Schott, for HANA
The 2014 Ontario Sires Stakes season kicked off on Friday night at The Raceway at the Western Fair District with three-year-old pacing colts and geldings in the spotlight. Three $70,000 Gold divisions were contested back-to-back during the final half of the evening's program with Boomboom Ballykeel winning his sophomore debut in the OSS season opener for the O'Brien Award winning team of Sylvain Filion and Richard Moreau. Major Homer (Jody Jamieson) established the lead off the gate while even-money favourite Speckled Door (Doug McNair) rolled up and settled into the pocket spot through a :28-second first quarter. Major Homer continued to lead the way through middle splits of :57.4 and 1:26.2 with Roger Mach Em (Paul MacDonell) advancing first over from fourth and P L Haymaker (Trevor Henry) following his cover. However, Filion had positioned Boomboom Ballykeel third over from the backfield and sent him three-wide into the stretch to sweep past the field for the 1:56.2 triumph. Roger Mach Em finished over one length behind in second while Major Homer was third over Speckled Door. To read the rest of the story click here.
London, May 23, 2014 -- The field for this year's $150,000 Molson Pace at The Raceway at Western Fair District is shaping up as one of the strongest ever. Two-time winner Foiled Again will lead the way as the 10-year-old gets ready for his sixth appearance in London. He is the richest pacer in history with more than $6.2 million earned and is coming off a dazzling qualifying win over Captain Treacherous. Defending champion State Treasurer will be back as well and has been in stellar form early on this season including back to back sub-1:50 wins at Woodbine against Preferred company. Also expected are this year's Levy champion, PH Super Cam, who upended Foiled Again and Dancin Yankee who is coming off a 1:47.2 world record performance last weekend at Pocono. Fellow speedballers Apprentice Hanover, Captive Audience, Bettors Edge and Bandolito have also received invites and are expected to make an appearance. The post position draw for this year's Molson Pace will be held live this Monday afternoon on The Raceway pre-game show which airs at 5:40 p.m. (E.T.). The Molson Pace program goes next Friday, May 30, with a first post of 7:05 p.m. (E.T.). That night fans will receive a commemorative Foiled Again post card with program purchase (while supplies last) and one lucky patron will get a chance to sit behind the world champion in a double-seated jog cart early in the night. There will also be a Molson 'Party on the Patio' and prize draws for VIP packages to the Pepsi North America Cup and Beer and Barbecue Show. On the wagering side, the early pick-4 pool will be guaranteed at $7,500 with the late guaranteed at $10,000. There will also be a $10,000 guaranteed pool Super Hi-5. For more information on this year's Molson Pace, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. By Greg Blanchard, for The Raceway