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Michigan’s David Omicioli, owner of the good harness racing mare Turbo Diva, reached out to us recently after reading up on some people stories at The Raceway. “We’re also on lockdown,” reports Omicioli. “Hopefully we see a vaccine developed soon for this coronavirus… I miss my horses and I miss hanging out at the racetracks…” Turbo Diva raced in London for trainer Tim Myers and now finds herself stabled in Hamburg, New York. “She was able to race one time at Buffalo Raceway (a fourth-best finish on March 11) before that track closed,” says Omicioli. “My cousin (Frank Mahiques) is now training her there. She’s enjoying her life in Buffalo… There’s a pool, a walker and a ten-acre paddock at the farm - plus she also has a new best friend in Mya - my cousin’s nine-year-old granddaughter… Buffalo is scheduled to re-open May 2, but I think that could be just a mark on the wall.”   Omicioli has raced pacers Qarma Blue Chip and Surf Report (both trained by Myers) at The Raceway, over the last few seasons, and he’s also enjoyed watching and cheering on Reel - a Preferred class pacer conditioned by Myers. “I really like that big horse… He rarely seems to get an easy trip, but he’s always a contender whenever he races.” Trainer Myers now co-owns a two-year-old, with Omicioli, that was purchased at the London Selected Yearling Sale last Fall. “There’s a funny story how I bought him,” he chuckles. “My oldest son Nick, Tim and I were at the sale and we weren’t having any luck buying a yearling on that final Sunday, but we liked a few horses that were going to sell late. So getting a bit restless Tim says ‘Let’s go look at those yearlings we picked out.’… Then after looking over those potential stars again - for a third or fourth time - we returned to the sales arena. We chose a spot up high in the bleachers. Tim, Nick and I had just sat down when we saw that a yearling was stuck on a price of $3,000… Now I just knew it was a ‘Control The Moment’ (yearling) and I didn’t even have my catalog open, but Nick did, so I turned to Nick and asked ‘Do you think the horse is worth $4,000?’… Nick replied ‘I think so!’… So I raised my hand and I got the horse for $4,000.” “I was thinking, at the time, even if he didn’t make it as a racehorse - I’d get my $4,000 back… Nick said ‘You should have seen Tim’s face!’… Tim was a little upset, with me, because we didn’t even go look at the horse beforehand and I remember as we walked down the bleacher stairs, to go sign the sales slip, Tim asked me if it was a colt or a filly… I turned to him and said ‘Hell, I don’t even know!’… Nick and I laughed about it all the way back to Michigan…” Trainer Jim Jarvis and his son Dillon had been with the three gentlemen, at the sale, earlier on the weekend. “They were with us, but they had to leave because Dillon had hockey,” says Omicioli. “Dillon told me on the way out that he wanted in, if I bought anything, so now Dillon and Tim are going to be added to the ownership line with me. It should be fun!”  And the yearling sale story doesn’t quite end there… “Nick had suggested a name change to ‘Just Trust Me Tim’, but I’ve come to like his registered name ‘of Thatmomentinlife’… Anyhow the colt is doing well and he paces right along free-legged. We have him paid up for the Ontario Sire Stakes and hopefully we’ll be talking about his sale story and some racing stories - in the years to come!” Thatmomentinlife - most appropriately named considering how the hammer dropped on this hip #251 at the London Selected Yearling Sale of 2019… Good luck guys! Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Track Announcer - The Raceway sdoyle@westernfairdistrict.com

Like so many others, involved in harness racing, horseman Lorne House was born and raised into the business as well… “Indeed I grew up in it,” he says. “My Dad, Mike House, had horses and my Grandfather, Alf Smith, he raced horses too.” It’s now been about 20 years in the business, for House, as a licensed harness trainer and driver in Ontario. His first career training win would come in London, with Fluid Drive, on November 4, 1999… “He was the first horse I ever owned too,” says House. “Don McElroy would have drove him and many others for me back then. I just didn’t have the itch to drive at that time…” That itch would indeed come along, a few years later, when House would get in the majority of his qualifying drives, at The Raceway, during the Spring of 2001. It’d be Sarnia, in September of that year, where he’d guide Tinkers Magic to an off-the-pace win for his first career driving victory. And then it would be Fantastic Lil giving Lorne his first London driving win in early 2003. The pair would double up, next start at Flamboro, before that same mare would get claimed. “The guy that claimed her - well I guess he didn’t like her… He called me to see if I wanted her back, not long after, but I turned him down.” And so it goes - Fanstastic Lil would retire with just two career victories. A few favourite horses, for House, over the years at The Raceway… “Grogan was a nice, nice trotter I trained and drove… I still remember the day he won an O.S.S. Grassroots in London (June 19, 2007)… The track was sloppy and we won by 11 in 2:00 flat! If the track would have been fast, that day, we’d have broke the track record I’m sure,” states House. “He’s retired now and I believe he’s breeding Dutch Warmblood mares in Indiana.” “Kendal Gustav was another great horse to drive,” offers House. “I had lots of thrills aboard him. He was just so consistent and when it was time to go - it’s like he just knew and he’d show up… I could always count on ‘Gus’.   A very interesting question came up, recently, during a COSA TV special featuring driving legends Ron Waples, John Campbell and Bill ODonnell. Broadcast host Greg Blanchard would ask the gentlemen if there was ever a horse they never had a chance to drive, but wish they could have… Well they all quickly agreed on Niatross as that one horse they wished they could have drove in a big race. So I then asked House that same question and his answer may surprise some… “The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) would be the dream horse and an obvious choice for many, I’m sure, but I’ve always liked the hard knocking older horses - the blue-collar types, so Admirals Express would likely be that one horse for me.” Outside of harness racing House says he’s a big Toronto Blue Jays fan and he loves to fish as well. “I do miss seeing the Jays play and my boy (Luc) loves the baseball too, but he’s not a Jays fan just yet though,” he laughs. “The fishing I picked up from my Grandfather years ago - we’d get out lots… And now it’s been Luc and I getting out.” Lorne’s son Luc, at just 8 years of age, would come up big, recently, on the Niagara River around Queenston. “We’d never fished there before, but away we went last Friday (March 27),” says House. “We weren’t there 15 minutes and Luc hooked on to a 12-pound rainbow (trout)… And he wouldn’t need any help, from me, though he was getting tired into the stretch, but he dug in and landed him,” House chuckled. “It was a very proud moment for us both and he was grinning from ear to ear… We’d end up catching 13 that day and he’d catch 8 of them… I always loved fishing with my Dad and Grandpa, so my boy Luc - I guess he gets it honest enough!” “We weren’t there 15 minutes and Luc hooked on to a 12-pound rainbow (trout) And like his Dad - Luc enjoys the horses too… Sitting alongside Lorne, at The Raceway in 2017, Luc would guide Ping to an exhibition pony race victory… “Now that was fun! Just for him alone - he was ecstatic… And we still have Ping too - she looks after the yearlings on the farm.” Final words go to House on this current downtime for horse racing… “We’ve been quite busy training and I look after the track at Dorchester Downs,” he says. “Angela (Clark) has been training Munndutch back under saddle, but we’ll have him back in the bike when racing returns… We’re just hoping to get back to racing soon and preferably in London. There’s no doubt we’ll be ready to race when and where the tracks are open.”    Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Track Announcer - The Raceway sdoyle@westernfairdistrict.com

“We’re still quite busy, with a stable of 15 horses,” says young harness racing owner Cassidy Schneider. “The only thing, that’s really changed, is the fact that we don’t race now… We still jog and train them… We’re still doing our thing week in and week out.” Schneider, at just 18 years of age, can almost remember becoming a racehorse owner back in 2007… “I do know it was Arizona Gem,” she says. “He was the first horse in my name, because (at that time) I wasn’t allowed in the paddock - so my dad bought him and put him in my name… From that point on I could go into any paddock - because I was an owner. I still have a win photo, of that horse, with my dad driving and I was sitting on the race bike in the winner’s circle… So that is what I remember about him.” A midget hockey league player, with the Grand River Mustangs, Schneider has always enjoyed the competition on the ice, but it’s safe to say, now, she’ll pass on any hockey game to race her horses. “I remember when I first signed up for hockey and went to my first practice… My Dad had to race that same night at Grand River and our horse, Count Strike, would end up getting claimed that night… Another time, I missed the races, was when I went to play hockey in Guelph and ended up breaking my arm during the game. Well my Dad raced and came straight to the hospital, to see me, on his way home, but I knew then - after those two experiences - that I’d not be missing any more races for a hockey game.”  Cassidy Schneider At least a fourth-generation harness racer from Arthur, Ontario - Schneider gets her love for the sport honestly… “My Dad (Colonel Schneider Jr.) had a stable long before I came along,” she says. “He was also born and raised into the business. His Dad and my Grandpa (Colonel Schneider) had horses and before that his Dad and my Great Grandpa raced horses too. I can remember jogging my first horse at the age of 8 - it was PL Dangerous and I’ve had this love for the horses ever since.” Looking back to her earliest memory of a race night, at The Raceway, Schneider recalls paddocking Emerald Rihanna with her Dad. “I didn’t know it, at the time, but my Dad had made a deal with Ricky Moffat on a grey horse named Hudd,” she explains. “We stopped on our way home from the races and picked up Hudd… I was asleep, in the passenger seat, so I wasn’t even aware we had stopped and put him on the trailer. When we got home - I helped unload and it was only then that I discovered we had another horse - this big grey horse and we still have him to this day.” Reb The Raider, Maddys Credit, Kinmundys Stryker and their most recent addition, Foxton Road, are just some of the horses that have campaigned, in London, for the Schneider’s in recent years. Cassidy mentions that she does get attached to the horses that come and go from their barn, but when it comes to a favourite she’s very quick to admit that it’s Reb The Raider. “He’s my all-time fave!” she says proudly. “We bought ‘Reb’ almost six years ago. We raced him for a while and then he got claimed, but we claimed him right back for the same price of $5,000 (March of 2015)… It was then that he won 4 in a row - from London to Woodbine to Flamboro to Mohawk - there was even a Preferred win in there too and we’ve had him ever since.” Cassidy Schneider ‘Reb’ would also provide Schneider with a few more memorable victories during his racing career and her favourite driver, for this particular horse, would be aboard for those wins.… “The first time Natasha Day drove, for us, was at Hanover in 2017 and she won - she won with Reb! It had been almost 2 years since he’d won a race - so that was very special for me - Nat would be his driver from then on… She was on ‘Reb’ for my all-time favorite win, at The Raceway, too - a Preferred 3 win (January 29, 2018) - the last time we made it to the winner’s circle with him. He’s just been an all-around nice horse on and off the track - we’re happy to still have him with us!” We saw last week, through horse owner Kelley McNiven, that the standardbreds are pretty keen to go on under saddle and the same deal goes for Schneider… “I have - pretty much - the majority of my race horses broke to ride, but ‘Reb’ has been my favourite for that as well. I wasn’t surprised that he took to it so quickly and enjoyed it - again he’s just an all-around nice horse.”  And Schneider - on this current downtime away from the racing action… “I’ve missed being able to socialize and see my friends at the races. Hopefully we can all get back to doing what we love sooner - rather than later.” Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Announcer – The Raceway  

Foiled Again! He may not have won the 2014 edition of the Molson Pace, at The Raceway, but he would certainly live up to the hype for and in that race - my first harness racing ‘big race’ call in Ontario - after moving from Alberta during the Fall of 2013… This particular race call was going to be a HUGE deal for this small-town guy from P.E.I.! I can remember being very nervous, beforehand, on the day of May 30, 2014. Some big name horses were coming to London - Foiled Again, Apprentice Hanover and State Treasurer - among others… And then the list of drivers, for the big race, was very impressive - Chris Christoforou, Jody Jamieson, Yannick Gingras, Brett Miller, Trevor Henry, Sylvain Filion, Jason Bartlett and Mark MacDonald - most I’d only seen racing via simulcast prior to this day.   When I had heard Foiled Again was with us and in the paddock on this day - long before the crowd began to show up - I made my way there for a face-to-face visit… It was only then when I began to feel my nervous butterflies fly away… The old saying goes “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” - Winston Churchill… Now I’ve always been in a firm believer in this quote and the moment I came face-to-face with Foiled Again - was the moment a calmness came over me. He was so calm and cool - like it was just another day at the races - for one of harness racing’s greatest ever. My meet and greet with this ‘people’s champ’ was just what I needed and from that point on - I’d be good to go! There’s always some prep work involved for calling the horses and sometimes the biggest races may get a little more attention than the others… We can go over a race - dozens of times beforehand and try to guess what ‘may happen’ for pace and trip scenarios, but for the 2014 Molson Pace - nobody could have predicted the start for race favourite State Treasurer and nobody could have imagined that he’d overcome it… The only thing I had ‘scripted’ - for this particular race - would be my ‘salute call’ for Foiled Again as they turned for home… “This is Foiled Again being awesome - it’s awesome being Foiled Again!”… I was lucky to not have any other ‘crib note calls’ at the ready for this one - they’d have been no good to me anyway and likely would have made for a messed up call in the end… In the end - I think the call worked out well - the race itself came out even better! 2014 Molson Pace - www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=NvQJGFg-R4g&feature=emb_title Had a chance recently to watch, listen and reminisce about - some great race calls from back in the day on a race callers roundtable… For me Tom Durkin has my favourite race call ever! It’s for the 1989 Breeders Cup with Sunday Silence winning over easy Goer… His adjectives used to describe the action, the rise in his booming voice for the stretch drive and then - when it’s over - you can really appreciate the fact in knowing that he gave it everything he had… A great job by the ‘roundtable’ host Greg Blachard and fun catching up with fellow race caller Ken Middleton. To watch last Wednesday’s COSA TV: ‘Race Callers Roundtable’ click on this link https://standardbredcanada.ca/news/3-25-20/live-interview-middleton-doyl… *I did have a Raceway fan/player lined up for today’s blog feature, but he was busy celebrating the birth of a new grandson - born this past weekend… Congratulations Jim Brewer and Family! Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Announcer - The Raceway

With a very light schedule of harness racing taking place throughout the world, right now, it was easy to catch up with lifelong harness racing fan and bettor Melissa Keith. A recent winner of the 2019 John Hervey Award (for feature writing) at the Annual Dan Patch Awards - Keith, of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, had been a recent addition to the Bettors’ Corner - featured on the Ontario Racing website. Keith’s Friday night in-depth analysis, for The Raceway, was just starting to heat up - when all of a sudden - Ontario harness racing came to a halt due to the corona-virus. “My favourite win of the season was Rubber Knows beating Dan Dar Mal on that final Friday night card (March 13). She was my Ontario Racing ‘Spot Play’ of the night on the Bettors’ Corner and she’d return $50.90 to win!” Keith’s interest in harness racing goes back to the days of Sackville Downs, in Halifax, N.S., attending the races with her Dad and brothers. “I can remember my elementary school class getting a tour of the backstretch, back in the day, as well. I became fascinated by these amazing animals and the unique world of the racetrack.” “Sackville Downs had incredible crowds and handle - up until it closed in the 1980’s, so simply attending the races was enough to cultivate a strong interest in harness racing. There were several stars, at the time, who captured everyone’s imagination: Winners Accolade, Waveore and Angels Shadow were the ‘big three’. When my Dad signed me up for riding lessons, naturally I was paired up with a retired standardbred pacer (Starshot Lobell). I took some heat for occasionally letting him pace fast under saddle on the farm’s training track!” After many years of watching and wagering on the horses around the Maritimes – Keith was bound to find a few favourites along the way… “My favourite racehorses, past & present, is a long list! The first horse that I really followed closely was a pacer who came to Sackville Downs, from Sudbury Downs, in the 1980’s - a good-looking pacing stallion named Syd Grattan. Carl Jamieson trained and drove him - many years later I learned Syd Grattan was the horse Carl credited with really getting his career moving forward. There was also a trotting stallion by the name of Sunbound who was driven and also trained, I believe, by Ken Arsenault (not the Kenny Arsenault still active in P.E.I.). I cheered for him trackside every race and he was the first horse I ever got out for a winner’s circle photo with. They weren’t the winningest or fastest horses, at Sackville Downs, but they were charismatic and exciting to watch. My Dad’s friend Charlie Piper bought a grey gelding by Smog - named Irish Fog and I became a fan of this pacer as well.”  It’s years later now and after learning to play the horses, growing up around Sackville Downs, we asked - when was it that Keith would actually stumble upon The Raceway as a betting option? “My earliest memory of The Raceway is watching and wagering, with my Dad, at the Sackville Superbowl OTB and finding out that it was a tough track to handicap! And then I wasn’t following racing so much, during my university years, because there was no track around and no online wagering yet, but I got drawn back into it immediately in the Moni Maker era. I remember going to Champions OTB on Bloor Street, on a Sunday morning, to watch her in the Prix d’Amerique. She was one of a kind!” “This year is tough - with horses sidelined now - right as the Grand Circuit races were scheduled to start with the MGM Borgata (formerly George Morton Levy) and Blue Chip Matchmakers Series at Yonkers. It was disappointing, but understandable when The Raceway closed as a corona-virus precaution back on March 19… So my favourite ‘active’ horses, right now, are hopefully going to come back strong: Gimpanzee, Shartin N and hopefully Bold Eagle makes it back to North America.”  Looking back on some favourites, at The Raceway, Keith says she really enjoyed the 2014 edition of the Molson Pace. “That race featured such a gutsy effort by State Treasurer. He had a rough start and had to close from last for a three-horse photo finish with Foiled Again and Apprentice Hanover. He got there just in time! Scott Coulter is probably my favourite driver at The Raceway; he seems to get the best from any horse and rates horses so well on the front end. From past Western Fair drivers - Dave Wall & Trevor Ritchie both obviously went on to have great careers with great trotters… I associate them with Goodtimes and Peaceful Way - two of the best trotters I’ve ever seen race.” “Past performers Button Up and Lady Latte were a couple of my Raceway favourites as well. Before the COVID-19 hiatus, I was enjoying the emerging rivalry among Windsong Ophelia, Warrawee Usain and Super T - three talented young trotters who were ready to duke it out again on March 20 - which ended up being cancelled. Talbot Eh Plus has probably been my favourite horse this season. She’s won half her starts, racing respectably at Woodbine Mohawk Park and dominating at the mile distance on a half.” And one last bit from Keith on handicapping The Raceway… “Handicapping The Raceway, for Ontario Racing, has really highlighted the quality winter racing at Western Fair. Wagering is up - which reflects that as well. Favourites often win, but there is value to be found and that last turn is always full of suspense. I’ll be looking forward to another Camluck Classic, but more than that, I’ll be looking forward to the return of the regular London races that keep the sport rolling.”  *To read Melissa’s two-part award-winning story from 2019 - click on the following Harness Racing Update links… Part 1) The tragic and mysterious death of a harness horseman https://harnessracingupdate.com/2019/04/14/the-tragic-and-mysterious-dea… Part 2) A wanderer with an incredible heart https://harnessracingupdate.com/2019/05/24/a-wanderer-with-an-incredible… Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Announcer - The Raceway

Here we go… With his ‘growing up’ ties to London and now his ‘making a living’ life in Sarnia - Raceway horse owner Stewart McQueen has been going to the horse races for as long as he can remember… “My Dad (Jack) loves the horses and we’d go to Orangeville back in the day…” says McQueen. “And please - call me Stew - the only one that calls me Stewart is my Mom and it’s usually when I know I’m in trouble,” he chuckled. “Dad had horses with trainer Peter Shody years ago and that’s likely how I got the bug too,” notes McQueen. “They raced Brandnew Man, Coyote Spur and Lochboisdale in the mid-90’s and now here I am, years later, racing horses with Dad cheering me on.” Stewart is a licensed Red Seal and 310S technician (auto mechanic) by trade and together with his wife Meghan - they own and operate After Hours Automotive in Sarnia. And from that - they put After Hours Stables in play during the Fall of 2018… So where does the ‘After Hours’ come from? “I had a one-bay shop - doing some undercoating on cars ‘after hours’ and away from my other job at the time…” he remembers. “I was doing it to help pay for our wedding and the business took off from there. That was two and a half years ago.” The competition of racing is nothing new to McQueen as he used to race Camaros around the Delaware Speedway… “That was a fun hobby, at the time, but those cars were more expensive than these horses.” The claiming game is Stew’s game and when looking to buy into harness racing, in that Fall of 2018, he was in need of a trainer. “I convinced my wife to look into buying a race horse,” he explains. “I got looking, for a trainer, around Sarnia - my friend Jimmy MacDonald led me to the (Peter) Core barn and around that same time - I happened to run into Danielle and Marc St Louis on the grounds there and asked them who their trainer was - they both looked so young and I thought they were grooms for another stable… Well we hit it off up front - I liked what I saw in them and the rest is history… Not long after - we’d team up and claim LDL Gem out of London.” Claimed for $7,000 - LDL Gem would try the $8,500 level next start out and finished well back. “She was OK for us… I tried to make some calls in the early going - bumping her up in class, but when we put her back where she belonged - she won for us and she’d win a few more for us too - before being claimed,” he said proudly. “That was a great learning experience and it was nice to get a win, so early, after becoming an owner.”  Favourite horses - past and present? “The past is easy - Hopetobefirst! I was maybe too naive, at the time, to understand just how special he was and what he was doing for us on the race track.” McQueen would claim the son of Sagebrush for $7,000 and the veteran pacer would go on to win his next six starts in London and then add another five ‘Forest City’ victories, in 2019, before being claimed away. “He’s the one that made me say ‘yes I want to back Danielle and Marc’ with the horses. His win at Flamboro (April 25) was the most amazing mile I had ever seen - parking first-up all the way and he just wouldn’t give up.”   McQueen ‘hopes’ to maybe get him back someday as Hopetobefirst now finds himself racing for a $20,000 claiming tag at Yonkers.  “The present - Oh K Man! And I picked this fella…” mentions McQueen. “I remember being in the paddock with Marc and we’re looking over the program and we see that Oh K Man is way down in class and priced at $7,000 and I say ‘how did we miss this horse?’ Well he won easily that night and then I watched and I waited for him again and again - I wanted him! He raced a few more times and I just said to myself ‘I don’t care how much he is - I’m going to buy him anyway’… Well I claimed him for $9,000 and picked him up - bathed him myself at Mohawk and he was in the barn for them (Danielle and Marc) when they arrived the next morning.” Since being claimed, in late November, Oh K Man has gone on to win nine of sixteen starts and banked over $30,000 - with all victories coming at The Raceway - his latest win being a gate-to-wire Preferred 3 score at the 1-1/16M distance. And moving forward with ‘After Hours’… “We want race horses. I like to claim and I hope for improvement…” states McQueen. “And we’d like to duplicate last summer… We were the leading owner at a few tracks, but what I really want - is to be the leading owner at The Raceway for 2020. We just missed to Jack Wray last season.” McQueen’s Hopetobefirst would take home the ‘Claiming Pacer of the Year Award’ at The Raceway’s Annual Awards Banquet last month. His team St Louis, of Danielle and Marc, would also take home The Raceway’s Trainer and Driver of the Year Awards respectively. “There’s no substitute for hard work,” states McQueen. “Marc, Danielle, Tyler and Kandee (St Louis) - they all put so much time and effort into looking after the horses. And that’s why we came away with the awards we won for 2019.”   The Raceway at Western Fair District  

March 19, 2020 – The Raceway at Western Fair District has temporarily suspended live harness racing until further notice due to the continued spread of COVID-19. We wish to thank our horse people, and staff for their tremendous co-operative efforts this past week in allowing us to conduct racing. However, as the virus spreads, the risks to community associated with racing make it difficult to continue. The Raceway will keep everyone updated on the status of the return of live racing in London in the coming days.  

March 18, 2020 -- Management at The Raceway at Western Fair District advises harness racing people that beginning this Friday, qualifiers have been moved to 5:00 p.m. until further notice. Training at The Raceway has also been cancelled until further notice. A maximum of two qualifying races (14 horses) will be run each qualifying day and participants are advised that the qualifying horses will stable in races 11 and 12 in the race paddock. No other horses will be permitted for schooling or training and participants will be asked to vacate in a timely manner following completion of the qualifying races. There is currently a screening process in place for those licenced participants entering the paddock to race, so please leave yourself extra time when shipping to the track. This process is critical to the continuation of racing and management expects full co-operation from horse people. Horse people are also reminded of the following additional precautions when coming to race: Do not congregate in the paddock to socialize - Practice social distancing If you are feeling sick, stay home Following each race, horse people are asked to bath and load their horses as quickly as possible and exit the paddock within 30 minutes Participants will also have their temperature taken upon arrival at the paddock gate The Raceway thanks horse people for their co-operation and will continue to update the situation.  

LONDON, ON... Officials at The Raceway at Western Fair District would like to announce that live racing is still on for the Tuesday, March 3 card of racing. This comes after cancelling last nights card and training this morning. First race is scheduled for 6:15 pm. From The Raceway      

LONDON, OH - The Officials with The Raceway at Western Fair District have announced that the track has been forced to cancel its card of live harness racing that was scheduled for Monday (March. 2). The cancellation has come due to unsafe track conditions caused by mild temperatures and overnight rain. The Raceway will be back in action on Tuesday evening with a 6:15 p.m. post time. Management at The Raceway apologize for any inconvenience. by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway    

LONDON, ON - The 43nd annual awards banquet at The Raceway at the Western Fair District was a huge success on Saturday evening in The Raceway's Carousal Room. The large crowd in attendance enjoyed a reception, fabulous buffet dinner, the awards presentation and then dancing until the wee hours of the morning. Jack Wray was the star of the show as the veteran horseman captured the Wall Tyme Lifetime Achievement Award along with Owner of the Year. Wray also took home additional hardware with Arnoldthepaperboy capturing the Three-year-old Pacer of the Year, while his Impressively Done picked up the Older Trotting Mare of the Year Award. Blue Moose, a son of Badlands Hanover, was crowned aged Pacer of the Year and Overall Horse of the Year for owner/driver Robert Shepherd and trainer Isabelle Darveau. The five-year-old was an 11-time winner from 19 starts at The Raceway, in 2020, en route to earnings well north of $50,000 during his campaign. Driver Marc St Louis captured his first driving title at Western Fair thanks to an outstanding season in 2019, which included 143 wins. The Michigan native was also crowned Canada's leading dash winner with 340 wins. St Louis' wife, Danielle, also won her first trainers title at The Raceway. The young conditioner finished off 2019 with 61 wins, 23 more than her nearest rivals Ron MacDonald and Patrick Shepherd. Brenda Campbell was named the Ruth Herbert Horsewoman of the Year. Finally, Stacey Currie was crowned Caretaker of the Year. A special thanks goes out to all the sponsors. The 2019 award winners are as follows: Older Pacing Horse - Blue Moose Older Pacing Mare - Woodmere Wyldstyle Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt - Arnoldthepaperboy Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly - Sporty Tori Older Trotting Horse - Nebraska Jack Older Trotting Mare - Impressively Done Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt - Raising Royalty Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly - Victoriahasasecret Claiming Pacer - Hopetobefirst Claiming Trotter - Spicey Victor Owner of the Year - Jack Wray Trainer of the Year - Danielle St Louis Driver of the Year - Marc St Louis Wall Tyme Outstanding Service Award - Jack Wray Caretaker of the Year - Stacey Currie Horse of the Year - Blue Moose Ruth Herbert Horsewoman of the year Award - Brenda Campbell Racing Under Saddle Outstanding Achievement - Maggie Jones by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway  

Thrilling, exhilarating, heart-pounding, and unforgettable are but a few words that describe the experience of watching live horse racing at The Raceway in the Western Fair District. The Raceway  evokes these feelings with their premium harness racing product. The Raceway is located in one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada: London, Ontario. This oval plays host to Canada’s richest half-mile-track race for older pacers, the $150,000 Camluck Classic.  When arriving at The Raceway, race fans of all ages immediately pick up an energetic feel to the track. As the fans make their way out to the tarmac and into the grandstand, they are filled with excitement, hoping to see how close they are able to get to the horses. The grandstand was built almost on top of the track, to allow racegoers to feel like that they are in the middle of the action. It is quite common for drivers to greet spectators along the fence during the post parade. Race fans can also take in the races  and enjoy dinner at the same time from the Top of the Fair restaurant.  The warmer months of the racing season bring in a great crowd of younger individuals and families for live racing. Throughout the colder months of the season, many children still encourage their parents out to the fence alongside the track, to get up close to the horses and to wish their favourite driver good luck. It may be frigid outside, but the joy of watching live racing doesn’t cool down.  Back in the warmer grandstand on Friday nights, many 19+ individuals enjoy the bar area on the main level and converse about their next bet or maybe the Toronto Maple Leafs game between races. At The Raceway, there is something for all ages to enjoy, from live racing to a drink with friends.  The Raceway provides the highest-quality racing product for fans and horseplayers to enjoy. This enjoyment brings in major betting dollars to this “small” Ontario track. Wagering has been setting a record pace this season, with the track averaging well over $400,000 per card. Not only have the wagering pools been outstanding, so have the payouts to horseplayers. The Raceway attracts those established bettors and is a great starting spot for younger bettors to get in on the action.  The Raceway has live races on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 6:15 pm (Eastern), as well as the popular Friday night race card beginning at 6:55 pm (Eastern). The best aged pacers in North America will come to The Raceway on Friday May 29th for the 2020 Camluck Classic. You can find out more by visiting www.westernfairdistrict.com/raceway or by following The Raceway on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.  by Tony Elliott (For USHWA Youth Committee)  

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce the host tracks and dates for the 2020 Regional Driving Championships and National Driving Championship which will ultimately determine Canada’s representative to the 2021 World Driving Championship for harness racing. The 2020 National Driving Championship will take place at Century Mile in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday, September 11. “As the newest racetrack in Canada, it is not only a privilege but also very exciting to host the National Driving Championship at Century Mile Racetrack and Casino,” commented Paul Ryneveld, Managing Director, Racing, at Century Mile. “In the inaugural meet, drivers and horsemen alike found the one-mile track to their liking and we believe the wide turns and long homestretch will make for a fun event from both a spectator and a betting angle. This will also be a fantastic event to showcase Century Mile to racing fans across Canada and North America, and to the drivers competing to represent Canada in the next World Driving Championship.” This marks the first time that the National Driving Championship has been hosted in Alberta. Drivers must earn their way into the National Driving Championship by finishing first or second in their respective Regional Driving Championship. In addition, Hippodrome 3R is a first-time host for a Regional event as they will host the Eastern Ontario / Quebec Regional Driving Championship. The Ontario Regional will be hosted at The Raceway at the Western Fair District, Century Downs will host the Western Regional and Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park will be the site of the Atlantic Regional. “We are very pleased to see the interest that tracks across the country have in hosting the Regional and National Driving Championships, and we're happy to have two first-time host venues this year in Century Mile and Hippodrome 3R,” said Dan Gall, President & CEO of Standardbred Canada. “We are looking forward to working with Paul Ryneveld and the team at Century Mile, Canada’s newest horse racing venue, to showcase the National Driving Championship. The one-mile oval promises an exciting competition and this state of the art facility will provide an exceptional experience for both the drivers and the fans.” Here are the locations and dates for the four regional events (in chronological order): REGIONAL DRIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS Tuesday, May 12 Ontario Regional Driving Championship - The Raceway at Western Fair District; London, Ont. Saturday, May 30 Western Regional Driving Championship - Century Downs; Calgary, Alta. Sunday, June 7 Eastern Ontario / Quebec Regional Driving Championship - Hippodrome 3R; Trois Rivieres, Que. Saturday, June 13 Atlantic Regional Driving Championship - Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park; Charlottetown, P.E.I. NATIONAL DRIVING CHAMPIONSHIP Friday, September 11 - Century Mile; Edmonton, Alta. Regional events will feature either eight or nine drivers who will compete in a minimum of eight races. Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two point earners will advance to the National. Past winners of the NDC title include Doug McNair (2018), Brandon Campbell (2016), Jody Jamieson (2014 & 2011), Brad Forward (2009), and Gilles Barrieau (2007). The winner of the 2020 National Driving Championship will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the 2021 World Driving Championship. From Standardbred Canada

LONDON, ON- The buzz and excitement of live harness racing at The Raceway at Western Fair District continues with the announcement of an increase to both its guaranteed Early and Late Pick 4 wagers, beginning on Monday, January 13. Monday through Wednesday the Pick 4 guaranteed pools will be increased to $7,500. Friday's Early and Late Pick 4's will remain at $5,000. The Pick 4 wager features a $.20 minimum along with a 15% takeout. "We're having a fantastic meet and this is another incentive for our customers," said Racing Manager Greg Gangle. "Our Pick 4 wager is certainly a 'go to' and the demand is there for the increase." The track's schedule for this meet is now four days per week. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with a 6:15 p.m. first-race post time and Fridays will begin at 6:55 p.m. From The Raceway    

LONDON, ON - Officials with The Raceway at Western Fair District have announced that the track has been forced to cancel its card of live harness racing that was scheduled for Friday (Jan 10). The cancellation has come due to unsafe track conditions caused by mild temperatures and overnight rain. The Raceway will be back in action on Monday evening with a 6:15 p.m. post time. Management at The Raceway apologize for any inconvenience. by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway      

LONDON, ON - The 2019 harness racing season at The Raceway at Western Fair District concluded with the highest all-sources handle for a single card in the history of The Raceway. Patrons pushed $794,720 through the windows on New Year's Eve over the ten-race card with an average just shy of $80,000 wagered per race, also a record. The previous record handle was $765,685 over 16 races. "New Years Eve's record handle was a fantastic end to 2019, and a great way to cap off our Fall meet" said Rob Lumsden, Director of Racing. "The Raceway would like to thank our horseplayers, horsepeople and dedicated Raceway team for all of their support. We look forward to continuing the momentum with all of your support in 2020 and beyond". The records didn't stop there. The month of December produced the highest wagering month ever at The Raceway. The 13 cards produced an "all-sources" betting total of $5,841,958.02, a 67 percent increase over 2018's gross total of $3,496,890. Ten of the 13 cards reached more than $400,000 in wagering. The Raceway is also pleased to announce that wagering numbers were up significantly since the fall meet began. The 2019 fall meet, which began on Friday, October 4, featured 38 race cards and an "all-sources" betting total of $12,659,149.09, a 22.1 per cent increase over 2018. The average per race handle of $31,334.53 showed a 23.3 per cent increase over the 2018 average of $25,403.79. The track's schedule for this meet is now four days per week. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with a 6:15 p.m. first-race post time and Fridays beginning at 6:55 p.m. by Greg Gangle, for The Raceway  

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