TORONTO, October 15 - The Mohawk summer meet has come to a close and fall has officially arrived as live harness racing returns to Woodbine this Thursday, October 16. The Fall/Winter meet will feature four-nights-a-week of racing, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Broadcast upgrades and the return of a state-of-the-art tracking tool will change the way fans and horseplayers watch the races from Woodbine. Beginning with Thursday's opening card, the Woodbine Standardbred simulcast feed will be produced in High Definition (HD) in a production control room on the fourth floor of the Woodbine grandstand. Customers on site will be able to view the races in HD (1080p; 16:9 aspect ratio). Fans south of the border will be able to view the races in HD as TVG, the premier horse racing TV channel in the United States, will be carrying the Woodbine 1080p HD signal. As for the product on the track, driver Jody Jamieson believes the track dimensions at Woodbine allow for more upsets. "A lot of the time the best horse wins at Mohawk, but at Woodbine the turns are different, a little smaller then that big last turn at Mohawk that allows horses to get into the race," said Jamieson, "At Woodbine, the best horse can be kind of marred in traffic and get himself beat a little more often then at Mohawk." Jamieson is also a big fan of the track surface at Woodbine, which will offer purses of approximately $200,000 a night, and the speed it offers. "I love racing at Woodbine...I think the track is a faster track and maybe one of the fastest tracks in the world to race good horses on." As for an adjustment period between switching from Mohawk to Woodbine, Jamieson said it doesn't take long. "I adapt to it right away and I think most guys adapt right away to the racing style and hopefully the bettors appreciate it." While not installed for opening night, fans will also soon enjoy the return of Trakus to the Woodbine Standardbred broadcast. Trakus, the automated racehorse tracking system, is being relaunched to provide Standardbred horseplayers with the best data around. The reintroduction of Trakus to Standardbred racing will offer horseplayers the most accurate charts and information in harness racing. Trakus compiles information on each horse at every point of the race through wireless communication to a tag placed inside the saddle pad. Horesplayers will now know exactly where each horse is during the race, through the Trakus technology incorporated into the live simulcast feed. The opening weekend at Woodbine will feature the return of the Fall Four Stakes. Last contested at Woodbine in 2010, the Fall Four Stakes brings the top two-year-olds in harness racing to Toronto to contest the Governors Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid. Eliminations for the events will take place this Friday and Saturday and the finals will take place as part of a $2 million card on Saturday, October 25. Post-time for each night of live racing is 7:25 p.m. except on two special occasions. Post-time on Saturday, November 1 will be 7:55 p.m., while the special afternoon Boxing Day card on Friday, December 26 will feature a post-time of 1 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
A slate of eight qualifying races went forward Friday morning at Mohawk Racetrack, and O’Brien Award winner Precocious Beauty was front and centre early on. The multiple stakes-winning daughter of Art Major continued to prep for her three-year-old campaign in Race 3 for trainer Gregg McNair and his son, driver Doug McNair. Precocious Beauty lined up in Post 7 and was parked forth at the quarter-mile pole, which was clicked off by Palm Beach Hanover (driven by Jody Jamieson) in :29.2. Precocious Beauty cleared to the lead in the second panel and went on to stop the half-mile clock in :58.2. She had a one and three-quarter-length lead by the time she breezed past three quarters in 1:26.4. Precocious Beauty was four lengths the best by the time she hit the head of the lane. Completing her mile with a :27.3 final quarter, Precocious Beauty hit the wire first in 1:54.2, six lengths ahead of Palm Beach Hanover. To read the rest of this story click here.
Fraser Downs' biggest weekend of harness racing in 2014 kicked off with the $200,000 British Columbia Sires Stakes Finals on Friday night. A BCSS champion at two, sophomore pacing filly Run And Tell defended her divisional title with a 1:57.4 score in the $75,000 final for trainer Debra McCarthy and owner/breeder Mark Anderson of Willows, California. Driver Kevin Anderson sent the Power Of Art-Muddy Waters filly from third to first after a :28.4 opening panel and cruised through middle splits of :58.1 and 1:28.4 before holding off pocket-sitter T Squared (Rick White) in the passing lane by a neck for her first win this year. Run And Tell paid $3.30 to win as the favourite. Early leaver Go To The Windows (Dennis Johnston) finished over two lengths behind in third. To read the rest of the story click here.
The field for the 2014 Ontario Regional Driving Championship scheduled for Friday, May 9 at The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont. has been confirmed. The participating drivers are: • Alfie Carroll • Scott Coulter • Billy Davis Jr. • Trevor Henry • Jody Jamieson • James MacDonald • Doug McNair • J.R. Plante The top two drivers from the eight-race competition will join six other drivers at the 2014 National Driving Championship scheduled for Tuesday, August 26 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park. Several drivers declined invitations to take part due to other commitments, including Sylvain Filion, Canada’s Driver of the Year for 2013, Randy Waples and Scott Zeron. To read the rest of the story click here.
Twin B Wrangler went to the front and didn’t look back en route to a narrow triumph in Monday’s $11,000 Preferred 2 for pacers at The Raceway at Western Fair District. Alfie Carroll hustled Twin B Wrangler through fractions of :27.4, :57 and 1:25.3 before using a :30.2 closing quarter to prevail by a neck over race favourite Leafs And Wings in 1:56. Ja El Pocketrocket was third. Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, Ontario owns and Victor Puddy trains the five-year-old son of Mach Three-Stryper. To date, the pacer has managed to stash away career earnings of $120,290. Monday’s card also featured a set of Preferred-3 events – one for trotters and one for pacers. To read the rest of the story click here.
My Man Charley scored a wire-to-wire victory in Sunday's featured Preferred 3 Pace at Flamboro Downs for Canada's current 2014 win leaders, Alfie Carroll and Victor Puddy. Carroll and Puddy teamed up to take the evening's eighth race as favourite My Man Charley ($3.20) kept first over challenger Hoboken Hanover at bay to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.3. Astute finished two and three-quarter lengths behind off a pocket trip. To read the rest of the story click here.
Rose Valley, last year’s three-year-old pacing filly sensation trained by Mike Campbell, was named the 2013 Fredericton Raceway Horse of the Year in ceremonies held Saturday evening at the Fredericton Horsemen’s Association annual awards banquet. Rose Valley, who is owned by Dawn and Ted Bremner of Jemseg, N.B., was also given the award for top sophomore filly after completing one of the best seasons ever by a Fredericton-based mare. The daughter of Brandons Cowboy was a multiple stakes winner last year, winning seven races and earning over $40,000 on the circuit, the highlight being a record-setting 1:56 mile in Charlottetown during their Old Home Week. Rose Valley won both of her starts in Fredericton, including a division of the Bill Quigg Memorial Stake during FREX 2013. Rose Valley, being named Horse of the Year, capped off a phenomenal evening for Campbell, who also took home training honours for American Captain, who was recognized as the top four-year-old. Campbell was also inducted into the Fredericton Raceway Wall of Fame, celebrating a 45-year horse racing career that began at the downtown oval in 1969. He joined Mike Downey, Fredericton Raceway’s all-time dash winning and money earning driver, owner Ashley Sloat and distinguished equines Knightly Glib and Northern Raucous, on the Wall. Other award winners during the evening included Queens Or Better (Aged Mare), Flying Cowboy (Three-Year-Old Colt), Lanny (Most Improved), Manraysonjo (Aged Horse) and Seven Signs (Unsung Hero). Chantall Basson was named Groom of the Year and veteran horseman Chester Eatmon Jr. was given the Pioneer Award for his many years in horse racing at Fredericton. Brian Embleton was the top trainer and Gilles Barrieau was the top driver. From the Federicton Horsemen's Association
North America's 2014 win leader Rockin Rambaran continued his current streak on Sunday night at Rideau Carleton Raceway for trainer and owner Luc Loyer. Rockin Rambaran ($2.60) front-stepped his way to a 1:57.4 victory -- his seventh in a row -- in the evening's ninth race with Guy Gagnon in the sulky. With his ninth of the year, the four-year-old Rambaran gelding emerged from a five-way tie to take sole ownership of the top spot in the North American win standings. To read the rest of the story click here.
Undefeated pacing filly Kayla Grace made her sophomore debut on Saturday night at Michigan's Northville Downs and earned her 13th consecutive victory. Kayla Grace ($2.80) opened the evening's harness racing card with an eight and three-quarter length triumph in 1:57.4. Brad Kramer sent the Hes All That-A Maze Of Grace filly wire-to-wire for trainer Marie St. Charles. She is owned by Ed and Cheryl Sayfie's E C S Racing LLC and Kevin St. Charles. To read the rest of the story click here.
Favourite Cougar Hall earned his second consecutive win over the game Machal Jordan in the featured $34,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Driven by Jack Moiseyev, Cougar Hall matched his 1:51.4 season's mark that he established while winning the top class by half a length over Machal Jordan last Saturday. In this evening's Preferred, J J Shark (Sylvain Filion) forced the leaving post eight starter Lucky Terror (Jonathan Drury) to settle for the pocket spot during a :26.3 first quarter battle. Dali (Luc Ouellette) got away third with 6-5 favourite Cougar Hall following in fourth. As the field headed into the backstretch, Dali moved underway from third and took over the lead before hitting the half-mile marker in :55.3. The stallion was then confronted by Cougar Hall, who cleared to command past the 1:23.4 third quarter station and began to open up multiple lengths on the field to secure the victory. The late-closing Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte) narrowed the winning margin to one and a quarter lengths. In Commando (Chris Christoforou), a half-length winner over Cougar Hall in his last outing two weeks ago, finished third. Cougar Hall now has four wins in six starts during his four-year-old campaign and a seasonal bankroll totalling $60,100. The grey son of Somebeachsomewhere is owned by trainer Jeff Gillis, Gerald Stay, Mac Nichol, Thomas Kyron and Carl Jamieson. Cougar Hall paid $4.40 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
The betting public didn`t have a lot of faith in Amigo De Grande going into Thursday`s $34,000 Preferred Trot at Woodbine Racetrack, but that didn`t stop the Carmen Auciello pupil from racking up his third straight win versus some of the nation`s top trotters. The majority of the money landed on Hldontghytoyurdrms, who was six days removed from his dazzling win in the final of the Horse & Groom Series at The Meadowlands. He was parked past the quarter pole in :25.4 by Cool Guy, who eventually gave way to the 4-5 favourite. Hldontghytoyurdrms led the way past the half-mile marker in :55.3 before coming under attack from Amigo De Grande around the final turn. Amigo De Grande and Anthony MacDonald took over command at the three-quarter pole in 1:24.2 before using a :29-second closing panel to win by 1-1/4 lengths over Hldontghytoyurdrms. Cool Guy tagged along to finish third. To read the rest of the story click here.
Driver Phil Hudon opened Wednesday's harness racing card at Flamboro Downs winning the first three races, including the featured $11,000 Preferred 2 Trot with the streaking mare Thundering Ovation. Hudon ended the day with four wins. Firing off the gate from post five in the second race feature, Hudon and Thundering Ovation led a field scratched down to six through fractions of :28.2, :58.4 and 1:28 en route to a dominant 1:58.1 triumph. The victory was the third in a row for the five-year-old daughter of Thunder Road and a new North American season's record. Her current streak began in a Preferred 3 event at Western Fair Raceway on Mar. 3 and continued with another win in last Wednesday's Preferred 2 at Flamboro. To read the rest of the story click here.
A five-win performance during Tuesday’s 12-race card at The Raceway at Western Fair District helped driver Alfie Carroll open up a few lengths on the competition in the quest for the Canadian dash title. Recently feted for notching his 1,000th win, Carroll kicked off the card winning with Traumatized in 2:00.4. He returned to victory lane in Race 3 with Aberarder Smitty in 2:01.4 and tacked on triumphs with Forever La Night (2:00.2) in Race 6, Vegas Strip Three (1:59.1) in Race 8 and Cat Four (1:58.1) in Race 12. The resident of Iona Station, Ontario pushed this year’s win total to 90 while lifting his seasonal earnings to $421,513. Trevor Henry holds down second spot in the Canadian standings with 77wins, while James MacDonald finds himself sitting third with 73 scores. To read the rest of the story click here.
Heavy 3-5 favourite Amigo De Grande went back-to-back in Woodbine Racetrack's $34,000 Preferred Trot after holding off second choice Slip Into Glide by a neck on Monday night. Driven by Anthony MacDonald, Amigo De Grande left from post six and worked to the lead over Cool Guy and insider Watkins towards the first turn. He continued to lead the eight-horse field past the quarter in :27.1 and half-mile mark in :56.3 before Slip Into Glide began his first over attack from fifth under the guidance of Mario Baillargeon. To read rest of story click here.
Moving up in class with ease, the Victor Puddy-trained Twin B Wrangler cruised gate-to-wire in the featured $11,000 Preferred 2 Pace on Monday at The Raceway at the Western Fair District. A winner in the Preferred 3 last Monday night, Twin B Wrangler ($10) and driver Alfie Carroll left from post one in this evening's ninth race feature and carved out fractions of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:25.3 en route to the one and a half length victory in 1:55.3. Mach It Big and Robert Shepherd followed in second while Leafs And Wings (Scott Wray) rounded out the top three finishers. The five-year-old Mach Three gelding now has two wins in four London starts this year for owner Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, Ont. The win was his 10th lifetime and bumped his bankroll to $113,910. To read rest of story click here.
The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2014 ballot. A total of 36 horses and people, including 18 Standardbred racing candidates and 18 Thoroughbred racing candidates have been selected to appear on this year’s ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will declare the winners in their respective categories. Results will be announced Tuesday, April 8. On the Standardbred ballots representing this year’s six voting categories are as follows: Male horse category, Blissfull Hall, J M Vangogh and Rocknroll Hanover In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown. Owned by Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, QC, this champion was trained by Ben Wallace with Ron Pierce as regular driver. A 31 race career over two seasons amassed a record of 19-4-6, a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $1.4 million before embarking on a successful career as a stallion. J M Vangogh, purchased as a yearling for $4,500 by Paul Chambers of Harrington, Delaware, made a remarkable recovery from an accident in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final as a two year old to earn $2.28 million in 206 starts over 8 seasons and the nickname “The Comeback Kid”. Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his race career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, ON; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC. Career highlights include victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three year olds, the Metro Pace and the North America Cup. He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013. Female horse category: B Cor Tamara, Dreamfair Eternal and J Cs Nathalie Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000. Bred and owned by Peter Core of Dresden, ON, the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall. Her offspring have earned in excess of $2.7 million. Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a career spanning seven years, 56 victories, including every stake event on the older pacing mare schedule, earning over $2.5 million and being named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010. The daughter of Camluck was bred, raised and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON with Patrick Fletcher receiving training credit. As a broodmare, J Cs Nathalie has produced two millionaires for owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON -- pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal. Dreamfair Vogel was a winner of 19 races and over $1.1 million with a mark of 1:49.3. Dreamfair Eternal, a winner of 56 races and over $2.5 million in purse earnings was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010. The trainer-driver category: Yves Filion, William Gale, and Wally Hennessey. Yves Filion, 67 of Saint-Andre-D’argent, Quebec was one of his province’s premier trainer-drivers for close to 30 years driving in almost 18,000 races with 4,362 wins and $26.5 million in earnings. Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.4 million. Pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama each became millionaires with Filion responsible for both training and driving. William Gale, 65 of Woodstock, Ontario, was one of Canada’s leading drivers for a period that spanned the 70s, 80s and 90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons. During his career, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million. Wally Hennessey, 56, of Prince Edward Island, has more than 8,200 victories to his name and has banked earnings in excess of $55 million. In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown. In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. Candidates in the builders’ category: Dr. Ted Clarke, John B. Ferguson and Robert Murphy. Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry. Highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth. Before Grand River, Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network. John B. Ferguson may be best known for his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion for Canadian horse racing was drawn from early years spent with his father and grandfather at old Hastings Park in Vancouver, BC. In addition to his role as a very active owner and breeder, Ferguson also took a role in track management. He was hired by Blue Bonnets in Montreal and after leaving hockey became the President of Windsor Raceway. He was also one of driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, BC, one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, was known by his popular Red Star moniker. First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners. He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009. In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada. Outstanding Standardbreds: Albatross, Artsplace, and Happy Lady Albatross was voted US Harness Horse of the Year in 1971 and 1972. He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million. As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million. Artsplace was the1992 O’Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner as Horse of the Year following an undefeated four-year-old season. He was a two-year-old world record holder winning the Breeders Crown in a time of 1:51.1 at Pompano Park in Florida, soundly defeating champion Die Laughing. He won 37 races and bankrolled over $3 million during his racing career which saw him race many times in Canada before becoming a world class sire. Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, ON and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville. Though her race career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.2. Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races. As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts. Communicators category selections: Harry Eisen, Bill Galvin and Frank Salive. The late Harry Eisen spent a lifetime loving and covering horse racing in Ontario. As a lifelong journalist, he spent many years exposing the sport to the public, including the majority of his 40 years at the London Free Press. Eisen who once said he saw his first harness race when he was “three or four years old”, sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a boy. He was inducted into Western Fair’s Wall of Fame in 1980. As a publicist, promoter and author, Bill Galvin, a native of Arnprior, ON made a tremendous impact on horse racing in Canada. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing. He led a charge to bring ice horse racing to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans. He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the health of horse racing during his career. Leamington, ON native Frank Salive was known for over 35 years as “The Voice” of Canadian harness racing. During his career it is estimated he called over 100,000 races, becoming a fan and industry favourite for his knowledgeable and informative calls and silky voice. Frank’s career as a track announcer began at Sudbury Downs in the late 70’s and continued at tracks throughout Ontario, includin fourteen years at Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine Entertainment Group harness tracks and concluding at Pompano Park, Florida. Salive was also a regular writer for the Canadian Sportsman for several years. From the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame