Batavia, NY---There was no doubt who the best New York bred 3-year-old colt competing at Batavia Downs was on Sunday (Aug. 30) after Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) tied the track record of 1:51.2 for sex and gait in winning his division of the $120,400 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS). After taking an easy lead from post one, Betting Exchange (Jason Bartlett) extended his advantage to two lengths over The Spy (John Cummings Jr.) at the quarter as post time favorite Artistic Major (Jim Morrill Jr.) got away poorly and was gapped a distant third. The leader was cruising along untested until Morrill rushed Artistic Major up by half-time and alongside Betting Exchange into the turn. The challenge continued up the backside and to three-quarters in 1:24 but it was there the race was decided. Bartlett gave Betting Exchange his head and he simply paced away from the field. At the wire he was 10 lengths the best in 1:51.2, pacing the back half in a dazzling :55 flat. The winning time tied the track record for 3-year-old pacing colts set by All Bets Off in 2014 and was also just one-fifth off the all-time track record of 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011. After the race, Jason Bartlett commented "He raced super. I let him roll on the turn and he opened up. He's really a nice one." It was the second win in 14 starts for Betting Exchange ($4.50) and it pushed his 2015 earnings to $318,475 for owners Howard Taylor, Susan Kajfasz and Tom Fanning, who also does the training. In the first division, Rockin In Heaven (Rock N Roll Heaven-Tropic's Beachgirl) overcame a fast battle for the lead and two subsequent challenges to hold on for an impressive victory. Off the wings, no one played nice when Americanprimetime (Jason Bartlett), K-Rock (Matt Kakaley) and Rockin In Heaven (Trevor Henry) went three-abreast to argue for the lead. The trio motored up the backstretch and eventually seated with Rockin In Heaven taking the lead in a speedy :26.3. Positions remained unchanged to the half when Americanprimetime pulled first over from third to go after the leader. With Americanprimetime outside prompting Rockin In Heaven past three-quarters in 1:24.1, K-Rock was sitting the perfect trip behind the pair waiting for his chance. When they hit the head of the lane it was obvious Rockin In Heaven had put away Americanprimetime but then had to fight off K-Rock who made his way into the passing lane. This was accomplished with a strong finishing kick as Rockin In Heaven won in 1:53 by a half-length. "I wanted to get him out of the starting gate and to the lead. He dug in well when I called upon him" said Trevor Henry in the winner's circle. It was the eighth win in 15 starts for Rockin In Heaven ($2.60) and it boosted his earnings to $310,565 for 2015. The colt is owned by Douglas Polley, Francois Lecomte, Gordon McComb and Dr. Ian Moore, who also trains the horse. There were two divisions of the NYSS Excelsior Series "A" also on the card that went for a combined $30,000. The first event was won by the heavily favored Masterson (Bettor's Delight-Tug River Princess) in 1:54 and it was the fourth straight win for the gelding owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock. Masterson ($3.20) was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for trainer Tracy Brainard. In the second split, Pop Icon (Bettor's Delight-Pop Queen) overcame a slow start and breaking horses to win in 1:56.3. It was the second Excel "A" win this year for Pop Icon ($11.80) who is owned by Ken Weckstein, Richard Rubin and Gary Messenger, who also trains the horse. Jim Morrill Jr. did the driving. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 2) with post time set at 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
AUGUST 29, 2015 - Georgian Downs wrapped up their 2015 Ontario Sires Stakes season on Saturday evening with four impressive Grassroots performances from the harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies. Stonebridge Quest paced the quickest mile of the four $18,000 divisions, rocketing around the Georgian Downs oval to a one and one-half length victory in 1:51.4. The Camluck daughter and driver Trevor Henry powered away from Post 7 as the heavy favourites and controlled the pace from start to finish, ringing up fractions of :27.2, :56 and 1:23.3 on their way to the win. Warrawee Qually and Brown Brinny finished second and third. Arthur, ON resident Henry engineered Stonebridge Quest's third Grassroots win of the season for trainer Andrew McCabe and owners Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph, ON and Angie Stiller of Arva, ON. The Grassroots Championship winner at two, Stonebridge Quest currently sits second in the division standings with 150 points, assuring her of a berth in the Semi-finals. The top 20 point earners following the last regular season event, at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 7, will compete in the Sept. 18 Semi-finals, also at Mohawk, and the top five finishers from each Semi-final will return to the Campbellville oval for the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 26. In addition to the win with Stonebridge Quest, Henry also piloted Evas Girl to victory in the last Grassroots division. Evas Girl also lined up behind the number seven on the Georgian Downs starting gate, but Henry opted for a different strategy with the Rambaran daughter, easing away from the start and landing on the rail in fifth. From that vantage point Henry watched Nationalize lead the field to a :26.4 quarter and a :55.3 half and then decided to send Evas Girl into the outer lane. When the fillies leading the charge up the outer lane failed to make any gains on the leader, Henry sent Evas Girl out three-wide and the filly had a short lead by the 1:24.2 three-quarters which she had increased to five lengths by the finish. The 1:53.2 clocking was a personal best for Evas Girl. I Wonder Why and Windsun Chanel completed the top three. Isaac Waxman of Dundas, ON trains Evas Girl for Aaron Waxman of Hamilton, ON, Alan Alber of Thornhill, ON and Crawford Partners LLC of Syracuse, NY. In three Grassroots starts the filly now has two wins and one third for a total of 112 points and a share of fourth spot in the standings. Division leader Dublin Rose captured her third Grassroots trophy in the third division at Georgian Downs on Saturday. The Major In Art daughter delivered an impressive effort that saw her pressing pacesetter Machmeter for most of the mile before pulling away to a one-half length victory in the stretch. Much Adoo and Twin B Honour finished second and third in the 1:53 mile. Purchased by Finksburg, MD resident Jerry Clark from breeder Allen Tomlinson of Mason, MI following her Aug. 14 Grassroots start, Saturday's outing was Dublin Rose's first from trainer Dave Menary's Rockton, ON barn. Driver Robert Shepherd of Cambridge, ON steered the fan favourite to the win. With three wins and one second in the first four Grassroots events, Dublin Rose has accumulated 175 points. The other Grassroots division saw Lovely Erin earn the first Grassroots trophy of her career with a hard fought effort that saw her pressed through every step of the mile. The Sportswriter daughter hit the wire a neck in front of Got Some Spark and War Filly in 1:54.1 to secure the win. London, ON resident Nick Steward piloted Lovely Erin to the win for trainer Ron Adams of LaSalle, ON and owner 1362313 Ontario Ltd. of Windsor, ON. Third in her Grassroots debut at Mohawk Racetrack on Aug. 14, Lovely Erin has 62 points and will be looking to pad that total in the last regular season event. In addition to the four Grassroots divisions, Georgian Downs fans were also treated to the $100,000 Honourable Earl Rowe Memorial Trot, which was captured by Rockin With Dewey in 1:53.2. Bob McClure of Orangeville, ON crafted the win for trainer Benoit Baillargeon of Rockwood, ON and his partner Diane Ingham of Mount Pleasant, ON. Ontario Horse Racing
AUGUST 14, 2015 - Grand River Raceway hosted Ontario Sires Stakes Fan Celebration Night on Friday and fans that placed their trust in harness racing driver Trevor Henry did a whole lot of celebrating. The Arthur, ON resident won a pair of two-year-old trotting colt Gold Series divisions, finished second in the other Gold division, and won three overnight races on the 11 race program. "I haven't driven there in a while, so it was nice to have a good night," said Henry, who switched his focus from driving at the province's smaller ovals to driving at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks in 2014. Henry kicked off his evening with a runner-up finish in the first $70,000 Gold division, ringing up fractions of :28.3, :59 and 1:29.1 with Smoke Monkey before being caught in the stretch by Dunvegan Don. Fan favourite Adored By Masses finished third. "He's a nice colt. They had a lot of problems with him steering, he would always run in on the turns and he wasn't easy to drive, but Chris has got him figured out now," said Henry, who piloted Smoke Monkey for trainer Chris Beaver of Delaware, OH and Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. "Tonight was the best he ever drove so he'll probably only get better from now on." Guelph, ON resident Doug McNair piloted Dunvegan Don to his first victory, halting the Grand River teletimer at 1:58.2. Herbert Holland of Milton, ON owns and trains the Cornaro Dasolo colt, who finished third in the Aug. 7 Gold Leg at Mohawk Racetrack after a pair of disappointing outings in the first two Legs. "That horse has been quick since the start of the year, but was a little choppy gaited," explained McNair. "The last two starts he's been almost perfect. Herb has done a good job on him." The Trevor Henry show got under way in earnest in the second race when he piloted Ground Shaker to a win in a claiming event and then went back to the paddock to climb into the race bike behind two-time Gold Series winner Deweylovernleaver. Starting from Post 2 Henry fired the colt to the front and controlled the tempo through a :29.3 quarter, 1:00 half and 1:30.1 three-quarters. Henry then hit the accelerator and Deweylovernleaver accelerated down the stretch to a one and one-quarter length victory in a track record equalling 1:58.1. Fan favourite Tony Soprano settled for second and Unitaliano BI completed the top three. "He didn't have to work too hard, he kind of got everything his own way, but he trotted home a last quarter in :28," said the reinsman, adding that he feels the colt has not yet tapped his full potential. "He's a nice horse to drive and he doesn't do anything wrong." Chris Beaver trains Deweylovernleaver for his partners Synerco Ventures Inc. and Leo Fleming of Campbellville, ON. The Deweycheatumnhowe son boasts a record of three wins and one fourth in Gold Series action and currently sits atop the two-year-old trotting colt division standings with 158 points. In the final Gold Series division Henry also lined up behind Post 2 with Mass Balance and opted for the same strategy. Taking early command, Henry and Mass Balance got away with a :30 quarter, 1:01.1 half and 1:32 three-quarters on their way to a 2:01.2 victory. Nofear Blue Chip was one and one-quarter lengths back in second, and favourite Will Take Charge was two lengths to the rear in third. Synerco Ventures Inc. also owns Mass Balance, who is trained by Rob Fellows of Rockwood. The Muscle Mass son started his season in the Grassroots program where he was a winner in the July 11 season opener at Georgian Downs. Moving up to the Gold Series level Mass Balance finished third at Georgian Downs on July 21 and fifth at Mohawk Racetrack on Aug. 7. "He's a nice colt," said Henry, adding that he appreciates the investment Synerco Ventures has made in the Ontario Sires Stakes program in recent years. "I drive a lot for Synerco Ventures, Costa (Athanassoulias), I've got to know him over the last couple years and I've driven quite a few horses for him." The reinsman completed his five-win evening in the seventh and eighth races, both claiming events, with Tomei Seelster and Delcrest Flexyhall. In addition to the Gold Series divisions and the driving clinic put on by Henry, 100 fans were treated to Ontario Sires Stakes t-shirts autographed by first-crop sire Big Jim and Hall of Fame stallion Camluck, who passed away recently at the age of 28, and all fans enjoyed the creativity on display in the Horse Name Costume Game. After some difficult deliberations judges Gayle O'Brien from DAVE-FM, Jenna Knox from Grand River Raceway's Booking Department and driver Ryan Holliday selected one adult and one 15 and under winner. In the adult category Becky Koeslag got the nod for her representation of Gold Series competitor Bee In Charge and Paula Turnbull was the judge's choice in the youth category for her Coal Black Shadow costume. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Grand River Raceway next Wednesday, Aug. 19 with two $105,000 Gold divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Ontario Horse Racing
AUGUST 7, 2015 - Deweylovernleaver eked out a second straight Gold Series harness racing victory by less than a length at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening. The two-year-old trotting colt and driver Trevor Henry hit the wire one-quarter length ahead of Dewey Dont Cheat and Zlatan in the second of three $70,000 Gold Series divisions. The fan favourites controlled the tempo for much of the mile and halted the Mohawk teletimer at 1:57.1, a new personal best for the young trotter. "I think he is a little bit lazy," said trainer Chris Beaver of the trotter's narrow margin of victory. "He can grab onto the bit pretty good, but once he gets into the mile he does seem like he only gives you what he needs to." Deweylovernleaver earned his first Ontario Sires Stakes trophy in the second Gold Leg at Georgian Downs on July 21, reaching the wire just a head in front of Will Take Charge in 1:57.4. In the Gold Series season opener at Mohawk on July 13 the Deweycheatumnhowe son was a hard-closing fourth, and in his only other outing he finished third in a two-year-old conditioned event at Mohawk on July 2. A $12,000 purchase out of the 2014 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, the colt has already accumulated $80,080 in earnings. "He's always been real good, he's been a pretty easy horse to train, and he's always shown a lot of talent," said Beaver, who shares ownership of Deweylovernleaver with Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON and Leo Fleming of Campbellville, ON. "I thought back in February that he was the best colt I had." Based on the colt's performance in early season training miles, Beaver and his partners left the door open for Deweylovernleaver to tackle the best in North America this fall. "He's well staked," said the Delaware, Ohio-based trainer. "I guess we'll take that as we go, but he's staked to the Wellwood, and the Breeders Crown, and I believe even the Matron, so he's got lots. I thought he was good all along, we staked him well." Before he gets takes a run at any open stake events, Deweylovernleaver - and his two-year-old trotting colt peers - will make his fourth Gold Series start at Grand River Raceway on Aug. 14. Deweylovernleaver All three colts that captured Gold Series trophies at Mohawk on Friday had already enjoyed success in the Ontario Sires Stakes this season. A winner in the season opener, Adored By Masses returned to the Mohawk winner's circle with a late sprint that powered him past pacesetters Smoke Monkey and V For Victory. In rein to Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion, Adored By Masses hit the wire two and one-half lengths on top in 1:57.4. Erv Miller conditions Adored By Masses for Anthony Lombardi of Morris, IL, Paymaq Racing of Long Grove, IL and Mystical Marker Farms LLC of Dyer, IN. In addition to his July 13 victory, the son of Muscle Mass and Armbro Adored posted a runner-up result in the July 21 Gold event and won two conditioned events, the first at Pocono Downs on June 21 and the second at Georgian Downs on July 4. Adored By Masses With two wins and a second in Gold Series action, Adored By Masses leads the two-year-old trotting colt division with 125 points. He is followed by Tony Soprano, the winner of the third division on Friday, with 112 points, and Deweylovernleaver with 108 points. Tony Soprano posted the quickest mile of the three Gold Series divisions on Friday, sailing along on the front end to a one and one-quarter length victory over Will Take Charge and Dunvegan Don in a personal best 1:56.4. Milton resident Randy Waples engineered the Kadabra son's second straight Gold victory for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Mardon Stables of Loretto, ON, Paradox Farm Inc. of Caledon East, ON and Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON. In his only other start, the July 13 Gold opener at Mohawk, Tony Soprano finished third. Tony Soprano The talented two-year-old trotting colts have two events remaining on their regular season calendar, August 14 at Grand River Raceway and Sept. 29 at Mohawk. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday, Aug. 10 with five Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Ontario Horse Racing
Doug McIntosh missed out on a piece of the eight-foot long cake, but the Wheatley resident still left the harness racing meeting at Dresden Raceway on Canada Day in a celebratory mood after Cincinnati Miss delivered an impressive victory in her $18,000 Grassroots division. "It's now one race at a time, but she kind of made us believers, and I'm very, very happy," said McIntosh. "It worked out great." Sent off as the narrow favourites over Allies Gift and Luc Ouellette, Cincinnati Miss and driver Trevor Henry sprinted away from Post 4 and took early control of the race. As the pair rolled through fractions of :29, :57.3 and 1:28 with Allies Gift tucked in behind them, McIntosh worried the tempo might be too quick, but Cincinnati Miss found another gear in the stretch and pulled away to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:58.2. "I was a little concerned that the fractions were pretty heavy," admitted McIntosh, who shares ownership of Cincinnati Miss with Ivey Pharm Stable of Cincinnati, Ohio. "But you know what, she made us proud in the stretch, she just dug in and got the job done, and within two-fifths (of a second) of the track record." The win improved the Kadabra daughter's sophomore record to two wins, two seconds and one third in five starts and boosted her season earnings to $25,160. The consistent young trotter will make her next start in the July 14 Grassroots event at Georgian Downs. "I can't say enough for Bob's team, they've done a great job," said McIntosh, who retired from training horses in the spring and handed care of Cincinnati Miss off to his brother Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON. "Daryl (Wayne) that looks after her is a very, very efficient groom, she's had a lot of experience and she knows what to do. She's very, very proud." McIntosh was also pleased to see the enthusiastic crowd gathered at Dresden Raceway to celebrate Canada Day and the Grassroots trotting fillies. In addition to Cincinnati Miss, the fans greeted six other fillies as they returned triumphant to the Dresden winner's circle. The aptly named Summers Jewel kicked things off with a 1:59.2 score in the first Grassroots division, circling out three-wide to claim a two length victory over Pointe Of Inquiry and JLs Too Hot Taj. Mario Baillargeon piloted the fan favourite to her first win of the season for his brother, trainer Benoit Baillargeon of Rockwood, ON, who also owns the daughter of Angus Hall. In the second division Hope Rises tracked down pacesetter Misslarissa heading for the three-quarters and accelerated away to a three and one-half length victory in 2:01. Fan favourite Lady Caterina settled for second, with Misslarissa hanging on for third. Sylvain Filion drove the Windsong Espoir daughter to her first win of the season for trainer Kelly Goodwin and owner-breeders Deborah Spike-Pierce of Lexington, KY and Madelon Spike of Jerome, MI. Local filly Judy The Beauty, owned by Randy Zhok of Dover Centre, had fans on their feet in the stretch of the third division, but finished one-quarter length behind winner Flexceptional in the 2:01 mile. Dave Tyrrell trains Flexceptional for Michael Casalino Jr. of Freehold, NJ and Anthony MacDonald piloted the Federal Flex daughter to the win. Tymal Fireitup rounded out the top three. La Bella Rosa's late sprint in the fourth division paid dividends, as she hit the wire one-quarter length ahead of Giona and fan favourite Kaddy. The Holiday Road filly gave driver Sylvain Filion his second win of the afternoon. Filion engineered the 1:59.4 win for trainer Reaume Bouvier and owners Bella Fortuna Stable of Laval, QC and Patricia McGuirl of Guelph, ON. Kadabra daughter Wing Flash displayed an impressive turn of foot in the fifth division, sailing along on the front end to a seven and one-half length victory in 1:58.2. Sheguindah and Stay In Touch completed the top three. Trainer-driver Wayne Henry of Arthur, ON shares ownership of Wing Flash with Daylon Farms of Komoka, ON. The final Grassroots division saw Trevor Henry make his second appearance in the Dresden winner's circle, guiding Muscle Mass daughter Sumthintotalkabout to a three and one-quarter length win for trainer Stephen Bossence of London, ON and his partner Stephen Palermo of Brampton, ON. Ill Stay Here and fan favourite Oh My Magic finished second and third in the 1:59.3 mile. The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their third Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on July 14, with each of the Canada Day winners hoping to add a few more points to their total in pursuit of a berth in the post season. Ontario Horse Racing
CAMPBELLVILLE, June 6 - Dudes The Man and Rockin In Heaven scored victories in their respective $78,767 divisions of the harness racing Somebeachsomewhere Stakes Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 19 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two divisions of "The Beach." For many of the sophomores, they were using the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes as a final prep for next week's Pepsi North America Cup eliminations. In the first division, Dudes The Man and Corey Callahan were first to the line in 1:50.2 to win at 6-1 odds. A son of American Ideal, Dudes The Man was able to get situated in fifth early, while 60-1 shot Penji Hanover cut out an opening-quarter of :26. Oneisalonelynumber circled around Penji Hanover to take the lead in the second-quarter, but was quickly confronted first up by Maxdaddy Blue Chip. However, Maxdaddy Blue Chip made a break at the half-mile pole just as Dudes The Man was moved to the outside, which left Callahan and his charge first up around the final turn. Dudes The Man and Oneisalonelynumber went toe-to-toe around the final turn and posted a three-quarter time of 1:23. In the stretch, Dudes The Man was filled with pace and quickly separated himself from his rivals en route to a length and three-quarter victory in 1:50.3. Penji Hanover came back on late to finish second, while Trading Up finished third. Following the race, trainer Howard Okusko talked about the equipment change he made with Dudes The Man going into the Somebeachsomewhere. "Paul MacDonell drove him last week and he thought around the last turn he lost a couple lengths, he thought maybe slipping or touching a knee," said Okusko. "We put a pair of aluminum (shoes) on him, opened him up a little bit and he's a fast colt he just has to get a little luck." Dudes The Man is owned by M and L of Delaware LLC and Victoria Dickinson. The son of American Ideal now has two wins from three starts this season and four victories in his career. The Somebeachsomewhere victory pushes his career bankroll to $89,934. Dudes The Man, who is eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup, returned $14.30 to win. Dudes The Man In the second division, Rockin In Heaven powered by in the final-eighth to win in 1:50.3 at odds of 11-1. Driven by Trevor Henry, Rockin In Heaven showed early speed and was able to touch down on the front at the opening-quarter in :26.4. Henry allowed Go Daddy Go to clear in the second-quarter and was quickly shuffled back to third when Drachan Hanover overtook the lead at the half in :54.1. After Drachan Hanover reached the three-quarter pole in 1:22.1, Go Daddy Go and Rockin In Heaven edged to the outside to take a shot at the leader in the stretch. Rockin In Heaven had the most pace in the lane and charged by his rivals to win by a length and a quarter in 1:50.3. Go Daddy Go finished second, while Drachan Hanover fought to the wire to finish third. A son of Rock N Roll Heaven, Rockin In Heaven was one of six starters in the Somebeachsomewhere that was not made eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup. "He finished his season off very well last year as a two-year-old and we staked him kind of heavily," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore following the race. "He trained down very well this spring until he got near racing speed and he just sort of bottomed out and I took him out of the last payment of the North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace." Rockin In Heaven is owned by Moore, Douglas Polley, Francois Lecomte and Gordan McComb. He now has four wins from five starts this season and seven triumphs in his career. "I don't like being proven wrong," said Moore. "But I guess I'm proven wrong tonight and I'm liking it maybe too." Rockin In Heaven now has career earnings of $77,215 and paid $24.30 to win. Rockin In Heaven Many of the Somebeachsomewhere starters will return next Saturday (June 13) for the eliminations of the Pepsi North America Cup. The $1 million NA Cup final will take place on Saturday, June 20. Mark McKelvie
WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2015 - Everything went according to plan for driver Trevor Henry and three-year-old trotting colt Olympic Son as the duo captured the first Gold Series Leg of the 2015 season at the harness racing meeting at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Wednesday evening. Starting from Post 3 in the $52,500 contest, Henry sent Olympic Son directly to the front and the colt cruised along unchallenged to a two and one half length victory in 1:58.2. Luck O The Irish and fan favourite Covert Operative finished second and third. "I kind of wanted to be on the front with him," said Henry of the Majestic Son colt. "I know he's good on a half - I won at Hanover with him last year - so that's kind of where I wanted to be." A two-time winner at the Grassroots level last season, Olympic Son is trained by Paul Reid for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. The second division saw local favourite El Diablo Hall match the 1:58.2 clocking, sailing under the wire four and one-half lengths ahead of Namesmuscle and Concept. El Diablo Hall is trained by Anthony Montini for London's Dale Hunter, Rick Podolinsky of Alvinston, Albina Montini of Acton and Paul Giammichele of Burlington. The win marked the first start of the season for Windsong Espoir son El Diablo Hall, who was the Grassroots Final runner-up at two. Lightly rated Winning Wizard and driver Paul MacDonell conjured up a win in the third division, reeling in the favourites down the stretch to claim the 1:57.1 victory. Favourite Hemi Seelster finished one-quarter length back in second with Alacrity rounding out the top three. Richard "Nifty" Norman conditions Winning Wizard and Neven Botica of Perth, Australia owns the gelded son of Kadabra, who was making his first appearance in an Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle. Fan favourite Rubber Duck took home the final Gold Series trophy of the evening, halting the teletimer at 1:57.3 in his Ontario Sires Stakes debut. Platoon Seelster and Jayport All Muscle completed the triactor. Sylvain Filion engineered the win for trainer Julie Walker and owners Blair and Erna Corbeil of Beaumont, AB. The 1:57.3 win established a new personal best for the son of Muscle Mass. The three-year-old trotting colts make their second Gold Series stop at Mohawk Racetrack on June 30, while Ontario Sires Stakes action races back to The Raceway at Western Fair District this Friday, May 29. As part of Friday's Molson Pace night, Ontario's exciting three-year-old pacing colts will warm up the crowd in three $70,000 Gold Series divisions before the country's top aged pacers take the track in the evening's $150,000 finale. In addition to the outstanding racing - highlighted on the large trackside video board - fans can enter to win prizes, try their luck at four guaranteed pool wagers, and join the Molson Party on the Patio. Post time for Friday's festivities is 7:15 pm. Ontario Horse Racing - Check site here - www.ontariohorseracing.caF
Clinton -- Two years ago, James MacDonald was winning Clinton Raceways' annual harness racing drivers challenge heading into the final race when Trevor Henry pulled off a last second victory. MacDonald got his revenge a year ago, winning his first title with a decisive victory over Jody Jamieson. Henry was third. On Sunday, May 31, the trio, along with five other top reinsmen, will suit up against each other again as the 35th annual Drivers Challenge hits the track in support of the Clinton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. "Legions are having a tough time financially across the province. Every cause is a good one, but we think this will be a nice tie-in for us," said Clinton Raceway general manager Ian Fleming. Though it's a fun, relaxed atmosphere in which all proceeds of the day, including the drivers' fees, will go to the Legion, MacDonald said the drivers don't take the competition lightly. "Everyone's really competitive," he said. "You put a bunch of egos in together and one's a winner and you're going to get people trying pretty hard. There's no favours there, that's for sure." Henry, a finalist for the O'Brien Award for Canada's driver of the year in 2014, said pride is on the line. "It's always nice to have the bragging rights," Henry said, "But it's just a lot of fun. It's a good day out." The Drivers Challenge will pit Clinton's top three drivers of 2014 -- Henry, Ryan Holliday and Bruce Richardson-- against MacDonald, Jamieson, Doug McNair and Mike Saftic from the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit and Canada's leading dash winner, Alfie Carroll, who turned 30 in early May, and is leading the nation with nearly 200 wins already in 2015. For the first time in its long history, the Drivers Challenge is being held at the beginning, rather than at the end of the season, to make room for the eighth edition of Clinton Raceway's biannual Legends Day classic that will close out the track's 16-race season on Sept. 6 in support of the Clinton Public Hospital. Henry, long the king of Ontario's smaller tracks and now a regular fixture on the WEG circuit, said he's a big fan of Clinton Raceway. "It's just good to go there and give back to the town of Clinton," Henry said. "They do a lot of good there. It's a good town and a nice track and a good spot." MacDonald said he likes making the trip to Clinton because the Drivers Challenge usually draws a huge crowd and, "the people there seem to appreciate it and they put on a good show." MacDonald currently ranks a close second on Canada's driver earnings list with over $1.35 million made in 2015. McNair is a close third ($1.23 million), following by Henry in fifth ($1.09 million), Jamieson in sixth ($980,000) and Carroll in eighth ($890,000). In the wins department, after Carroll, McNair currently ranks sixth in the nation with 90 wins, followed by MacDonald in seventh (88) and Henry tied for ninth (80). The eight reinsmen participating in the Drivers Challenge have more than 26,300 career wins between them and combined career earnings of around $300 million. Jessica Carnochan
CAMPBELLVILLE, April 20 - Three-year-old trotters were on display Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack in a trio of Tie Silk harness racing series first leg divisions. A group of 23 sophomore trotting colts and geldings were split into three $15,000 divisions for the first round of the Tie Silk. The trotters not only had to battle with each other Monday evening, but also heavy winds blowing in their face down the lane. In the first division, the Pennsylvania invader Great Magic was victorious in 1:58.3. Driven by Trevor Henry, Great Magic grabbed the early lead and would face his first challenger down the backstretch in the form of Raising Richard and trainer/driver Eddie Green. Raising Richard would be unable to get by the leader and would eventually make a break nearing the three-quarter pole. After putting away the first up challenger, Great Magic open up several lengths on his rivals in the lane and trotted on to a 3 ¼ length victory. Guscrest got up for second, while Amityville Lindy overcame a pair of breaks to finish third. A son of Kadabra, Great Magic shipped up north from the Meadows for the Tie Silk and into the care of trainer Paul Reid for owner Robert Key. The sophomore trotter came into Monday evening's contest with three wins in his last four starts. Great Magic, who did not win a race in two starts as a rookie, now has a 2015 record of four wins from nine starts. His earnings now exceed $44,000. Great Magic paid $6.40 to win. Tarot and driver Randy Waples scored a 1:56.4 victory as the 7/5 favourite in the evening's second division. A son of Taurus Dream, Tarot trotted out to the early lead, while Arrakis was to his outside around the opening turn. Waples would make a give and go move by allowing Arrakis to clear in the second-quarter, but circled back to the lead with Tarot. The favourite would look strong around the final turn and reach the three-quarter pole in 1:26.2. In the stretch, Tarot was under no pressure and trotted home to win by a comfortable two lengths over Hemi Seelster. In Secret, the 9/5 second choice, finished third. Tarot, who is trained by Dave Tyrrell for owner Michael Casalino Jr, failed to win a race in 11 starts last season, but the gelding's luck has turned right around this year. The Tyrrell trainee now has five wins from 9 starts and earnings of over $46,000 in 2015. A $2 win ticket on Tarot returned $4.80. In the third and final division, Waples would pick up his second Tie Silk victory of the night with 1/9 shot Covert Operative. The heavy favourite got away in third and would trot along in that position until about the midway point. Covert Operative and Waples came first up around the final turn to challenge the leader Duh Bubbees. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:29.3, the two trotters would come off the final turn and battle it out down the stretch. Duh Bubbees tried his best to fend off the heavy choice in the lane, but Covert Operative would ultimately overtake the lead and prevail by a length in 1:59.2 Its Huw You Know, the longest shot on the board at 45/1, finished third. A son of Deweycheatumnhowe, Covert Operative is trained by Per Henrisken for owners Andrea Lea Racingstables Inc. and Asa Farm. The gelding trotter came into Monday night's Tie Silk opening leg with two wins from three starts this season. Covert Operative now has a career bankroll of $32,650. The Henriksen trainee paid $2.30 to win. In order to be eligible to the Tie Silk series, the three-year-old colt and gelding trotters had to be non-winners of $30,000 in 2014. The second leg of the Tie Silk will take place next Monday night (April 27). Changes to Mohawk qualifying schedule The Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to inform harness racing people of upcoming changes to the Mohawk qualifying schedule. Beginning on Monday, April 27, two qualifying sessions will be held each week at Mohawk Racetrack. Qualifiers will take place every Monday and Friday until the end of May. Starting in June, the qualifying schedule will shift to Tuesdays and Fridays. Two-year-old baby races will be added to the qualifying lineup beginning on Saturday, June 6. Baby races will take place each Saturday, except June 20, until July 4. Post time for all qualifying sessions is 10 a.m. Below is a list of upcoming qualifying dates at Mohawk. Thursday, April 23 - 10 a.m. Monday, April 27 - 10 a.m. Friday, May 1 - 10 a.m. Monday, May 4 - 10 a.m. Friday, May 8 - 10 a.m. Mark McKelvie
CAMPBELLVILE, April 18 - The photo finish camera got put to work to decide a highly entertaining second leg of the harness racing Don Mills Trotting Series Saturday night at Mohawk. A field of 11 four and five-year-old trotters battled it out in the lone $20,000 division and all eyes were on the 2/5 favourite Bourbon Bay. The heavy-favourite came into Saturday's Don Mills second leg off a victory in round one and was undefeated in six starts this season on the WEG circuit. However, that undefeated streak would come to an end Saturday, as Exemplar at odds of 23/1 got up just in time to nail Bourbon Bay at the wire and prevail by the narrowest of margins. Driven by Mike Saftic, Bourbon Bay showed early speed to grab his usual position on the front-end. Down the backstretch, Wild And Crazy Guy, the other first leg winner, came up to engage the favourite and would eventually overtake the lead through a solid opening-half of :55.4. Around the final turn, Exemplar and driver Trevor Henry came off the rail from their position in fourth to make a move on the outside, while Bourbon Bay came out of the two-hole nearing the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Bourbon Bay had retaken the lead and tried to take off from his rivals. Exemplar didn't appear to be a big threat towards the leader halfway down the lane, but the 23/1 longshot dug deep and trotted up the middle to nail Bourbon Bay at the wire in 1:53.3. The photo finish camera confirmed that Exemplar had prevailed by a nose to hand Bourbon Bay his first loss on the WEG circuit. Etruscan Hanover finished second, while Sheer Flex was fourth. A five-year-old son of Andover Hall, Exemplar, who finished third in an opening leg division, is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Andrea Lea Racingstables Inc. and Asa Farm. The 1:53.3 victory is a new career-mark for Exemplar and is the ninth win of his career. The gelding now has a 2015 record of three wins from 11 starts and earnings of $34,400. Exemplar's career bankroll now sits at over $121,000. The Moreau trainee returned $48.50 to win. The Don Mills Trotting Series will come to a close next Saturday with the $44,400 final. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, Februrary 6 - The eleven-race program Friday night at Woodbine was dominated by a pair of harness racing drivers and a conditioner. Driver Trevor Henry was on fire Friday night, as the reinsman won five of his nine drives on the card. Henry kicked off the night by winning his first three drives on the card. Henry guided Dialamara and Camvicted to victories in The Count B Series in races one and three. He then completed the hat-trick in the fifth race behind trotter Hie Benny. The Arthur, Ontario resident would score his fourth victory in the seventh race behind trotter O Narutac Perfetto and then completed the high-five by winning the eighth race with pacer Rubis Prescott. While Henry had the biggest night of all on Friday, driver Sylvain Filion also had a solid night at the office. Filion won three races from ten drives on the card. His first victory came in the second race behind trotter Exemplar. The Milton, Ontario resident picked up his second victory of the evening in race six, the first leg of the Ontario Girls Series, with pacer Artistic Fusion. Filion completed his own hat-trick in the ninth race behind trotter Grande Diablo. The success for Henry and Filion also benefited trainer Richard Moreau, as WEG's leading trainer won three races from his eight starters on the card. Filion guided two of Moreau's winner, Exemplar and Grande Diablo, while Henry drove the other winner, Camvicted. Henry, who is first in the WEG driver's standings, now has 28 wins on the season, three more than Filion. Meanwhile, Moreau's training triple gives him 20 wins this season and extends his lead in the trainer's standings to six over Joe Cirasuola. Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred
TORONTO, February 6 - A pair of winter harness racing series got underway Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. The Count B Series for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings saw two $17,000 divisions contested, while the Ontario Girls Series for four-year-old pacing mares needed just one $18,000 division for the first leg of the three-week event. A field of seven battled in an eventful first division to get Count B action underway. Conversation Boy, the 4/5 favourite, got away early in fifth, but made a break as the field turned into the backstretch. The miscue was quickly resolved and driver Sylvain Filion elected to roll the favourite to the front, eventually clearing in front of the leader Newbie just after the midway point. Conversation Boy would lead the field around the final turn, but was confronted first up by Dialamara and driver Trevor Henry. Meanwhile, Legion Of Boom, the 5/2 second choice, was pacing along fourth, but made a break just before the three-quarter pole taking himself out of contention. In the stretch, Conversation Boy and Dialamara would slug it out, while Newbie came off the rail to the outside to make it a close three-horse finish. At the wire, Dialamara came away with a three-quarters of a length victory over Conversation Boy in 1:54.3. Newbie finished third. Legion Of Boom recovered from the final turn break to finish fourth, but was placed back to sixth for interference while on a break. A three-year-old son of Lis Mara, Dialamara was making his first start of 2015. The sophomore now has three career wins from nine starts for trainer Patrick Fletcher and owner John Lamers. Friday night's victory pushes his bankroll over $40,000 and the clocking of 1:54.1 lowers his lifetime mark by more than three-seconds. Dialamara returned $10.70 to win. In the second division, Camvicted went gate-to-wire to remain undefeated in three starts. Driven by Trevor Henry, Camvicted sprinted out to the lead ahead of his five other rivals and was able to call the shots without any challengers through the first three-quarters of the mile. Camvicted posted fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:26.4 and faced his first challenge when His Boy Elroy came first up from fourth around the final turn to draw within half a length of the leader as they turned into the stretch. In the stretch, Camvicted and Henry were able to fight off His Boy Elroy and Shippen Out on the far outside, while also keeping Nobettorplacetobe locked in the pocket to win in 1:56. Shippen Out finished second by a length, while Nobettorplacetobe finished third just ahead of His Boy Elroy. A three-year-old son of Camluck, Camvicted has now won the first three starts of his career in 2015 for owners Doug & Dennis Belan and Brian Fitzgerald. The sophomore pacer is trained by Richard Moreau and now has a bankroll of $22,500. A $2 win ticket on Camvicted returned $3.20. In order to be eligible to The Count B Series, the three-year-old pacers had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Artistic Fusion carried the momentum from her Blizzard Series sweep into round one of the Ontario Girls. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Artistic Fusion left from post nine and was parked past the opening-quarter before eventually clearing to the front in the first turn. Filion was able to tap the breaks in the second-quarter and reach the half in :58. Around the final turn, Mea Lilley Mark came first up to challenge the leader and the mares past the three-quarter pole in 1:26.2. In the stretch, Artistic Fusion put away Mea Lilley Mark, but had to deal with Performing Art, who got a two-hole trip, coming at her on the inside. Artistic Fusion was able to hold off Performing Art to reach the wire first and win by a head in 1:56.1. Jakardez got up for third, while Bet Ya finished fourth. Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino and has now won four consecutive starts to remain undefeated in 2015. Friday night's win was the tenth of her career and pushes her career earnings over $115,000 for owner Mike Foote. Artistic Fusion returned $3.90 to win, In order to be eligible to the Ontario Girls, the four-year-old pacing mares had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime or $50,000 last year as of October 31, 2014. The second leg of both The Count B and the Ontario Girls will take place next Friday (February 13). Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, January 26 - Not even the cold temperatures could cool off the red-hot harness racing trainer Richard Moreau Monday night at Woodbine. Moreau's stable sent out seven starters in six races over the course of Monday's 10-race card and visited the winner's circle an impressive five times. Driver Sylvain Filion teamed up with Moreau to drive four of the five winners. The Moreau barn didn't waste anytime winning races, as they swept the first three races of the night. Trotter Big Package, a first time starter for the Moreau stable, won the opener with Filion in the bike in 1:57.1. In the second race, three-year-old pacer Camvicted also won in his Moreau barn debut to remain unbeaten in two career starts. Trevor Henry piloted the sophomore to victory in 1:54.1. Trotter Tymal Colossus kept the barn's hot streak going by easily winning the third race with Filion in 1:57. Moreau didn't send out his next starter until the sixth race, but he picked up right where he left off. Pacer Arrived Late and Filion turned in a big last-quarter to track down and defeat the favourite Velocity Headlight in 1:56. Moreau would next send out a pair of trotters in the top-level conditioned trot and score his fifth victory in upset fashion. Filion was able to get the veteran trotter Watkins to the wire first for a 13-1 upset in 1:55.2. The other Moreau starter, Cracker Zack, finished fourth. Moreau's final starter on the evening, Gonna Rock N Roll, finished out of the money in the final race of the night. The five win evening for Moreau catapults him ahead of Joe Cirasuola for top spot in the WEG trainer's standings. Moreau has won 15 races from 74 starters in 2015 at Woodbine. The veteran conditioner is a finalist for the O'Brien Award as Canada'a top trainer in 2014. The O'Brien Awards will take place on Saturday, February 7. Moreau will look to keep the hot streak going when he sends out three starters Thursday night at Woodbine. Richard Moreau's five winners Race 1 - Big Package Race 2 - Camvicted Race 3 - Tymal Colossus Race 6 - Arrived Late Race 9 - Watkins Mark McKelvie
TORONTO, January 9 - Round one of the Snowshoe Series continued winter series action Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Four $16,000 divisions of the series for three and four-year-old pacers that were non-winners of two races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014 were contested Friday evening. In the first division, Vegas Rich went gate to wire to pick up the victory as the second choice on the board. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Vegas Rich cut the mile and set fractions of :28.4, :58.4 and 1:27, before pacing home in :28.3 to score a 1 ¾ length victory in 1:55.3. P L Heavenly, the heavy 3/5 favourite, was first up around the final turn, but had to settle for second. Dragon Seelster finished third. A four-year-old son of Million Dollar Cam, Vegas Rich is trained by David Gibson, who shares ownership with David Goodrow Stable and Glenn Traver, and is now one for one this year. Vegas Rich now has three career victories and pushes his bankroll to over $40,000 with the victory Friday night. He returned $6.40 to win. Kindofabigdeal did not disappoint as the 1/5 favourite and won the second division in 1:56. Also driven by Filion, Kindofabigdeal picked up second over cover around the final turn and capitalized off that trip to pace by his rivals and score a three-quarters of a length victory over Ramblingamblinman. Newbie finished in the show spot. A four-year-old son of No Pan Intended, Kindofabigdeal is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc and is now one for one in 2015. Last season, Kindofabigdeal won five of 10 starts and banked more than $53,000. Friday night's victory pushes his career earnings over the $60,000 mark. Kindofabigdeal paid $2.70 to win. Another favourite delivered a victory in the third division, as Whistle Jimmy K picked up his fourth win in his last five starts. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Whistle Jimmy K got a two-hole trip and followed closely behind American Island until just before the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, American Island tried to hold off Whistle Jimmy K, but the favourite eventually pushed his way by in the final eighth to prevail over American Island by a length and a half in 1:55.4. Mittcent Van Gogh finished third. A four-year-old son of Mach Three, Whistle Jimmy K is trained by Ben Wallace and had won his final three starts of 2014 before finishing second last week in his 2015 debut. Whistle Jimmy K now has four career victories and earnings of over $26,000 for owners Brad Grant and Wallacestandardbreds Inc. A $2 win ticket returned $3.70. In the final division, Decisive Destiny and Trevor Henry scored an impressive victory in 1:55.2. A four-year-old son of American Ideal, Decisive Destiny got away sixth and was able to get in the outer flow on the way to the half. Around the final turn, Decisive Destiny was third-over and just a little more than three lengths off the lead. In the stretch, Henry showed Decisive Destiny a clear path and he paced right by his rivals to record a 3 Â½ length victory. A Boy Named Suuzz finished second, while Bad Bug got up for third. Decisive Destiny is trained by Shawn Robinson for Robert Hamather and was making his second start of 2015. Last year, the son of American Ideal won three of 20 starts for earnings of just under $40,000. Friday night's victory was his fourth career triumph and pushes his career bankroll over $47,000. Decisive Destiny paid $8.70 to win. The second leg of the Snowshoe Series will take place next Friday (January 16). Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG Communications
Four-year-old pacer Nickle Bag has not missed the board in the past three months racing on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit and on Saturday night he stormed home from the backfield to add another victory to his impressive 2014 campaign against a full field of Preferred competitors, including Canadian Pacing Derby champion Modern Legend. Closing from third and fourth over, Sing For Me George and Nickle Bag pulled ahead of the field down the stretch and battled to the wire in a photo finish. Nickle Bag and driver Trevor Henry ultimately prevailed in Woodbine Racetrack's $34,000 Preferred Handicap Pace by a nose in 1:50 flat for trainer Shawn Robinson and owners Linda Loyens of Denfield, Ont. and Harry Loyens of Ilderton, Ont. Leaving from post eight, Camaes Fellow (Jonathan Drury) charged to the lead over Avatartist (Mike Saftic) while the 4-5 favoured outside assignee, Modern Legend (James MacDonald), sprinted up into contention through a sizzling :25.4 first quarter. Modern Legend worked his way to the top as the pacers headed into the backstretch, but Camaes Fellow refused to sit a pocket trip and quickly retook command. To view the rest of the story click here.
Fans that backed rookie pacer Weapons Dealer in Race 2 during the Monday evening program at Woodbine Racetrack likely needed a hand - or a wheelbarrow - to help tote home their winnings. The overlooked son of Western Ideal-Scootin Belle turned a two-hole trip into a pari-mutuel explosion for the tandem of driver Trevor Henry and trainer Isaac Waxman. Weapons Dealer got away in the two-hole behind the 1-5 favourite, Sports Warning, and those two held their positions through panels of :28, :58.2 and 1:26.4. Sports Warning rolled into a break coming out of the final turn, however, and that changed the whole complexion of the race. Weapons Dealer inherited the lead in the lane, and he wound up winning by a pair of lengths over His Boy Elroy in 1:54.3. Sports Warning regained his composure and re-rallied to finish third. To view the rest of this story click here. Raceway Preferreds to "Gustav" & "Winzel" A set of Preferred 3 events went postward Monday evening at The Raceway at Western Fair District, with Kendal Gustav and Winzel winning their respective assignments. Kendal Gustav shot to the front from Post 2 and rolled to an easy victory in his $7,400 affair for driver Lorne House. The public’s top choice, who closed at odds of 6-5, carved out splits of :27, :58 and 1:26.4 before sealing the deal with a :29.2 closing panel. He was 2-1/2 lengths better than Pacific Oak in 1:56.1. Lawmen Reign rounded out the top three finishers. Trainer Scott McNiven co-owns the five-year-old son of Life Sign-City Of Dreams with Tom Brodhurst of London and Shirley Griffin of St. Thomas, Ontario. The partnership has watched the gelding go 10-for-37 this season and 27-for-112 in his career. The lion’s share of Monday’s purse lifted his overall cash stash to $177,749. To view the rest of this story click here.