Elora, ON --- A total of seven $16,740 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers were featured on Monday night (July 21) at Grand River Raceway and they saved the fastest split for last as Single White Sock toured the half-mile oval in 1:56. With Scott Coulter at the lines, Single White Sock was in front through fractions of :27.4, :58, and 1:27.3. Single White Sock turned away a big three-wide bid by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon) past three-quarters, and he then kicked clear in the lane to prevail by 2-1/4 lengths. Twin B Scandal wound up second with Pan Street USA (Bob McClure) back in third. It was the second win in three starts for Single White Sock, a Badlands Hanovercolt trained by Barry Treen for owner Len Gamble. Tanya Prescott bred Single White Sock, who was purchased for $24,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale. Single White Sock, an earner of $17,281, is the fifth foal out of the Apaches Fame mare Love You Dear, making him a half-brother to millionaire and former Ontario Sires Stakes winner Ramegade Bruiser. Camluck, the long-time stalwart sire of the Ontario Sires Stakes program, had a pair of winners with Big Moment winning the second division in 1:56.1 with Alfie Carroll handling the driving assignment and Mike's Powerhouse picking up a 1:56.4 victory in the third section for driver Trevor Henry. Big Moment broke his maiden in his second attempt for trainer Bob McIntosh, who also bred the colt with CSX Stables. McIntosh and partner Max Newham own Big Moment, the fourth foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Breathtacular. Breathtacular is related to two six-figure earners in Breathdefying and Lucky Encounter. Mike's Powerhouse, who is out of the Artsplace mare Michelle's Jackpot, making him a full brother to the likes of 2012 Little Brown Jug champion and millionaire Michael's Power and millionaire Michelle's Power, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner-breeder Jeff Snyder. Mike's Powerhouse was victorious at first asking after finishing fourth and first in two qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack. Coleman was right back in the winner’s circle in the next race after Mike's Powerhouse’s victory as her Sportskeeper (Jody Jamieson) romped to a an 8-1/4 length decision in 1:56.3. Coleman also bred and co-owns Sportskeeper, a Sportswriter colt, with partner Merlin Howse. Sportskeeper, who was also making the initial start of his racing career, is the third foal out of the Nuclear Flash mare Keeper Flying, which means Sportskeeper is a half-brother to former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Keepers Destiny (Intrepid Seelster, $702,855). Sportswriter had another siring credit with Half A Billion, who was a 1:57.3 victor in the sixth Grassroots flight. Mike Saftic drove the colt for trainer Marcel Barrieau. Half A Billion is a homebred for the Hudson Standardbred Stable and he is a perfect two-for-two in his career and in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series competition. Half A Billion, the fifth foal out of the Western Hanover mare Racey Miss, is a half-brother to multiple OSS winner Racey Miss ($214,571) and Petite Courageuse ($195,733). Also picking up victories were: Bridge Of Stone, a Stonebridge Regal-Dreamlands Sachi (Western Hanover) gelding, who halted the clock in 1:57.3 for driver Scott Coulter, trainer Carmen Auciello, and owners Denarben Stables and Rocco Auciello. He has won both of his Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series tries The Fire Within, a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover. The half-brother to Illusionist ($893,246) picked up his second win from three attempts for driver Jody Jamieson and breeder/owner/trainer Fred Drouillard. The next time the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series will be in action is August 15 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results of Monday’s night’s events, click here. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Harness racing father and son trainer and driver teams combined to win the final two $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for two-year-old pacing fillies this afternoon at Clinton Raceway. Both duos won their respective events with a daughter of Mach Three, the fastest of which was Wicked Speed. With Scott Young in the sulky for trainer, co-owner and dad Bob Young, the diminutive lass went gate to wire in :30, 1:00, 1:30.2 and stopped the clock in 1:59 over Brilliant Idea and Hurricane Trina. It was the second straight win in as many lifetime starts for Wicked Speed who made her debut in an overnight at Clinton last Sunday where she won by five lengths to earn $2,000. That effort combined with today’s winnings find the filly paid for as she cost $10,000 at last year’s Lexington Select Sale for Bob Young of Guelph, Ontario and partner Marsha Sugarman of Status Stables, Ma. Young noted that the filly’s price was likely as a result of her stature. “She’s grown quite a bit since we got her and I think she’ll grow more by the time she’s three. She has a big, powerful rear end on her. She wears a fairly long hopple, 57 1/2 inches and no boots. “She’s done everything right from day one. She’s got tons of brains and likes her work,” he praised. Doug McNair was at the lines for dad Gregg in the fourth division with Mach Denali who managed to win by more than two lengths despite suffering interference just past the three-quarters when the lead filly made a break. Mach Denali was home in 2:01 over Jinglewriter and Ok Heartbeat. Gregg McNair, also of Guelph, shares ownership of the filly with Tony Lawrence and William Brown of Hanover and Paul Kidd from Guelph. This was the first lifetime win for the filly in three tries. Doug McNair also piloted the fastest winner on this afternoon’s card, Kastie Snoops who tripped the timer in 1:58.4. Tony O’Sullivan trains the Sportswriter filly, a half-sister to $573,000 winner Dalhousie Dave, for owner/breeder John Fielding of Toronto. The other two divisions were captured by Stonebridge Quest (Camluck) and Trevor Henry in 2:00.4 and Chase The Shadows (Shadow Play) with Ryan Holliday up in 1:59. The next Grassroots test for this group will be at Mohawk on August 11. To view the complete results from today’s card, please click Clinton Results - July 20. Ontario Sire Stakes
Its been 8 years since the Whatthehecklavec set the last Aged Mare Track Record and it was in the Walker Invitational Trot. This year Trevor Henry owned and Richard Moreau trained Angies Lucky Star beat the old mark by 1/5th of a second on a track rated good, due to a light steady rain. Angies Lucky Star got away second to the quarter behind Spartan Victory driven by Ryan Holliday in 27.3, but quickly took over control, and never looked back hitting the half in 56.2, the 3/4â€²s in 1:26.1 and the mile in 1:56.4. The Walker Trot is named for Allan and Viola Walker. Allan was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1996 and was not only a top driver, but a well respected trainer as well and his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren are still involved in the sport. Hanover Raceway also host the staff from 92.3 The Dock radio, who gave away a $1500 dollar Smart TV, won by Randy Cook of Holland Centre, and 2 more people qualified for the Survivor handicapping contest. So far 17 fans have correctly picked 4 horses that finished in the money, and will return on August 9th for a shot at another High Definition TV package. Next Saturday is Dream of Glory elimination night. Over 90 horses are paid up to the series, and the top 8 will return on Sunday August 3rd for the 60,000 dollar final. Hanover Raceway will also host the 2nd Rider under Saddle race to feature wagering next Saturday. its being billed as Canada vs Norway, and the girl riders will be on hand after their race for a meet and greet and autograph session. Post time next Saturday is 7:15pm. by Gord Dougan, for Hanover Raceway 519-364-2860 x 2
O’Brien Award-winning trainer Richard Moreau enjoyed a profitable Monday evening at Grand River Raceway thanks to a three-win performance on the 11-race card. Moreau, a native of Quebec who now resides in Puslinch, Ontario, got the ball rolling in Race 3 with Inbox Hanover. The filly went wire-to-wire for driver Trevor Henry in a time of 1:58.4. Scott Coulter then guided Galarina to a come-from-behind score in Race 7 in a sharp clocking of 1:56.4 to give Moreau his second winner on the program. He then completed the hat trick when Tail R Swift powered to a 1:54.3 triumph two races later in the $7,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 3. Trevor Henry mapped out the winning trip for the daughter of Whosurboy. To view the rest of this story click here.
Two-year-old colt and gelding trotters were in the spotlight on Saturday night at Georgian Downs as five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions for freshman colt and gelding trotters went behind the starting gate. Hemi Seelster (Steve Byron) was the fastest of the five winners as he trotted a :29.1 final quarter to rally from sixth at three-quarters to a 2:00.4 decision in the third division. He defeated Win The Day (Trevor Henry) by three-quarters of a length with Tarot (Riina Rekila) back in third. It was the first win in two starts for Hemi Seelster, who is trained by John Bax for his Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough along with John Houston of Cobourg, Ontario. Sired by Holiday Road, Hemi Seelster was bred by Seelster Farms Inc. of Lucan, Ontario, and sold for $19,000 at last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale. His dam is Hollywood Beauty, who is by Angus Hall. To view the rest of this story click here.
Thisgirlisonfire lived up to her name as she captured the fastest of six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies on Wednesday night at Grand River Raceway. Mario Baillargeon was content to sit the garden spot in second with Thisgirlisonfire and they had a perfect view of Wings Of Ballykeel, who cut the mile for Trevor Henry. The fractions were :28.4, :58.4 and 1:28.3 and down the stretch the leader tired allowing Thisgirlisonfire to hit the wire first in 1:58.4. Wings Of Ballykeel had to settle for the bridesmaid’s role this night while Viva Bayama was third. The win was the first of the season for the daughter of Angus Hall, who is owned by one of the leading driver's in the sport, Jeff Gregory, of New Jersey along with William Richardson of New York. Trained in the U.S. by Linda Toscano, Ron Parsons handles Thisgirlisonfire’s conditioning during her stay in Ontario. To view the rest of this story click here.
The top 7 Grassroots starts and the top points earner in the Gold OSS series will compete this Saturday at Hanover Raceway. Tyrone Haji leads the Gold Point earners for Trainer Bob McIntosh who shares ownership of the 3 year old with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville. The son of Kadabra won a Gold Elimination at London on May 30th and was 5th in the slop at Mohawk in his last start on June 24th. Mcintosh says they decided to drop the 3 year old into the Grassroots because he races really well on a half mile track, and he felt that the son of Kadabra is better suited in the Grassroots. The top points earner in the Grassroots this season is Aventure who is 2 for 2 this summer including a 1:55.3 win at Mohawk on June 26th. Bill Budd of Waterdown says he got the horse from Orville Rursch of Illinois as a 2 year old, and he returned him back this year. Budd says the son of Muscle Mass is a pleasure to work with and he's very handy both on the 7/8th and the half mile track. Budd says he expects driver Trevor Henry will leave from post position 6 but says the colt has proven he can work out a mile from the front, or from behind. Also doing well this season is Dream of Glory eligible horse, Razor Ramone for trainer driver and part owner Mark Etsell, formerly of Hanover. Etsell shares ownership on the son of Kadabra with Bob Newton of Walkerton and Chuan Tan of Cambridge. The homebred has a win and a 2nd at Mohawk in 2 OSS starts this year, including a win from Post 10 at Mohawk on June 26th. Etsell says he's not sure how his horse will handle the half mile, and isn't too concerned about getting the outside 7 post position. Razor Ramone won his last start from the 10 hole at Mohawk, and despite an early break 3 starts back, closed well enough to finish 2nd on June 9th in his other OSS start. Etsell says if he would have had a few more feet of stretch drive he probably would have won adding if Ramone does well on Saturday he'll likely be back for the Dream of Glory eliminations on July 26th. 6 divisions of 3 year old Colt trotters hit the track Saturday night. It's also Ladies Night with special prize draws, and the start of the Survivor Handicapping Contest. One lucky fan will win a high definition Television courtesy of Country 93 radio. The FREE contest starts in Race 5 and runs every Saturday for the month of July. Post time at Hanover Raceway is 7:15pm. From the Hanover Raceway Press Box
The three-year-old pacing filly Her Own Land and driver James MacDonald kicked off the Kin Pace elimination round on Sunday afternoon with a 1:55 track record performance at Clinton Raceway. MacDonald also drove Skippin By to victory lane in another $8,000 elimination while driver Doug McNair doubled up with a pair of homebred fillies Can Art and Born To Dream. With the inside post advantage in the afternoon's opener, favourite Her Own Land set up shop on the front end and carved out panels of :27.4, :57.4 and 1:26.2 before holding off the late-rallying Shadows Wonder (Trevor Henry) for the half-length victory. Haute Couture (Alfie Carroll) finished seven and a half lengths behind in third. Fresh off a career-best 1:54 victory in her last start in the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots at Mohawk Racetrack on June 19, Her Own Land now has two wins in six starts this year. She is trained by David Menary and owned by Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Her Own Land was just a $2,000 Canadian Yearling Sale purchase, who now boasts $27,660 in purses and is the favourite heading into next weekend's $65,800 stake final. To view the rest of the story click here.
Clinton Raceway presented its fans with a 10-race program on Sunday afternoon, and driver Trevor Henry dominated the card thanks to five trips to victory lane. Henry, a resident of Arthur, Ontario, clicked with Eyes Of A Fool (2:01.2) in Race 2 to get the ball rolling, and he returned to take the checkered flag in Race 4 with P L Dangerous (1:56.4). Henry He came right back to take Race 6 with Twin B Gangster (2:02.4), and followed it up with a triumph in Race 8 with Pacific Oak (1:55). Henry did his final happy dance in Race 9 with Ricky Bobby (1:59). To view the rest of this story click here.
Hot, Hot, Hot that was the word of the day at Clinton Raceway this Sunday. Plenty of live racing action on track, and winning off track for the large crowd on hand as the fourth week of Clinton Raceway's 2014 live season got under way. Father's and their children of all ages, from all over South-western Ontario made their way to Clinton on another beautiful sunny day. The Super Sunday Show had give-aways between each race to keep them entertained, and the horses didn't disappoint with great on track action. Race two was a battle at the wire between the five, Decroft Havaball, and six Talkin Foolish. It was Decroft Havaball that managed the win for Clinton Trainer Randy Marriage for owner Clarence Dekens of Clinton, and driven to victory by Trevor Henry Ninette B, for Jane Kerr of Goderich (trained by Denis Kerr) and Kittykittybangbang, for Lema Chapple of Wingham rounded out the triactor in the fourth race on the days card, while fourth post Torches Angel trained by Peter Hamilton and owned by Catherine McClure of Clinton managed a second place finish is the second last race of the day. The final race on the card, was a battle in the stretch as Live For Today, owned by Catherine & Darcy McClure of Clinton, and trained by Darcy edged out a second place Albergetty. An on track attendance of over 550 and handle just shy of $24,000 was recorded. The fun and racing continues at Clinton Raceway Sunday June 22 with the ever popular miniature exhibition horse race on track, with a meet and greet with the horses. Live race post time 1:30pm. All the details can be found at www.clintonraceway.com by Jessica Carnochan, for Hanover Raceway
Medoland Lindeylou and Stolen Goods were highly thought of by the betting public Tuesday evening at Georgian Downs, and both passed their Preferred tests with flying colours. Sent off at odds of 4-5, Medoland Lindeylou wired up the foes she faced in the $7,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 3 in a time of 1:54.4. Trevor Henry rolled the three-year-old daughter of Stonebridge Regal-Jodie Lynne Tup to the lead from Post 3 and she successfully sliced out splits of :27, :57.4 and 1:25.4 before using a :29-second kicker to defeat Gracie Montana and Firstclassflight. Richard Moreau trains the youngster for Ohioans Tamara Hoovler, Dr. Robert Hutchison and Dr. Randy Hutchison. It was the homebred’s first win of the season from six trips postward, and the lion’s share of the loot lifted her overall earnings to $72,776. To read the rest of the story click here.
The story of 4-year-old harness racing female trotter Perfect Alliance, who enters Saturday's $266,000 Armbro Flight Stakes with 11 wins in 11 starts this season after winning a total of just two of 18 races at ages 2 and 3, would seem farfetched if it didn't sound so familiar. Perfect Alliance races out of the stable of Julie and Andy Miller, who five years ago took an unheralded 4-year-old male trotter named Lucky Jim and helped lead him to an award-winning season. Lucky Jim joined Team Miller with a total of just two wins in 20 career races. He won his first eight starts that season, including two winter series at the Meadowlands, before tackling the sport's top older trotters. He didn't slow down, winning seven more races in a row before finishing the campaign with 17 victories in 18 starts. His triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Nat Ray, Maxie Lee Memorial and Cutler Memorial, and he received the 2009 Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter. Whether Perfect Alliance can write the same ending as Lucky Jim remains to be seen, but the first few chapters of her story are strikingly similar. She won two winter series - one at the Meadowlands and one at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs - before challenging the top female trotters in the game. In her first try against the big girls, in a division of the Miss Versatility Series at Woodbine, Perfect Alliance won in 1:51.2, equaling Classic Martine's world record for the fastest mile ever by a 4-year-old female trotter. Incidentally, Lucky Jim shares the world record of 1:50.1 for the fastest mile ever by any trotter on a one-mile racetrack. Last weekend, Perfect Alliance won her elimination for the Armbro Flight by 6-1/2 lengths in a track-record 1:51.4 at Mohawk. She starts the final from post four with Yannick Gingras at the lines and is the 6-5 morning line favorite. "It's hard to believe we could ever do that again - and she hasn't done it yet - but the way she started out is a lot like the way we campaigned [Lucky Jim] because she fit some of the winter series," Andy Miller said. "She got a lot of confidence out of those series and just kept progressing and getting better and better. "Now she's as brave as a horse can be. Now that she's facing the better mares, she thinks she can tackle anything." Miller drove Perfect Alliance in her first seven starts, but has been sidelined since mid-April because of injuries sustained in an accident. In her second race this year, Perfect Alliance won from post 10 at the Meadowlands despite being stuck on the outside for most of the mile and getting a flat tire on the final turn. "She still dug in and won the race," Miller said. "When she did that, I thought it was something special. I didn't know if she would go [onto record-setting performances] but I knew there was a lot there." Perfect Alliance is owned by New Meadowlands Racing Chairman Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Meadowlands Racetrack General Manager Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger. She is a daughter of stallion Credit Winner out of the mare Yalta Hanover and was purchased for $75,000 under the name Perfect Deo at the 2011 Lexington Selected Sale. Her mother is a half-sister to stakes-winners Yursa Hanover, He's Spooky and Scary Good. She is a three-quarter sister to Thistle Dhu, who ironically edged Perfect Alliance last season by a nose in the $40,000 Zweig Memorial Consolation for 3-year-old filly trotters. "Last year [Perfect Alliance] was hot on the gate and had a few little issues, just immaturity," Miller said. "I think the time off and bringing her back this year she's just matured so much. The second time I qualified her, I covered her up a bit and put some earplugs on her and when I popped them she responded. I knew there was a lot there, but how far it would go, I didn't know. "It's worked out good. With these types of horses, you just hope you don't do anything wrong. She kind of takes care of herself. She does everything we ask and we just try not to mess it up." Following is the field in post order for the Armbro Flight with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Lady Laker, Trevor Ritchie, Al Tomlinson, 20-1; 2. Bax Of Life, Chris Christoforou, Jerry Duford, 15-1; 3. D'Orsay, Sylvain Filion, Jonas Czernyson, 6-1; 4. Perfect Alliance, Yannick Gingras, Julie Miller, 6-5; 5. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick, Chris Oakes, 5-1; 6. Upfrontluckycarol, Steve Condren, Clark Beelby, 20-1; 7. Rockin With Dewey, Mario Baillargeon, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1; 8. Charmed Life, James MacDonald, Dave Menary, 12-1; 9. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman, 4-1; 10. Angies Lucky Star, Trevor Henry, Richard Moreau, 25-1. Andy Miller got a positive report from his doctors recently as he continues his recovery from vertebrae surgery, but still is several months from returning to action. "He said everything looks good," Miller said Monday while watching qualifiers at Gaitway Farm, where he and wife Julie Miller are stabled. "He said in six weeks I can probably get rid of the [back] brace, but as far as doing anything, it'll be a couple months yet. "I was hoping I could do a little bit of work. Hopefully in six weeks I'll get a little more clearance, but I'm sure it will be a couple months before I can really do much." Miller said it was "frustrating" to be on the sidelines, but he is still active in watching horses train and race and providing his input. Miller has won 8,054 races in his driving career and nearly $101 million in purses, with both totals ranking among the top 25 in North American harness racing history. "Eventually, I'll get back out there, but I'll just take my time," Miller said. "I'm so thankful that I can be here and watch them and give my input on them training. "There haven't been any setbacks and if I didn't have the brace on, you wouldn't know anything is wrong with me. I can get around pretty good; I'm not running sprints, but everything is as good as it can be." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Trevor Henry wasted no time in hustling Calgary Seelster to the lead in Tuesday’s $7,000 Preferred 3 at Georgian Downs, and it proved to be the winning approach for the Andrew McCabe trainee. Calgary Seelster pushed out from his pole position starting spot and successfully chopped out fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:25.4 before sprinting home in :28.3 en route to the 1:54.2 decision. It was three-quarters of a length back to runner-up Pouvoir Duharas, with Smokin Bear rounding out the top three. To read the rest of this story click here.
In one of the most dramatic come backs of the year in harness racing, State Treasurer, the 7/5 betting favorite, went off-stride at the start of the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair but was able to rebound for driver Chris Christoforou, sweep three-wide from near last place on the final turn and win by a head. It was the second straight Molson Pace victory for State Treasurer and the five-year-old stallion by Real Desire posted his fourth straight win in 2014 for trainer Dr. Ian Smith and owners Sally MacDonald of Souris, PEI and Paul MacDonald, Regina, SK. The feature race began with world record holder Dancin Yankee (Brett Miller) shooting to the early lead as State Treasurer and Christoforou made a break and had to pull out of the race momentarily, regroup and start back after the field in dead last place. With Bettor’s Edge (Trevor Henry) sitting in second, Dancin Yankee led the field to the opening quarter mile in a speedy :26.1 but was collared and pasted by world champion Foiled Again and driver Yannick Gingras. The momentum picked up at the half mile pole in :54.4 as Bandolito and driver Mark MacDonald came first-over to challenge Foiled Again but they not catch up to the leader as Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson) was stalking the leaders second-over. At the three-quarters in 1:23, Bandolito began to tire and Apprentice Hanover was three-wide trying to loop everyone and who was following them? None other than State Treasurer and Christoforou. Around the final turn State Treasurer fanned three-wide as Apprentice Hanover was able to collar Foiled Again but as they came to the wire, State Treasurer was on the move and won by a head in 1:51.4. Apprentice Hanover was a game second with Foiled Again close for third and Dancin Yankee fourth. Sent off as the 7/5 wagering favorite, State Treasurer paid $4.90 to win. “It feels real good for sure,” Said trainer Dr. Ian Moore about winning the Molson Pace for the second time. “He was good last year too. It wasn’t that big a problem leaving. He was on the bit pretty good. He is a good little horse and tries his hardest.” “There was a tremendous amount of worry around the first turn,” Christoforou said. “With a smaller track its harder to get around early on. I was sitting behind the right horse and I had the best horse. I think he proved that tonight. “I was hoping on the last turn going three-wide that I could get on Jody’s back (Apprentice Hanover) and it worked out good,” Christoforou explained, “That way he was not three-wide all the way around the turn. I know my horse drifts out a little in the stretch so I don’t have to steer him much to get around so I just started driving him before we hit the stretch. He kinda swooped his way by and put his head in front and I am real proud of him. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
LONDON, Ontario . . . Mark MacDonald, one of harness racing's most talented drivers, made his return to The Raceway at Western Fair District where he made his start and was leading driver for several seasons, and captured two of the four City Of London finals tonight, part of the Molson Pace undercard. The third and fastest City Of London final, a $38,200 contest for pacing distaffers, had tons of action with MacDonald, now a regular on the New York circuit, scoring a victory. As the race got underway Trevor Henry and Face To Face overtook Miss Brandi K by the :27.3 opening panel. She hit the half in :55.3 with pressure from favourite Milliondollar Babe who was neck and neck with the leader down the backside but they were both overtaken by Lyons Katrina and MacDonald, whoâ€™d been stalking second over, and were absolutely flying by the 1:25.4 three-quarters. Lyons Katrina slowed in the stretch but held on to win in 1:57.1. Played By Anangel was a close second followed by Miss Brandi K. It was first lifetime win for Lyons Katrina, a three-year-old daughter of Major In Art owned by Geoffrey Lyons of Burford, Ontario and trained by James Morrison. Bred by Bill Loyens of London, Ontario, the filly is the second foal from $457,000 winner Milliondollarsmile, her first being $482,000 winner Windsong Jack. The fourth and final City Of London final, the $39,000 test for pacing horses, saw MacDonald and Fortune Playboy cutting the pace early as he hit the opening quarter in :27.3. He had pressure from Teranadawn at the :57.2 half but rebuffed that challenge and hit the three-quarters in 1:26 and held his position through the wire in 1:57.3. Hussys Blu Boy was second with Decroft Havaball third. Fortune Playboy, a four-year-old gelding by Rambaran, was recording his seventh win in 10 starts this year for trainer Patrick Shepherd and owner Holland Racing Stable of Niagara On The Lake, Ontario. In the $35,600 final for male trotters it ended up being a four horse race thanks to a late scratch and several breakers in the early going. That allowed Trevor Henry and Shadywood Kid easy access to the front end early and they never relinquished it. The three-year-old gelding by Pegasus Spur tripped off splits of :29, 1:00.2 and 1:30.4 and was a comfortable winner in 2:01.3 over Crime Novel and Kdazzle. Henry, the leader driver at The Raceway, co-owns the winner with John MacLeod who bred the Shadywood Kid with Henry's father Ross. Trained by Shannon Henry, Shadywood Kid was recording his first lifetime win in his 11th attempt. An exciting photo finish took place in the $34,800 final for mare trotters which saw Ja El Diamond setting the early tempo for Steve Byron through fractions of :29.3, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1. Heroine Seelster sat the pocket the entire mile and was trapped in that spot until late going when she finally found racing room and trotted up quickly but was just a nose short at the wire in 2:02.1. Oaklea Wand was third. Pat Hunt trains the winner, a three-year-old daughter of Angus Hall owned by Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Ontario. Unraced last year at two, Ja El Diamond now has three wins in six starts this year for $31,000 in earnings. From the Raceway Media Department
ELORA, ON - Driver Doug McNair of Guelph doesn't know where his career would be without Grand River Raceway in Elora. Monday, the track will open its 11th season of live racing six years after McNair made a name for himself at the age of 18 when he won Grand River Raceway's signature event, the Battle of Waterloo, with a horse named Trail Boss. "If he hadn't come along and I wouldn't have won that race that early (in my career) I don't think I would be where I am today," McNair said. "That just jump-started my career and after that I started getting between five and 10 drives a night at Grand River. It really boosted my career." Today, at the age of just 24, McNair is one of Canada's elite drivers. He was a finalist for the nation's driver of the year award in 2013. He finished the year third in the nation in money with over $5.2 million earned. He was fourth in wins with 291. Though he made just 70 starts at Grand River in 2013, McNair finished second in the track's money standings behind leading driver Trevor Henry of Arthur who had four times as many starts. McNair earned over $475,000 at Grand River in 2013, largely on the strength of winning the track's two signature stakes races - the $145,000 Battle of Waterloo and the $75,000 Battle of the Belles. Monday is the first of 48 cards of live racing at Grand River to be held through Sept. 29 on Mondays, Wednesdays and the track's popular Fun & Frivolity Friday Nights. Grand River will feature a 6:30 p.m. post throughout the summer, except for the annual Industry Day card on Aug. 4 that features a 1:30 p.m. post and the rich finals of the Battle of Waterloo and Battle of the Belles that, this year, will go for purses of $180,000 and $120,000, respectively. Grand River Raceway opened just eight minutes from McNair's house in 2004, the same year he was in Grade 9 at Centre Wellington District High School in Fergus. "There's a lot of things I love about that track," McNair said. "The atmosphere is fun ... I know a lot of people there and it's close to my house." McNair was just 12 when he won his very first race at a fair in Dundalk racing against drivers as old as 60. On the same February day in 2008 that he received his harness driver's license, he won his very first pari-mutuel race at Western Fair Raceway in London driving a mare named Eagle Kay that had never won a race before and didn't win another. That year, McNair drove the winners of over $1 million at the age of 18. Today, he is closing in rapidly on 2,000 wins and $25 million in lifetime earnings; numbers he said he wouldn't have been able to compile this quickly without Grand River Raceway playing a key role in his career. To hear more of our conversation with Doug McNair (including his brave confession about the song he secretly loved in high school) check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway