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TORONTO, April 9, 2018 - The era of harness racing at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario wrapped up Monday evening after 24 years. A 10-race card was contested on the final night with the $34,000 Preferred Trot headlining the card. Six-year-old gelding Big Rich went coast to coast for his second consecutive Preferred score. The Richard Moreau trainee was steered to his third win of the season by Louis Philippe Roy. Big Rich posted solid fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:23.4 before trotting home in :29.1 to win by a length and a half. Moreau's other participant, B Yoyo, rallied to finished second, while longshot Cue Hall was third. Owned by 9099 3833 Quebec Inc and Frank Spagnolo, Big Rich has banked $73,700 in nine starts this season and Monday's triumph was the 21st of his career, pushing him to $436,728 in career earnings. The clocking of 1:53 established a new career-mark for Big Rich. The Moreau trainee paid $3.80 to win. Parkhill Nonstop and trainer/driver Pat Hudon became the answer to a trivia question when they won the final Standardbred race ever at Woodbine. The four-year-old gelded trotter capitalized off a perfect two-hole steer from Hudon to win by 5¼ lengths in a career-best 1:57. Parkhill Nonstop was one of the most familiar faces of the final Woodbine Standardbred meet. The Hudon trainee raced 18-times from October 26 to April 9. Earlier in the evening, horsepeople gathered outside the paddock for a final photo at the Toronto track. Live Standardbred racing now moves to its new permanent home, Woodbine Mohawk Park, in Campbellville. The 2018 meet begins Thursday evening. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Driver Roger Mayotte became the answer to a trivia question when he won the first Standardbred race at Woodbine Racetrack with four-year-old harness racing pacer Boastful on January 1, 1994. A new trivia answer will be established Monday evening (April 9) when the final Standardbred race at Woodbine is complete. From New Year's Day 1994 to Monday's finale, thousands and thousands of Standardbred races have been contested at Woodbine. The memories of million-dollar classics, Breeders Crown championships and stunning performances will live on forever. It seems now more than ever society is fascinated with lists. The countdown of greatest races in Woodbine history could lead to a month-long debate and it's only natural every horseperson, customer and employee would have their own favourite moment. One list that can never be debated is based on numbers. Which driver and trainer won the most races at Woodbine Racetrack? Standardbred Canada's database is fully stocked with stats dating back to the 1994 opener, allowing a quick search to reveal the answers. While names have come and gone over the years at Woodbine, a strong core of drivers and trainers have been permanent fixtures at the Toronto oval for years. The all-time leaders are two individuals who immediately stick out when thinking of Woodbine harness racing. Driver Randy Waples and trainer Kevin McMaster will go down as the all-time leaders for wins at Woodbine. Waples, who won 2,605 races at Woodbine, is one of the sport's most colourful personalities and an individual with several great moments at the Toronto track. Despite coming from a famous racing family and having Ron Waples as his father, Randy Waples battled to earn everything he's accomplished. "I thought I would be up near the top, but at the top, no I didn't," Waples said when delivered the news. "I thought it was either going to be Chris (Christoforou) or Steve (Condren)." Waples guesses weren't far off. Christoforou will finish second all-time at 2,469 wins, while Condren ranks seventh with 1,575 wins. When pondering his top Woodbine moments, Waples immediately went back to his first major victories in the sport. "I think I have to go back to the Liberty Balance Breeders Crown (2001), just because it meant so much at that time," Waples said. "The first big win I ever had here was in the (1997) Canadian Pacing Derby (with) Strong Clan. That was my very first huge classic win, but that Breeders Crown one was pretty sweet and freaking out and stuff like that." Always one to put on a show, Waples 'freak out' on the Woodbine turf course after winning with Liberty Balance will likely go down as the greatest celebration in track history. Those two wins took Waples to new heights, but his all-time favourite Woodbine moment is San Pail's classic triumph in the 2011 Breeders Crown. "Those two are very important, but the best to me is the 'Pail' race when 'Pail' took on the world. "That was amazing. I've never heard any crowd like that. A little bit 'Somebeach' in the North America Cup you could kind of get the same tingle, but not like here and not like that and then the whole Grandstand comes out for its picture. That's pretty amazing." Waples has been one of the most recognizable faces at Woodbine for more than two decades. While the driving colony has had its fair share of turnover in 24 years, Waples routinely takes time to think about the ride he's been on with his fellow veteran drivers and a group that can be described as the "heart and soul" of Toronto harness racing. "Even the guys that aren't here like the Bill Gale's, (Doug) Brown and (Dave) Wall, like these are all the guys that I broke in with," Waples reflected. "Even the guys you weren't real good friends with, but you really respected their driving ability like (Tony) Kerwood or (Mike) Saftic or like Paul (MacDonell), who is really the be all and end all on the track and off." Waples driving career took off in 1996 when he drove in 1,197 races (774 more than 1995) and won 150 races. The numbers only continued to climb from that point on to include his first Woodbine Driver of the Year title in 1998, multiple six-win nights and setting a track record for most wins in a month. A three-time O'Brien Award Driver of the Year recipient, Waples captured the prestigious trophy in 1998, 2001 and 2010. Kevin McMaster became a familiar face at Woodbine in 1997 and by 1999 was smashing the single-season wins record by posting an unheard of 212 victories. The Nova Scotia native had three consecutive 200-win seasons from 1999 to 2001 and six consecutive 100-win seasons from 1999 to 2005. McMaster earned an O'Brien Award as Canada's Trainer of the Year in 2000 and was a dominant force at Woodbine. His stable routinely posted multi-win nights with their biggest being a six-win evening on January 8, 2001. The dominance of Canada's top harness track was never something McMaster imagined when he moved to Ontario. "When I first came up here I thought I just wanted to make a living," McMaster said. "If I could work for somebody and have three horses on the side that was my goal and it's great for me it turned out this way." McMaster blew his goals out of the water to go down as the only trainer in track history with over 1,000 wins. Many of his victories came in claiming and overnight events, but he also had his chance to step up and compete on the track's biggest stage. "The biggest thrill was winning the elimination of the (2004) North America Cup (with Panspacificfllight) and then finishing third," McMaster said. "I raced a lot of claimers and that, but to race in the North America Cup was quite a thrill." For all the ups and downs harness racing can bring, McMaster and Waples have claimed titles that can never be taken away. The era of Woodbine harness racing would have looked drastically different without the impact both made on the track. The big book of harness racing at Woodbine Racetrack officially closes Monday evening. Post time for the farewell is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, April 7, 2018 - The final Saturday night card of harness racing at Woodbine Racetrack was a great night for reflecting and celebrating 24 years of Standardbred action at the Airport oval. The 10-race card saw a pair of fitting results and the all-time leading driver and trainer in track history recognized. One of the coolest moments in 24 years of harness racing at Woodbine occurred Saturday when Roger Mayotte won his final drive at the Toronto track more than 24 years after winning the first harness race in Woodbine history. Sitting behind the gritty veteran pacer Machal Jordan, Mayotte showed patience in steering 3/5 favourite Machal Jordan to a stretch rallying victory in the $15,000 fourth-race. Machal Jordan was Mayotte's lone drive on Saturday's card and his final drive in a harness race at Woodbine. The victory was fitting for Mayotte, as he won the first-race on January 1, 1994 with then four-year-old pacer Boastful. Regarded as one of the most respected horsepeople to race at Woodbine, Mayotte will go down as one of only a few drivers to win races in all 24 years of racing. A pair of Mayotte's most notable victories at Woodbine came behind the fan-favourite pacer Escape The Wind in the 2005 and 2007 Gold Cup. Mayotte also won the first Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine in 1994 with Earl. Roger Mayotte winning his final drive at the Toronto track Woodbine Entertainment took time Saturday to recognize the driver and trainer with the most wins in the history of the track. Randy Waples will go down as the winningest reinsman in Woodbine history with 2,605 wins, while Kevin McMaster is the all-time leading trainer having sent out 1,009 winners. The all-time leaders were presented with watches for their accomplishment in a special winner's circle presentation. Reflecting on his success, Waples pointed to a brief period early in his career that saw him gain experience on a big track ahead of his days as a top reinsman at Woodbine. "I kind of lucked out because my dad (Ron Waples) sent me to Minnesota for three months and that was a mile track," Waples recalled. "I kind of got my feet wet on the big track, so by the time I came here I kind of had a bit of an idea of the way to do it. "Seven-eighths of a mile, big track racing for whatever reason it really suited me and my style and I got lucky." McMaster, who started his career in his home province of Nova Scotia, noted he never dreamed his career would lead him to being the winningest trainer in Woodbine history. "When I first came up here I thought I just wanted to make a living," McMaster said following Saturday's presentation. "If I could work for somebody and have three horses on the side that was my goal and great for me it turned out this way." Saturday's card also featured the final edition of the $34,000 Preferred Pace at Woodbine. Bill Budd trainee Nirvana Seelster and driver Trevor Henry captured their second consecutive Preferred with a coast to coast 1:51.2 score. The seven-year-old gelding has been outstanding in 2018, now winning four of his last five starts and having won five of 11 overall. 'Nirvana', who has hit the board in 10 of 12 this season, has quickly banked $117,320 in 2018 to bring his career earnings to $929,914 for owner Bruce Davy. Saturday's score was the 37th lifetime win for the gelded son of Camluck. A connection between Nirvana Seelster and the first-card of live harness racing at Woodbine (January 1, 1994) can be found in trainer Budd, who raced trotter G G Alex on the debut card more than 24 years ago. The then six-year-old trotter finished second on that New Year's afternoon for Budd. It wouldn't have been a Saturday night at Woodbine in 2018 without big performances from leading driver Louis Philippe Roy and leading trainer Richard Moreau. Roy and Moreau teamed up to win four of Saturday's 10-races. The victories came with eight-year-old trotter Pop I ($5.50), seven-year-old claiming trotter Class Me Nice ($5.80), nine-year-old trotter Hldontghttoyurdrms ($6.90) and four-year-old pacer Modern Reflection ($2.20) The final harness racing card in Woodbine Racetrack history will take place Monday evening. Post time for the 10-race card is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

After almost 150 years in city, last harness racing card will be run Monday at Woodbine before permanent move to the renovated Mohawk Park The era of standardbred racing in Toronto, which began nearly 150 years ago on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, comes to an end Monday when the last harness race will be run at Woodbine. With Woodbine Entertainment removing the 25-year-old standardbred track this month in favour of a second grass course for the thoroughbreds, harness racing will permanently move to the renovated Mohawk Park, which has been rechristened Woodbine Mohawk Park. Mohawk, located just off Hwy. 401 in Campbellville, has been the summer location for harness racing since 1963. The standardbreds were brought to Woodbine in 1994 following the closing of east end Toronto’s Greenwood, which had hosted them since 1874 following the closure of the Thorncliffe racetrack. By moving harness racing to Mohawk permanently, Woodbine aims to boost the sport’s popularity by drawing on plans to grow the area as an entertainment district in conjunction with the Town of Milton and the track’s casino operators, Great Canadian Gaming and Clairvest Group. “Our goal is to make Woodbine Mohawk Park an incredible entertainment experience for the Milton area,” said Jessica Buckley, president of Woodbine Mohawk Park, as the rebranded facility is now to be known. “People are looking for things to do (in the area) and the town is very supportive.” When Mohawk has its celebratory reopening Thursday, visitors, racing fans and horsepeople will see the progress of the $10-million renovations to the grandstand, paddock plus a new restaurant, the Mohawk Harvest Kitchen. There are 430 acres at Mohawk that could soon be used for additional businesses. Standardbred racing’s departure from the Toronto market has been met with mixed opinions from horsepeople and fans. By Jennifer Morrison Reprinted with permission of The Star

MILTON, March 22, 2018 - A nice buzz was felt around Woodbine, Mohawk Park on Thursday morning for the track's first harness racing qualifying session of 2018. A total of eight qualifying races were contested over a 'Fast' track with the temperature sitting just above the freezing mark. The most notable winner on Thursday morning was seven-year-old Preferred trotter Windsun Revenge. The Jeff Durham trainee went coast to coast for a 6½ length victory in 1:56.2. Windsun Revenge was qualifying for the second consecutive week after being off since last September's Maple Leaf Trot. Paul MacDonell guided the winner of over $468,503 to the qualifying score. The Jeff Durham trainee is a big fan of Mohawk Park, as he scored all four of his victories in 2017 at the Campbellville oval. Windsun Revenge has been made eligible to this year's Maple Leaf Trot. Half of Thursday's eight qualifiers were for three-year-old competitors. Sophomore trotting filly Asa Ready To Glide, who competed in a pair of Grand Circuit events last season, won her 2018 debut qualifier in 2:00.1 for Per Henriksen and Ann Karin Larsen. A daughter of Yankee Glide, Asa Ready To Glide won two of five starts as a rookie. She is eligible to several stakes in 2018, including the Elegantimage Stakes. To view the full results from Thursday's qualifying session, click here. The change of season and nearing of the 2018 Woodbine, Mohawk Park racing season will likely mean strong turnouts for qualifiers over the next several weeks. Qualifiers are scheduled to take place each Thursday morning at the Campbellville oval for the next four-weeks. The qualifying schedule is tentatively set to increase to two-days a week (Mondays and Fridays) beginning April 23. The opening night of racing at Woodbine, Mohawk Park is scheduled for Thursday, April 12. Mark McKelvie  

TORONTO, March 19, 2018 - Martin Lachance trainee Wild And Crazy Guy upset six harness racing rivals at odds of 43-1 in Monday's $34,000 Preferred Trot at Woodbine Racetrack. The seven-year-old gelding was the longest shot in the field and was winless in his previous seven outings heading into Monday's feature event. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Wild And Crazy left strong to get away second behind a fired up B Yoyo, who posted a snappy :26.3 opener. Odds On Amethyst, the 3/2 favourite, was sent first-up from fourth in the second-quarter by trainer/driver Pat Hudon. B Yoyo, who got a breather of :30.3 in the second split, was immediately confronted by Odds On Amethyst after the half. The Hudon trainee stepped around B Yoyo and trotted up a storm on the far turn to reach three-quarters in 1:24.4. In the stretch, Odds On Amethyst appeared to have victory in sight, but Filion angled Wild And Crazy Guy off the pylons from third and gave him a target. The Lachance trainee tracked down Odds On Amethyst in deep stretch and prevailed by half a length in 1:53.3. Big Rich rallied from sixth at three-quarters to finish third, while Dunbar Hall was fourth. B Yoyo dropped back to finish sixth. Wild And Crazy Guy came into Monday's contest off a third-place finish last week in a $22,000 overnight. The Lachance trainee is now two for nine in 2018. Monday's victory was the first-career Preferred score for Wild And Crazy Guy. The seven-year-old gelding now has 29 career victories and lifetime earnings of $435,554 for owners Y Jean Brunet and Ted Gewertz. A $2 win ticket on Wild And Crazy Guy returned $88.30. Wild And Crazy Guy Live racing resumes Thursday at Woodbine. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, March 15, 2018 - No harness racing driver has won more races in Canada over the past two seasons than Bob McClure and Thursday night at Woodbine Racetrack saw the young reinsman reach a career-milestone. McClure, 27, steered Princess Jewels to victory in the evening's tenth race to record his 2,000th career driving victory.   A resident of Elora, Ontario, McClure has been racking up the wins and driving titles at tracks throughout Ontario over the last few seasons.   In 2016, McClure won a nation's best 576-races and was named a finalist for the O'Brien Award as Canada's Driver of the Year.   McClure once again topped 500 wins in 2017 with 508 trips to the winner's circle. He also posted a career-high for earnings by driving the winners of over $3.1 million during the 2017 campaign.   The current Woodbine Fall-Winter meet has been a breakout of sorts for McClure, as he has focused more attention on driving regularly at Canada's top harness track.   McClure has amassed 38 wins during the Woodbine Winter-Fall meet and ranks among the track's top-10 drivers.   Woodbine Entertainment would like to congratulate Bob McClure on reaching 2,000 career wins.   Woodbine Communications Office

TORONTO, March 9, 2018 - Just a month after capturing his fifth consecutive O'Brien Award, harness racing trainer Richard Moreau reached an impressive career milestone on Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Moreau, 53, entered Friday's card just $10,120 shy of $50 million in career earnings with five students set to compete. Nine-year-old pacing mare Barockey started the night off in style for Team Moreau with a victory in the $18,000 third-race to pull Moreau to within $1,120 of the milestone. After the next two Moreau trainees missed earning a cheque, seven-year-old pacing mare Bad Night Mare earned $1,440 with a fourth-place finish in the $18,000 ninth-race to push her conditioner over the career milestone. Five-year-old pacing mare Every Time was the final Moreau trainee to compete Friday and she earned $800 with a fourth-place finish to start the march towards $100 million. Moreau's stable has earned over $2 million in eight consecutive seasons, while also topping $1 million in every year since 2000. The Puslinch, Ontario resident has also led all Woodbine Circuit trainers in wins in each of the last three seasons. The five-time O'Brien Award winner has topped 200 wins in seven of the last eight seasons. Moreau's career-best season for wins and earnings came in 2012 when his trainees posted 344 wins and earned $3.6 million. The Moreau barn has been as consistent as any operation in the sport and to no surprise the trend has continued in 2018. Woodbine's leading trainer has seen his students accumulate more than $800,000 in earnings in just over two months of racing. Woodbine Entertainment would like to congratulate Richard Moreau on surpassing $50 million in career earnings. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, February 19, 2018 - Mild temperatures and steady rain caused Monday evening's card of harness racing at Woodbine Racetrack to be cancelled following the fifth-race due to deteriorating track conditions. The unseasonably warm temperatures and rain in the Toronto area Monday caused havoc on the racing surface all evening. The first-half of the 10-race card was contested, but following the fifth-race and a delay for track maintenance, the decision was made to scrap the balance of Monday's card for safety reasons. Live racing is scheduled to resume Thursday evening at Woodbine. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, February 17, 2018 - Harness racing driver Jody Jamieson may want to trademark the name "Mr. Saturday Night" after having another big evening at Woodbine Racetrack. Jamieson has been racking up the victories over the past few Saturdays, but that reached a new level this week when he drove five-winners on Saturday's 10-race card. The Moffat, Ontario resident's most notable victory Saturday came with eight-year-old pacer The Rev in the $34,000 Preferred Pace. It was the third straight win for the Gregg McNair trainee, who was moving up to the top level this week. The Rev ($7.40) and Jamieson went coast to coast and won by nearly two lengths in 1:51. Jamieson's first of five wins came in the evening's third-race with five-year-old pacer Xternal ($14.40) for trainer Rene Bourassa. The next two victories for Jamieson would both come for trainer Carmen Auciello. Five-year-old pacer Major Hill ($10.10) scored by a neck in the fifth-race, while seven-year-old pacing mare Exhilarated ($17.30) finished in a Dead-Heat for win just a race later. Jamieson reached "Grand Slam" status in the eighth-race with five-year-old pacer Big Yellow ($6.60) for trainer Ben Wallace. The Rev's score in the ninth-race completed the five win night for Jamieson. Jamieson has now won 12 races over the last three Saturdays. He posted a four-win evening on February 3 and followed that up with three-win performance on February 10. Saturday's five-win night gives Jamieson 25 victories this season at Woodbine, which is tied for third in the Driver Standings. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, February 12, 2018 - Just a single ticket was able to correctly hit the harness racing Jackpot Hi-5 in Monday's final race at Woodbine Racetrack for a score of $70,141.11 (USD). Seven-year-old gelding Jefferson Tare and driver James MacDonald came through in Monday's final race, an $8,000 to $10,000 claiming event for pacers, at odds of 5/2. The winner was followed across the wire by a quartet of longshots, including a 99-1 shot in third, to round out the top-five finishers. Race-favourite Mybrothergeorge (even-money) finished ninth. Only one Hi-5 ticket wagered Monday had the combination of 6-2-8-3-10 to takedown the entire Jackpot of $70,141.11 (USD). The winning ticket cost $4,300.80 (USD) and was wagered by a customer in the Arlington Hub. The ticket was constructed as follows: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9/1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10/ALL/ALL/ALL Here are the top-five finishers from Monday's Jackpot Hi-5 race. 1st: #6 Jefferson Tare (James MacDonald) 5/2 2nd: #2 HP Black Shadow (Sylvain Filion) 17/1 3rd: #8 Casimir Nunzio (Richard Simard) 99/1 4th: #3 Clever Thing (Bob McClure) 13/1 5th: #10 Mcsinner Man (Jonathan Drury) 89/1 The carryover entering Monday evening's card was $68,165.65 and horseplayers wagered $23,778 into the Jackpot Hi-5 pool. The Jackpot Hi-5 wager requires horseplayers to select the top-five finishers in order. The wager features a $0.20 minimum and a low takeout of 15 per cent. The Hi-5 will now start from scratch on Thursday evening's card of racing. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Woodbine qualifiers moved to Friday Woodbine Racetrack would like to inform all horsepeople of a date change for this week’s qualifying session. Due to mild temperatures in the forecast for Thursday, this week’s qualifiers at Woodbine have been moved to Friday (February 16) at 4 p.m. The entry box for Friday’s qualifiers will still close on Wednesday morning (February 14) at 10:30 a.m. Mark McKelvie        

TORONTO, February 2, 2018 - Brooms were needed Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack, as JK Pridenjoy and Circle The Page completed sweeps of the harness racing Snowshoe and Blizzard Series. Each series finale featured a field of 10 with the Snowshoe pacers battling for $41,400 and the pacing ladies in the Blizzard going for $31,900. Nick Surick trainee JK Pridenjoy gained a little redemption for a tenth-place finish in last month's Valedictory Series by winning Friday's Snowshoe in 1:54.4. Driven by Doug McNair, JK Pridenjoy charged out to grab the early lead and posted an opening-panel of :27. Winless pacer Gerardo, who came in off back-to-back runner-up finishes and was the public's choice, was parked around the first turn and had to work to secure the lead before posting a half of :56.3. Artofficial Flavor came first up in the third-quarter from fifth to confront Gerardo. The public's choice led by a neck at three-quarters in 1:25.4, while JK Pridenjoy was behind the leader at the rail. In the stretch, McNair was able to angle JK Pridenjoy off the pylons and into some open room. The Surick trainee would power by rivals and come through to win by half a length over a rallying Abbeydorney. Artofficial Flavor finished third, while In Spades got fourth over Gerardo. A four-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven, JK Pridenjoy is now four for five this season to bring his career win total to six. The Surick trainee has quickly banked $43,300 this season to raise his career earnings to $75,367. Owned by JL Benson Stables Inc, JK Pridenjoy's trip to Woodbine was successful on multiple fronts, as the four-year-old banked $37,700 over three-weeks and lowered his lifetime best to 1:52.4 with his second-round victory. A $2 win ticket on JK Pridenjoy returned $6. JK Pridenjoy Circle The Page fought off Bettim Jackie to complete a sweep of the Blizzard. Driven by Jonathan Drury, Circle The Page got away fifth and came first-up in the second-quarter. Bettim Jackie carried the lead by the quarter in :27 and the half in :57.1 before surrendering the lead to the eventual winner. After reaching three-quarters in 1:25.4, Circle The Page led into the lane and would have to dig in to fight off a gritty Bettim Jackie to win by a neck in 1:54.4. Katies Gal finished third, while Big Chute was fourth. A daughter of Real Artist, Circle The Page was shipped up to Woodbine from The Meadows and by regular trainer and co-owner John Sullivan to local trainer Victor Puddy. The four-year-old pacing mare is now three for three at Woodbine and four for four in 2018. Owned by Sullivan and Michael Marocco, Circle The Page has now banked $40,862 this season to bring her career earnings to $83,194. Friday's victory was the eighth overall for the four-year-old, who has been one of the hottest pacers in the sport this winter. Circle The Page has now won five of her last six starts and hasn't finished outside the top-two in 11 consecutive starts. A $2 win ticket on Circle The Page returned $4.40. For full results click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Circle The Page The Snowshoe and Blizzard Series were open to three and four-year-old pacers that were non-winners of two-races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2017. Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, February 1, 2018 - After two-weeks of competitive and intriguing harness racing action, the Snowshoe and Blizzard Series finals will take place this Friday (February 2) at Woodbine Racetrack. Each final will feature a field of 10 with the Snowshoe (3 and 4-year-old pacers) going for a purse of $41,400 and the Blizzard (3 and 4-year-old pacing fillies and mares) for a purse of $39,400. Both series were open to three and four-year-old pacers who were non-winners of two-races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2017. This year's Snowshoe Series has generated good buzz through the opening two-weeks, as a total of 32 pacers competed in the preliminary legs. The large turnout made for great racing during the preliminary legs with top results necessary to qualify for the final. JK Pridenjoy will be seeking a series sweep for trainer Nick Surick. The four-year-old gelding built off his round one victory by capturing his second leg division in a career-best of 1:52.4. The second leg victory was notable for JK Pridenjoy, as he defeated a pair of first-leg winners (Burn Out Hanover, Tremendous Play) to boost his record to a solid three for four in 2018. JK Pridenjoy will be competing in his second Woodbine Winter Series final of the meet. The Surick trainee raced in the Valedictory on Boxing Day and left hard from post-ten, ultimately fading to finish tenth. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven will be looking for a little redemption and will start from post-seven with driver Doug McNair. Friday's final will feature five other starters who won a preliminary leg division. Burn Out Hanover (PP4, Jody Jamieson), Tremendous Play (PP6, Mario Baillargeon) and Abbeydorney (PP8, James MacDonald) were victorious in round one, while Artofficial Flavor (PP2, Bob McClure) and Gillys Boy (PP5, Sylvain Filion) visited the winner's circle in round two. Burn Out Hanover is one of two three-year-olds in the final. The Jack Darling trainee had a four-race win streak snapped when he finished fifth in his second leg division. The other sophomore in the field is Gerardo (PP3, Louis Philippe Roy), who finished second in both his first and second leg divisions. The Richard Moreau trainee is winless in 11 outings, but has hit the board in seven of those starts. Completing the field is Star Clipper (PP1, Ed Hensley), In Spades (PP9, Trevor Henry) and Casimir Quasimodo (PP10, Jonathan Drury). One of the notable past champion's of the Snowshoe Series is Modern Legend, who won the 2012 edition. The Dave Drew trainee went on to win the 2014 Canadian Pacing Derby and finished his career with $1 million in earnings. The Snowshoe Series final is carded as Race 7 on Friday's card. A series sweep is also a possibility in the Blizzard final, as Circle The Page will look to go three for three at Woodbine. The four-year-old pacing mare was sent up from the Meadows by co-owner John Sullivan to trainer Victor Puddy to compete in the Winter Series. Circle The Page arrived at Woodbine on a nice roll and now enters the Blizzard final having won four of her last five starts, while also finishing first or second in 10 straight outings. Jonathan Drury will again sit behind the daughter of Real Artist, who last week lowered her career-mark to 1:52.4. Eric Adams trainee Franschoek (PP10, Mike Saftic) and Moreau student Bettim Jackie (PP3, Louis Philippe Roy) were also victorious during the preliminary rounds. Four-year-old Franschoek, who won a first leg division, nearly went all the way in her second round split, but just couldn't hold off Circle The Page and lost by a neck. Bettim Jackie is one of four sophomores in the Blizzard Series final. She impressively came first up to win her second leg division in a career-best 1:53.2. The Blizzard Series final is carded as Race 5. Friday evening's 10-race card gets underway at 7:10 p.m. and a free program can be downloaded by clicking here. Below are the full fields for the Snowshoe and Blizzard Series finals. $41,400 Snowshoe Series (Race 7) 1. Star Clipper by Allamerican Native (Ed Hensley/Renaldo Morales) 15-1 2. Artofficial Flavor by Art Official (Bob McClure/Dean Nixon) 8-1 3. Gerardo by Rockin Image (Louis Philippe Roy/Richard Moreau) 3-1 4. Burn Out Hanover by Well Said (Jody Jamieson/Jack Darling) 5-1 5. Gillys Boy by Cams Card Shark (Sylvain Filion/Murray Brethour) 8-1 6. Tremendous Play by Shadow Play  (Mario Baillargeon/Ben Baillargeon) 6-1 7. JK Pridenjoy by Rock N roll Heaven (Doug McNair/Nick Surick) 7-2 8. Abbeydorney by Rock N roll Heaven (James MacDonald/Scott Friend) 12-1 9. In Spades by Bettor's Delight (Trevor Henry/Chad Milner) 12-1 10. Casimir Quasimodo by Astronomical (Jonathan Drury/Kody Massey) 15-1 AE: My Teen Idol  by Mr Big (Chris Christoforou/Rod Boyd) 15-1   $39,400 Blizzard Series (Race 5) 1. Glancewithme by Art Major (Trevor Henry/Mike Bishop) 8-1 2. The Time To Win by Western Ideal (Jody Jamieson/Andy Gardner) 15-1 3. Bettim Jackie by Andrecli Hanover (Louis Philippe Roy/Richard Moreau) 3-1 4. Classy Chris by Art Major (Sylvain Filion/Murray Brethour) 12-1 5. Promise Blue Chip by Rock N Roll Heaven (Phil Hudon/Amy MacDonald) 15-1 6. Katies Gal by Camluck (Doug McNair/Ted MacDonnell) 8-1 7. Village Jamie  by Mach Three (Michael Whelan/Corey Giles) 10-1 8. Circle The Page by Real Artist  (Jonathan Drury/Victor Puddy) 5-2 9. Big Chute by Mach Three (James MacDonald/Murray Brethour) 8-1 10. Franschoek by Bettor's Delight (Mike Saftic/Eric Adams) 6-1 AE: Manhattan Again by Dragon Again (Bob McClure/Dean Nixon) 12-1 Mark McKelvie    

TORONTO, January 26, 2018 - Winter Series harness racing action rolled on Friday evening at Woodbine Racetrack with the second leg of the Snowshoe Series. After four divisions in round one, a trio of $17,000 divisions were contested Friday in the second-week of the three-week event. The opening division of the evening saw three of last week's division winners (Burn Out Hanover, JK Pridenjoy, Tremendous Play) meeting up in a field of seven. JK Pridenjoy was able to capitalize off a two-hole trip to score a career-best victory of 1:52.4. Driven by Doug McNair, JK Pridenjoy was able to follow Burn Out Hanover, who was searching for a fifth consecutive victory. The three-year-old with the big win streak posted panels :27, :56.4 and 1:25.2 to lead into the lane, but couldn't go all the way. JK Pridenjoy grabbed the lead and would hold off Gerardo to win by a neck. Tremendous Play finished third, while Burn Out Hanover was beat two lengths, finishing fifth. Owned by JL Benson Stables Inc and Bert Hochsprung, JK Pridenjoy is now three for four in 2018 for $22,600 in earnings. Friday's victory was the fifth overall for the four-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven. JK Pridenjoy paid $8.90 to win. JK Pridenjoy Artofficial Flavor took the second division in 1:53.1 for the team of Bob McClure and Dean Nixon. The four-year-old gelding circled from second to first in the second-quarter and went on to post fractions of :57.3 and 1:25.4 before kicking home in :27.2 to win by nearly two-lengths. Casimir Quasimodo finished second, while St Lads Captain was third. Owned by Dean Nixon, Jeralene Roland, Michael Gillis and Justin Nixon, Artofficial Flavor is now one for two this season. The four-year-old by Art Official went seven for 21 last season and has now banked $56,5000 lifetime. Artofficial Flavor paid $10.20 to win. Artofficial Flavor Murray Brethour trainee Gillys Boy captured the third division in 1:53. The four-year-old Cams Card Shark gelding and driver Sylvain Filion got away fourth and were on the move in the second-quarter to eventually get around a pair of rivals and grab the lead before five-eighths. Gillys Boy led by three-lengths at three-quarters in 1:24.4 and proceeded to pace home in :28.1 to win by a length and a half over Star Clipper. Montys Play was third, while Topville Chrome was fourth. Owned by Brethour, Harley Harkness and Matthew Harrison, Gillys Boy is now one for three this season to go with a three-year-old record of two wins in 14 starts. The four-year-old increased his career earnings to $38,100 with Friday's score. Gillys Boy paid $7.30 to win. Gillys Boy Three and four-year-old pacers, who were non-winners of two-races or $30,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2017, were eligible for nomination. The $41,400 series final will take place next Friday, February 2. A total of six preliminary leg winners could potential lineup in next week's final. Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, January 25, 2018 - Round two of the harness racing Blizzard Series took place Thursday evening at Woodbine Racetrack and last week's round one winners put on a great display in one of two $17,000 divisions. Circle The Page was able to edge fellow first-leg winner Franschoek by a neck in a career-best 1:52.4. Driven by Jonathan Drury, Circle The Page got away fourth in a field of seven and would eventually angle out at the half to come first up on the far turn. Franschoek shot to the lead and hung up fractions of :27, :56.1 and 1:24.3 to lead by a length turning for home. In the stretch, the two first-leg winners dueled right to the wire with Circle The Page ultimately coming out on top. Big Chute finished third, while Promise Blue Chip grabbed fourth. A four-year-old daughter of Real Artist, Circle The Page is now two for two at Woodbine and will have an opportunity for a series sweep. She is now three for three in 2018 and seven for 26 lifetime for earnings of $62,394. Circle The Page is currently racing for trainer Victor Puddy and is owned by regular trainer John Sullivan and Michael Marocco. She paid $3.90 to win. Circle The Page The evening's first division saw Bettim Jackie score a three-length victory in 1:53.2. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Bettim Jackie got away fifth and was moved at the half to follow the cover of Glancewithme heading into the far turn. Glancewithme cleared to the lead at three-quarters in 1:24.4 to lead into the lane. In the stretch, Bettim Jackie surged by Glancewithme in the final-eighth of the mile to score a decisive victory. Glancewithme held on for second, while Village Jamie grabbed third and The Time To Win fourth. Trained by Richard Moreau, Bettim Jackie finished fourth in last week's first-leg, but was placed eighth for interference. The three-year-old daughter of Andreoli Hanover is now one for three this year and five for 14 overall. Bettim Jackie has banked $12,500 this season to bring her career earnings to $24,046 for owners Jeff Lilley, Blair MacLauchlan and Danny Purcell. She paid $9.70 to win. Bettim Jackie Sophomore and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares, who were non-winners of two races or $30,000 lifetime, were eligible for nomination to the Blizzard Series. The Blizzard Series final is scheduled to take place next Friday (February 2). The top-ten earners from the preliminary legs to enter will compete in the $39,400 series finale. Live racing continues Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A trio of Snowshoe Series second-leg divisions will highlight the 11-race program. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, January 20, 2018 - A horseplayer wagering on Woodbine Racetrack through Western Fair hit the harness racing Jackpot Hi-5 Saturday for a $56,495.71 score. Five-year-old pacer Fancourt and driver Randy Waples struck for an 8-1 upset in Saturday's final-race at the Toronto oval. The public's top-choice Blatantly Best finished second, but was followed in the top-five by a trio of longshots, including Shadow Place at 43-1. Horseplayers wagered $14,636 into the Hi-5 pool Saturday to join a carryover total of $44,054.34. The winning horseplayer, who was playing at Western Fair, wagered just $2.40 on Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5. The actual winning ticket cost $0.80 and was structured 1,2/1,2/7,8/,7,8/5. Below is the official top-five from Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5 race. 1st: #1 Fancourt (Randy Waples) 8-1 2nd: #2 Blatantly Best (Doug McNair) 3-2 3rd: #7 Shadow Place (Chris Christoforou) 43-1 4th: #8 Rockin In Heaven (Phil Hudon) 19-1 5th: #5 Aslan (Sylvain Filion) 8-1 The Jackpot Hi-5 requires horseplayers to select the top-five finishers in order. The wager features a $0.20 minimum wager and low 15 per cent takeout. The Hi-5 will now start from scratch on Monday's 10-race program. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Mark McKelvie

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