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Trois-Rivieres, QC - With the Quebec Jockey Club added a special Friday race card at 3:00 pm and Sunday racing at 12:30 pm at the Hippodrome 3R, there was little trouble filling both race programs. In fact, there are a total of 19 races over the two days and all but one race has full fields of eight starters and the one race that did not fill all the way has seven starters. "We are really pleased with the results from this quick double draw on Wednesday," said Murielle Thomassin, Director of Racing at the Hippodrome 3R. "We only announced late Tuesday that we were adding the Friday card and then on Wednesday morning we had more than enough horses in the entry box." Friday's special afternoon program has ten races, three of them are Preferred events. The spotlight will actually be on the 4th race trot, where the undefeated track record holding champion colt of 2020, Kinnder Dangerzone, makes his 2021 debut from post five for driver Samuel Fillion. The son of Northern Escort, bred, owned and trained by Denitza Petrova, started only four times last year, but won all of his starts, including a track record 2:01 victory in the $55,000 final of the Future Stars Series at H3R. Kinnder Dangerzone is the lone three-year-old against older horses and is the 3-1 second choice in the race. The favorite is Field Gunner (post 2), who won opening day last week at H3R in 2:01.3. He will be driven by Stephane Brosseau. The 8th race Preferred-Handicap Pace for the horses is a showcase event featuring Mickeymaksomespeed (post 7), who on opening day put in a monster effort in his first start back in 2021, romping by five and one-half lengths in 1:54.2 for breeder, owner and trainer Michel Allard. He will be driven again by Richard Simard. Starting alongside Mickeymaksomespeed is four-time Quebec Series Champion, Atomic Million AM in post 6 for driver Sylvain Lacaille. Other contenders are Somewhere Bettor (post 4) and Dreydl Hanover (post 8). The 7th race Preferred-Handicap Mares Pace features Big Diamond (post 7) taking on Topsill Beach (post 8), a return winner from last week and Arrhythmogenic (post 3). Then in the 9th race Preferred-Handicap Trot, Kinnder High Class (post 1) returns and is hopeful to make amends for having broken equipment last week and not finishing the race. She was a ten-race winner, setting a track record last year and has a record of 1:56.2. Severus Hanover (post 5) won last week's contest in 1:59.3 and has Stephane Brosseau back in the sulky. Also in the race are top performers Seeyou Men (post 6), Profound Paragon (post 8) and Bucketlist Hanover (post 7). For more information and a free race program, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

MILTON, ON -  In response to the current suspension of live racing due to the provincial stay-at-home order, Ontario Racing's Standardbred Horse Improvement Program (SIP) Committee is reviewing the 2021 Ontario Sires Stakes and Prospect Series schedules. While the current stay-at-home order expires May 19, the Ontario government indicated earlier this week that the order may be extended until June 2. The Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) and Prospect Series events that would be affected by an extension are: Three-year-old colt pace: May 22 - Gold Leg 1 - Woodbine Mohawk Park May 22 - Prospect Series 1 - Hiawatha Horse Park May 23 - Grassroots Series 1 - Flamboro Downs Three-year-old colt trot: May 23 - Prospect Series 1 - Clinton Raceway May 28 - Gold Leg 1 - The Raceway at Western Fair District May 29 - Grassroots Series 1 - Hiawatha Horse Park Three-year-old filly pace: May 30 - Prospect Series 1 - Dresden Raceway May 31 - Grassroots Series 1 - Woodbine Mohawk Park June 4 - Gold Leg 1 - Woodbine Mohawk Park Three-year-old filly trot: May 30 - Prospect Series 1 - Clinton Raceway June 3 - Grassroots Series 1 - Woodbine Mohawk Park June 8 - Gold Leg 1 - Georgian Downs As a result, the SIP Committee will be reviewing the schedule and making any necessary adjustments. Once a date for racing to resume is confirmed by the Ontario government, the SIP Committee will finalise the schedule and communicate the changes to the industry. The complete 2021 OSS schedule can be found here and the Prospect Series schedule is available here. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

When it comes to physical talent, Muscle Dynasty checks all the boxes for trainer Paula Wellwood. When it comes to focusing on his work, though, the 3-year-old harness racing trotter leaves Wellwood scratching her head. Muscle Dynasty is one of 20 Hambletonian-eligible horses entered in Friday's opening round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands. The colt, who won last year's New Jersey Futurity, competes in the third of three $25,000 NJSS divisions. For his career, Muscle Dynasty has won three of 15 races and hit the board a total of seven times. He has gone off stride in seven starts, including his most recent on May 7 at The Meadowlands against a field of mostly older rivals in a conditioned event. "He has all the tools, but he doesn't have a brain to go with them," Wellwood said. "It's concentration, that's all it is. He's got all the attributes. He doesn't do anything wrong, he's a lovely horse, but his concentration will lapse. It's aggravating because he's such a pleasure. "Talent-wise, it's there. Whether we can get the brain to match, I don't know." Muscle Dynasty, named Storm The Hill originally, is by Muscle Hill out of Miss Liv. He was purchased for $55,000 at the 2019 Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Dreamville Stable, which is Wellwood, her husband and training partner Mike Keeling, son Devin Keeling, and mom Jean Wellwood. The family shared the experience of winning the 2016 Hambletonian, and subsequently the Trotting Triple Crown, with Marion Marauder. Wellwood has tinkered with Muscle Dynasty's equipment in the hopes of improving the colt's focus, but nothing has clicked. "He was like this last year," Wellwood said. "We gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought he would grow up, but he hasn't. Every day is a new day in his world. What happened yesterday is gone. "He takes nothing seriously. He's just like a big kid and he doesn't want to mature. It's not there yet anyway. He trains good, he's a sound horse, he's a big, strong horse. If the switch gets flipped, he's going to be a very, very nice horse." Muscle Dynasty faces seven rivals Friday, with six eligible to August's $1 million Hambletonian, including 2-1 morning-line favorite Take This Society from the stable of trainer Nancy Takter. In the first division, Cuatro De Julio is the 9-5 favorite for trainer Marie Ortolan Bar. Ake Svanstedt's Lindysmusclemania is the 5-2 favorite in the second division. That field also includes Valley Victory winner Bee Forever and Peter Haughton Memorial champ Zenith Stride. The Meadowlands on Friday also hosts two 11-horse divisions of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. Seventeen of the fillies are eligible to August's Hambletonian Oaks, including Wellwood-trained Limoges. Limoges, who is in the second NJSS division, made her career debut on May 3 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. She was three-wide around the final turn and last at the top of the stretch but closed strongly to finish fourth, beaten by only one length. She missed last season because of an injury. "We were just ready to qualify her when she had a crack in a knee and we had to quit," Wellwood said. "But she always showed ability. She was very good gaited, wanted to do her work, and had some speed. She had all the attributes needed. We gave her a lot of time and, knock on wood, we have no issues right now." Limoges is by Trixton out of Spice Queen. She was purchased for $40,000 at the 2019 Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Dreamville Stable. She is a half-sister to Grand Circuit winner Dancing For Money, who is the dam of O'Brien Award winner Dip Me Hanover. Wellwood shared a connection with both those horses, either as trainer or owner. "We're very happy with her," Wellwood said about Limoges. "She's grown up and gotten stronger, she just doesn't know anything. She's so very green. But she is getting it. I think when she figures it out, she's going to be OK." Imhatra AM S, trained by Marcus Melander, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the second NJSS division. Eazy Pass, from the stable of Nifty Norman, is the 9-5 favorite in the first. Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. (EDT) Friday at The Meadowlands. The Big M and TrackMaster have teamed to regularly provide free past performances for each race card. Past performances can be found here on The Meadowlands website. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Hanover Raceway and Dresden Raceway are pleased to announce the OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) Ontario Women's Driving Championship — a new partnership initiative for 2021 that will see top female harness racing drivers from Ontario compete over two days. The first day of the event will take place at Hanover Raceway on Saturday, July 17, followed by races at Dresden Raceway on Sunday, July 18. Each track will hold five races exclusively for the competition, with drivers earning points, depending on how they place, on an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Drivers will donate their driving earnings to the Canadian Cancer Society (for Cervical Cancer) at Hanover Raceway and to Harness For Hope at Dresden Raceway. There will also be fundraising initiatives taking place at each track for their respective charities. Eight Ontario drivers will be participating in the event, including Marie-Claude Auger, Natasha Day, Maggie Jones, Britt Kennedy, Andrea Leon and Julie Walker. There will also be two special guest drivers from other jurisdictions rounding out the field — if allowed under COVID-19 travel restrictions. "This championship will put a spotlight and showcase many of the best female drivers in the province and give them a chance to compete for the Ontario title. Down the road we hope to have stops at most race tracks in Ontario for this event. I'm thrilled that OLG has come on board as our title sponsor. They saw the value of this initiative from the start and we're very happy to have them partnering with us. I also want to thank Jonathan Zammit and Ontario Racing for their strong support of this event," said Fitzsimmons. For OLG’s President and CEO, Duncan Hannay, supporting the Ontario Women’s Driving Championship is an important part of his organization’s ongoing commitment to the horse racing sector in Ontario. “We’re proud to support Ontario’s horse racing industry and to be part of an event that showcases some of Ontario’s amazing women drivers. The Ontario Women’s Driving Championship will also help to draw more diverse fans to the sport, which aligns with OLG’s goal of promoting equity, diversity and inclusion.” said Hannay. Natasha Day, one of the participating drivers, is excited to be part of the event. "I’m looking forward to showcasing our women drivers in Ontario and I’m proud to be a part of an incentive to get women out on the racetrack and give opportunities to those who may not get a chance otherwise," said Day. Dresden Raceway Track Announcer/Public Relations Director, Gary Patterson feels this event will be a must-watch competition. "We'll have many of the best Ontario female drivers, as well as a few special guest drivers. It will be a fun competition to watch and very competitive, as they try to win the Ontario title," said Patterson. Ontario Racing Executive Director, Jonathan Zammit feels this is an exciting event that fans and the industry alike will appreciate. "Ontario Racing is very proud to be working with Hanover Raceway and Dresden Raceway on this exciting competition. Showcasing the outstanding drivers and horse people that compete in Ontario is something we are always interested in. Events like the OLG Ontario Women’s Driving Championship further solidify Ontario’s reputation as a premier racing destination," commented Zammit. Although the competitors will be donating their driving earnings to the respective charities, the event will have a $2,000 purse, with the prize money being awarded to the top five in the championship, on a 50-25-12-8-5 basis. For additional information about the event, please contact Hanover Raceway General Manager, Steve Fitzsimmons at 519-901-4360 or sfitzsimmons@hanoverraceway.com. From Hanover Raceway

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Due to an overflow of harness racing horses, the Quebec Jockey Club today (May 11) has announced it will add a special Friday race program this week at the Hippodrome 3R with first race post time at 3:00 pm. "Over the past two weeks," said Murielle Thomassin, director of racing for H3R, "We have held 27 qualifying races and ten races on opening day. I have received phone calls from horse people in Ontario asking if they can come and race. So, the Quebec Jockey Club board of trustees has decided to add this additional Friday race card this week. We will race Friday at 3 pm and Sunday at 12:30 pm." There will be a double-draw at H3R on Wednesday (May 12). The entry box will open at 9 am and close at 11 am. For more information, visit www.hippodrome3r.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Nancy Takter's (@NancyTakter) latest training artistry comes in the form of sculpting a stable of promising harness racing trotting talent. One of Standardbred racing's most accomplished and decorated trainers isn't one to leave all the challenges to her horses. Having already built a reputation as a producer of primetime pacers, a list that includes Tall Dark Stranger, Kissin In The Sand, Always A Miki, and Captain Crunch, just to name a handful, Takter, who also campaigns trotting titans Manchego, and Sorella, is bolstering her band by introducing more trotters into the fold. With a notable number of trotters now under her care - the most she's ever had in her career to date - the winner of 410 career races is busier than ever. Not that she's complaining. "In the past, I didn't have a big group of higher-end trotters that I do now," said Takter, the Dan Patch Trainer of the Year award winner in 2020. "Bad trotters are really tough to train, but good trotters, they are amazing to train. I'm appreciative to have the opportunity to train these horses and to get them prepared for their racing careers." Orchestrating the development and consistent performances of a trotter demands a broad skillset and a patient hand. From the constant tinkering of equipment, to transferring lessons learned from training over to race night, to finding ways to lower times while keeping the horse flat, endeavoring to find the winning trot formula is hardly an easy undertaking. "With trotters, their gait is obviously more difficult than a pacer's - you put hobbles on them and they pace, generally. As far as trotters go, it's a lot more of a fine line getting them gaited and getting extra seconds out of them. A shoe change can completely change your trotter, where if you're going from aluminum to steel, or vice-versa, on a pacer, you might change the horse a little bit, but you're not going to have that much of a drastic difference. The gait of a trotter, timing is just so much important. You have to find the exact key that fits each particular horse. If they aren't relaxed with themselves they can get into interfering and causing more problems for themselves. There are a lot of small pieces that have to come together more so training a trotter than it does a pacer." An accomplished bay daughter of Muscle Hill, trained by Takter, is a prime example of the precision required for trotting success. "If you look at a horse like Sorella, she wore four or five different shoes last year and she won the Hambletonian Oaks with no shoes. The horses change throughout the season and you need to adapt your methods constantly. They develop and get stronger over the year and you're going to want to find more speed. It's a constant tinkering game with the trotters. You could win an elimination or do well, but the next week, you need to find another gear and that extra fifth of a second. That fifth of a second could mean a major difference between whether you win or not." So, does all of that multi-layered, labor-intensive effort, make Takter part scientist, engineer and mathematician? Not quite. "Training horses isn't a science. I think people want it to be a science, but I think it's more of an art form." Fortunately for Takter, access to one of the sport's masters is just a phone call away. "If we're going to go with the art theme of training, the greatest artist ever is probably my dad [legendary trainer Jimmy Takter]. I think what made him so great at what he did is that he was able to find out the timing and the key for each individual horse. He always tell me, 'Don't just settle and be happy with how it is.' That's great advice." Advice she will be sure draw upon when working with her expanded group of trotters. "There are so many variables. Very rarely do you see a pacing race at a high level where horses make breaks. Occasionally, it will happen in a trot race. Whether it's because they're anxious or something happens leaving the gate... you do see those things occur. So, any success you have with a trotter is a little bit more fulfilling." A first win in the prestigious $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot, slated for September 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, would certainly be fulfilling for Takter. "That would be great. I think we have a couple shots this year. Maybe we can get it done." By Chris Lomon / @ChrisLomon

Bugsy Maguire was well in command of the opening feature of the summer harness racing season at Charlottetown Driving Park on Saturday, braving a sloppy track for a front-end romp.   Austin Sorrie, the 2021 Future Star Award O'Brien recipient and P.E.I. native, directed Bugsy Maguire to forge to the front from post four, and the pair took the lead prior to the quarter in :30.1. Sorrie managed a half in 1:02.3 and three-quarters of 1:34.3 and turned for home with a three-length gap to pocket-sitter Screen Test (Corey Macpherson) and a greater one to the three others.   It was all academic from there as Bugsy Maguire paced home a two and a quarter length winner in 2:03.1. Avatar J (Gilles Barrieau) rallied from the three-hole to take place; Screen Test dropped to third. The winner paid a generous $14.10.   BUGSY MAGUIRE REPLAY     The win was Bugsy Maguire's 31st in 133 lifetime starts. The seven-year-old son of Bettor's Delight has earned $259,290. Wade Sorrie trains for Walter Simmons of Summerside.   Ron Gass conditioned three victors on the Saturday card: Pictonian Thunder (2:04.1) in the second, Ms Moyse in the sixth (2:05.1), and Kataparka in the eighth. Ms Moyse, and Kataparka were a part of Barrieau's own triple; he also won with Clare Hall Hanover (2:06.3) in the fifth.   Charlottetown Driving Park handled $80,953 in its summer opener. The track will return on Saturday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m. ADT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

Exhibition Park joined the list of re-opened Canadian harness racing tracks today, as it hosted a five-race card in which Blood Money captured the feature pace in dominant style.   Driver and owner Mitchell Downey was enthusiastic leaving the gate with his stallion from post five, requesting early speed from Blood Money. The five-year-old obliged and they acquired the lead on the backside through a quarter in :29.2. Downey carved out middle fractions of :59.4 and 1:29.4 and Blood Money thanked him for the breather by drawing away in the stretch to score by three in 1:59.   Woodmere Ideal Art (Robert Laffin) was second after sitting there most of the race, and Montrose Hope (John Davidson Sr.) was third. The winner paid $3.40.   Blood Money, a former Grand Circuit contender, is now 10-for-34 lifetime with $431,553 in earnings. Ellen Stevenson trains the five-year-old son of Sweet Lou for Downey, a resident of Saint John. It was the horse's first start since October; Downey purchased him in November and entered him at Charlottetown, but the judges scratched him.   This was the Saint John, New Brunswick track's first race date of its 2021 season - it last saw action on October 17, 2020. Total handle for the day was $6,791. It will return on Saturday, May 15 at 12:00 p.m. ADT.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink  

Keith Waples, one of the greatest horsemen in the history of harness racing, has passed away at the age of 97. Waples was born December 8, 1923 in Victoria Harbour, Ontario. In 1959, Waples became the first driver to record a sub two-minute mile in Canada and the first to win a $100,000 race in Canada. In 1962, Keith Waples drove Tie Silk to victory in the International Trot at Roosevelt Raceway, and in 1972 with the colt Strike Out, he won the Little Brown Jug, the Adios Pace and Prix d'Été. Keith Waples was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1973, the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1978, and the United States Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2008, Waples was an inductee (Athlete category) of the Midland (Ontario) Sports Hall of Fame.  He will be sadly missed by Eileen, his loving wife of almost 75 years, and his four children, Barbara Lennox, Donna Galbraith (Mac), Karen Hauver (Maurice) and Gord (Denise), as well as his 9 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Keith was the son of the late Jack and Bertha Waples and was predeceased by sisters, Jean Swan and Annabelle Caffry, and by his grandson Jason (Jay) Waples. He is survived by sisters Dorothy Rumney of Wasaga Beach, Peggi Diebel of Squamish, B.C. and Mary Jane Burnett of Orangeville, and brother Murray of Barrie. As per his wishes, his body has been cremated and a small private funeral will be held at the Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home in Guelph, Ont., Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. The service will be live streamed and a link is available on the funeral home website. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. As an expression of sympathy, donations to the Guelph General Hospital would be appreciated by the family in recognition of the excellent care that he and Eileen have received there over the years. Donations/online condolences can be made through the Funeral Home at gilbertmacintyreandson.com. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The track maintenance crew at the Hippodrome 3R had the half mile racing oval in prime shape for opening day of the 2021 harness racing season. Mickymaksomespeed and driver Richard "The Black Cat" Simard took full advantage of the fast track, sizzling to the lead and never looking back in the 7th race Preferred Pace feature. Simard left with Mickymaksomespeed from post five and had a three-length lead on the field by the opening quarter in :27.2, then led to the half mile in :56.4. Then they opened up at the three-quarters in 1:26 and was leading by six open lengths at the top of the stretch. Going to the wire, Mickeymaksomespeed and Simard were on cruise control, crossing the wire five and one-half lengths in front of the pocket-sitting Big Petes Style (Marie Claude Auger) with Maracasso (Stephane Gendron) third. Mickeymaksomespeed covered the one-mile race in a blazing 1:54.2. MICKEYMAKESOMESPEED REPLAY   Now age 4, Mickeymaksomespeed is a son of Mickey Hanover and is trained, owned and bred by Michel Allard of Saint-Esprit and paid $5.10 to win. It was his first start of the 2021 season. In the fifth Preferred-Handicap Trot, Keepall (Pascal Berube) went right out to the early lead with track record holder WildWild Men (Guy Gagnon) leaving from post eight and getting a two-hole tuck as they went by the opening quarter mile in :28.1. Going to the half mile marker, Severus Hanover, an 11-1 long shot, came first-over for driver Stephane Brosseau and started after the race leader past the half in :59. At the three-quarters in 1:29, Severus Hanover kept the pressure on, wearing down Keepall and in the stretch, Severus Hanover dug in and cruised to a one and one-half length triumph in 1:59.2. Wildwild Men closed well to be second with Keepall third. SEVERUS HANOVER REPLAY   It was the first win in three starts this year for Severus Hanover, a ten-year-old gelding by Explosive Matter, who is trained and owned by Yannick Martel of L'Assomption. He paid $25.00 to win. Kinnder High Class (Samuel Fillion), the race favorite, was never in the hunt, broke stride in the backstretch and pulled up, not finishing the race. Trainer Denitza Petrova later said that the mare broke her trotting hobble and that she was OK physically. Both Arrhythmogenic (Daniel St Pierre) and Big Diamond (Stephane Gendron) fought tooth and nail for control of the lead from the start of the 6th race Preferred-Handicap Pace. Arrhythmogenic had the early lead, Big Diamond took over at the quarter in :28. Then by the half in :57.1, Arrhythmogenic came after the lead again but dropped back in the pocket and then came out again at the three-quarters in 1:27.1. Now entering the hunt was Topsill Beach and driver David Pilon, who tipped three-wide at the three-quarters and was parked that way around the final turn before drawing off to win by three lengths in 1:56.3. Big Diamond was second with Arrhythmogenic third. For the five-year-old mare by Shadow Play, it was her second win in five starts for H3R four-time defending champion trainer Francis Richard, who's stable owns the mare. She paid $7.30 to win. Track Notes: Both Pascal Berube and Stephane Brosseau had driving triples and Yannick Martel a training double on the card. Racing will resume at H3R next Sunday, May 16 with first race post time at 12:30 pm. For more information, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Claude Levesque is the president of the Quebec Jockey Club, a prominent harness racing owner and breeder, and he is excited for the start of the 2021 race season at the Hippodrome 3R. "There is not that much to say," Levesque laughed. "Except that we are very excited to get our race meet underway and that we are ready to race! The Hippodrome 3R opening day Friday card gets underway with a special post time of 5:30 pm. A free race program is available at www.hippodrome3r.ca. "The weather forecast for Friday is excellent," Levesque added. "Our racetrack surface is in prime shape. We have ten races, all with full fields of eight horses and I know that our horse people are ready to return to racing. "All that we are missing is our race fans," Levesque said. "And maybe we will be able to add them by mid-summer, but we are not counting on that. It would be great as racing is not the same without race fans cheering. I am glad we are able to start racing. We will be the only track in all of Canada racing Friday. "Most important," Levesque added. "Is that we will continue to do Covid protocols in our race paddock. I am proud of all our employees and our horse people who did safe practice as we did not have one Covid case all last season and we want the same again this season. "We also want to see how many horses are entered for our qualifying races on Saturday," Levesque explained. "If there are a lot more horses coming here to qualify, we might even consider racing two days next week, Friday and Sunday. But we have to wait and see on that." For opening day, there are two Preferred pacing and one Preferred trot on the race card. The 7th race Preferred 1 pace features nine-time race winner last year, Mickeymakesomespeed from post five for driver Richard Simard and trainer Michel Allard. Mickeymakesomespeed won his qualifying race last week at H3R in 1:59.4 by three and one-quarter lengths and takes on Big Petes Style (post 1), also a qualifying winner last week in 1:59.4, Woodbine invaders Solid Man (post 6) and Take The Deal (post 7). The Preferred-Handicap Trot is race five and spotlighted is the top mare, Kinnder High Class (post 6), who won 10 of 13 starts and set a track record last season at H3R. She is the lone mare in the field and goes against track record holder Wildwild Men (post 8), Franks Angel (post 7) and Pompano Park shipper, Captain Krupnik (post 3). Trainer Francis Richard, who will be gunning for his fifth straight training title at H3R, is back in action along with last season's leading driver, Pascal Berube. For more information, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. The website is in both French and English. From the Quebec Jockey Club

MILTON, ON - Woodbine Mohawk Park reminds all horsepeople that training is now being offered five-days-a-week (Tuesday-Saturday) from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sign-up for the next week of training at Woodbine Mohawk Park (May 11-15) will open this Saturday afternoon (May 8) at 3 p.m. Each training day will be split into three sessions with a maximum of 50 horses in the first two sessions and 48 in the final session. Sign-up will be required to train at Woodbine Mohawk Park and trainers are limited to a maximum of 10 horses per day. The training session times are listed below: Session One: 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Session Two: 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Session Three: 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The sign-up links for each day next week are listed below: Training - Tuesday, May 11 Training - Wednesday, May 12 Training - Thursday, May 13 Training - Friday, May 14 Training - Saturday, May 15 All Paddock COVID-19 protocols will be in place for training hours, including the requirement to have all people wearing a mask. Only Trainers and essential licensed personnel will be permitted through the Security check point and all individuals are reminded to complete the COVID-19 Screening Form before arriving. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - The 2021 Spring harness racing season swings into full gear Saturday evening at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The capital oval will host a full 12-dash program starting at 6 P.M. with a brand new wagering menu, TV graphic's package, Paddock Cam and a power packed field in the feature pace. Part of the excitement has the Jackpot Hi-5 being offered at both Island tracks this season with an industry low takeout of 15% and a single winner format. The wager requires the customer to pick the first five finishers in the correct order and if there is a single winner they will receive not only the payout from the day's current pool but also the full jackpot that has built up from previous events at Charlottetown. The Jackpot Hi5 will make its debut at Summerside on May 24th. Red Shores has also reduced the minimum bet amounts for the Superfecta, Pick 4 and Jackpot Hi5 as they now will have a $0.20 minimum bet option. The race 11 feature will see the return of James (Roach) MacGregor Gold Cup and Saucer consolation winner Avatar J to Island racing as Danny MacDonald resumes the training duties of the son of American Ideal for owners Jody Sanderson of Cornwall and Ontario's Dean Larkin. Gilles Barrieau picks up the drive aboard the post 2 starter in the $3,200 preferred pace. Screen Test rides a three-race win streak into the event with Corey MacPherson at the controls for trainer Ron Gass while Chocolate Swirl (To be driven by David Dowling) has the outside post 5 after winning the final preferred pace of the season in February. Race analyst Peter MacPhee places Avatar J firmly on top of the Post Time Picks. "Avatar J was razor sharp at Rideau back in March and check out all those brisk closing quarters," MacPhee said. "Don't forget he won 10 races last year and Gilles gets along very well with him so we think they hit the wire first." Also in that preferred field are Mantario (Kenny Arsenault) and Bugsy Maguire (Austin Sorrie). Burn Out Hanover is the favourite in the race 12 finale but must overcome the outside post 7 for driver Barrieau and owner-trainer Jeff Holmes of Orwell. Other top entries are Hunger Pangs (Ryan Desroche) and Winter Blast (Dowling). The Race Day broadcast with Vance Cameron, Lee Drake and Peter MacPhee airs at 5:30pm AST with the pre-game and special guest Jennifer Doyle. Doyle is the leading trainer at Charlottetown. Catch all the action on the worldwide broadcast at Redshores.ca. by Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores    

Trois-Rivieres, QC - After having perhaps the best harness racing season of her career in 2020, owner-trainer-breeder Denitza Petrova from Melbourne is looking forward to kicking off the 2021 meet at the Hippodrome 3R on Friday with her Kinnder High Class. Last year as a three-year-old, Kinnder High Class came into her own scoring an impressive 10 wins in just 13 starts including a dramatic track record 1:58.1 performance and a victory in the $65,000 Breeders Trophy Series final. Then she capped it off going to Mohawk Park for her last start of the year, winning in 1:56.2. Sired by Royalty For Life, Kinnder High Class was driven by regular pilot Samuel Fillion last Saturday in her qualifying race at H3R where she finished third, timed in 2:04, last quarter mile in :30.1. "I thought her qualifier was perfect," Petrova explained. "She did everything I wanted her to do. I did not want to go a fast mile, I just wanted her to follow and close well, which she did. Where she finished, I did not care as long as her confidence was there. Samuel (Fillion) said after the race that she is perfect and very strong. "She did not grow that much over the winter," Petrova said. "But she did fill out more and it is all muscle. She is so muscular now. There is no reason she should not do excellent this season. She was perfect at the end of last season. We did not really push her last year. She does not have that many starts so I am confident she will do well again. "At Mohawk Park for her last start in 2020," Petrova recalled, "She really had everything going against her yet she took it all in stride and scored a lifetime mark that I think she will beat this year. She had to travel nine hours in the trailer, she never raced on a big track before and she never raced under the lights before. "So, she went from racing on a sunny, half mile," said Petrova. "To the big track at Mohawk and under the lights. Yet she was perfect and scored her fastest win yet. She was very mature. And it was also Samuel's first time ever driving at Mohawk too. I think she was super in that she compensated for all of that." Kinnder High Class will need to be ready as she is going against a field of seven male rivals in the 5th race Preferred-Handicap Trot. She drew post six and is the 5/2 morning line favorite with Fillion in the sulky. Also in the lineup is Franks Angel (post 7), who won the qualifying race that Kinnder High Class was in last week. Track record holder Wildwild Men (post 8) is also in the field for trainer-driver Guy Gagnon. Other contenders include Frido PV (post 5), Captain Krupnik (post 3) and Keepall (post 1). How does Petrova feel about racing against the boys this year? "I was kind of expecting that she would have to race against the older male trotters from now on," Petrova said. "It may be tough in her first start but I think she is ready to take them on and do well." Undefeated track record holder Kinnder Dangerzone is another standout performer from last year for Petrova. The homebred half brother to Kinnder High Class raced just four times last year, but was the Two-Year-Old Colt Trotting Champion in Quebec and rewrote the track record for his age last year in winning the $55,000 Future Stars Final in 2:01. "Hopefully Kinnder Dangerzone will qualify next week at H3R," Petrova added. "He looks like a monster for this season. He grew more, filled out more and is now stronger than ever. I am very excited for him this year. "He is very playful and I can see he wants to race. He is still very green. He only had four starts as a two-year-old. I have to say he was greener than green last year," Petrova laughed. How do the two-year-old's stack up for Petrova this season? "I have three two-year-old's in my stable this year, all trotters, Petrova added. "The best bred of them is Kinnder Triplecrown. She is bred by Lindy's Tru Grit, who may not be a household name, but she is from my foundation mare, Majectic Joy, so that makes Kinnder Triplecrown a half sister to both Kinnder High Class and Kinnder Dangerzone. And she will continue to make Majectic Joy a 100 percent producing mare." Petrova is usually at times too busy to even make the one-hour drive from her farm in Melbourne to Trois-Rivieres. "I have seven race horses in my stable for this year," Petrova explained. "And they will keep me busy enough along with the broodmares that I board and own. It's also breeding season and we have foals that were born, so it is very active at the farm. I am fortunate that I can go and see Kinnder High Class race on Friday because of the late post time." Post time for the special opening day card Friday is 5:30 pm. After Friday, the next race date will be Sunday, May 16 with first race post time at 12:30 pm. For a free race program and information about H3R, visit www.hippodrome3r.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

MILTON, ON -  After 40 years of dedication and critical contributions, Racing Secretary Scott McKelvie has announced that he will retire from Woodbine Entertainment on March 31, 2022. Scott joined the then named Ontario Jockey Club in 1981, working his way up to take leadership of the Race Office and has served as the long-time Racing Secretary of Greenwood, Woodbine and Woodbine Mohawk Park since 1992. Through his time at Woodbine, Scott has been influential in creating a competitive year-round racing product and establishing Woodbine's prolific stakes program, including proudly working on all 37 editions of the Pepsi North America Cup. Scott has been a key industry leader throughout his career, contributing to various boards and committees. Scott is a past president and current director of the American Harness Racing Secretaries Association and a current vice-president of the Grand Circuit. "I'm proud to have spent the last 40 years with Woodbine. It has been an outstanding place to work. I would like to thank all my colleagues for their efforts, support and friendship during my career," said McKelvie. "The racing industry is a great community and I'm proud to have met and connected with many wonderful people over the years, including the horsemen and women that I've worked closely with on a day-to-day basis." "Scott's imprint on Standardbred Racing in North America has been immense. We appreciate his great devotion to our sport, his professionalism and great expertise which has helped establish Woodbine Mohawk Park at the top," remarked Jessica Buckley, Senior Vice-President of Standardbred and Thoroughbred Racing. "In addition to his expertise, Scott's steady, kind way with people will be greatly missed day to day. All of us at Woodbine Entertainment, wish to say thank you to Scott and we wish him a wonderful retirement." Scott will continue to lead the Race Office until his retirement at the end of March 2022 and provide contributions to Woodbine's Standardbred operation in the future. From Woodbine Entertainment

Top Canadian legendary harness racing track announcers Frank Salive and  Jean Desautels, were the special guests on Ghislain Paquet's Passion Courses Facebook LIve show. To see and listen to the special broadcast, click here.  

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