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Clinton -- Two years ago, James MacDonald was winning Clinton Raceways' annual harness racing drivers challenge heading into the final race when Trevor Henry pulled off a last second victory. MacDonald got his revenge a year ago, winning his first title with a decisive victory over Jody Jamieson. Henry was third. On Sunday, May 31, the trio, along with five other top reinsmen, will suit up against each other again as the 35th annual Drivers Challenge hits the track in support of the Clinton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. "Legions are having a tough time financially across the province. Every cause is a good one, but we think this will be a nice tie-in for us," said Clinton Raceway general manager Ian Fleming. Though it's a fun, relaxed atmosphere in which all proceeds of the day, including the drivers' fees, will go to the Legion, MacDonald said the drivers don't take the competition lightly. "Everyone's really competitive," he said. "You put a bunch of egos in together and one's a winner and you're going to get people trying pretty hard. There's no favours there, that's for sure." Henry, a finalist for the O'Brien Award for Canada's driver of the year in 2014, said pride is on the line. "It's always nice to have the bragging rights," Henry said, "But it's just a lot of fun. It's a good day out." The Drivers Challenge will pit Clinton's top three drivers of 2014 -- Henry, Ryan Holliday and Bruce Richardson-- against MacDonald, Jamieson, Doug McNair and Mike Saftic from the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit and Canada's leading dash winner, Alfie Carroll, who turned 30 in early May, and is leading the nation with nearly 200 wins already in 2015. For the first time in its long history, the Drivers Challenge is being held at the beginning, rather than at the end of the season, to make room for the eighth edition of Clinton Raceway's biannual Legends Day classic that will close out the track's 16-race season on Sept. 6 in support of the Clinton Public Hospital. Henry, long the king of Ontario's smaller tracks and now a regular fixture on the WEG circuit, said he's a big fan of Clinton Raceway. "It's just good to go there and give back to the town of Clinton," Henry said. "They do a lot of good there. It's a good town and a nice track and a good spot." MacDonald said he likes making the trip to Clinton because the Drivers Challenge usually draws a huge crowd and, "the people there seem to appreciate it and they put on a good show." MacDonald currently ranks a close second on Canada's driver earnings list with over $1.35 million made in 2015. McNair is a close third ($1.23 million), following by Henry in fifth ($1.09 million), Jamieson in sixth ($980,000) and Carroll in eighth ($890,000). In the wins department, after Carroll, McNair currently ranks sixth in the nation with 90 wins, followed by MacDonald in seventh (88) and Henry tied for ninth (80). The eight reinsmen participating in the Drivers Challenge have more than 26,300 career wins between them and combined career earnings of around $300 million.     Jessica Carnochan

Live harness racing made it's return for the 2015 season at the Huron County oval, Clinton Raceway this afternoon. The unofficial kick off to summer included a full card of trotters and pacers to entertain the large opening day crowd. Central Huron Secondary School was on track for a fundraiser that included a 50/50 draw, bbq, silent auction and bake sale, generating just over $1500 for their mental health awareness day planned for next school year.   "We can't thank the raceway enough for giving us this opportunity, it's such a great day and these community events are so important to keep our rural area thriving". The staff and students expressed their their thanks for all the support from the fans at Clinton Raceway.   Fans had the chance to win a BBQ from Verbeeks in Clinton, the lucky winner was Ann Bauer, she qualified through CKNX AM920 to attend as a VIP, and left with the BBQ.   This season is jam packed with a little something for everyone, from fundraisers and community events to stake races, driver's challenge and the return of Legends Day in September. Next Sunday those races fans who are 50 or better will receive a great package, including lunch, a betting voucher and program for $12. Visit www.clintonraceway.com for a complete list of events. Live race post time 1:30pm all summer long at Clinton Raceway   Jessica Carnochan

The track celebrates its 46th season of pari-mutuel wagering with facility improvements and 16 cards of Sunday afternoon harness racing that includes gangbusters, Opening Day, a Drivers Challenge with a twist and the 8th edition of Legends Day. Clinton -- Clinton Raceway will kick off it's 2015 live racing season with a bang on Sunday, May 17 and look to carry that momentum right through its closing Legends Day card on Labour Day Weekend. The Opening Day card will feature a chance to win a barbecue, plus a 50/50 draw, silent auction, bake sale and $1 programs, $2 t-shirts and a $3 lunch special of a hot dog, drink and chips in support of Central Huron Secondary School's Challenge Day program that empowers participants through respect, communication and breaking down barriers of separation and isolation. Apart from a number of facility improvements, also new this year is a twist on the track's popular Drivers' Challenge card, an event that will celebrate its 35th anniversary this summer. For the first time in history, the Drivers Challenge will be held at the beginning, rather than at the end of the year. The Drivers' Challenge, which pits local drivers against top reinsmen from Toronto's Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit, will be held May 31 in support of the Royal Canadian Legion. "We've got a great cause this year," said Clinton Raceway general manager Ian Fleming. "We're supporting the local legion. Legions are having a tough time financially across the province. Every cause is a good one, but we think this will be a nice tie-in for us." It's all part of a 16-card schedule of Sunday afternoon harness racing (excluding June 7) at the picturesque Central Huron oval, where post time is always 1:30 p.m. and Fleming is hoping to build on the momentum of 2014 when wagering was up some 20 per cent over the year before. Facility improvements for 2015 include paving of the main parking lot, plenty of new landscaping, a new fence in the backstretch and a new speaker system to add to the grandstand bucket seats installed in 2014. Race fans will also be greeted by a new tote system for 2015 courtesy of Clinton Raceway's inclusion in the eight-track Ontario Standardbred Alliance. The tote system is the same as that used at WEG and throughout the Alliance and allows patrons to wager and cash tickets at any of the Alliance tracks in the province. Live racing will end for the year on Sept. 6 when Clinton Raceway plays host to the 8th edition of its popular, biannual Legends Day card featuring a long line of Hall of Fame drivers that are among greatest reinsmen to ever sit in a sulky. Proceeds from Legends Day will support the Clinton Public Hospital. "Our goal is to have 1,500 people at the barbecue this year. We had 1,000 two years ago," Fleming said. "It's all sponsored, so every cent we take in goes to the hospital." Jessica Carnochan

The 2014 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots regular season for two-year trotting fillies came to a close on Tuesday night (September 9) at Mohawk Racetrack as the Campbellville harness racing oval played host to six $18,000 divisions. Sires Kadabra and Deweycheatumnhowe dominated the action with Kadabra picking up a trio of winners and Deweycheatumnhowe grabbing two credits. Magical Lass was the first winner for Kadabra as she took the opener in 1:59.1 for driver Paul MacDonell. She swept from third to first prior to the 1:30.1 three-quarters and then held sway through the lane to prevail by half a length over public choice Mass Rail (Trevor Henry). Lmc Marshmellow (Jack Moiseyev) checked in third. Richard “Nifty” Norman trains Magical Lass, who is the first foal out of the Cantab Hall mare Priceless Lass, for co-owner/breeder Mel Hartman of Ottawa and co-owner R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ontario. Magical Lass broke her maiden in her fifth attempt, and she has now earned $11,875. The Murmuring Pan then made it a "Kadabra Daily Double" as she won the second race in 1:58.2 with Hall of Famer Steve Condren in the bike. The Murmuring Pan made a first-over move into the lead at the 1:00 half and didn’t look back from there on her way to a five and a quarter length decision. Giona (Wayne MacLean) was the runner-up and Desis Dream (Steve Byron) nabbed third. Paul Reid trains The Murmuring Pan for owner/breeder Peter Pan Stables Inc. of Pepper Pike, Ohio. She is now two-for-four in the win column with earnings of $18,000. Both of her wins have come in Grassroots competition as she also clicked at Mohawk on July 31. The Murmuring Pan is the second foal out of $448,000 earner Epangeline (Conway Hall). The final Kadabra winner was Wing Flash, who got up out of the pocket in the stretch to win the fifth Grassroots flight in 1:57.3 for trainer/driver Wayne Henry. Stay In Touch (Randy Waples), the leader at the head of the lane, had to settle for second and Hape (Riina Rekila) finished third. Henry Stable of Arthur and Daylon Farms Ltd. of Komoka, Ontario, own Wing Flash, who was bred by Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, and Donald Robinson and sold for $30,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. Wing Flash has a pair of victories from seven attempts, and she has now put away $30,725. A winner in Grassroots action on August 17 at Clinton Raceway, Wing Flash is the fourth foal out of the Andover Hall mare Armbro Everlasting. The dam is a half-sister to the likes of millionaire Armbro Keepsake. As for Deweycheatumnhowe, his initial siring triumph came with Tymal Illbthere (Chris Christoforou) in the third section. She followed the cover of divisional point standings leader Summers Jewel (Mario Baillargeon) and then got around her late in the mile to win by a neck in 1:57.1. Muscle Kit (Randy Waples) was third, more than 14 lengths behind the top two finishers. Erv Abdulov trains Tymal Illbthere for co-owner/breeder Tymal Farms of Oldcastle, Timothy Varey of London, and Shawn Dixon of London, Ontario. Tymal Illbthere won for the first time from six trips behind the gate, and she has now pocketed $37,660. She’s the first foal out of the Kadabra mare Ill Be There ($398,603), a six-time winner in OSS competition during her racing career. Solar Sister provided Deweycheatumnhowe with his other tally as she rallied from sixth at three-quarters to take the fourth division by a neck in 1:58.1. Magic Shelley (Trevor Henry) was up for second and Railee Priti (Steve Byron) collected third. Gregg McNair trains Second Sister, who has two triumphs from six starts and a bankroll of $29,160, for owner Jarold Hawks of Jeddo, Michigan. Bred by Diamond Creek Farm LLC., Second Sister was purchased for $32,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. She’s the seventh foal out of the Yankee Glide mare Sister Sammy, and Second Sister is a half-sister to the likes of $210,000 earner Unshakeable. Second Sister also won in the Grassroots Series on July 15 at Mohawk. The other winner on the night was Bistrobistro Taj (Rick Zeron). Competing in the nightcap, Bistrobistro Taj popped the pocket to take command past the :27.3 opening quarter . She then reached the half in :58.1 and the three-quarters in 1:28.2 before she kicked away to win by three and three-quarters lengths in 1:57.3. Mets Life (Mario Baillargeon) was next, followed by Judy The Beauty (Bob McClure). Zeron also trains Bistrobistro Taj, a filly from the first crop of former Breeders Crown champion Pilgrims Taj, for owner 9215 6447 Quebec Inc. of Montreal, Quebec. Bistrobistro Taj, who was bred by Gestion Belvidere Inc., was successful for the second time from five starts, and she has now banked $58,250. Bistrobistro Taj, who also prevailed in Grassroots action on July 15 at Mohawk before she stepped up to take on Gold foes in her next few attempts, is the second foal out of the Angus Hall mare Freda Hall. The two-year-old trotting fillies of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series will be back in action on September 19 at Mohawk Racetrack as they clash in their Semifinal round. Click here for full results Ontario Sire Stakes  

The 2014 racing season at Clinton Raceway came to a close on Sunday afternoon (August 31), and six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions were contested on the program. The star of those races was Thinkofagameplan, who moved into sole possession of the top spot in the Grassroots point standings with a 1:57 track record performance in the third split. With Randy Waples handling the driving assignment, Thinkofagameplan overtook leader Pan Street USA (Doug McNair) from first-over past three-quarters and then drew away in the stretch to win by four lengths in the new track record clocking. Pan Street USA wound up second with Pair Of Deuces (Paul MacDonell) back in third. The 1:57 effort dropped the track record for a two-year-old pacing colt by a fifth of a second. It had belonged to Front Row since he won a Grassroots division in 1:57.1 on September 21, 2003. Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his third win (all in Grassroots competition) from six attempts and pushed his bankroll to $36,660, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. In other action three horses picked up their second Grassroots wins of the season. The first to do it was Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell), who backed up his victory last Sunday at Georgian Downs with a 1:59.2 tally in the Grassroots opener. He was followed up by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon), who bagged the fourth section in 1:58 after a two-hole trip, and The Fire Within (Jody Jamieson) was the last to double up as he snagged the fifth flight in 1:58.4. Trainer Jack Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ontario, owns Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who is now two-for-five in the win column with a bankroll of $30,500, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner. Joe Hudon, who resides in Acton, Ontario, also co-owns Twin B Scandal, a gelded son of Mach Three-Twin B Intrigue (McArdle), with partner R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ontario. Twin B Scandal now has a pair of triumphs from seven efforts, and he has banked $28,440. The dam of Twin B Scandal is out of Daylon Magic, who won 18 times in Ontario Sires Stakes competition between her two- and three-year-old seasons. Twin B Scandal, who brought $32,000 at last year’s Canadian Yearling Sale, was bred by Twinbrook Limited and James Kirk. The Fire Within is a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover ($311,480). The half-brother to millionaire Illusionist picked up his third win from six attempts and ran his rookie season earnings to $23,620 for breeder, owner, trainer Fred Drouillard of Dutton, Ontario. Also winning in Grassroots competition today were: --Star Cover (Jody Jamieson, 1:57.3). This son of Royal Mattjesty is owned and trained by Blake MacIntosh of Waterdown, Ontario. Star Cover has won twice from seven trips behind the gate, and he has put away $14,060. He was bred by Winbak Farm and fetched $4,500 at the 2013 Forest City Yearling Sale. Star Cover’s dam is the Dexter Nukes mare Armbro Rosebud ($721,057), an Ontario Sires Stakes superstar who won 11 times from 14 attempts during her OSS career. --Charlottes Colony (Trevor Henry, 1:58). An Art Colony colt, Charlottes Colony broke his maiden in his fifth try and boosted his output to $16,800. Charlottes Colony is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Thomas McGuffog of Hanwell and Geoffrey Macneish of Douglas, New Brunswick. Charlottes Colony, whose dam is the Mohican Pride mare OGs Starlett ($536,647), was bred by Dan Belliveau and was hammered down for $4,200 at last year’s Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale. The next Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event for rookie pacing males will take place on September 12 at Mohawk Racetrack. From the Ontario Sire Stakes and Clinton Raceway

The 2014 harness racing season at Clinton Raceway came to a close on Sunday afternoon (August 31), and six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions were contested on the program. The star of those races was Thinkofagameplan, who moved into sole possession of the top spot in the Grassroots point standings with a 1:57 track record performance in the third split. With Randy Waples handling the driving assignment, Thinkofagameplan overtook leader Pan Street USA (Doug McNair) from first-over past three-quarters and then drew away in the stretch to win by four lengths in the new track record clocking. Pan Street USA wound up second with Pair Of Deuces (Paul MacDonell) back in third. The 1:57 effort dropped the track record for a two-year-old pacing colt by a fifth of a second. It had belonged to Front Row since he won a Grassroots division in 1:57.1 on September 21, 2003. Thinkofagameplan, a Ponder colt who scored his third win (all in Grassroots competition) from six attempts and pushed his bankroll to $36,660, is a homebred for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ontario. The winner is the second foal out of the Camluck mare Noshameinmygame. She was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. In other action three horses picked up their second Grassroots wins of the season. The first to do it was Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell), who backed up his victory last Sunday at Georgian Downs with a 1:59.2 tally in the Grassroots opener. He was followed up by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon), who bagged the fourth section in 1:58 after a two-hole trip, and The Fire Within (Jody Jamieson) was the last to double up as he snagged the fifth flight in 1:58.4. Trainer Jack Darling’s stable of Cambridge, Ontario, owns Moonwards Hanover, a son of Sportswriter. Darling purchased Moonwards Hanover, who is now two-for-five in the win column with a bankroll of $30,500, for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. The Hanover Shoe Farms Inc.-bred is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Mouse Hanover, a half-sister to the likes of Mt Vernon Hanover (Rustler Hanover, $623,067), a two-time OSS winner. Joe Hudon, who resides in Acton, Ontario, also co-owns Twin B Scandal, a gelded son of Mach Three-Twin B Intrigue (McArdle), with partner R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, Ontario. Twin B Scandal now has a pair of triumphs from seven efforts, and he has banked $28,440. The dam of Twin B Scandal is out of Daylon Magic, who won 18 times in Ontario Sires Stakes competition between her two- and three-year-old seasons. Twin B Scandal, who brought $32,000 at last year’s Canadian Yearling Sale, was bred by Twinbrook Limited and James Kirk. The Fire Within is a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover ($311,480). The half-brother to millionaire Illusionist picked up his third win from six attempts and ran his rookie season earnings to $23,620 for breeder, owner, trainer Fred Drouillard of Dutton, Ontario. Also winning in Grassroots competition today were: --Star Cover (Jody Jamieson, 1:57.3). This son of Royal Mattjesty is owned and trained by Blake MacIntosh of Waterdown, Ontario. Star Cover has won twice from seven trips behind the gate, and he has put away $14,060. He was bred by Winbak Farm and fetched $4,500 at the 2013 Forest City Yearling Sale. Star Cover’s dam is the Dexter Nukes mare Armbro Rosebud ($721,057), an Ontario Sires Stakes superstar who won 11 times from 14 attempts during her OSS career. --Charlottes Colony (Trevor Henry, 1:58). An Art Colony colt, Charlottes Colony broke his maiden in his fifth try and boosted his output to $16,800. Charlottes Colony is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Thomas McGuffog of Hanwell and Geoffrey Macneish of Douglas, New Brunswick. Charlottes Colony, whose dam is the Mohican Pride mare OGs Starlett ($536,647), was bred by Dan Belliveau and was hammered down for $4,200 at last year’s Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale. The next Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event for rookie pacing males will take place on September 12 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results and charts click here. Ontario Sire Stakes  

Clinton Raceway will end their 2014 harness racing season this Sunday with a jammed packed card which includes Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots action for two-year-old pacing colts, the track’s 34th annual Charity Drivers’ Challenge and a fundraiser for Childcan. The eight drivers participating in the drivers’ challenge, Trevor Henry, Bruce Richardson, Ryan Holliday, Chris Christoforou, Jody Jamieson, Doug McNair, Phil Hudon and James MacDonald, have all generously donated their driving fees from the competition to Childcan. “We’ve had a great season in 2014 and I’d like to thank all of our horse people, fans and staff who have contributed to its success. We’re very appreciative of the drivers who have donated their fees from Sunday’s card to our fundraiser. We’re looking forward to another great season next year,” noted Clinton’s General Manager Ian Fleming. In addition to participating in the driving challenge, all of the drivers will also be piloting colts in the six OSS divisions. Jamieson, MacDonald and Henry have drives in all six splits. McNair has five OSS steers, Christoforou is listed on four colts, Hudon has three OSS mounts while Holiday and Richardson will each guide one. The first OSS division, race four, features two colts who won a Grassroots event in their most recent outing. The simply named Jeb was a winner at Georgian on August 24 and will leave from the rail with Hudon driving for trainer James ‘Friday’ Dean and owners Wilma and Jim MacKenzie of Ennismore, Ontario. The Camluck son is looking for his third OSS victory this year having also won the first event for this group at Mohawk in early July. Jeb is tied as the leading point earner in this division with 137 points. Big Moment, who also has 137 points, has drawn post three in the second division, race five. Randy Waples will be at the lines as usual for trainer Bob McIntosh behind the son of Camluck who has won three Grassroots to date and was second in another. Moonwards Hanover will also look for his second straight Grassroots win in the first split. He won at Georgian in a life best 1:54. Paul MacDonell will be up behind the son of Sportswriter owned and trained by Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ontario. The third division, race six, finds two colts vying for their third straight Grassroots win. Thinkofagameplan, who has won his last two events, will leave from post two with Waples up for trainer McIntosh. The son of Ponder, owned by McIntosh of Windsor, Ontario and his cousin Al McIntosh of Leamington, Ontario, has yet to finish off the board in five starts to date. Pair Of Deuces has also captured his last two Grassroots outings, at Georgian and Mohawk, for trainer Nifty Norman and owner/breeder Pinske Stables. The son of Badlands Hanover will depart from post six with MacDonell at the lines. The two-year-old pacing colts are featured in races four, five, six, nine, 11 and 12 on Sunday’s card. To view the full program, please click Clinton Entries - August 31. Ontario Sire Stakes

Harness racing trainer Taylor Spitzig, 23, is a dedicated and hard working individual with a bubbly and bright spirit. Taylor says she was 'bred' into horse racing. Being around horses from a young age, Taylor knew she was destined to be horsewoman. "My parents are divorced and I spent a great deal of time with my mom (Barb). The only time I would be at the barn or the track was when I spent a weekend with my dad (Rusty)." Taylor continues, "Going into the 7th grade, I moved out to my dad's house and that's when I got more involved with (the horses)." After high school, Taylor went to Fanshawe College for Fashion Merchandising. After working in the fashion field for a couple of companies, Taylor came to understand that working with horses is what she truly wanted to do. Taylor obtained her trainer's license last December and in March Taylor tallied her first training victory at Western Fair (London, ON)! Looking back at her first win, Taylor was not sure her horse even won. "Where we stand at Western Fair, you can't really tell" says Taylor. "I was watching the TV, and then back at the track, then back to the TV. I was like 'Aww he got beat'. Looking at the win photo it was so close; the other horse could have got him in the next stride." "Then I heard (starter) Brad yell 'Test #3' and that was me so I was all excited and went to the winner's circle." That win photo is framed and on the fridge at the stables' office. "It was my first win and it was the first win for the stable this year, so we started a tradition that every win we have goes on the fridge" Taylor explains. "The office is really my dad's man cave and that's where we throw all of our parties." What came to mind was Taylor decorating it, floor to ceiling with win photos throughout the entire room. When posed with the question what will happen when she gets to 500 wins? Taylor opted to think about that scenario when the time comes. "It was hard to get your first" Taylor admits with a laugh, "and it's harder to get your second." Through the summer, Taylor has been racing her horses at Dresden Raceway, Hiawatha Horse Park (Sarnia, ON) and Clinton Raceway. Once Leamington Raceway kicks off in September, you will see Taylor there cheering on her horses. When it comes to travelling, Taylor is all for it, though it can be tiring as Taylor works the night shift for a trucking company where she handles the customs paperwork. "I work Wednesday through Saturday from 9pm to 730am" Taylor confirms. "I make sure all my transports can cross through customs without any problems. I deal with trucks crossing in British Columbia, Alberta, Windsor and Quebec. Working with customs isn't always easy." "Sunday mornings when I get back from work, we are kind of rushed as its two hours from Sarnia to Clinton." Taylor continues, "I'm pretty tired.... Sometimes I don't go out the barn and my dad will get on me saying I should be in the barn. After working 40 hours night shift, it's hard to get to the barn. Driving home you're dead tired and it's like I don't want to fall asleep jogging horses." Working night shift is a tough adjustment. Some people think it's easier than a day job, but for anyone who has worked night shifts; it's physically and mentally draining. Plus working night shifts makes one feel segregated from society at times. Looking forward, Taylor has a two-year-old named Casimir Ozzy, who she is hoping to get on the track soon. "I think he'll be really good, maybe not a preferred but pretty good." Taylor states. With Taylor learning more and more, she believes in time she will be getting higher into the claiming game. Taylor admits, if she has questions that can help her learn, she is not afraid to ask. "You have to work from the bottom to make your way up" says Taylor. "You need to work with 3 claimers to learn and understand. When you have a good horse, of course it's easier." Flat out, Taylor acknowledges she gets along better with Colts and Geldings opposed to Mares. "It could be a Mare thing where our attitudes might clash. I think it might be a 'who wants to be the boss' situation" laughs Taylor. "Colts and Geldings are much more laid back." Down the road, Taylor has full intentions of owning more horses and becoming a regular name in the racing program. Don't be surprised if you see her at the sales, stocking up! Taylor will be heading out to Hoosier Park in Indiana this weekend to watch her friends' horses race. Two years ago Taylor went to the Little Brown Jug and she has plans on going again this year. Taylor may be a spectator this year at the Jug but it won't be long until she is the trainer of horses competing in such races. If anyone has a 'can do' attitude, it is Taylor. Despite working 40 hours at a night shift job and working at the barn, she's always smiling and outgoing. Taylor sincerely thanks her friends and family who have helped and supported her. As well, Taylor thanks her dad for everything he has taught her about horses and it's because of him that she's training horses. Keep smiling! By Roderick Balgobin, for Harnesslink.com                

If jogging a racehorse is one of the items left on your bucket list, then here's your chance to cross it off your list.   The Hands On Horses Program will be making stops at four racetracks across the province this weekend offering free rides to harness racing fans.   Grand River Raceway will offer its fans the chance to climb aboard the double-seated jogger Friday, August 29, and then the Wanna Drive crew will ship to Georgian Downs to offer fans the same opportunity on Saturday, August 30.   The next stopp will be Clinton Raceway, which will wrap up its 2014 season Sunday, August 31 with a fun-filled matinee card of racing. Dresden Raceway will also finish its 2014 season in style, as the Wanna Drive event will be among the events offered on the matinee program on Monday, September 1.   Be sure to arrive early, as the Wanna Drive events are offered on a first come first served basis.   Here are the post times for each of the events:   Friday, August 29 - Grand River Raceway - 6:30 p.m. Saturday, August 30 - Georgian Downs - 7:15 p.m. Sunday, August 31 - Clinton Raceway - 1:30 p.m. Monday, September 1 - Dresden Raceway - 1:00 p.m.   For more information, visit HandsOnHorsesProgram.com.   Follow us on Twitter @HandsOnHorses   by Stacey Reinsma, for Hands On Horses Program

The roar of a neighing horse is probably the last thing you'd expect to hear in the parking lot of a retirement community, but it didn't apply to The Village of Riverside Glen this past Monday morning. The retirement community in Guelph was paid a special visit by the Hands On Horses Program, which included the retired racehorse, 'Harry'. 'Harry', as always, loved the attention just as much as the residents loved the chance to meet the accomplished racehorse. 'Harry', whose real name is Killean Sweep, was a 23-time winner during a career that saw him rack up purse earnings in excess of $210,000. Local radio station CFRU 93.3 (cfru.ca) interviewed residents and collected their 'horse stories' from years gone by. 'Harry', who didn't want to miss his chance to be on air, put in his two cents worth with a neigh here and there, as well. The broadcast is scheduled to air Monday, September 1, 2014. Be sure to come visit us at any of our upcoming events this weekend Friday, August 29 - Grand River Raceway (Elora) Saturday, August 30 -Georgian Downs (Barrie) Sunday, August 31 - Clinton Raceway (Clinton) Monday, September 1 - Dresden Raceway (Dresden) For more information visit our website (http://handsonhorsesprogram.com/wp/) and for photos from the event visit our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.759776420750406.1073741854.127947220599999&type=1) by Stacey Reinsma for Hands On Horses Program

Clinton -- Ryan Holliday of Mount Forest, Ont. said he has extra incentive to win the 34th Annual Drivers Challenge Aug. 31 at Clinton Raceway that extends beyond trying to prove himself against a group of top drivers from Toronto. Holliday's cousin, Lindsay Foulon, has a two-year-old daughter with leukemia. While Hayden Foulon is being treated at Children's Hospital in London, her family has received support from Childcan (www.childcan.com), the charitable recipient of Clinton's Drivers Challenge for the fourth consecutive year. When Holliday, 26, was recovering from a broken elbow and wrist suffered in an accident in January at The Raceway at The Western Fair District in London, he spent a few days in the same hospital where Heyden was having some tests. "We were talking there one day and my cousin told me about how Childcan helps them. I said, 'Childcan? I'm pretty sure I drive for them in the charity event.' It makes you realize a little more about the good they do. I actually saw firsthand what the money does." The Drivers Challenge will pit Clinton's top three drivers -- Trevor Henry, Bruce Richardson and Holliday -- against Chris Christoforou, Jody Jamieson, Doug McNair, Sylvain Filion and James MacDonald from the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit. "That day there's a great crowd and there's a lot of good drivers there and it makes for a good day," McNair said. "It's definitely a fun event, but we race pretty tough out there, especially that day. No one does anybody any favours out there, that's for sure. Everybody wants to win and obviously it's for a good cause." All driver fees and proceeds from the day will be donated to Childcan. The charity has already received more than $40,000 from the Clinton Raceway event. The Drivers Challenge has raised more than $275,000 for various charities since its inception in 1981. Renee Simmons is in charge of Family Support for Childcan. She said the charity helps families with simple, daily expenses while they have a child being treated for cancer. "We offer every family a (hospital) parking pass and that is theirs until their child has completed treatment," Simmons said. "When they're in-patient, we set families up with two cafeteria vouchers per day. So, they have two $10 vouchers to spend on meals. "Then, we have an emergency financial assistance fund that our families can access, especially for our families that travel... Our mission is to make sure that the parents can focus on their child's care." Simmons, along with Hayden and Lindsay Foulon are expected to be at Clinton Raceway Aug. 31 for the Drivers Challenge. The program will also feature an Ontario Sires Stakes grassroots event for two-year-old pacing colts, as well as a charity barbeque, loom bracelet sale, 50/50 draw, bake sale, various auctions and a petting zoo, bouncy castle and face painting for the kids. The card starts at 1:30 p.m. "I'm looking forward to the pig roast, I'll be honest with you," Simmons said, laughing. "I always eat very well when I'm in Clinton." Holliday said Hayden's treatment is going well. "They're monitoring her counts all the time. As long as everything's good, she'll be out for the event," he said. As for the racing, Holliday said he's looking forward to testing his mettle against the big city boys, particularly at a track he calls home. "Clinton's a great place to race," he said. "They do a really good job there. They make sure there's a good show every week for everybody. The Drivers Challenge will be no different. They seem to go the extra mile there." Holliday said he might even have a little home track edge. "I know the horses there really well," he said. "I drive them week in and week out. So, maybe I have an advantage. Even to be recognized driving against those guys is pretty cool to me in general. I'm just glad I'm at that stage." by Jessica Carnochan, for Clinton Raceway  

Harness racing fillies dropping down from the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division to the Grassroots level proved successful in several of today’s $18,000 divisions at Clinton Raceway. That moved proved the ticket for Gee Okeeffe in the opening division. She traded the top position with Dewy Take A Selfie through fractions of :31, 1:03, 1:32.2 and was home first with a two length cushion in 2:03. Superbowl Sunshine closed well to take second while Dewy Take A Selfie was third. Chris Beaver trains the winner, a daughter of Holiday Road he co-owns with breeder Wilbur Lang of Ohio. Gee Okeeffe was notching her second win in five tries this year, winning a Gold division on July 23 at Grand River Raceway. That same shift also proved beneficial for Desis Dream who made her first Grassroots appearance after three Gold starts. She went gate to wire for Steve Byron in :30, 1:02.3, 1:32.4 and held off Giona to win by a neck in 2:03.4. Dolce Far Niente was third. John Bax of Peterborough, Ontario, trains the winner, a daughter of Muscle Mass, with breeder Glengate Farm of Campbellville, Ontario. This was Desis Dream’s first lifetime win in five tries. In the third division the field was reduced to five starters with the scratches of Magical Lass and Magic Dancing. Summer Jewel and Mario Baillargeon set the early tempo of :30.4, 1:03 and 2:04.4. Judy The Beauty came up to challenge past the half and kept pressure on the leader the rest of the way but Summers Jewel hung tough to win in 2:04.4. Judy The Beauty had to settle for place while Moon Dance took third. Baillargeon’s brother Ben of Rockwood, Ontario, trains and co-owns the winner, a daughter of Angus Hall who was recording her second straight Grassroots victory and third overall. She came into today’s event sitting third in the Grassroots standings with 124 points behind Stay In Touch and Judy The Beauty who were tied for first with 137. Mario was back on top early in the next split with first time starter Flexyandiknowit who hit the opening quarter in :31.3. Just past that marker Mass Rail was taken out from third to challenge the leader and overtook her just past the half in 1:03. However, she quickly had a challenger in My Mini Snickers by the 1:33.3 third panel. Mass Rail fought back but was hauled down late by My Mini Snickers and James MacDonald who hit the wire first in 2:03. Mass Rail was second with Tymal Fireitup third. It was the second straight Grassroots victory for the Muscle Mass daughter owned by Ron Phillips of Illinois and trained by Ryan Maxwell. It was the same scene in the fifth division as Mario had Zorgwijk Philly on top early and hit the opening panel in :31. Dustin Jones sent Pinky The Intern up to challenge before the half but Zorgwijk Philly maintained the lead and was by the third panel in 1:32. Despite pressure on the outside and inside Zorgwijk Philly was at the wire first in 2:05 over Delcrest Flexyhall and Pinky The Intern. It was the first OSS start and first win for the Southwind Lustre daughter owned and trained by Wayne Langille of Harley, Ontario. Other winners amongst the Grassroots divisions this afternoon were Winem, a daughter of Kadabra trained by Mike Keeling for owner Paula Wellwood of Cambridge, Ontario and driven by Mike Saftic and Wing Flash, also by Kadabra, who went gate to wire for trainer Wayne Henry, who co-owns with Daylon Farms of Komoka, Ontario, to win in 2:04. This group will meet again in Grassroots action on September 9 at Mohawk. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Clinton Raceway's 34th Annual Charity Driver's Challenge is only two weeks away! Keeping with tradition, Clinton Raceway will be hosting its 34th Annual Charity Driver's Challenge event on their final day of live races, Sunday August 31, 2014. For the third year Clinton will be incorporating their Horsin' Around for Childhood Cancer event into the charity challenge. All participating driver's will be generously donating their fee's to Childcan, an organization based out of London Ontario. Childcan assists local families through diagnosis, treatment and bereavement of childhood cancer. This is the fourth year working in conjunction with Clinton Raceway and raising over $20,000 during the past events. "We are looking both inside, and outside the industry for sponsors and donors of this great event" states co-coordinator Jessica Carnochan. "We have an aggressive fundraising goal of $15,000 this year, and have many opportunities for businesses and individuals to get involved". Race sponsors, driver sponsors, donations for both the silent auction and twoonie auction and volunteers are all needed for the event. This year children will enjoy face painting, bouncy castle, petting zoo, free popcorn, rainbow loom sale and more. OHHA and their Wanna Drive program will be on site, giving fans the opportunity to drive a race horse for a lap of the track between the live races. Ontario Sires Stakes will be in town as well, with two year old colt pacers on track. Please contact Jessica Carnochan at Clinton Raceway (jessicacarnochan@gmail.com or 519.955.6820) or the Clinton Raceway Race Office (519.482.5270) for more information, to become a sponsor, donor or volunteer. by Jessica Carnochan, for Clinton Raceway  

Will and Claire Flemings, 7650km cross country fundraising bike for Jumpstart will wrap up this Sunday at Clinton Raceway. The brother and sister team from Londesboro ON, finished the two month trek in May, and will be on hand to say a few words of thanks to all those who generously donated to the over $40,000 total.   The two set out with a goal of raising $1 for each kilometre biked on the 7650km journey, little did they expect to be exceeding that by over $30,000.   Clinton Raceway is proud to host these two remarkable individuals as part of their family day activities this Sunday August 10. Fans can meet Will and Claire for a photo with their bikes and pass on their congratulations, A representative from Jumpstart will be on site to say thank you as well. Canadian Tire Goderich has generously donated both a girls and boys bike which will be raffled off during the days events. Tickets are just $1 each and all proceeds will be added to the fundraising total for Bike 7650.   Also included during the day will be a full card of live harness races, free hot dogs, face painting, bouncy castle a mascot race and more. Details can be found at www.clintonraceway.com   Post time is 1:30pm   Jessica Carnochan

Driver Doug McNair captured two of the four $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for three-year-old filly pacers Sunday afternoon at Clinton Raceway. One of his victories was for his father Gregg, the other for trainer Tony O’Sullivan. McNair started off the afternoon winning the first division. He sent Born To Dream directly to the top from post seven and she was never headed through fractions of :29.2, :59.4 and 1:28.2, where she fought off a challenge from Milliondollar Babe to win by three lengths in 1:56.4. Always Sunday took second while Milliondollar Babe held for third. The win was the second this year, both at Clinton, for Born To Dream, a daughter of Camluck trained by O’Sullivan for owner/breeders Lomangino Standardbreds of New Jersey. She is the first foal of $665,000 winner Happy Dreamer. McNair’s other OSS score was in the final division where he and Can Art cut the tempo of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:26.3 and managed to hold off a determined Murrayfield to win by a head in 1:56. Goldies Mach was third. Gregg McNair trains the winner, a daughter of Artistic Fella owned by breeder Rob Chapple of Chatham, Ont. This was Can Art’s third win in 10 attempts this year. Another father/son, trainer/driver combo was successful on the afternoon as Tyler Moore guided his dad’s Shadows Wonder to a come-from-behind victory in 1:55.3, the fastest of the four splits. She wore down pacesetter Shes A Hotmama, who held for second, while Medoland Lindeylou was third. Dr. Ian Moore trains the winner he co-owns with R G McGroup Ltd. of New Brunswick and Serge Savard of Quebec, who also co-owned the filly’s sire Shadow Play. Shadows Wonder, who was victorious in her last start at Clinton in the Kin Pace on July 6, was recording her fourth win in 12 trips behind the gate this year. Divisional track record holder Her Own Land also deployed gate-to-wire tactics for James MacDonald. The Blissfull Hall lass breezed through splits of :29.1, :59.2 and 1:27.4 to win in 1:56.3 over Momara and Miss Brandi K. The win was the third in 10 tries for Her Own Land, who is trained by Dave Menary for Hutt Racing Stable of Pennsylvania. The next Grassroots test for this group comes on August 17 at Georgian Downs. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Canada's leading driver Trevor Henry doubled his weekend win count on Sunday at Clinton Raceway with another five-win performance in the sulky. After winning five races at Hanover Raceway and dominating the Dream Of Glory Trot eliminations, Henry was back at it racking up win after win during Sunday's 10-race card in Clinton. The Arthur, Ont. reinsman started the day with a 10-3/4 length victory in the opener aboard Ninette B for trainer Denis Kerr. He then won the third race by 11 lengths with Jason Libby trainee Ruthies Pride and the fifth as Randy Henry's Girlwithagrin prevailed by a head. Henry later won the final two races on the card with Keystone Samurai prevailing in a four-across finish for trainer Ryan Steward and trotter Strike A Light winning by one and a quarter for conditioner Stephen Brossence. Henry has dominated the Clinton standings this season and boasts 30 local wins, more than triple his closest competitor. He leads all drivers in Canada with a total of 292 wins this year. Compiled with Standardbred Canada files

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