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The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2014 ballot. A total of 36 horses and people, including 18 Standardbred racing candidates and 18 Thoroughbred racing candidates have been selected to appear on this year’s ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will declare the winners in their respective categories.  Results will be announced Tuesday, April 8.   On the Standardbred ballots representing this year’s six voting categories are as follows: Male horse category, Blissfull Hall, J M Vangogh and Rocknroll Hanover In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown.  Owned by Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, QC, this champion was trained by Ben Wallace with Ron Pierce as regular driver.   A 31 race career over two seasons amassed a record of 19-4-6, a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $1.4 million before embarking on a successful career as a stallion. J M Vangogh, purchased as a yearling for $4,500 by Paul Chambers of Harrington, Delaware, made a remarkable recovery from an accident in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final as a two year old to earn $2.28 million in 206 starts over 8 seasons and the nickname “The Comeback Kid”.  Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his race career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, ON; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC.  Career highlights include victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three year olds, the Metro Pace and the North America Cup.  He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013. Female horse category: B Cor Tamara, Dreamfair Eternal and J Cs Nathalie Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000.  Bred and owned by Peter Core of Dresden, ON, the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall.  Her offspring have earned in excess of $2.7 million. Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a career spanning seven years, 56 victories, including every stake event on the older pacing mare schedule, earning over $2.5 million and being named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010.  The daughter of Camluck was bred, raised and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON with Patrick Fletcher receiving training credit. As a broodmare, J Cs Nathalie has produced two millionaires for owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON -- pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal.  Dreamfair Vogel was a winner of 19 races and over $1.1 million with a mark of 1:49.3.  Dreamfair Eternal, a winner of 56 races and over $2.5 million in purse earnings was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010. The trainer-driver category: Yves Filion, William Gale, and Wally Hennessey. Yves Filion, 67 of Saint-Andre-D’argent, Quebec was one of his province’s premier trainer-drivers for close to 30 years driving in almost 18,000 races with 4,362 wins and $26.5 million in earnings.   Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.4 million.   Pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama each became millionaires with Filion responsible for both training and driving. William Gale, 65 of Woodstock, Ontario, was one of Canada’s leading drivers for a period that spanned the 70s, 80s and 90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons.  During his career, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million. Wally Hennessey, 56, of Prince Edward Island, has more than 8,200 victories to his name and has banked earnings in excess of $55 million.  In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown.  In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. Candidates in the builders’ category: Dr. Ted Clarke, John B. Ferguson and Robert Murphy. Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry.  Highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth.  Before Grand River, Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network. John B. Ferguson may be best known for his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion for Canadian horse racing was drawn from early years spent with his father and grandfather at old Hastings Park in Vancouver, BC.  In addition to his role as a very active owner and breeder, Ferguson also took a role in track management.  He was hired by Blue Bonnets in Montreal and after leaving hockey became the President of Windsor Raceway.  He was also one of driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, BC, one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, was known by his popular Red Star moniker.  First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners.   He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009.  In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada. Outstanding Standardbreds: Albatross, Artsplace, and Happy Lady Albatross was voted US Harness Horse of the Year in 1971 and 1972.  He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million.  As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million. Artsplace was the1992 O’Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner as Horse of the Year following an undefeated four-year-old season.  He was a two-year-old world record holder winning the Breeders Crown in a time of 1:51.1 at Pompano Park in Florida, soundly defeating champion Die Laughing.  He won 37 races and bankrolled over $3 million during his racing career which saw him race many times in Canada before becoming a world class sire. Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, ON and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville.  Though her race career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.2.  Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races.  As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts. Communicators category selections: Harry Eisen, Bill Galvin and Frank Salive. The late Harry Eisen spent a lifetime loving and covering horse racing in Ontario.  As a lifelong journalist, he spent many years exposing the sport to the public, including the majority of his 40 years at the London Free Press.  Eisen who once said he saw his first harness race when he was “three or four years old”, sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a boy.  He was inducted into Western Fair’s Wall of Fame in 1980. As a publicist, promoter and author, Bill Galvin, a native of Arnprior, ON made a tremendous impact on horse racing in Canada. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing.  He led a charge to bring ice horse racing to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans.  He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the health of horse racing during his career. Leamington, ON native Frank Salive was known for over 35 years as “The Voice” of Canadian harness racing.  During his career it is estimated he called over 100,000 races, becoming a fan and industry favourite for his knowledgeable and informative calls and silky voice.  Frank’s career as a track announcer began at Sudbury Downs in the late 70’s and continued at tracks throughout Ontario,  includin  fourteen years at Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine Entertainment Group harness tracks and concluding at Pompano Park, Florida.  Salive was also a regular writer for the Canadian Sportsman for several years. From the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Dave Briggs, writing for the Guelph Mercury newspaper, and M. Kelly Young, writing for Hoof Beats magazine, were named the winners in the 52nd annual John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing journalism, the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) announced Monday. Meadowlands Racetrack photographer Michael Lisa and Dave Witten of Horseman and Fair World magazine were the winners in the 14th annual George Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography. Woodbine Entertainment won the 30th edition of the John Hervey Award for excellence in broadcasting for a feature on Sydney Weaver, a 13-year-old with cerebral palsy who is a licensed groom, horse owner, award-winning writer and public speaker. Briggs won the news/commentary category for his story titled “Horse barns at Mohawk ‘silent as a grave,’” which examined the shutting of the backstretch stables at Mohawk, and appeared in the Jan. 9, 2013 edition of the Guelph Mercury newspaper. Briggs has been awarded a record six Hervey honors. Melissa Keith received honorable mention in the news/commentary division for her story, “What Women Want; Can Racing Attract the Female Horseplayer?” It appeared in the April issue of Trot magazine. In the feature category, Young won for her story, “Win One for Ryan; Pacer races for stricken youngster,” which appeared in the November issue of Hoof Beats. The story recounted the chance meeting between Marc Reynolds and Marie Hunt and Reynolds naming a horse, River Run For Ryan, in honor of Hunt’s son, who has a rare genetic disease called Hunter Syndrome. Susan Higgins and Lauren Lee received honorable mention in the feature category. Higgins was recognized for her story, “‘Make Sure Things Go Right;’ Maine Cast fulfills a dying wish with sire stakes championship,” which appeared on the U.S. Trotting Association website on Nov. 21 and in the December issue of Hoof Beats. Lee was recognized for her story, “The Cornerstones,” about Meadowlands media duo Bob Heyden and Sam McKee entering the Communicators Corner of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, which appeared in June 20 issue of The Canadian Sportsman. The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of longtime horseracing writer Neil Milbert, Dorf Feature Service newsroom assistant/writer Lou Monaco and Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn. In the photography categories, Lisa won in the race feature division for a photograph of driver David Miller heading onto the track on a snowy night at the Meadowlands. The photo appeared in the March 13 issue of Horseman and Fair World as well as the March 14 issue of The Canadian Sportsman. Witten won in the race action category for a photograph of the first turn of the Hambletonian. The photo appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of Horseman and Fair World. Claus Andersen and Mark Hall received honorable mention in the race action category; Andersen for a photo of Bee A Magician winning the Hambletonian Oaks that appeared on the Oct. 17 cover of The Canadian Sportsman and Hall for a photo of Pet Rock winning the Winbak Pace that appeared on the USTA website on Sept. 19. Dave Landry and Barbara Livingston received honorable mention in the race feature category; Landry for a photo of John Campbell driving with his great nephew Tyler McLinchey that appeared on the Sept. 12 cover of The Canadian Sportsman and Livingston for a photo of retired star Staying Together and Kentucky Horse Park Equine Operations Director Wes Lanter that appeared on the USTA website on Oct. 1. The photography categories were judged by Bill Denver, the track photographer at Monmouth Park and Parx Racing as well as a regular contributor to the New York Daily News and Wall Street Journal, and Phil McAuliffe, a longtime newspaper and magazine photographer who worked as a harness racing groom while a teenager. In the broadcast category, Woodbine’s feature on Sydney Weaver was written, voiced and produced by Paul Salvalaggio. It originally aired on June 26 as part of the one-hour North America Cup presentation on The Score television network. To watch the video, click here. The writing categories were judged by a panel consisting of award-winning longtime horseracing writer Neil Milbert, Daily Racing Form Programming Manager Lou Monaco and Philadelphia Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn. Hervey Award winners will be honored as part of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 23 at Dover Downs. For more information about the banquet, visit by Ken Weingartner for USHWA

The Canadian Sportsman is seeking contributions from the harness racing industry to celebrate the life of Canada’s oldest magazine. In 300 words or less, please email your thoughts, memories, stories, comments — just about anything you want to say about the magazine — to editor Dave Briggs ( before noon (eastern time) on Thursday, Dec. 5. We will publish as many comments as possible. On Nov. 18, The Sportsman announced it was publishing its farewell issue in December after 143 years of continuous service (see for details). For more information contact: Dave Briggs Publisher & Editor, The Canadian Sportsman 519-866-5558 ext. 22

LONDON, ON — After missing the Grassroots Championship by just nine points, two-year-old pacer Brodys Scrapper will be looking to capitalize on his second opportunity at a post season pay cheque in Tuesday’s Grassroots Consolation at The Raceway at Western Fair District. Through his six regular season Grassroots starts Brodys Scrapper posted one win, one third, two fourths and two fifths for 88 points and thirteenth spot in the point standings — the top 10 point earners advanced to the Sept. 21 Championship. The Mach Three son’s 1:56.1 personal best came in the Aug. 24 Grassroots event at Kawartha Downs and trainer Bud Sinclair of Stratford, ON is hoping the gelding is ready to match that effort from Post 2 in Tuesday’s tenth race. “He trained super the other day. Hopefully he’s fresh and ready to go,” says Sinclair, who shares ownership of the gelding with his wife Lindsey Sinclair and Kenneth Bryant of Dorchester, ON. The Sinclairs bred and raised Brodys Scrapper, who is out of their $192,922 winning mare Witness To Fame, and the trainer says the gelding is very much like his mother, who was a Grassroots winner at both two and three. “Everything off that mare, they want to kill you when you start with them,” he says ruefully. “To train him down was a nightmare. “It was real hard to get him to focus on stuff,” Sinclair continues. “I raced him in a bunch of maidens just to braven him up and he finally figured it out. He has tons and tons of speed; it’s just the mental part, he’s very tough on himself.” Brodys Scrapper made his racing debut in the Grassroots season opener at Mohawk Racetrack on June 27 and has made eight more starts, scoring four wins, one third and $17,986 for his owners. After Tuesday’s Consolation, the gelding will wrap up his season in the Ontario Sired Autumn Series at Woodbine Racetrack. “He’s got four more starts if he makes the final of the Autumn Series,” notes Sinclair. “He’ll have more starts than we’d really like, but the way the industry is right now you don’t want to pass up an opportunity to make money.” The trainer is hoping a recent alteration to the gelding’s equipment will help Brodys Scrapper earn a pay cheque in the $20,000 Grassroots Consolation on Tuesday. In the last regular season Grassroots event, on Sept. 12 at Mohawk Racetrack, driver Sylvain Filion moved the gelding early and was unable to reapply the brakes once Brodys Scrapper reached the front. “Once you start him up he doesn’t know ‘Whoa’ again,” explains Sinclair. “So I’ve changed his rigging a little bit this time.” With a few equipment changes and a little maturity, Sinclair is also hoping Brodys Scrapper can follow in his mother’s footsteps and make a successful return to the Ontario Sires Stakes program as a three-year-old. “I think next year he’s got a great future ahead of him,” says the trainer. “I hope he can step up a level, I know the speed is there, he just has to get the mental part.” Among the challengers Brodys Scrapper will face in his last freshman Ontario Sires Stakes battle are two colts who finished ahead of him in the point standings. Major Homer finished in eighth spot and gets Post 6, while eleventh ranked Allstar Seelster will benefit from Post 1. The two-year-old Grassroots Consolations will be featured in Races 1 through 6, 9 and 10; with the first $20,000 contest parading onto The Raceway at 4:05 pm. Fans will have an opportunity to wager on a special $1,000 Pick 8 on the eight Grassroots Consolations. For complete entries please go to by Sandra Snyder for the Ontario Sire Stakes        

CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — During the winter of 2010-11 long time Boston Bruins fans Joe MacIsaac was watching his team play the Toronto Maple Leafs while thinking up names for the latest foal from partner Carolyn Williston’s broodmare Chelemark Gizmo. As the Boston faithful chanted ‘Thank You Kessel’ — referencing the 2009 trade deal that sent Phil Kessel to the Leafs in exchange for draft picks that would become Boston stars Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton — MacIsaac thought, ‘Why not?’ and weeks later the name Thankyoukessel was approved by Standardbred Canada. Thankyoukessel made his racing debut in the summer of 2012 and over the past two years has amassed a consistent record of seven wins, two seconds and three thirds in 19 starts for earnings of $212,445. Competing at the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Gold Series level this season the gelding has posted two wins, two thirds and one fifth, ranking him second in the point standings heading into Saturday night’s $200,000 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack. “He started off the year good with a win down in London and he really, really didn’t give us a bad race all year,” says Moffat resident MacIsaac. “He doesn’t do a whole lot wrong; he’s a pretty nice boy.” In addition to his successes in the Gold Series, Thankyoukessel also captured the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk on July 20 in a personal best 1:54.2 and his sophomore debut in a May 2 overnight event at Woodbine Racetrack. The Ken Warkentin gelding has surpassed the standard set by his full-sister Witch Way, who was a Gold Final winner and earned $170,833 in her career. “The best thing about that mare, all her foals have been good gaited,” says MacIsaac, who raced a two-year-old Federal Flex half-brother to Thankyoukessel this summer and will start training a yearling Federal Flex brother this fall. “That makes it a lot easier to get them to the races.” Thankyoukessel and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville will make their run at the OSS division title from Post 3 in Saturday’s seventh race and MacIsaac is expecting another exciting show from the talented Ontario-sired colts. Point leader Buddy Hally will start from Post 4, Goodtimes and Mid-Summer Challenge winner Flanagan Memory gets Post 7, and Yonkers Trot Elimination winner and reigning Super Final champion Creampuff Macdaddy will start from Post 9. “I don’t know how it will end up shaping up,” notes the trainer, “But Flanagan Memory looks like the horse to beat.” Thankyoukessel finished third to Flanagan Memory in the Sept. 20 Gold Series event at Mohawk Racetrack, a mile timed in 1:53.3, and MacIsaac is not sure the gelding can alter that result on Saturday. However, whether Thankyoukessel finishes off his sophomore stakes campaign with a win or a loss, MacIsaac and Williston will head home just as happy with the trotter’s efforts as Boston fans have been with the Kessel trade. “We’re just looking forward to tomorrow (Saturday). I hope things work out for him and he gets a piece of it, but regardless, it’s been a great year for us,” MacIsaac explains. “Anything he gets will be a bonus for us right now. We’re going to enjoy it any way.” Post time for Mohawk Racetrack’s Saturday, Sept, 28 program is 7:25 pm, with the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals featured in Races 2 through 5 and 7 through 10. For complete entries please go to Ontario Sires Stakes

ELORA, ON — Buffeted by extreme weather, Grand River Raceway was forced to cancel its program of racing after just two Gold Series divisions had gone to the post on Friday, Sept. 20. One freshman pacing filly division and one freshman trotting filly division were completed before the severe thunderstorms arrived. The remaining divisions, two for the trotting fillies and one for the pacing lasses, will be contested as non-betting events before the Elora oval’s Sunday evening program. The non-wagering events will begin at 5 pm, with the regularly scheduled card getting under way at 6 pm. Racing over a fast track in the second race of the evening, the $105,000 division of two-year-old pacing fillies did their part to give fans their money’s worth in spite of the abbreviated program. Starting from Post 5 Porsche Seelster sprinted away from the starting gate to a :27.1 opening quarter, but was quickly under siege from favourite Alibi Seelster, who took over before the :56.2 half. Alibi Seelster carried on to a 1:25.1 three-quarters and was on top by a length turning for home, but the rest of the field was just shifting into gear. In spite of traveling up the outside through the bulk of the race, Performing Art was able to put a nose in front of Alibi Seelster, Porsche Seelster and Medoland Lindeylou at the wire. All four fillies were clocked in 1:56.1. Otis Hall conditions Performing Art for Sauble Hill Farms of Tara and his Nasussito Racing Inc. of Ayr. Cambridge resident Billy Davis Jr. guided the Shadow Play daughter to her first lifetime victory, assuring her of a berth in next weekend’s Super Final. The $70,000 trotting filly division saw Toughs Legacy trot to a four length win in 2:01 in spite of a racing surface that had been downgraded to sloppy and three seconds slower than normal. The Kadabra daughter and Guelph resident Paul MacDonell bested Flexible Woman and Tosca. Richard “Nifty” Norman conditions Toughs Legacy for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL. The filly’s first lifetime win also boosted her from sixteenth in the point standings into the top 10. The top 10 point earners advance to the $200,000 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 28. The remaining contestants for the rich freshman filly Super Finals will be decided following Sunday’s trio of rescheduled Gold Series divisions, which get under way at 5 pm over the Grand River Raceway oval. For complete results please go to  Ontario Sires Stakes

 ELORA, ON — Grand River Raceway wraps up its Ontario Sires Stakes season on a high note this Friday, Sept. 20, hosting the final Gold Series leg for the province’s top two-year-old pacing fillies and trotting fillies. The pacing fillies kick things off in the second race with a $105,000 division loaded with Top 10 talent. Second-ranked Yoselin Seelster gets Post 6, fourth-ranked Alibi Seelster will benefit from Post 1, number eight filly Porsche Seelster will line up at Post 5 for trainer Gregg McNair, and ninth-ranked Performing Art gets Post 2. Only the top 10 point earners will advance to next weekend’s Super Final and there are three fillies sitting right below the leaders who will be hoping to make the leap into the lucrative post season. Regil Meg is just four points back and comes into the contest off a runner-up finish in the Sept. 13 Gold event at Mohawk Racetrack. The Artistic Fella daughter will have to overcome the outside Post 8 to score a top three finish for trainer Carmen Auciello and owners Denarben Stables of Thornhill and Rocco Auciello of Stouffville. Also needing a top three result are Medoland Lindylou at Post 3 and Lady Jake at Post 7. The other pacing filly division goes postward in the tenth race and features Battle of the Belles champion Lady Shadow. The Gregg McNair trainee will be looking for her third victory over the Grand River Raceway oval from Post 6. Guelph resident McNair conditions the Shadow Play daughter, who is sitting sixth in the point standings, for owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, MI. The freshman trotting fillies battle in Races 5, 7, and 11 and McNair trainee Luck Is All Ineed will be looking for her second Gold Series win from Post 1 in the last $70,000 division. The Muscle Mass filly made her first appearance in the provincial winner’s circle on Aug. 15, circling the Rideau Carleton Raceway oval in 2:00.1. Tied for second in the trotting filly point race, Luck Is All Ineed is owned by McNair and Thomas Harmer of Willowbrook, IL. Grand River Raceway’s starter will call the first horses to the gate at 7:05 pm on Friday. The two-year-old pacing fillies will show off their speed and skill in Races 2 and 10 and the two-year-old trotting fillies will star in Races 5, 7, and 11. For complete entries please go to by Sandra Snyder for the OSS      

OTTAWA, ON — Ontario’s three-year-old trotting colts have one last opportunity to qualify for the Grassroots post season on Thursday, Sept. 5 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Two local colts, Northern Matador and Cabertoss, currently sit among the top 20 point earners after the first five regular season events. To extend their Ontario Sires Stakes season both colts need a victory over the Rideau Carleton oval on Thursday; only the top 10 point earners will advance to the Sept. 21 Grassroots Championship. Northern Matador has accumulated 67 points from one win, one fourth and three seventh-place finishes in Grassroots action and is currently ranked sixteenth. The Muscle Mass gelding will make his bid for a second victory from Post 5 in the first of four $18,000 divisions Thursday. From 10 sophomore starts the Mark Steacy trainee has two wins, one second and one third for earnings of $10,540. He posted a personal best 2:00.2 clocking at Rideau Carleton in a July 25 overnight event. Clarke Steacy of Gananoque, Landmark V Racing Stable of Kingston, Diane Bertrand of Edmonton, AB and Bridle Path Stables Ltd. of Ossining, NY share ownership of Northern Matador. From just three Grassroots starts, Cabertoss has one win and one fourth to his credit for 58 points and a number 18 ranking. William Murray Jr. of Mountain owns the Muscle Mass colt, and his father William Murray of Kingston trains. Cabertoss will start from Post 6 in Thursday’s eleventh race, and heads into the test off a second-place result in an overnight event at Rideau Carleton on Aug. 29. In 11 starts this season the colt has delivered two wins and two seconds for earnings of $11,838. The three-year-old trotting colts will be spotlighted in Races 2, 4, 8, and 11 on Rideau Carleton Raceway’s Thursday evening program, which gets under way at 6:30 pm. by Sandra Snyder  

INNISFIL, ON - Sophomore trotting filly Motown Muscle earned her second Gold Series win of the season with a confident front end effort around the Georgian Downs oval on Saturday evening. Starting from Post 8 with Mario Baillargeon at the helm, Motown Muscle hustled away from the starting gate and landed in second spot as Choir Robe roared out to a :27.3 opening quarter. Baillargeon sent his filly to the front heading for the :57.3 half and the fan favourites were comfortably in charge at the 1:26.3 three-quarters. A little late acceleration saw Motown Muscle pull away from the field and reach the finish three and one-half lengths on top in 1:55.1. Choir Robe settled for second and Brenway Dixie, owned by Denarben Stables of Thornhill and Rocco Auciello of Stouffville was two more lengths back in third. The win was Motown Muscle's fifth through 10 starts this season and bumped her sophomore earnings to $272,052. Trained by Ben Baillargeon for owner-breeders Bet Max Stables Inc. of Casco, MI and Benenati Inc. of Clinton Twp., MI, the Muscle Mass daughter now owns top spot in the three-year-old trotting filly standings with 112 points. Anaffairtoremember and Seeuinthespring treated Georgian Downs fans to an epic stretch battle in the second $105,000 division, hitting the wire a neck apart in 1:55.4. Princess Lilly was just three-quarters of a length back in third, while fan favourite Angies Lucky Star made a break heading for the three-quarters and finished at the back of the field. Jack Moiseyev piloted Anaffairtoremember to her second Gold Series win for trainer Marie Dupont and owners Claude Brault of Peterborough, ON and M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. The Angus Hall daughter is currently in second spot in the point race, 10 points behind Motown Muscle. The three-year-old trotting fillies make their last regular season Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 13 and Georgian Downs wraps up its 2013 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule with an event for their Grassroots peers on Tuesday, Aug. 27. For complete results    For up to date point standings, race replays, and more. Sandra Snyder

CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — After enduring a winless freshman season, Pounce Hanover finally found his way to the victor’s circle on July 20, in his second sophomore start, and the trotting gelding seemed to find the experience to his liking. Since that 1:57.4 score at Georgian Downs, Pounce Hanover has added two more to his resume, including a Grassroots win back at Georgian Downs on Aug. 13. Making their second Grassroots start at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, Aug. 22, Pounce Hanover and trainer-driver Rick Zeron will be looking to stretch their win streak to four from Post 7 in the eleventh race. Oakville resident Zeron shares ownership of the Majestic Son gelding with The Brabant Stable of London and James Walker of Port Perry. The trotter recorded his 1:57.2 personal best at Mohawk on Aug. 1, winning a non-winners of two races contest. Zeron and Pounce Hanover will face two other winners from the Georgian Downs Grassroots event, Doubledown Gass from Post 8 and Cabertoss from Post 10. The colts lining up behind the starting gate for the first $18,000 Grassroots division face a stiff test as Mid-Summer Challenge champion Flanagan Memory will be joining them at Post 1. Opting to skip the Gold Series event over Grand River Raceway’s half-mile oval, Flanagan Memory will make it tough for colts like Muscle On Broadway to score their second Grassroots victory. Currently sitting tenth in the Grassroots points standings, Muscle On Broadway will be looking to pad his point total from Post 3 in Race 1. The Muscle Mass colt is trained by Cambridge resident Mike Keeling for P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc. of Cambridge and Steve Organ of Aurora. The three-year-old trotting colts will engage in their second last regular season Grassroots battle in Races 1, 5, 10 and 11, with the first division rolling in behind the Mohawk Racetrack starting gate at 7:25 pm. For complete entries.      For up to date point standings, race replays, and more.          Sandra Snyder  

CLINTON, ON — Legends Day at Clinton Raceway always features a group of harness racing’s most revered drivers and trainers, but fans attending this year’s edition on Sunday, Aug. 18 may also catch a glimpse of several former stars from the National Hockey League. Brothers Dave, Dale and Mark Hunter, best known for their careers with the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues, respectively, will be on hand to watch two-year-old trotting colt Strike It Big battle in the Grassroots event featured on the Legends Day program. And while Strike It Big has shown some promise in the early stages of his career, the novice trotter was not solely responsible for the gathering of the Hunter clan. “My grand-daughter is getting married on Saturday, Carol’s daughter,” explains Richard “Dick” Hunter, who, along with son Dale and neighbour Randy Clark, comprise Chasin The Dream Stable of Petrolia and share ownership of Strike It Big with Alvinston resident Rick Podolinsky and Dave Hudson of Dallas, TX. Having the colt racing the day after the wedding was a stroke of luck Hunter was willing to take advantage of, however, and the family has arranged a bus to pick them up at their Oil Springs homestead Sunday morning and deliver them to Clinton for the trotter’s fifth lifetime start. “It just hit perfect, didn’t it,” says Hunter, noting that the bus will hold 40. “We’ll see how we do.” Strike It Big will battle for a share of the $18,000 Grassroots purse from Post 8 in the seventh race on Sunday. The Striking Sahbra son started his season at the Gold Series level, but after failing to hit the board in two attempts trainer Dan Creighton opted to drop the youngster down to the Grassroots level. The strategy paid off as Strike It Big recorded his first win in his Grassroots debut at Georgian Downs on July 30. In the Aug. 8 test at Mohawk Racetrack the trotter finished fifth, closing hard after getting away at the back of the 10-horse field. 'He’s a very nice colt. Like others, he’s had his struggles, but he’s learning,” says Strathroy resident Creighton. “We have hopes for him to be a nice horse. He’s definitely shown some ability.” A $21,000 purchase out of the Forest City Yearling Sale last fall, Strike It Big initially caught Dick Hunter’s eye because of his conformation, but it was the colt’s number in the sale that sealed the deal. “I was going by his stall and the owner was there, and another guy who was helping him. I got talking to the owner and he said, ‘This is quite a colt’,” recalls Hunter. “’He said, ‘This is quite a colt,’ and I looked up and I said, ‘That’s number 99, well I hope he’s as good as Wayne Gretzky was.” Should Strike It Big find success at Clinton on Sunday, it would cap off an exceptional week for the Hunter family. In addition to the much anticipated wedding, last weekend Dale and Mark Hunter returned to London from the Czech Republic sporting gold medals from the Ivan Hlinka under-18 tournament where Dale served as the national team’s head coach and Mark as the general manager, the same roles they perform with the OHL’s London Knights. “How he gets around Clinton, we don’t know, but hopefully he makes a good account of himself,” says trainer Creighton of Strike It Big’s prospects. “Hopefully there will be a big crowd of Hunters up there. I know that Dick, he enjoys the horses because it does get the family together.” No matter how the young trotter performs, or how many family members are on hand to cheer him home, Hunter is confident the busload from Oil Springs will enjoy Clinton Raceway’s biennial Legends Day celebration. “Ian (Fleming) does a heck of a job up there,” says the longtime owner. In addition to the five Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts (Races 1, 2, 3, 7, and 8), Clinton Raceway General Manager Ian Fleming and his staff have a full slate of Legends Day activities planned for fans, including an opportunity to meet 12 of harness racing’s legendary reinsmen. The event gets under way at 1:30 pm and full details are available at For complete entries please go to by Sandra Snyder  

HANOVER, ON - Two-year-old pacing fillies will be the stars of the show at Hanover Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 17 and Shes A Hotmama is hoping for a sizzling mile over her local oval. Through the first three Grassroots events Shes A Hotmama has posted a fifth in the July 2 season opener at Georgian Downs, a win in the July 9 event at Georgian Downs and a second in the July 22 test at Mohawk Racetrack, putting her in a tie for fourth spot in the division standings with 80 points. The daughter of Major Hottie and Maman Secret Love will make her bid for another top result from Post 7 in the first $12,857 division. Kathleen Charlton of Clifford and Larocque Racing Stb. Inc. of Thornhill share ownership of Shes A Hotmama and Clifford resident Stephen Charlton trains the filly, who has tallied $10,542 in her brief career. Among the fillies hoping to keep Shes A Hotmama out of the winner's circle are Catwoman, who is hot on her heels in the point standings with 74. Catwoman will start from Post 4 in the first division for trainer Murray Brethour of Sunderland and his partners Douglas Millard of Woodstock and David Heffering of Port Perry. In the third division Mattjestic Light will make her Grassroots debut for Sauble Hill Farms of Tara and Nasussito Racing Inc. of Ayr. Sauble Hill principal Larry Hall conditions the Royal Mattjesty daughter, who was a winner at Hanover on July 27, touring the half-mile oval in 1:59.4. Garrett Rooney guided Mattjestic Light to the win and will be back in the race bike from Post 5 on Saturday. The two-year-old pacing fillies will engage in their Grassroots battles in Races 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10 on Saturday evening, with Hanover Raceway's first race going in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. For complete entries.    Sandra Snyder  

INNISFIL, ON — Chelseas Chance earned her second Grassroots victory at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening and jumped back to the top of the two-year-old trotting filly division standings. The Kadabra daughter and driver Steve Condren of Milton eased away from Post 1 in the fifth $15,000 Grassroots division and tucked in fourth on the rail as Erin Hall led the field through fractions of :28.2, :59.1 and 1:28.4. Turning for home Condren asked the fan favourite for an extra gear and Chelseas Chance responded with a smart finishing kick that propelled her to a three and three-quarter length victory in 1:58.4. Supreme Monarch closed well to be second, leaving Erin Hall to settle for third. Windsor resident Bob McIntosh conditions Chelseas Chance for his partner, and fellow breeder, C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. Through four Grassroots appearances the filly has three wins and one second for a point tally of 175. Condren and McIntosh also teamed up to earn Lenny Mac her second Grassroots win. Another homebred daughter of Kadabra, owned by McIntosh and Earl Hill Jr. of Ohsweken, Lenny Mac cruised along on the front end to a five and one-half length victory in a personal best 2:00.3. The victory, over Mount Juliette and Majestic Jewel, boosted Lenny Mac into third spot in the division standings, behind her stablemate and Muscle Girl, whose Grassroots win streak was halted at three when she made a miscue in the fifth race and finished seventh. Taking advantage of Muscle Girl’s error was Serendipitous, who looked very impressive in her first lifetime start, circling around the leaders and trotting down the stretch to a four and one-half length victory in 1:58.4 for driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat. Jamieson engineered the win for his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, and Thomas Kyron of Etobicoke. Pocket sitter Jayport Princess and Oceana rounded out the top three. The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Danica (2:00); My Kind Of Pretty (2:00.2); and Jamandra (2:00.2). The two-year-old trotting fillies make their fifth Grassroots start at Grand River Raceway on August 14, and Ontario Sires Stakes action will be back at Georgian Downs next Tuesday, Aug. 13 with the fourth Grassroots event for the three-year-old trotting colts. For complete results please Click here.  

ELORA, ON - A hefty lineup of activities at Grand River Raceway's Industry Day Celebration this Monday afternoon (Aug. 5) includes three special presentations. Trainer Carmen Auciello will kick off the afternoon from a familiar place (the winner's circle) but for a different reason. The multi-talented horseman will sing the Canadian and American anthems at the beginning of the Industry Day broadcast at 1:00. There is a small caveat, though: Auciello's wife Ashley is expecting the couple's second child on August 5. Should their bundle arrive on-time, fans will have to settle for an instrumental version of Oh! Canada. Standardbred Canada will make a special presentation to Canadian Sportsman assistant editor, Lauren Lee after race six. Lee will receive an International Media Award in the Best Magazine Article category, as announced at the 2013 World Trotting Conference held in Paris, France earlier this summer. All Hail The Pail was published in the August 5, 2011 edition of The Canadian Sportsman and tells the story of San Pail and the impact he made on trainer and co-owner Rod Hughes' life and family. Lauren also won Standardbred Canada's 2011 Media Excellence award for this story. Following race seven, Grand River Raceway and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame will salute Carl Jamieson, who will be inducted into the Hall Of Fame on August 15. Jamieson is a five-time winning trainer of the Battle Of Waterloo. The Rockwood, ON horseman won the race every other year from the inaugural edition (at Elmira Raceway) in 1998 through 2006. In 2000, he trained the top three finishers: C T Rocket, Warrawee Caesar and Futurestarkillean. Festivities and the TV broadcast kick off at 1:00 p.m. Post time for the first dash is 1:30. The all-stakes card includes consolations and finals for the Battle Of Waterloo and Battle Of The Belles, plus seven divisions of three-year-old pacing fillies in the Grassroots Series of the Ontario Sires Stakes. For complete event details. Kelly Spencer  

INNISFIL, ON — Ontario’s two-year-old trotting fillies return to Georgian Downs on Tuesday, Aug. 6 and division leader Muscle Girl will be looking to add a second victory over the Innisfil oval to her unblemished resume. After scoring a victory in the July 6 season opener at Kawartha Downs, Muscle Girl made her first stop at Georgian Downs in the July 13 event and trotted to a personal best 1:58.4. The daughter of Muscle Mass and My Witch then added an effortless third victory to her tally at Mohawk Racetrack on July 29. Ray Paquette of Port Hope bred, owns and trains Muscle Girl, who has amassed $27,000 in her three race career, and will entrust her to the care of driver Mario Baillargeon in Tuesday’s fifth race. The Milton resident has piloted the filly in all but one of her starts this season, including a pair of June qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack. Three of the division’s top fillies squared off in one race the last time the young trotters stopped at Georgian Downs and Tuesday’s event is no different. In the fifth $15,000 Grassroots division number two ranked filly Chelseas Chance will be looking for her second straight win over the Innisfil oval from Post 1, as will Erin Hall from Post 2. Fifth ranked Charstruck starts from Post 3, looking to score her first win after a trio of runner-up finishes, and Diamonds For Life, currently tied with Chelseas Chance for second in the point race, is aiming for her third straight win from Post 5. Finally, Bit A Magic, recently arrived in the Grassroots program from the Gold Series, will be hoping to replicate the mile that saw her record a victory at Mohawk Racetrack on July 29. The two-year-old trotting fillies will battle in Races 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 on Georgian Downs’ Tuesday, Aug. 6 program, which gets under way at 7:25 pm. For complete entries please click here

ELORA, ON - Driver Brad Forward and trainer Gerard Demers teamed up to capture two Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events at Grand River Raceway on Friday, July 19. The horsemen, both from Cambridge, kicked off their winning weekend with Tag Up And Go in the fourth $12,857 division. Forward tucked the three-year-old trotting colt in behind pacesetter Euro Man through the opening stages of the mile and then stepped out at the half to take control and cruise home to an impressive seven and one-quarter length win in 1:58.1. Euro Man settled for second and Photo Mass was two more lengths back in third for trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood and his partner Thomas Kyron of Toronto. The clocking was a new personal best for Tag Up And Go, who is trained by Demers for Lise Darveau of Cambridge and Andre Hebert of Papineauville, QC. The Angus Hall gelding was also a winner in the July 1 Grassroots event at Clinton Raceway and currently sits second in the division point standings with three events remaining. Two races later Forward and Demers were back in the winner's circle with division leader Two Doors Down, who sailed along on the front end to a one length score in 2:00. Doubledown Gass and Wanna Be Like Sim rounded out the top three. Robert Montgomery of Carp owns In Conchnito gelding Two Doors Down, who is flawless through three Grassroots starts for a point tally of 150. The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Olly Warrawee (2:00.2); Next To Go (2:00.1); Hadrien Duharas (1:59.4); Super Duke (1:59.2); and Muscle On Broadway (2:00). The three-year-old trotting colts make their fourth Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on Aug. 13, while Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Grand River Raceway on Monday, July 22 with Gold Series action for the two-year-old trotting colts. For complete results For up to date point standings, race replays, and more: Sandra Snyder  

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