Day At The Track
McWicked, harness racing

Hi-5 hit for $426,370; McWicked wins at Mohawk

MILTON, ON - July 21, 2018 - The Woodbine Standardbred Jackpot Hi-5 had just a single-winning ticket Saturday for an incredible payout of $426,370.80 (USD). American Wiggle (#6) turned in a career-best effort of 1:49.2 to win the Jackpot Hi-5 race at odds of 7/1. The winner was followed across the line by several longshots, as race-favourite Fool Me Once (#10), who was 3/2, finished ninth. The top-five finishers from Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5 race were as follows: 1st: #6 American Wiggle (7/1) 2nd: #1 Beach House (13/1) 3rd: #9 Bet On Brett (11/1) 4th: #3 Freddy Bear (9/1) 5th: #5 Major Hill (5/2) The single-winning ticket cost just $3, as it was a $3 straight wager 6/1/9/3/5. The carryover entering Saturday's card was $476,868 and had been building since June 18. A total of $96,090 was wagered on Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5. The Jackpot Hi-5 wager requires horseplayers to select the top-five finishers in order. The wager features a $0.20 minimum and a low takeout of 15 per cent. The Hi-5 will now start from scratch on Monday evening's card. McWicked unleashed an incredible :25 final-quarter to capture Saturday’s $34,000 Preferred at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Casie Coleman trained seven-year-old was returning to the Campbellville oval fresh off a victory in last Saturday’s $471,100 Haughton Memorial at The Meadowlands and riding a three-race win streak, which included a score in the $500,000 Franklin at Pocono. McWicked and driver Bob McClure got away fifth in the field of eight. Nirvana Seelster charged out to grab the lead and got to call the shots, posting sensible fractions of :26.4, :56.4 and 1:24.2. McClure angled out on the far turn to situate second-over and just over four-lengths from the lead at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, McWicked paced up a storm on the outside to reach up and edge Easy Lover Hanover, who enjoyed a two-hole trip, by a neck in 1:50.1. Nirvana Seelster finished third, while Rockin In Heaven was fourth. Owned by SSG Stables, McWicked is now six for eight this season with $574,561 earned. The Coleman trainee is approaching $3 million in career earnings and is currently the top-horse in harness racing’s older pacer division. McWicked’s victory Saturday was his 28th career score. He paid $2.30 to win. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a rookie-filled 12-race card. Monday’s card features 10 Ontario Sires Stakes events for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

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Illusioneesta repeats in OSS Gold action

JULY 21, 2018 - Georgian Downs hosted both the Gold and Grassroots legs for the thee-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday evening and Illusioneesta took sole control of top spot in the Gold Series standings with her second straight victory in the provincial program. Starting from Post 3 in the second $95,600 Gold division, Illusioneesta and driver Chris Christoforou, Jr. employed their usual come-from-behind tactics, getting away in the middle of the pack and allowing Magical Lady to ring up fractions of :28, :59.1 and 1:28.4 before shifting into high gear and sprinting home to a one length victory in 1:58. Magical Lady settled for second and pocket-sitter Gotta Pay To Play was third. "That's what she do, she don't like to go early, she likes to race at the end of it, and that's where the money is," said trainer Per Henriksen of the fan favourite. She's nice, very nice, and she's made a pile of money so far this year, and quite a few Golds and the Super Final left, if everything goes right." Norwood resident Henriksen conditions Illusioneesta for Harbor Racing Stable LLC of Aurora and Asa Farm of Norwood, Ontario. Through eight sophomore starts the Kadabra daughter has tallied four wins and three thirds for earnings of $191,546. "And you know, she's just such a pleasure to be around and don't have no issues or nothing," added Henriksen. "The only thing we've got to watch with her is that we don't feed her too much, because she'd look like a drum if you'd let her." With two wins and one second through the first three Gold events Illusioneesta has accumulated 125 points, putting her almost 50 points ahead of the competition with two events remaining. In the first Gold division, Collateral Beauty earned her first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes victory with a come-from-behind trip that saw her reel in the leaders through the stretch and trot under the wire in 1:58. Apprentice M finished two and three-quarter lengths back in second and Town Hall Justice was third. "She raced phenomenal for me, I was extremely happy. She's very nice to drive," said reinsman Rick Zeron, who drove the filly to the win for trainer Herb Holland and owner Carolyn MacIsaac of Milton, Ontario. "She seems to be just getting better and better every week, and I was extremely happy for Herb and Carolyn, because they're hard-working people and they love their horses." The win was the Kadabra daughter's first through six starts this season and boosts her lifetime earnings to $79,504. Seventh in the Gold Series season opener, the win also bumped Collateral Beauty up to 52 points, putting her among the top 10 point earners. All three Grassroots divisions were also captured by first-time OSS winners. Fan favourite Stormont Charlotte led off with a 1:57.3 victory in the first $19,150 division for driver Scott Coulter and owner-trainer Alan Fair of Ancaster, Ontario. The Justice Hall daughter bested Hopes Solo and Power And Grace. In the second division Robert Shepherd steered fan favourite Pretty N Well to a 2:00.4 score for trainer Mark Johnson and owner-breeder Denise Ball of Bailieboro, Ontario. Northern Lightning finished second and Gradabra was third, giving Ontario trotting sire Kadabra a sweep of the top three spots. The final Grassroots division saw Sharpes Summer Series winner Superlative retain her hold on the Georgian Downs winner's circle. Making her Ontario Sires Stakes debut, Superlative allowed P L Layla to control the early tempo, leading the field through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27 before kicking into gear in the final quarter and storming home to a three length victory in 1:57.3. P L Layla settled for second and Frick was third. Thornton resident Stephen Byron was in Superlative's race bike for the win, as he has been for all five of her lifetime starts. After a bobble in her May 21 debut the Holiday Road daughter has been flawless, sweeping both legs and the final of the Sharpes Summer Series and Saturday's Grassroots division. Rob Walker, Jr. of Sharon trains Superlative for his partners Brilo Farms of Sharon and A J Cachia Sales Ltd. of Newmarket, Ontario. Superlative and her peers will have an opportunity to add to their Grassroots point tally in the fourth event on August 27 at Grand River Raceway, while the Gold Series fillies will compete in their fourth event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 16. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs next Sunday, July 29 with the second Gold event for the two-year-old trotting colts. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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Future Stars; Caretakers Day at H3R Sunday

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The two-year-old's or "babies" as referred to throughout the industry, make their harness racing debut before the racing fans at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, plus it is National Caretaker Appreciation Day in Canada. There are four opening round divisions of the Future Stars Series for colt and filly pacers. For each of the three preliminary rounds of the competition, the purse is $7,500 and then on Sunday, September 9, the top eight point earners will race for $55,000 in the finale. The third race is the first division for the colts. Featured will be D Gs De Vito for owner/breeder Daniel Surprenant of Saint-Valentin. This son of Sportswriter made his pari-mutuel debut last week at H3R and was very impressive with his 2:01.1 victory, the last quarter in :29.2 for driver Jonathan Lachance. They start from post two. The second colt division is the sixth race where YS Sunshine, starting from the rail for driver Stephane Gendron, looks very tough to beat. This colt by Sunshine Beach raced last week at Woodbine-Mohawk Park in the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots and was second, race-timed in 1:55.2. His dam, Bolero Tallia, was a 1:51 winner for owner/breeder Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. The fillies get underway in the fifth race where owner/breeders Gina Bragagnolo and Pierre Leclerc of Louisville have Hurryupatthebeach, already undefeated in two starts, drawing the rail for driver Pascal Berube. This daughter of Up The Credit went wire-to-wire last week at H3R for Berube with a 2:01.4 triumph and plenty to spare. She will face competition from Cooking The Speed (post six), who ships in from the USA after finishing third, race-timed in 1:56.4 at Pocono Downs for owner/breeder Rene Allard and his father, Michel Allard. The eighth race is the second filly division of the Future Stars Series and it is a well-matched field of eight. Early favorites are Majelyca (Windfall Blue Chip) from post one, Broncos Sena (Bolero) in post two and Flower Sena (Windfall Blue Chip) in post seven. This filly already is undefeated in two starts on the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit for Serge Nadeau of Scott, who is not only the trainer, but also the owner and breeder. National Caretaker Appreciation Day This year, Standardbred Canada set up a day to highlight the all too often obscure and unappreciated work of caretakers/grooms, an initiative to be commended for. For the occasion, each racetrack was asked to highlight some of these distinguished employees. At H3R, the designated grooms are Carolann Landry, Sabrina Lord-Bedard and Roxanne Viau. Carolann Landry is a 28-year-old woman employed by Daniel Martin, a passion that comes from her father. She also says that she has learned a lot from Andre Duval. Her greatest joy, of course, is to win with one of her favorites that she cares for throughout the week. Sabrina Lord-Bedard is a 13-year-old girl, the daughter of Nancy Lord and granddaughter of Jean Lord. She is also passionate about horses and is proud to describe the successes they have on the track. Roxanne Viau, Michel Audet's wife, has been associated with the world of racing, and also by his family. Since then, she has been caring for her husband's horses with patience and know-how. Recently, thanks to the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit, she even made her debut in the sulky with successes that do not go unnoticed. She is a big fan of horses and she admires people who like Michel, treat them well. To these three grooms, the management and staff at both the Quebec Club Jockey and the Hippodrome 3R offer their most sincere congratulations, as well as to all those who do the same in the stables of Quebec and the paddock of H3R. One day a year to honor them is not too much. First race post time on Sunday is 12:50 pm. There are free race programs available at www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Kendall Seelster, harness racing

Kendal Seelster sets OSS record at Mohawk

JULY 20, 2018 - Three-year-old harness racing filly Kendall Seelster paced into the Ontario Sires Stakes history books at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening, laying down a record setting 1:49.4 mile to win her $94,800 Gold Series division. The mile took two-fifths of a second off the 1:50.1 clocked by former Ontario Sires Stakes star Michelles Power over the Campbellville oval in 2007 and was just the latest in a series of outsized accomplishments by the diminutive Kendall Seelster, who hit the wire three and one-half lengths ahead of favourite Shower Play and Sudden Passing. "She's still a medium-sized, compact filly, she was probably one of the smallest ones in that race," said trainer Paul Reid, who conditions Kendall Seelster for 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario. "She's the exception to the rule." The victory, which saw the pocket-sitting Kendall Seelster and driver Randy Waples sprint up the inside when pacesetter Sudden Passing drifted to the right in the stretch, was the filly's first in Gold Series action this season. In the May 20 season opener at The Raceway at Western Fair District she finished third and in the June 23 leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park she faded to sixth after doing all the work on the front end. Following the June 23 result Reid sent the daughter of Shadow Play and Kiddie Cocktail out in two overnight races at Woodbine Mohawk Park, on July 6 and 14. Using near-identical come-from-behind tactics in both races, Milton resident Waples guided the filly to two victories, the first in 1:51.4 and the second in 1:51.2. "She definitely needed to get bravened up, and she needed the work honestly. She just was lacking some speed work when I got her, some speed miles, so we just basically had to race her into shape," explained Reid, who returned to Ontario from Florida in early May. "She just wasn't into what I wanted race shape, and the extra miles, you'd like to have them in May, but it ended up we had to do them in the last couple weeks. Now hopefully we can carry on from here." Now that she has regained the form that saw her win two Gold Series divisions, a Champlain Stakes division and $453,985 at two, Reid expects Kendall Seelster will see action in a few more overnight events at Woodbine Mohawk Park before the fourth Gold Leg at Georgian Downs on August 19. For his part, trainer Jack Darling was quite happy Write Me A Song had landed in the other Gold division on Friday. "Both divisions are tough, but the other one I thought was tougher, obviously, they went 1:49.4," said the Cambridge resident. "Kendall was pretty awesome tonight." While Kendall Seelster sat in the pocket through fractions of :26.4, 56.1 and 1:23.2, sprinting home in 26 seconds to the 1:49.4 record, Write Me A Song took command of the first division early. Last year's division champion Percy Bluechip led the field to a :27.4 quarter, but driver Jody Jamieson soon had Write Me A Song on the move and the filly was comfortably out front by the :57 half. Continuing to lead through the 1:24.1 three-quarters, Write Me A Song dug in down the stretch to hold off a fast closing Play The Bell and secure the 1:51.2 victory. Kendall Seelster's stablemate Just Her Luck completed the top three. "I was hopeful. She won that race in Clinton (July 8 Kin Pace Final) and she was very good, but she was stepping up to a lot tougher competition," noted Darling, who also owns the Sportswriter daughter. "I was really happy with her. She's a very honest filly." Darling made two more appearances in the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner's circle Friday, the first with three-year-old pacing filly Neon Moon, who won an overnight event in preparation for her next Grassroots start, and the second with two-year-old pacing filly Powerful Chris, who delivered an impressive 1:52.1 victory in the last of three $68,000 Gold Series divisions for the novice pacing lasses. Darling bought a share in Powerful Chris after a commanding victory in her July 10 Grassroots division caused owner-trainer John Pentland to be inundated with offers to purchase the daughter of Betterthancheddar and Cell Power. "Obviously she was very impressive last week so he was getting some pretty good offers for her, but he wanted to keep her himself to race, which I don't blame him," explained Darling. "So anyway, he called me and offered me a piece of her, and I was pretty impressed with her last week, so I took a piece. "I think he did me a favour by offering me a piece of her. She was just awesome again tonight," admitted Darling, who has known Dorchester, Ontario resident Pentland since his earliest days in the business. "She just looks like something special so far." Bob McClure of Elora, Ontario, who has driven Powerful Chris in all of her qualifiers and races, also acquired a share of the filly through his Syllabus Stable. The other two-year-old pacing filly Gold divisions went to Springbridge Sassy in 1:53.4 and Crisp Mane in 1:52.3. The novice pacing fillies make their third Gold Series start at Grand River Raceway on August 15. Woodbine Mohawk Park features another big card of Ontario Sires Stakes racing on Monday, July 23 with eight Grassroots and two Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old pacing colts. The Grassroots colts will kick things off at 7:30 pm in the first race and carry on through Races 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11, while the Gold colts square off in Races 4 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway's 28th annual Industry Day event on August 6 is a celebration of the people and horses of the harness racing industry. Many of these people tend to acquire a lot of horse things. Loads of art, clothing, clocks, books, mugs, trophies, vases, blankets, figurines, and a whole range of collectibles - all adorned in horses - are at this very moment creating domestic friction in households across the province. For those looking to (or being prompted to) thin out their collections, the Industry Day Garage Sale will connect donors with buyers on one of the best afternoons in Canadian harness racing. All sales will benefit the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame, Standardbred Showcase and Racing Under Saddle Ontario. Grand River Raceway will manage the collection of items. Volunteers from the four organizations will staff the event, equally sharing 100% of all sales. The Industry Day Garage Sale will run from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Paddock Annex. Also included in the sale is a silent auction featuring three stunning prints on canvas, signed by photographer Dave Landry. The award-winning shooter will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame on August 8 and will be part of a lineup of guest commentators on the Industry Day broadcast. Items will be accepted until August 5. To donate items, call (519) 846-5455 ext. 238 or email kspencer@grandriverraceway.com. Industry Day features 11 races including the $220,000 (est) Battle Of Waterloo, $140,000 (est) Battle Of The Belles and an Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event for three-year-old pacing fillies. A $5 all-access pass for the Kids' Zone includes pony rides, petting zoo, bouncy castles and facepainting. Prize draws include a $500 credit for fractional racehorse ownership with TheStable.ca and a Beautiful Summer prize pack of beauty products valued at $1,500. Former Battle Of Waterloo champ Button Up will greet fans from 12:00 - 2:00 and lead the post parade for this year's edition of the race. The halftime show will include the annual Drivers' Edition of the Bouncy Pony Stakes, where James MacDonald will defend his title as "the best Bouncy Pony Stakes driver of all time." Festivities and the broadcast begin at 12:00 p.m. Post time for the first race is 12:30 p.m. Complete event details: https://grandriverraceway.com/events/industry-day/ by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Rail control could prove to be the path to the winner's circle in the Saturday evening preferred pace at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The 11-dash Saturday program kicks off at 6 P.M. at the capital oval with Red Magician leaving from post 1 for driver Adam Merner. Melissa Rennie trains the son of Badlands Hanover for owners Dale and Ronnie Rennie of Elmsdale. Red Magician is fresh off a third place finish in this class while pacing in 1:55.3 and both the pacers that defeated him that day are not in this Saturday class. The $2,350 race is the Aleisha DeRoche Celebration Pace and Zero Rate is also in the group while dropping out of the Governor's Plate series in Summerside and gets Ken Murphy in the bike for trainer Michael Gallant. Rockin Indy is a newcomer to East Coast racing and gets post 5 in his debut for driver Walter Cheverie and new owner-trainer Troy Murray of Clyde River. Race analyst Les MacIsaac "Red Magician is racing as well as he ever has just four starts into the season and should be just about where he wants to be from a conditioning standpoint," MacIsaac said. "Rail control will provide him with the opportunity to cut it or sit and stalk and either of those scenarios could see him get it all." Other preferred pace entries are Perfect Escape (Driven by Ron Matheson), Give Em Heck (Drew Neill) and Oh To Be Me (Gary Chappell). Race 7 is in memory of Gary "Prunes" Campbell with a $2,100 purse and stake and Big Surf riding an undefeated streak into the event. David Dowling picks up the catch driving call behind Big Surf as the Warren Grove driver is seven wins shy of the 1,000 win plateau. He will look to add to those totals with Big Surf from post 3 for trainer Trevor Hicken and owner Perry Burke of Grosse-Ile., Que. Other top entries include Heart And Soul (Cheverie) and Likely To Win (Merner). The Saturday program will be part of National Caretakers Appreciation Day with grooms for each horse announced during the post parade and entered for prize draws along with special certificates of recognition. For race replays and promotional information including the $100,000 Dash For Cash go to www.Redshores.ca. Mando Fun Favoured In Summerside Feature SUMMERSIDE, PE - An evenly matched field of six will contest the Sunday afternoon top class at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway. A total of 12 races will be contested on the afternoon program starting at 1 P.M. including the race 11 $2,200 featured event with six entries. The tight knit group has race secretary Gerard Smith giving the advantage to post 6 entry Mando Fun as the 5-2 morning line favourite. Norris Rogers is in the bike this week for co-owner and trainer Paul Biggar of Tyne Valley and co-owner Donald Callbeck of Kensington. Old Buck was awarded the win in his latest start after finishing second and being placed forward to give him four wins from his last five starts. The son of Ameripan Gigolo will leave from post 4 this week for trainer Alan MacDonald with David Dowling picking up the catch driving call in the absence of regular pilot Jason Hughes, who is competing in stakes action in Nova Scotia. Race analyst Bo Ford puts his faith in Mando Fun in spite of his post position disadvantage. "Mando Fun has had a string of bad luck over his last three or four races, and even today he draws the outside, but on paper he is still the one to beat," Ford said. Other Sunday afternoon featured entries include Offshore Cowboy (Driven by Dale Spence), One Tough Nerd (Ken Murphy), Artist List (Adam Merner) and KD Overdrive (Stephen Mason). The back-up pace has a field of six pacers putting their noses on the gate in race 9 for a $1,800 purse. Instant Shadow is the morning line choice from post 4 for trainer Sifroi Melanson and New Brunswick owners Ultimate Stable of Greater Lakerburn and Robert Kyle of Calhoun. Ryan Desroche picks up the drive this week behind Instant Shadow. Other top entries include Salmonier Storm (Ambyr Campbell) and Pictonian Storm (Austin Sorrie). The Sunday afternoon card is part of National Caretakers Appreciation Day with grooms for each horse announced during the post parade and entered for prize draws along with special certificates of recognition. For race replays and promotional information including the ongoing $100,000 Dash For Cash go to www.Redshores.ca. by Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - After being plagued by breaks in stride in recent races, Prettyndangerous was firing on all cylinders Thursday night crushing her opposition in the featured pace in 1:55.4. Gilles Barrieau was in the bike for the journey as he stalked pacesetter Minor Wisdom (Driven by David Dowling) through fractions of 27.3 and 56.4 before moving to the lead before three-quarters in 1:26.4. The Bo Ford trainee powered forward to win by 10 lengths in the $1,500 class over Good Luck Kathy (Earl Smith) and Hurricane Hill (Mike McGuigan). Ford along with Arnold Myers of Charlottetown own the winning mare. Isabella Hanover found herself in the winner’s circle as she captured her first $1,950 Open trot on the East Coast. Adam Merner engineered the 1:59.1 winning trip for trainer Stephen Gass and owners Kent Livingston of Cornwall and Wade MacDonald of Stanhope. Dowling scored a driving triple on the program to give himself 993 career wins, just seven shy of the 1,000 win plateau. The Warren Grove driver clicked with CL La Rousse in 1:59.4 for trainer Reg Ferguson of Charlottetown, Brodys Leona in 1:58.1 for trainer Kerry Taylor of Stratford and House Of Style in a 2:01.2 maiden breaking win for trainer Earl Watts of Hampshire. Taylor had two training wins on the program as he also teamed up with McGuigan to win with Swingirl in 1:58.4. Mark Bradley also had two training scores with Atlantic Drive in 2:02.1 with the trainer in the bike and with Selfie in 2:01.3 for driver Ken Murphy. Racing continues at Red Shores Charlottetown on Saturday evening at 6 P.M. and Red Shores Summerside on Sunday afternoon at 1 P.M. For more information go to www.Redshores.ca. by Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

JULY 19, 2018 - After an early season that did not play out quite as his connections had hoped, three-year-old trotting colt Perfetto made a brief stop in the Grassroots Series at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening and picked up a confidence building victory. Starting from Post 1, Perfetto and driver Trevor Henry eased away from the starting gate and were sitting fourth as Iam What I Am reached the :30.1 opening quarter. Henry soon sent the heavy favourite to the front and the pair was two and one-half lengths on top at the :59.4 half. On cruise control at the 1:29.3 three-quarters, Perfetto kicked into another gear in the stretch and trotted home a three and one-quarter length winner in 1:57.4. Smart Pick closed sharply to be second and early leader Iam What I Am was third. "That was easy for him," admitted Henry. "They just put him in here because it (the Gold event) was a half-mile at Grand River and they didn't figure he'd get around there, so they raced him here." A Gold Series winner at two, Perfetto's connections expected him to be a serious player at the province's top level again this season, but the gelding made a break in the Gold Series opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park on May 28 and again in his Goodtimes elimination on June 8 and was forced to requalify. Trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman decided to add trotting hopples to the gelding's equipment and he delivered a solid qualifier on June 12, then followed that up with a strong effort in the June 26 Gold event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, finishing second to Stormont Ventnor. On July 13 Perfetto found the winner's circle for the first time as a sophomore in an overnight event for non-winners of three races. "They had a lot of problems with his shoeing and that and they seem to have gotten it straightened out. Anthony Haughan has done a good job with him, and he seems to be coming around now," said Henry, noting that Cambridge, Ontario resident Haughan cares for the Norman horses while they are competing in Ontario. "He's getting better, he's getting his confidence back, you know, he's got two wins now and it will help him a lot." Arthur, Ontario resident Henry has piloted Perfetto in all but one of his Ontario starts for Norman and his Enzed Racing Stable Inc. of Allentown, New Jersey, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, Florida and Joe Hansford of Foothills, Alberta. Thursday's victory improved the gelding's sophomore record to three wins and two seconds in eight starts for earnings of $51,580. Say You Do's sophomore campaign also got off on the wrong foot with breaks in both the May 20 Grassroots opener at Flamboro Downs and the July 1 event at Dresden Raceway. The Kadabra gelding redeemed himself on Thursday evening however, with an impressive gate-to-wire score from Post 7 in the first $19,150 division. With Guelph, Ontario resident Paul MacDonell in the race bike for the first time, Say You Do fired off the gate and reached the quarter in :28.4. The pair carried on through a :59 half, fought off a challenge from Daylon Phantom heading by the 1:28 three-quarters and then cruised home to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.2. Fan favourite T Barrr closed well to be second and The Magic Number was third. MacDonell crafted Say You Do's first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes victory for trainer Stephen Oldford and his Oldford Racing LLC of Port Huron and Gene Oldford Farms LLC of St. Clair, Michigan. Through six sophomore starts the trotter now has two wins, two seconds and earnings of $17,990. Perfetto and Say You Do will be hoping for additional Ontario Sires Stakes success when the three-year-old trotting colts and geldings head to Rideau Carleton Raceway on August 26 for both the Gold and Grassroots events. On Friday evening Woodbine Mohawk Park will showcase Gold Series pacing fillies, both two and three-year-olds. The freshman fillies will compete in Races 5, 7, and 8, while the sophomores square off in Races 2 and 9. The Campbellville oval's first race goes postward at 7:30 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON -  July 19, 2018 - The inaugural National Caretaker Appreciation Day will take place this Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park and it would be a challenge to find an individual who feels recognizing the unsung heroes of the sport isn't long overdue. "They're the backbone and without a doubt not just to my operation, but the industry as a whole," said veteran trainer Ben Wallace. "I have two of the best and they've been with me a while and thank goodness they have. They are without a doubt the unsung heroes and there is no way we could function without them." National Caretaker Appreciation Day will be held at tracks across Canada this weekend from July 20 to 22. The program idea came from a meeting between trainer Sarah Lauren Scott, a former caretaker, and Kathy Wade Vlaar, Manager of Industry Marketing for Standardbred Canada. This weekend's event at Woodbine Mohawk Park has been primarily organized by Scott and promises to be a memorable evening. Activities include gift bags for all caretakers, special mementos for winning caretakers, complimentary dinner in the paddock kitchen, race sponsorships for each race and draw prizes. Caretakers are typically behind the scenes, but this Saturday each caretaker will be publicly acknowledge by track announcer Ken Middleton during the post parades. "Appreciation and acknowledgement will go a long way in whatever you do," Scott said. "Each caretaker has responsibilities that deserve to be credited." Adding to the evening's events, a pair of caretakers will honoured in the winner's circle with the Dwane Graham Achievement Award as outstanding caretakers. Graham, who passed away in March, epitomized the definition of a hardworking, knowledgeable and kind caretaker that always put his horses first. Veteran reinsman Paul MacDonell is one of many horsepeople happy to see the creation of National Caretaker Appreciation Day. "I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was going to be a day directed towards them," MacDonell said. "They are unsung heroes in my mind. They get up first thing in the morning and they are there late at night and during the day it can go on for hours, so they really deserve this." The average racing fan may overlook the high-level of trust that drivers put in caretakers for every day or night of racing. "They're the ones that have to report everything to the trainer about the horse and any specific that could've gone wrong or right during the week," MacDonell explained. "We entrust them to make sure the horses are harnessed and all the equipment is intact before we go out onto the track." Scott is hopeful that National Caretaker Appreciation Day can also be used to help grow the industry and put a spotlight on opportunities for employment. "The entry level position of being a caretaker needs to be updated and glorified to a degree so when the Millennials are seeking employment our industry is considered," Scott said. "Being a caretaker requires someone very driven and committed. Behind every great horse is a caretaker." Dedication is the main trait trainers seek in their caretakers and many believe it is an important factor in having success on the track. "I just find the ones that really love their horses are the best ones," MacDonell said. "They're the ones that put in the time and effort. They all come differently, but the ones that really care about their horses are the ones that really are the backbone of our industry." Wallace echoed MacDonell's thoughts. "Dedication is the thing that comes to mind first...I would say diligence, being on time and responsible are the biggest characteristics." In addition to Woodbine Mohawk Park, twelve additional tracks across the country will be hosting events this weekend to recognize and honour caretakers. "It's a big initiative and participation has been overwhelming," explained Wade Vlaar. "The industry is 100% behind this project and this is one small way we can say thank you to some of the hardest working individuals in our sport." Post time for Saturday's card of racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

JULY 18, 2018 - Grand River Raceway hosted its first Ontario Sires Stakes event of the season on Wednesday evening and local drivers Bob McClure and Doug McNair swept six of the nine Gold and Grassroots divisions. McClure teamed up with trainer Keith Jones of Barrie and owner Douglas McCarthy of Holland Landing, Ontario to sweep both of the three-year-old trotting colt and gelding Gold divisions. In the first $94,800 split McClure left strongly from Post 3 with Henderson Seelster and settled the colt in second as Sicario sprinted out to a :28 quarter, :58.3 half and 1:28.1 three-quarters. In the stretch McClure sent Henderson Seelster around the tiring pacesetter and the colt powered home to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:57.2. Heavy favourite Run Director was second and Barney Mac rounded out the top three. "Both of Keith's are really good on a half, he has them set up and good gaited, so half-miles are an advantage to those two for sure," noted McClure. "Henderson can get a bit hot, so the pace didn't slow down very much and when he got out, he really exploded out of the hole, I didn't expect it, but he raced super. I was really happy with him." Henderson Seelster did not race in the Ontario Sires Stakes as a two-year-old, but in three sophomore starts at the Gold Series level the son of Holiday Road has now tallied one seventh, one third and one win. Wednesday's triumph boosted the trotter's lifetime earnings to $102,454. The second $95,600 Gold division saw McClure fire Joey Bats out of Post 6 and control the tempo, laying down fractions of :28.3, 1:00 and 1:29.2 on the way to a two length victory in 1:58. Fan favourite Stormont Ventnor was second and Winning American finished third. "He's a really nice horse to drive," said McClure. "At Woodbine Mohawk (Park), the stretch sometimes gets a little long for him, but he's really good gaited and he's really manageable and, like I say, he gets around a half like a hoop on a barrel, so I expected him to race good today and he did, we were really moving going into that last turn. "He got cheap fractions, which didn't hurt, but he did race really well," the Elora resident added. "Once he got the half in a minute I figured they'd have to do some racing to catch him." Like his stablemate, Holiday Road gelding Joey Bats did not race in the Ontario Sires Stakes last season, but he now has one win, one third and one seventh to his credit through three Gold Series appearances this season, boosting his earnings to $107,140. McClure completed the Ontario Sires Stakes hat trick in the fifth $18,450 two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots division, guiding Royalty Again to her first lifetime win in a 1:59.2 clocking. Favourite Rella Tivity was one-half length back in second and Sugar Shadow, driven by Doug McNair, was third. "She had a lot of racing luck which never hurts," admitted McClure. "It couldn't have worked out any better for her, but when she did get room she paced forward, so you can't knock her, she won." McClure crafted the victory for trainer Leon Mansfield and Antonia Smith of Strathroy, Ontario, who offered up $6,000 for the Royal Mattjesty daughter at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. McNair collected his three Ontario Sires Stakes wins in the Grassroots divisions, guiding Bens Jenna, Kylie Seelster and Sports Flix to victory in the first, sixth and seventh splits. Bens Jenna recorded the quickest mile of the seven divisions, hitting the wire in 1:57.1, one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Ideation Hanover and Paris Rose. Ron Adams of LaSalle conditions the Mach Three daughter for David Kryway of Amherstburg and 1362313 Ontario Ltd. of Windsor, Ontario, who acquired the filly for $16,000 from the 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Kylie Seelster paced home in the second fastest time, fighting off a top-of-the-stretch challenge from Whitehaven Beach to reach the wire two lengths the best in 1:57.4. Favourite Whitehaven Beach settled for second and Karans Choice was third. Gregg McNair of Guelph trains Kylie Seelster for his partner Keith Waples of Puslinch and Dr. Chris Robson of London, Ontario. The trio purchased the filly from the London Selected Yearling Sale last fall for $44,000. "The first filly is a handy little filly and she raced good, that was a good trip," said Doug McNair about Bens Jenna. "The second filly (Kylie Seelster) raced tough. She's been off a couple of weeks, so it was another impressive mile tonight." One race later the McNairs returned to the winner's circle with Sports Flix, who paced home one and one-half lengths ahead of favourite Lady Maya and Southwind Thundra, driven by McClure, in 2:00.3. James Fraleigh of Dresden, Ontario owns the daughter of Sportswriter and $1.3 million winner Moving Pictures, offering up $13,000 for her at the London Selected Yearling Sale. "She's been getting better since her first qualifier (June 29) and she got a good trip tonight," said McNair. "They didn't go as much as the rest, but she got the job done." The other three Grassroots divisions went to Better Now in 1:59.1, Jessicas Legacy in 1:58 and Twin B Friendly in 1:58.3. Heading into the evening's final race, a preferred trot, tied with three wins each, McNair and McClure put on a show for Grand River fans. First and second turning for home, McClure urged favourite Katch Kanna home to a one length victory in 1:59, leaving McNair to settle for second with pacesetter Spartan Victory. "Me and Dougie both had three going into the last. He cut the mile and I got by him late, and I was doing some chirping, I think," said McClure with a chuckle. The two-year-old pacing fillies make their third Grassroots start on August 20 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, while the three-year-old trotting colts will make their fourth Gold Series appearance on August 26 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Grand River Raceway's second Ontario Sires Stakes event is on Monday, August 6, when the third three-year-old pacing filly Grassroots event will be part of the Elora oval's annual Industry Day celebration. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Many of the best young harness racing trotters and pacers in the Maritimes will be featured at Truro Raceway this week as part of Atlantic Grand Circuit Week harness racing action. The trotters will kick off the action on Thursday evening when both the two and three-year-olds take to the Truro oval in the Atlantic Sires - Meridian Farms trotting events. The freshmen trotters will go in two $8540 divisions, while the sophomore trotters will go in three divisions, each for a purse pool of $6220. First race post time on Thursday evening is 6:30 pm. Atlantic Sires Stakes racing action will continue on Friday evening when the two-year-old pacers will aim to climb the leader board. The two-year-old pacing fillies will go in three $7240 'A' division events and one $2500 'B' event. Meanwhile, the two-year-old colts will go in two $10,160 'A' divisions and one $2500 'B' event. First race post time on Friday will be 6:30 pm. The Saturday evening card will feature the three-year-old pacing colts in a total of three divisions. This will the second meeting of the season for the three-year-old colt contenders in what is sure feature competitive fields. Points earned in each Atlantic Sires Stakes 'A' pacing event and all trotting events go towards securing a spot in the season-ending Atlantic Breeders Crown Championships. To view the current Atlantic Sires Stakes point standings, visit www.atlanticsiresstakes.ca by Lynne MacLennan, for the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association  

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Racing action on Prince Edward Island returns to Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park on Thursday evening with a group of talented pacing mares doing battle in the race 9 featured pace. First race post time is 6:30 P.M. for the 10-dash program with Shadows Mystery controlling the rail in the $1,500 Race 9 top pacing event. The Gordie Ford trained and owned Shadows Mystery is fresh off a win in 1:56.3 for driver Adam Merner with that reinsman back in the bike this week. Prettyndangerous leaves from post 2 with a string of 1:57 miles down her chartlines but has been battle breaks in stride for trainer Bo Ford. Gilles Barrieau is in the bike this week with the eight-year-old daughter of Armbro Deuce installed at 7-2 morning line odds while dropping out of the Open Mares ranks. Good Luck Kathy starts from post 5 at 3-1 odds with Earl Smith in the bike for owner Janet Compton of Stratford. Race analyst Les MacIsaac places his wagers on Shadows Mystery with rail control. "Judging by Shadow's Mystery's last two starts her earlier problems could be a thing of the past," MacIsaac said. "She was the easiest of winners in a well rated mile last week and a similar trip could be in the cards tonight. Looks like the one to knock off." Other entries include Diduseethat (Driven by Jason Hughes), Hurricane Hill (Mike McGuigan) and Minor Wisdom (David Dowling). The $1,950 Open trot hits the track in raced 8 with Hop Up riding a three-race win streak but having to start from post 8 for owner-trainer Keith Campbell of Tyne Valley. Ken Murphy picks up the catch driving call as regular pilot Corey MacPherson is racing in stakes action in Nova Scotia. The four-year-old daughter of Tad The Stud was never better than last week at Red Shores Summerside, winning in 1:59.2 on top at every call. Other top Open trot entries include Isabella Hanover (Merner) and Holy Molie Maggie (Barrieau). For race programs, promotional information and more go to www.Redshores.ca. by Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores  

JULY 17, 2018 - James MacDonald and Mark Steacy teamed up to win two-thirds of what was a very regal night of Grassroots action at Georgian Downs on Tuesday. MacDonald opened the two-year-old trotting colt and gelding Grassroots season with a victory behind Rap Royalty in the first $18,450 division. Starting from Post 7 the pair moved strongly off the gate and sat briefly in third before circling around to second as Northern Tailwind logged fractions of :31, 1:01.3 and 1:32. Coming off the final turn MacDonald turned Rap Royalty loose and the co-favourite held on for a neck victory over H A Houston, stopping the teletimer at 2:03.2. Zorgwijk Tim, the other fan favourite, finished third. "Rapper was good. I got him off the gate good and then I had to move him first up a little bit, but I got to tuck in and draft for a little while and pop out just before they got to the stretch," noted Guelph, Ontario resident MacDonald. "He was a little green still, like he went by them and then he kind of let up when he cleared, but they're two-year-olds, everything's new to them still, so I was pleased." Steacy conditions the son of Kadabra for Landmark 11 Racing Stable of Lansdowne, David Reid of Glenburnie, Ontario, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec, and Bertrand Gilhespy Stable of Edmonton, Alberta. The gelding was a $60,000 purchase out of the 2017 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Six races after their first visit to the winner's circle MacDonald and Steacy were back in front of the Georgian Downs fans with Royal Elite. Starting from Post 2 in the third division, MacDonald employed a similar strategy with the Royalty For Life son, sitting third early and then advancing up the outer lane heading by the three-quarter pole. Never Tell rolled along on the front end through fractions of :30.4, 1:01.3 and 1:32, but could not hold off Royal Elite when MacDonald asked for another gear. The colt trotted home a 2:02 winner, one and one-half lengths ahead of Never Tell and fan favourite Judge Ken. "He's a homebred from a hard luck Muscles Yankee mare (Day Dream) we bought several years ago. This is her first live foal and he has been good from the time we broke him," said Lansdowne resident Steacy, who trains Royal Elite for owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. "We're hoping for a couple of Grassroots starts and then maybe, if he keeps improving, a Gold try would be nice. He raced very game tonight, moving first up to win." The colt also impressed MacDonald, who had driven both Royal Elite and Rap Royalty in their pre-season qualifiers. "He was a little better today. He's got high speed, he just needs to learn how to do it right, like sometimes he wants to go when he shouldn't and doesn't want to go when you want him to," explained the driver. "He's just green, and I was really pleased with him." Rounding out the trio of regally-named winners was A Royal Line, who captured the second division in 2:02.4. Starting from Post 2 driver Robert Shepherd settled A Royal Line in fourth as MacDonald sent Steacy trainee In The Will out to a :30.3 quarter and 1:02.1 half. When In The Will skipped off stride heading for the 1:32.2 three-quarters, A Royal Line was advancing up the outside to the lead, a lead he had extended to four and three-quarter lengths by the wire. Y A Titan finished second and Sweet Lou Wittaker was third. Flamborough resident Shepherd crafted the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Dave Boyle of Bowmanville and Mardon Stables of Loretto, Ontario. McIntosh also bred the son of Royalty For Life and Direct Dial. The two-year-old trotting colts and geldings will make their second Grassroots start on July 31 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Georgian Downs this week as the Innisfil oval welcomes the three-year-old trotting fillies for their third Gold and Grassroots events this Saturday, July 21. Saturday's first race goes postward at 7:15 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Harness racing trotting filly Kinnder Prediction picked the perfect spot to score her maiden victory, winning a $10,000 opening round leg of the Breeders Cup Series at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday evening. The daughter of Northern Escort, driven by Justin Filion, left from her rail starting position and shot right to the lead with Montanalaska and Guy Gagnon following them in second place. It was not until the three-quarters mile marker that Gagnon made his move with Montanalaska, coming first-over against Kinnder Prediction. They were able to nearly collar the race leader as they start down the stretch, but Kinnder Prediction and Filion proved to be too strong and went on to win by a half-length in 2:02.4. Montanalaska was second with Precieuse CC (Clauder Beausoleil), last year's two-year-old champion, finishing third. Bred, owned and trained by Denitza Petrova of Melbourne, it was the first win in nine lifetime starts for Kinnder Prediction. Due to only three fillies entering the race, it was held as a non-wagering event. The colt division of the Breeders Cup saw a full field of ten three-year-old's go behind the starting gate. It was SG Goliath King and driver Sylvain Grenier leaving from post seven and grabbing the early lead with race favorite Nobodynosjustice and driver Guy Gagnon sitting the two-hole trip. Then pulling the pocket before the half mile marker, Gagnon send Nobodynosjustic after SG Goliath and Grenier, but Grenier was not giving up the lead and parked out Gagnon through the backstretch and it was not until after the three-quarters that Nobodynosjustice was able to clear to the lead. Gagnon and Nobodynosjustic then had it easy coming home to win by two and one-quarter lengths in 2:04. SG Goliath King was second and Ganymede Lavec (Jerome Lombart), last year's 2-year-old Champion, was third. It was the first win in seven start this year for Nobodynosjustic. The gelded son of Justice Hall is trained by Dany Fontaine for owner/breeder Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, paying $3.40 to win. Driver Guy Gagnon had the hot hands Tuesday, winning three races on the program. Track Notes: Coming up this Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R will be the opening round of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies. There will be three preliminary rounds with the $65,000 finals on Sunday, September 9. Post time this Sunday is 12:50 pm. For a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

JULY 16, 2018 - Grey skies parted to reveal a double rainbow and Ontario Sires Stakes hopefuls evolved into Gold Series winners as the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings made their provincial debut at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening. Capturing the first $52,200 Gold Series division was Lifetime Royalty and driver Doug McNair, who eased away from Post 7 and used a late sprint to propel them to a one and one-quarter length victory in 2:01. Fan Favourite Knight Angel also closed well over the rain-soaked surface to be second, while pocket-sitter Isnt He An Angel was third. "We paid for him to be a good colt, and he trained down like a good horse all winter. I was always very high on him," said trainer Scott McEneny, who offered up $100,000 for the youngster at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. "That's a good way to start the season." The Waterdown resident shares ownership of Lifetime Royalty with Brad Grant of Milton and Martwest Racing Stable of Mississauga, Ontario. The son of Royalty For Life and Cha Cha Glide has two relatives that have earned more than $1 million - American-bred What The Hill and former Ontario Sires Stakes star Majestic Son - and McEneny had a bold circle around his name in the Lexington sales catalogue. "I loved him, he was a gorgeous colt at the sale, and I just said to Brad, I said I'd really like to take him home, and we did," the trainer recalled. "We had to pay for him - $100,000 for first crop Ontario Sired was pretty good money -but he was just gorgeous, he looks the part, and he always has been the part." Prior to Monday's victory, Lifetime Royalty had posted runner-up finishes in his June 25 and July 3 qualifiers and in a July 9 two-year-old conditioned event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, giving him an early season bank balance of $29,600. The second division saw driver Louis Philippe Roy employ similar tactics with Dream Nation from Post 5. The pair got away near the back of the pack and then advanced up the outer lane, taking control around the final turn. Through the stretch the fan favourites drew away to a four and one-half length victory in 1:59.4. Tymal Tullo was second and Tennessee Titan finished third. "There's some young trotters that can get aggressive a little bit, so they drive you more than you drive them, but this one, he'll do what you want," said Roy, who drove the Archangel gelding to the win for trainer Jacques Dupont and owners Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Repentigny, Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy, Gestion C. Levesque 2015 Inc. of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal., Quebec. "I trained him maybe four or five times with Jacques, even before qualifying him, and every time, just perfect attitude, doing what you want." Flawless through his June 25 qualifier and a July 2 two-year-old conditioned event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Dream Nation has earned back $33,100 of his $42,000 purchase price from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The third division saw another come-from-behind performance from fan favourite Southwind Avenger and driver Trevor Henry, who sat fifth through the first half of the mile and then accelerated up the outer lane to a three and one-half length victory in 1:59.4. Henry engineered the victory from Post 8 for New Jersey-based trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Mel Hartman of Ottawa, Ontario, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, Florida and Little E LLC of New York, New York, and the veteran reinsman found the victory uniquely satisfying. "I always liked the colt, when he was a yearling I went and looked at him at the sale, but I knew we wouldn't be able to afford him," explained the Arthur, Ontario resident. "I always had in the back of my head, at least if he turns out I'll have shot to drive him, because I liked the colt, I watched videos of him, I really liked him." The hammer fell at $77,000 for Southwind Avenger at the Lexington sale and the colt delivered a pair of qualifying victories at Harrah's Philadelphia before shipping north to compete in the Ontario Sires Stakes. The final division saw an impressive late sprint by Forbidden Trade land reinsman Bob McClure in the Gold Series winner's circle for the first time in his career. Starting from Post 8, McClure and the son of Kadabra and former Ontario Sires Stakes superstar Pure Ivory hit the wire in 1:59.2, reeling in Tymal Houdini and fan favourite Jumpshot. "I've had about six seconds, but no (Gold) wins," explained the 27-year-old reinsman, who drove the colt to the win for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. "He almost over trotted coming out of the turn, but it's his first lifetime start, and once he got his head down and going he was doing some trotting." A $110,000 purchase from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Forbidden Trade delivered a 28 second last quarter to earn the victory. All four colts will have an opportunity to add to their provincial resume in the second Gold Series event on July 29 at Georgian Downs. On Thursday the three-year-old trotting colts make their first Grassroots stop at Woodbine Mohawk Park, competing in Races 5 and 8. Thursday's first race goes behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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MILTON, ON - July 21, 2018 - The Woodbine Standardbred Jackpot Hi-5 had just a single-winning ticket Saturday for an incredible payout of $426,370.80 (USD). American Wiggle (#6) turned in a career-best effort of 1:49.2 to win the Jackpot Hi-5 race at odds of 7/1. The winner was followed across the line by several longshots, as race-favourite Fool Me Once (#10), who was 3/2, finished ninth. The top-five finishers from Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5 race were as follows: 1st: #6 American Wiggle (7/1) 2nd: #1 Beach House (13/1) 3rd: #9 Bet On Brett (11/1) 4th: #3 Freddy Bear (9/1) 5th: #5 Major Hill (5/2) The single-winning ticket cost just $3, as it was a $3 straight wager 6/1/9/3/5. The carryover entering Saturday's card was $476,868 and had been building since June 18. A total of $96,090 was wagered on Saturday's Jackpot Hi-5. The Jackpot Hi-5 wager requires horseplayers to select the top-five finishers in order. The wager features a $0.20 minimum and a low takeout of 15 per cent. The Hi-5 will now start from scratch on Monday evening's card. McWicked unleashed an incredible :25 final-quarter to capture Saturday’s $34,000 Preferred at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Casie Coleman trained seven-year-old was returning to the Campbellville oval fresh off a victory in last Saturday’s $471,100 Haughton Memorial at The Meadowlands and riding a three-race win streak, which included a score in the $500,000 Franklin at Pocono. McWicked and driver Bob McClure got away fifth in the field of eight. Nirvana Seelster charged out to grab the lead and got to call the shots, posting sensible fractions of :26.4, :56.4 and 1:24.2. McClure angled out on the far turn to situate second-over and just over four-lengths from the lead at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, McWicked paced up a storm on the outside to reach up and edge Easy Lover Hanover, who enjoyed a two-hole trip, by a neck in 1:50.1. Nirvana Seelster finished third, while Rockin In Heaven was fourth. Owned by SSG Stables, McWicked is now six for eight this season with $574,561 earned. The Coleman trainee is approaching $3 million in career earnings and is currently the top-horse in harness racing’s older pacer division. McWicked’s victory Saturday was his 28th career score. He paid $2.30 to win. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a rookie-filled 12-race card. Monday’s card features 10 Ontario Sires Stakes events for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Post time is 7:30 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment
JULY 21, 2018 - Georgian Downs hosted both the Gold and Grassroots legs for the thee-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday evening and Illusioneesta took sole control of top spot in the Gold Series standings with her second straight victory in the provincial program. Starting from Post 3 in the second $95,600 Gold division, Illusioneesta and driver Chris Christoforou, Jr. employed their usual come-from-behind tactics, getting away in the middle of the pack and allowing Magical Lady to ring up fractions of :28, :59.1 and 1:28.4 before shifting into high gear and sprinting home to a one length victory in 1:58. Magical Lady settled for second and pocket-sitter Gotta Pay To Play was third. "That's what she do, she don't like to go early, she likes to race at the end of it, and that's where the money is," said trainer Per Henriksen of the fan favourite. She's nice, very nice, and she's made a pile of money so far this year, and quite a few Golds and the Super Final left, if everything goes right." Norwood resident Henriksen conditions Illusioneesta for Harbor Racing Stable LLC of Aurora and Asa Farm of Norwood, Ontario. Through eight sophomore starts the Kadabra daughter has tallied four wins and three thirds for earnings of $191,546. "And you know, she's just such a pleasure to be around and don't have no issues or nothing," added Henriksen. "The only thing we've got to watch with her is that we don't feed her too much, because she'd look like a drum if you'd let her." With two wins and one second through the first three Gold events Illusioneesta has accumulated 125 points, putting her almost 50 points ahead of the competition with two events remaining. In the first Gold division, Collateral Beauty earned her first-ever Ontario Sires Stakes victory with a come-from-behind trip that saw her reel in the leaders through the stretch and trot under the wire in 1:58. Apprentice M finished two and three-quarter lengths back in second and Town Hall Justice was third. "She raced phenomenal for me, I was extremely happy. She's very nice to drive," said reinsman Rick Zeron, who drove the filly to the win for trainer Herb Holland and owner Carolyn MacIsaac of Milton, Ontario. "She seems to be just getting better and better every week, and I was extremely happy for Herb and Carolyn, because they're hard-working people and they love their horses." The win was the Kadabra daughter's first through six starts this season and boosts her lifetime earnings to $79,504. Seventh in the Gold Series season opener, the win also bumped Collateral Beauty up to 52 points, putting her among the top 10 point earners. All three Grassroots divisions were also captured by first-time OSS winners. Fan favourite Stormont Charlotte led off with a 1:57.3 victory in the first $19,150 division for driver Scott Coulter and owner-trainer Alan Fair of Ancaster, Ontario. The Justice Hall daughter bested Hopes Solo and Power And Grace. In the second division Robert Shepherd steered fan favourite Pretty N Well to a 2:00.4 score for trainer Mark Johnson and owner-breeder Denise Ball of Bailieboro, Ontario. Northern Lightning finished second and Gradabra was third, giving Ontario trotting sire Kadabra a sweep of the top three spots. The final Grassroots division saw Sharpes Summer Series winner Superlative retain her hold on the Georgian Downs winner's circle. Making her Ontario Sires Stakes debut, Superlative allowed P L Layla to control the early tempo, leading the field through fractions of :28.1, :57.4 and 1:27 before kicking into gear in the final quarter and storming home to a three length victory in 1:57.3. P L Layla settled for second and Frick was third. Thornton resident Stephen Byron was in Superlative's race bike for the win, as he has been for all five of her lifetime starts. After a bobble in her May 21 debut the Holiday Road daughter has been flawless, sweeping both legs and the final of the Sharpes Summer Series and Saturday's Grassroots division. Rob Walker, Jr. of Sharon trains Superlative for his partners Brilo Farms of Sharon and A J Cachia Sales Ltd. of Newmarket, Ontario. Superlative and her peers will have an opportunity to add to their Grassroots point tally in the fourth event on August 27 at Grand River Raceway, while the Gold Series fillies will compete in their fourth event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 16. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Georgian Downs next Sunday, July 29 with the second Gold event for the two-year-old trotting colts. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Trois-Rivieres, QC - The two-year-old's or "babies" as referred to throughout the industry, make their harness racing debut before the racing fans at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, plus it is National Caretaker Appreciation Day in Canada. There are four opening round divisions of the Future Stars Series for colt and filly pacers. For each of the three preliminary rounds of the competition, the purse is $7,500 and then on Sunday, September 9, the top eight point earners will race for $55,000 in the finale. The third race is the first division for the colts. Featured will be D Gs De Vito for owner/breeder Daniel Surprenant of Saint-Valentin. This son of Sportswriter made his pari-mutuel debut last week at H3R and was very impressive with his 2:01.1 victory, the last quarter in :29.2 for driver Jonathan Lachance. They start from post two. The second colt division is the sixth race where YS Sunshine, starting from the rail for driver Stephane Gendron, looks very tough to beat. This colt by Sunshine Beach raced last week at Woodbine-Mohawk Park in the Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots and was second, race-timed in 1:55.2. His dam, Bolero Tallia, was a 1:51 winner for owner/breeder Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. The fillies get underway in the fifth race where owner/breeders Gina Bragagnolo and Pierre Leclerc of Louisville have Hurryupatthebeach, already undefeated in two starts, drawing the rail for driver Pascal Berube. This daughter of Up The Credit went wire-to-wire last week at H3R for Berube with a 2:01.4 triumph and plenty to spare. She will face competition from Cooking The Speed (post six), who ships in from the USA after finishing third, race-timed in 1:56.4 at Pocono Downs for owner/breeder Rene Allard and his father, Michel Allard. The eighth race is the second filly division of the Future Stars Series and it is a well-matched field of eight. Early favorites are Majelyca (Windfall Blue Chip) from post one, Broncos Sena (Bolero) in post two and Flower Sena (Windfall Blue Chip) in post seven. This filly already is undefeated in two starts on the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit for Serge Nadeau of Scott, who is not only the trainer, but also the owner and breeder. National Caretaker Appreciation Day This year, Standardbred Canada set up a day to highlight the all too often obscure and unappreciated work of caretakers/grooms, an initiative to be commended for. For the occasion, each racetrack was asked to highlight some of these distinguished employees. At H3R, the designated grooms are Carolann Landry, Sabrina Lord-Bedard and Roxanne Viau. Carolann Landry is a 28-year-old woman employed by Daniel Martin, a passion that comes from her father. She also says that she has learned a lot from Andre Duval. Her greatest joy, of course, is to win with one of her favorites that she cares for throughout the week. Sabrina Lord-Bedard is a 13-year-old girl, the daughter of Nancy Lord and granddaughter of Jean Lord. She is also passionate about horses and is proud to describe the successes they have on the track. Roxanne Viau, Michel Audet's wife, has been associated with the world of racing, and also by his family. Since then, she has been caring for her husband's horses with patience and know-how. Recently, thanks to the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit, she even made her debut in the sulky with successes that do not go unnoticed. She is a big fan of horses and she admires people who like Michel, treat them well. To these three grooms, the management and staff at both the Quebec Club Jockey and the Hippodrome 3R offer their most sincere congratulations, as well as to all those who do the same in the stables of Quebec and the paddock of H3R. One day a year to honor them is not too much. First race post time on Sunday is 12:50 pm. There are free race programs available at www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  
JULY 20, 2018 - Three-year-old harness racing filly Kendall Seelster paced into the Ontario Sires Stakes history books at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday evening, laying down a record setting 1:49.4 mile to win her $94,800 Gold Series division. The mile took two-fifths of a second off the 1:50.1 clocked by former Ontario Sires Stakes star Michelles Power over the Campbellville oval in 2007 and was just the latest in a series of outsized accomplishments by the diminutive Kendall Seelster, who hit the wire three and one-half lengths ahead of favourite Shower Play and Sudden Passing. "She's still a medium-sized, compact filly, she was probably one of the smallest ones in that race," said trainer Paul Reid, who conditions Kendall Seelster for 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario. "She's the exception to the rule." The victory, which saw the pocket-sitting Kendall Seelster and driver Randy Waples sprint up the inside when pacesetter Sudden Passing drifted to the right in the stretch, was the filly's first in Gold Series action this season. In the May 20 season opener at The Raceway at Western Fair District she finished third and in the June 23 leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park she faded to sixth after doing all the work on the front end. Following the June 23 result Reid sent the daughter of Shadow Play and Kiddie Cocktail out in two overnight races at Woodbine Mohawk Park, on July 6 and 14. Using near-identical come-from-behind tactics in both races, Milton resident Waples guided the filly to two victories, the first in 1:51.4 and the second in 1:51.2. "She definitely needed to get bravened up, and she needed the work honestly. She just was lacking some speed work when I got her, some speed miles, so we just basically had to race her into shape," explained Reid, who returned to Ontario from Florida in early May. "She just wasn't into what I wanted race shape, and the extra miles, you'd like to have them in May, but it ended up we had to do them in the last couple weeks. Now hopefully we can carry on from here." Now that she has regained the form that saw her win two Gold Series divisions, a Champlain Stakes division and $453,985 at two, Reid expects Kendall Seelster will see action in a few more overnight events at Woodbine Mohawk Park before the fourth Gold Leg at Georgian Downs on August 19. For his part, trainer Jack Darling was quite happy Write Me A Song had landed in the other Gold division on Friday. "Both divisions are tough, but the other one I thought was tougher, obviously, they went 1:49.4," said the Cambridge resident. "Kendall was pretty awesome tonight." While Kendall Seelster sat in the pocket through fractions of :26.4, 56.1 and 1:23.2, sprinting home in 26 seconds to the 1:49.4 record, Write Me A Song took command of the first division early. Last year's division champion Percy Bluechip led the field to a :27.4 quarter, but driver Jody Jamieson soon had Write Me A Song on the move and the filly was comfortably out front by the :57 half. Continuing to lead through the 1:24.1 three-quarters, Write Me A Song dug in down the stretch to hold off a fast closing Play The Bell and secure the 1:51.2 victory. Kendall Seelster's stablemate Just Her Luck completed the top three. "I was hopeful. She won that race in Clinton (July 8 Kin Pace Final) and she was very good, but she was stepping up to a lot tougher competition," noted Darling, who also owns the Sportswriter daughter. "I was really happy with her. She's a very honest filly." Darling made two more appearances in the Woodbine Mohawk Park winner's circle Friday, the first with three-year-old pacing filly Neon Moon, who won an overnight event in preparation for her next Grassroots start, and the second with two-year-old pacing filly Powerful Chris, who delivered an impressive 1:52.1 victory in the last of three $68,000 Gold Series divisions for the novice pacing lasses. Darling bought a share in Powerful Chris after a commanding victory in her July 10 Grassroots division caused owner-trainer John Pentland to be inundated with offers to purchase the daughter of Betterthancheddar and Cell Power. "Obviously she was very impressive last week so he was getting some pretty good offers for her, but he wanted to keep her himself to race, which I don't blame him," explained Darling. "So anyway, he called me and offered me a piece of her, and I was pretty impressed with her last week, so I took a piece. "I think he did me a favour by offering me a piece of her. She was just awesome again tonight," admitted Darling, who has known Dorchester, Ontario resident Pentland since his earliest days in the business. "She just looks like something special so far." Bob McClure of Elora, Ontario, who has driven Powerful Chris in all of her qualifiers and races, also acquired a share of the filly through his Syllabus Stable. The other two-year-old pacing filly Gold divisions went to Springbridge Sassy in 1:53.4 and Crisp Mane in 1:52.3. The novice pacing fillies make their third Gold Series start at Grand River Raceway on August 15. Woodbine Mohawk Park features another big card of Ontario Sires Stakes racing on Monday, July 23 with eight Grassroots and two Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old pacing colts. The Grassroots colts will kick things off at 7:30 pm in the first race and carry on through Races 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11, while the Gold colts square off in Races 4 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
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