Day At The Track

London, February 17, 2018 -- Goldstar Badlands took home overall Horse Of The Year honours as well as Older Pacing Horse honours Saturday night during the The Raceway at Western Fair District's Annual Awards Night which honoured the top performers of 2017. The son of Badlands Hanover was an 11-time winner during the season while capturing several Preferred events over the London oval and banking almost $60,000 along the way. It was the second consecutive Horse Of The Year trophy for trainer and co-owner Heather Toll who captured last year's title with pacing mare Nadia Can Go. Bob McClure took home his first trophy as Driver Of The Year at The Raceway while Vic Puddy garnered his second consecutive trainer's title. The popular Caretaker Of The Year award went to London resident Marta Dicicco. The Raceway's Special Recognition award went to O'Brien Award finalist The Joy Luck Club who enjoyed a stellar season in the Ontario Sires Program. The Dave Wall Achievement award was given to veteran horseman Dennis Morrissey while the Ruth Herbert Award for Horsewoman Of The Year went to Penny Francis. A large crowd of about 340 packed the Carousel Room of the Western Fair District on Saturday night. The evening also included a tribute to the late, great Somebeachsomewhere. Photos of the entire evening will be posted on The Raceway's Facebook page in the coming days. Here is the complete list of this year’s Raceway award winners: Older Pacing Horse • Goldstar Badlands Older Pacing Mare • Solid Queen Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt • Mach One Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly • Casino Classic Older Trotting Horse • Liam Needsome Older Trotting Mare • Jagersro Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt • Pingaling Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly • Ionia Claiming Pacer • Remus Blue Chip Claiming Trotter  • Riddle Me Miss Driver • Bob McClure Trainer • Vic Puddy Owner  • Jeff Williamson Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award Dennis Morrissey Caretaker Marta Dicicco Horse Of The Year Goldstar Badlands Ruth Herbert Horse Woman Of The Year Penny Francis RUS Outstanding Service Award John Braid Greg Blanchard

Friday night’s action at The Raceway at Western Fair District saw the Ontario harness racing debut of barn fire survivor Bad Bad Diva. Now owned by Lou Sorella and Katie Miller, the four-year-old ‘pint-sized’ daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven is one of two survivors from a tragic barn fire that left five horses dead last August. Trainer Brittany Bounds, of Seaford, Delaware, lost five horses (My Little Tater Tot, Gangster Granny, In Front Charlie, Ezekiel Kandu and Standtuecemewin) to the blaze, but Mi Six and Bad Bad Diva were able to escape. “Being a survivor – she’s just meant to be with us,” mentions Sorella. “My wife Maria is a breast cancer survivor and this little mare is a great fit for our ‘Team’.” Lou Sorella, aka #LouKnows – a guest handicapping regular at The Raceway, is the director of Team To The Moon – a campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. The ‘Team’ consists of horses, trainers and drivers coming together in support of this most worthy cause through harness racing. Team members donate one percent of their earnings with all proceeds going towards Breast Cancer Awareness.     Bad Bad Diva, leaving from the trailing spot over The Raceway’s half-mile oval, got away in fourth position early – before making the first up move prior to the half. Driver J Harris would ask the mare for more with a quarter of a mile left to go and she would respond in a big way. “J said she was huge,” says Sorella. “When he kicked the ear-plugs out - she was gone!” And gone she was… A going-away winner under wraps - by four open lengths at the finish line - in 2:07 at the added distance of 1-1/16M. “That was a big trip,” stated Sorella. “She was out well before the half mile and what a show of speed when my driver asked for it… Away from the races for well over a month – that was some return – we’re so happy to have her!” Conditioned by young ‘up-and-coming’ trainer Kyle Fellows, Bad Bad Diva had the betting public behind her as she returned $4.20 on a win ticket, but she would still top a massive Super Hi 5 payout worth $5741.47 on a $.20 cent ticket. Racing resumes at The Raceway Monday at 6:15 ET.   By Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Track Announcer at The Raceway

Standardbred Canada is pleased to announce the host tracks and dates for the 2018  Regional Driving Championships and National Driving Championship which will ultimately determine Canada’s representative to the harness racing 2019 World Driving Championship. The 2018 National Driving Championship will take place at Grand River Raceway, in Elora, Ont., on Wednesday, September 26. "Grand River Raceway is truly thrilled to host‎, for the first time, the National Driving Championship," said the track's Marketing Manager, Kelly Spencer. "We're keen to showcase our beautiful community and facility on the national stage and welcome the country's finest reinsmen in what is sure to be a first-class event. We're riding the momentum of James MacDonald's WDC win in 2017 which will only elevate the already prestigious spirit of the event. Oh Canada!" Grand River Raceway has hosted the Ontario Regional Driving Championship several times, including the most recent event in 2016. Drivers must earn their way into the National Driving Championship by finishing first or second in their respective Regional Driving Championship. In addition to a first time host for the National event, there are also two first time hosts for the Regionals – Kawartha Downs in Fraserville, Ont., will host the Eastern Ontario / Quebec Regional Driving Championship and Truro Raceway in Truro, NS, will host the Atlantic Regional event.   Century Downs near Calgary, Alta., will host the Western Regional and The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont., will be the site of the Ontario Regional. “Standardbred Canada is looking forwarding to partnering with our host tracks to present four exciting and competitive Regional Driving Championships which will lead into the National Driving Championship.  We are very pleased to see the interest that tracks across the country have in hosting these events, including our two first time track partners this year for Regional events, Kawartha Downs and Truro Raceway,” said Dan Gall, President & CEO of Standardbred Canada.  “We are also looking forward to working with the team at Grand River Raceway to deliver an exceptional National Driving Championship experience for both the drivers and the fans.” Here are the locations and dates for the four regional events: Western Regional -- Century Downs; Saturday, June 23 (Includes drivers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)   This will mark the second time that Century Downs will host the Western Regional.  They were the host track for the 2016 event. Ontario Regional – The Raceway at Western Fair District, Wednesday, May 16 (Includes drivers from Ontario) The Raceway hosted the 2016 National Driving Championship and the 2014 Ontario Regional Driving Championship. Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional – Kawartha Downs, Saturday, June 30 (Includes drivers that compete regularly at Kawartha Downs and Rideau Carleton Raceway in addition to Hippodrome 3R) Atlantic Regional – Truro Raceway, Friday, June 29 Includes drivers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) Regional events will feature either eight or nine drivers who will compete in a minimum of eight races. Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two point earners will advance to the National. Past winners of the NDC title include Brandon Campbell (2016), Jody Jamieson (2014 & 2011), Brad Forward (2009), and Gilles Barrieau (2007). The winner of the 2018 National Driving Championship will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship, and join 2017 World Driving Champion, James MacDonald, in the 2019 World Driving Championship in Sweden. SC hosted the 2017 World Driving Championship (WDC) in August and MacDonald’s victory earned him an automatic invitation to the 2019 event in which he will become the representative for the International Trotting Association. Canada was invited to send a second driver to the 2019 event and Standardbred Canada accepted the invitation.

A new agreement will result in a multi-million dollar expansion of the facilities at the Hanover Raceway, including the use of a partially finished vacant area previously known as the banquet hall. “We are very proud and very happy to be in Hanover,” said Rob Mitchell, spokesperson for Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited, which operates the casino at the raceway. “We were able to work very quickly with the municipality in Hanover. The mayor (Sue Paterson) was wonderful and the chief administrative officer Brian Tocheri was terrific, and of course the folks at the Hanover, Bentinck and Brant Agricultural Society were great folks to work with.” Gateway announced Wednesday the approval by OLG of a lease agreement with the agricultural society that will include new dining experiences and allow for an expanded gaming floor. “I think it is going to be a very positive impact for the community in Hanover and the surrounding region because we are going to be building what amounts to a brand spanking new entertainment complex,” Mitchell said.  Gateway is hopeful to start construction in the spring or summer with completion in the first half of 2019. Mitchell said the company will hold an event at the facility in the future to unveil the plans for the Hanover site, including the investment in terms of the money being spent to redevelop the facility and the details on the new amenities and gaming entertainment that will be provided. “It is an existing space that was originally intentioned to be a banquet facility,” said Mitchell. “It is quite large and was never completed so we have basically an expanded footprint that we need to develop.” The raceway put the brakes on the $30,000-square-foot banquet hall project back in 2011 after there was a threat of reduced government funding and questions surrounding harness racing's future in Ontario. The proposed $11-million facility was to be built using the ag society's share of slots revenue, but has sat unfinished ever since. The government eventually reached a new agreement with the raceway, but it was strictly for operations and didn't include any capital work. In late 2016, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced that Gateway had been awarded the contract to operate a number of regional gaming centres, including the 18,720-sq.ft. slots at the Hanover raceway. The company, which started in B.C. in 1992 entered the Ontario market in May. Gateway, which is responsible for operating the facilities, re-branding them and paying staff, was awarded a 20-year licence.  Mitchell said they will need OLG approval to expand the gaming floor, but that is the company's plan. “Hanover and the surrounding Bruce Peninsula is a very good market for us,” said Mitchell. “We have been very successful there.” The expansion will also mean additional staff will be hired to compliment the approximately 100 employees already at the Hanover site. “How many more jobs we add will be determined by the size and scope of the operation,” Mitchell said, adding there will be jobs in food and beverage, at table games, in information technology, in finance, electronic surveillance, security and grounds-keeping and maintenance. “There are opportunities to convergences with craft breweries and theme nights for food and all manner of things,” said Mitchell. “All these things we believe will open up employment opportunities in the community and within the region.” Mayor Paterson said the town is thrilled that Gateway is investing in Hanover. “It is going to have a positive impact, not just for Hanover, but for the region, through the investment and jobs and support of the horse racing industry,” Paterson said. “It has been close to seven years that (the banquet hall building) has been vacant so it is eagerly anticipated to see someone expanding into that building. We are looking at it as an entertainment destination for Hanover.” By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound Reprinted with permission of The Owen Sound Sun Times

Harnesslink's columnist, Sydney Weaver, of Acton, Ontario, has been selected as the 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador.  Weaver says, “Representing kids with physical disabilities is an honour.” It’s in part because of this attitude that Weaver has been selected as a 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador. Along with her male counterpart, Alex Krenta from Ottawa, Weaver looks forward to representing all children and youth who live with a physical disability in Ontario. Weaver, a chatty 17-year-old from Acton, Ontario, is thrilled to have been chosen as a 2018 Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador, and her mom and dad, Lisa and Don, along with her older brother, Scott, couldn’t be more proud. Born with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy that sometimes causes muscle spasms, Sydney uses a wheelchair for mobility and requires help picking up items and getting dressed. With assistance from Easter Seals, her family was able to modify her van to be more accessible, making it easier for her to get around her community. Sydney is an accomplished young woman with many interests and hobbies. In 2015, she was a torch bearer at the Parapan Am Games. In addition, she has an orange belt in jiu jitsu and a junior lifeguard badge in swimming. Currently in Grade 12, Sydney’s favourite subjects are History and English. She also enjoys writing, listening to music and singing, though she freely admits that “I can’t sing!” In addition, Sydney loves harness racing, and writes for an online industry publication, and is developing a love of Thoroughbred racing, as well. In 2012, she won the Marie Hill Youth Writing Contest for HoofBeats, an American harness racing magazine. In considering her future path, Sydney hopes to pursue a career in journalism and communications. “I enjoy writing because it gives me a chance to express myself through words and I think that’s an incredible power, and it can bring people together.” When discussing her disability, Sydney says, “My life is so typical of any teenager, the only difference is that when planning activities I have to take my physical disability into account, and make adjustments. Other than that, I can do anything any other kid is capable of.” An Easter Seals camp veteran, Sydney has been to Camp Woodeden for six summers, where she’s been able to try new activities, meet old and new friends, and be independent. She says, “Easter Seals has meant so much to me over the course of my young life. I can go to camp and meet other kids like me, do any activity, and I can get the equipment I need to be more independent.” On becoming an Easter Seals Provincial Ambassador, Sydney says, “Because Easter Seals has been life changing for me, I want to be able to help kids have the same experiences I’ve had, the ones that Easter Seals has allowed me to have. I’m looking forward to letting people know that kids with physical disabilities are just like other kids. Sometimes we just have to alter how we do things to accomplish our tasks.” For the past 95 years, Easter Seals has played an important role in providing support for children and youth with physical disabilities from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Thanks to its generous donors, Easter Seals continues to offer programs to allow kids to experience freedom, independence and a sense of accomplishment. Easter Seals helps by providing financial assistance for mobility equipment and communication devices, as well as fully accessible summer camp opportunities at its two properties, Camp Merrywood and Camp Woodeden. Easter Seals helps kids BE KIDS. For more information or to donate, visit From Easter Seals Ontario

The Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association online stallion auction is now underway, with bidding closing on February 14, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. Interested parties can access the auction from the SBOA website, or check it out at Sixteen of Ontario’s top stallions have been donated to the auction. These stallions are: Artspeak, Archangel, Angus Hall, Betterthancheddar, Big Jim, Control The Moment, Daylon Magician, Holiday Road, Justice Hall, Prestidigitator, Royalty For Life, Sportswriter, State Treasurer, Sunshine Beach, Thinking Out Loud, and Wheeling N Dealin. At the conclusion of the auction, the successful bidder, is responsible for filling out a breeding contract and making a $250.00 deposit to the SBOA. The final bid price on the service fee plus HST, minus the $250.00 deposit, is due in 2019 when the successful bidder’s mare has a foal. The SBOA would like to thank all those that donated service fees and also thank the bidders for their support. (with files from SBOA)

MILTON, February 13, 2018 - Woodbine Entertainment would like to remind all harness racing owners and trainers that time is quickly running out to submit nominations for this year's stakes. Nominations for all Woodbine major stakes in 2018 are due this Thursday (February 15). The 2018 Woodbine Stakes program features purses exceeding $10 million and is headlined by the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup (three-year-old pacers) on Saturday, June 16. Other notable dates include the $615,000 Canadian Pacing Derby and $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot on September 1, $685,000 Canadian Trotting Classic on September 15 and $815,000 Metro Pace on September 23. The entire 2018 stakes schedule is available by clicking here. Conditions and guidelines for all Woodbine stakes can be found in the 2018 Stakes Booklet. Nominations can be paid online by clicking here. A sustaining payment is also due Thursday for the 2018 Simcoe Stakes and SBOA Stakes (foals of 2015). A reminder regarding these sustaining payments can be viewed by clicking here. Woodbine continues to handle stakes administration duties for Ontario Racetracks. Nominations close Thursday for the Confederation Cup (Flamboro Downs), Battle of Waterloo/Belles (Grand River Raceway), Balanced Image/Dream Of Glory (Hanover Raceway) and Kin Pace (Clinton Raceway). Nominations to all of these events are made payable to Woodbine Entertainment. If sending nominations or sustaining payments by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than February 15, 2018 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. Mark McKelvie        

BIBLE HILL, N.S. – Chantel Gillis never expected to receive an award for doing something she’s enjoyed her entire life. But she recently received national recognition for being an outstanding harness racing groom. The 22-year-old Bible Hill resident was presented with the award during a ceremony in Toronto earlier this month. “I feel a lot of grooms deserve this award, so it was amazing to win,” she said. “It was a great experience, with a red carpet and everything beautifully done.” Gillis was unaware her sister, Christina, had nominated her. In January, she was informed she was one of the finalists, but she didn’t know she was the winner until it was announced at the event. “I felt fine until about 10 minutes before the award and then I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s happening!’” she recalled. It was her first time at the O’Brien awards and she was thrilled to both receive an award and have the chance to meet so many people from other parts of the country involved in harness racing. The trip also gave her a chance to visit her sister, who lives in Toronto. Chantel grew up helping her parents, Arleen and Joe, in the barn and has always found it a comfortable place. “It’s a relaxing, fun and challenging environment,” she said. “I like doing everything around the barn and, somehow, some way, I’ll definitely always have a horse. Helping with the horses is what I enjoy.” Gillis is in her final year at Dal AC, studying toward a BSc in agricultural business, and enjoys stopping by the barn after class. On her days off she’s at the barn early, helping her boyfriend, Paul Langille, with the horses he trains. She is a part owner of two geldings, Rusty Riley and Neigh Monster, and has complete ownership of a mare called Maiden Heaven. She should soon have another horse of her own, as the mare is now in foal. Kyle Burton, the track photographer at Truro Raceway, was also recognized. He received an Outstanding Photography award. By Lynn Curwin Reprinted with permission of the Truro Daily News  

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

London, February 12, 2018 - Horseplayers will have some added incentive to tune into the Tuesday night harness racing program at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the addition of a $20,000 Instant guaranteed pool in the early Super Hi-5 in race 6. The late Super Hi-5 riddle on Monday night's program - won by 9-2 shot Twilite Zone - went unsolved triggering a carryover of almost $5,800 into the Tuesday program. Post time for Tuesday night's card is 6:15 p.m. Free programs, analysis and live streaming video are all available at Track announcer Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle will break down the Super Hi-5 and the entire Tuesday program on the pre-game show which airs at 5:45 p.m. (E.T.). Greg Blanchard

Brayden White was named on Monday as the 2018 Easter Seals ambassador for P.E.I. Brayden is a Grade 7 student from Georgetown Elementary. He has Down syndrome. "I know that I learn slower than most people, but I am smart and I learn the same as everyone. It just takes me longer," Brayden writes in his introductory letter. 'I am smart and I learn the same as everyone. It just takes me longer.'— Brayden White "I am just like you. I am no different. My dad always says that someday I will be able to live on my own and have a job." Brayden says Georgetown Elementary is a great school, where he gets to be with his best friends every day. He plays hockey, basketball and soccer, and loves to watch harness racing. Brayden's motto is, "Be brave! Never give up!" His duties as Easter Seals ambassador will include a tour of Island schools to talk about the work Easter Seals does in the province. As part of the tour, students will be encouraged to hold fundraising events. By Kevin Yarr Reprinted with permission of CBC News

Harrisburg, PA --- The Dan Patch Awards Dinner is rapidly approaching and along with it, the annual silent auction held in conjunction with the evening's festivities on Feb. 25 in Orlando. Once again the Harness Horse Youth Foundation and USHWA's industry outreach will benefit from the sales. This year's auction features a wide variety of items so there is sure to be something of interest for everyone in attendance. Phone bidding is possible but must be arranged prior to February 24. Lots available include: 14K horsehead necklace with diamond and chain (donated by Bow River Jewelry); 2018 Preakness Stakes Package (donated by Maryland Jockey Club); The "Campbell Collection" of memorabilia including board game, posters, shirts, hats, programs and more - most autographed by the one and only John Campbell; Custom harness racing stained glass panel (donated by Barbara Dresser and Callie Davies Gooch); Signed and numbered Always B Miki mounted pen & ink print (donated by Michelle Hogan); "Night on the Meadowlands TV Set" experience; "Handicapping Session with Garnet Barnsdale"; Production of audio advertising piece by Retromedia; (PR services for audio production, script and voiceover: donated and provided by Mark McKelvie and Melissa Keith) Red Mile Package $1000 value Dinner and programs for 4 in The Red Mile Clubhouse (excluding alcohol) and Railbird Box Seats (for up to 6 people) - all during  2018 The Red Mile Grand Circuit meet! Exact location for box seats to be determined. (Donated by the Red Mile) Rosen Shingle Creek hotel vacation package (donated by same); Baseball package including tickets for Mets and Phillies games (donated by Nick Saponara); Collection of framed, vintage cigar box labels of Ashwood, Peter Manning, and Single Kay; Off & Pacing game package; Limited-edition Cam Fella print by equine artist Fred Stone: (donated by The Farm Ventures (Off and Pacing/Ryan Clements/Landon Mulhall) Set of 6 hand-painted goblets (donated by Suzanne D'Ambrose); Variety of gift baskets from Batavia Downs, Hoosier Park, Ohio Sires Stakes, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, and Hambletonian/Breeders Crown; (Canadian horse racing gift basket: items donated by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Retromedia Publishing, and Melissa Keith) Gift certificates from Fennell's, Big D's and The Red Mile Gift Shop; And perhaps a few late entries! Proceeds from the silent auction go to fund the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's Summer Programs as well as the U.S. Harness Writers Association's industry outreach initiative, which this past year made contributions to the Harness Racing Museum, Historic Track rebuilding fund, the Filion family and the Clyde Hirt Media Workshop during Hambletonian week. For complete information, item descriptions, available photos and bidding instructions, please visit or call Steven Wolf at 954-654-3757 or Ellen Taylor at 317-908-0029. by Ken Weingartner, for USHWA

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is pleased to release a Summary Report of the work delivered by the Equine Drug Program Working Group over the last seven months. The report released today presents a summary of the working group recommendations and follow-up actions that the AGCO will be taking. The AGCO reforms are anticipated to be implemented in April 2018, in time for the spring race season. Click here for the release Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario  

TORONTO, February 8, 2018 - Woodbine Entertainment today provided a new update regarding the recently announced Standardbred Racing Integrity and Accountability Initiative (SRIAI). Woodbine Entertainment update on Integrity Initiative (SRIAI) - February 8, 2018 Further to the announcement last month, Woodbine Entertainment is working through the specifics of the Standardbred Racing Accountability and Integrity Initiative (SRIAI). The principles are being worked through very thoughtfully with our racing regulators, the AGCO. Woodbine Entertainment appreciates the extraordinary support and encouragement to proceed from the Standardbred racing industry participants. The valuable feedback received from owners and trainers will help us, along with the AGCO, to build upon these underlying principles to achieve the overall intent of SRIAI for our stakeholders. As such, we will continue to work through the regulatory details with the AGCO in the coming months, with a view to continuing our commitment to deliver the highest level of racing integrity at our racetracks. We thank the Meadowlands and American Racing for working with us as excellent partners throughout this process. Mark McKelvie

On Saturday, February 3, Standardbred Canada announced the winners for the 2017 O’Brien Awards, at the 29th edition of the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala held at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale hotel in Mississauga, Ont. The O’Brien Awards honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season and are named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Richard Moreau, of Puslinch, Ont., was awarded his fifth consecutive O’Brien bronze in the Trainer of the Year category.  Moreau led all Canadian trainers in the wins column with 277 victories to his credit and more than $3.7 million in pure earnings. Moreau’s stable star, Sandbetweenurtoes was honoured as Older Pacing Mare of the Year. Owner Brad Grant of Milton, Ont., had a phenomenal night, taking home three O’Briens bronzes – one each for his two-year-old pacing colt, Stay Hungry, his three-year-old pacing filly Bettors Up and his pacing mare, Sandbetweenurtoes.  This was a monumental achievement for Grant who lost many horses in the tragic barn fire at Classy Lane Training Centre in January, 2016. Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ont., and Marvin Katz of Toronto, Ont., took home two O’Briens – one for Ariana G, voted the country’s top three-year-old trotting filly and one as Breeders of the Year. Dr. Ian Moore, a native of Prince Edward Island, and now a resident of Guelph, Ont.,  trains and co-owns two O’Brien winners – Percy Bluechip,  the divisional champion as Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer and Classic Pro, the Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year. Driver Doug McNair won his first O’Brien as Canada’s Driver of the Year following a career year.  McNair, a resident of Guelph, Ont., was a finalist for this award in 2013. He topped the charts in earnings for drivers in Canada last year with more than $5.9 million in purse money, and $6.5 million in earnings in North America while driving 325 winners. McNair was also the regular driver for O’Brien winners Stay Hungry, Bettors Up, and Sandbetweenurtoes. Marc Campbell of Winsloe, P.E.I. took his second O’Brien Award of Horsemanship after having a career year in 2017, which saw him top the charts for training and driving at both Red Shores properties –- Charlottetown Driving Park and Summerside. Campbell, who won this award in 2012, recorded 255 wins and more than $584,000 in purse earnings as a driver.  On the training side, Campbell had 131 victories and more than $376,000 in earnings last season. Hannelore Hanover was named Canada’s Horse of the Year, and also won her second consecutive O’Brien Trophy as Older Trotting Mare. Her connections received the inaugural Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year Award.   Hannelore Hanover won 10 of 17 races last season, over $1.1 million in purse money and scored victories against male rivals in an elimination and final of the Breeders Crown Open Trot, the Allerage, and the Maple Leaf Trot. She also swept the Armbro Flight. Percy Bluechip, Canada’s Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the year is co-owned and conditioned by Dr. Ian Moore, who also managed her sire.  The Shadow Play filly scored five wins in nine races on the season and racked up more than $440,000 in earnings. In addition to four wins in Ontario Sires Stakes events, including the season-ending Super Final. The talented filly also posted a wire-to-wire victory in the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk Racetrack. Stay Hungry, a son of Somebeachsomewhere won the two-year-old pacing colt division. Last season he won six of nine races and bankrolled more than $557,000 during a season that saw him score wins in a Champlain Stakes division, and an elimination of the Metro at Mohawk Racetrack. His crowning moment came in a sweep of the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park where he took a nose victory in his elimination and came back one week later to score a neck victory in the final. The title of Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year went to  Bettors Up. The daughter of Bettors Delight put together an outstanding season, finishing first or second in ten of her 17 races while adding more than a half million dollars to her bankroll. She scored a career best 1:49.4 effort at Mohawk Racetrack in the Fan Hanover Final. Classic Pro was the winner in the three-year-old pacing colt division. Trained and co-owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Classic Pro won four of 14 starts and earned more than $293,000 on the season. Two of those wins were in Ontario Sires Stakes events and one of those gave the Shadow Play colt his mark of 1:51. Older Pacing Mare honours went to Sandbetweenurtoes.  The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere was a model of consistency, hitting the board in 24 of her 30 starts and earning in excess of $243,000, while primarily competing in the Fillies and Mares Preferred races at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks. Sintra took Older Pacing Horse honours following a productive season where he won nine of 19 races and more than $617,000. The son of Mach Three captured Canada’s oldest harness stakes event, The Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack, to take home the lion’s share of the $615,000 purse. He also won a leg and the final of the Graduate Series. The outstanding trotting filly Kadabra Queen was the Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly champion.  The Kadabra filly won five of 10 races and more than $328,000 on the season. All five of her victories were in the Ontario Sires Stakes, including a win in the season-ending Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack, her final start of the season. In the two-year-old trotting colt division, the winner was Alarm Detector.  The Chapter Seven colt was almost perfect in his debut season, winning six of seven races and $276,000. Stakes victories included the Define The World and an elimination and final of the William Wellwood Memorial. Ariana G won her second consecutive O’Brien trophy, this time as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year.  The Muscle Hill filly won 12 of 15 races during her million-dollar season. Her major victories included the Breeders Crown, Elegantimage, the Simcoe, the Hambletonian Oaks, the Delvin Miller Memorial and the New Jersey Sire Stakes final. International Moni took the three-year-old trotting colt division after winning nine of 15 races and $620,000 in 2017.  His victories included the Carl Erskine Memorial, a Breeders Crown elimination, a Kentucky Futurity elimination, the Bluegrass, a division of the Simcoe, an elimination of the Hambletonian and a sweep of the Goodtimes. The durable Odds On Amethyst, was voted Older Trotting Horse of the Year.  The son of Muscle Hill, scored 11 wins and more than $232,000 in earnings, primarily competing in the preferred and free-for-all trotting ranks. In the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category, partners Marvin Katz of Toronto, Ont., and Al Libfeld, of Pickering, Ont., collected their second consecutive O’Brien trophy. The Katz-Libfeld partnership has evolved into one of harness racing's most respected breeding enterprises. From the ten horses bred by this partnership and that raced in 2017, there were 27 wins and earnings of more than $1.5 million. Their top horse was O’Brien finalist Ariana G, a winner of more than $1.1 million. Brett MacDonald of Manotick, Ont., was named Future Star winner. In only his third season of full time driving, MacDonald posted some very impressive numbers, driving 114 winners and horses to more than $616,000 in purse money.  The 21-year-old competes regularly at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Chantel Gillis, 22, of Truro, Nova Scotia was presented with the Outstanding Groom Award. Standardbred Canada also presented three Media Excellence Awards at the Gala, to recognize and honour exceptional work in covering Canadian harness racing. A complete list of the winners and their respective owners is listed in the attached release. HORSE OF THE YEAR AWARD NAMED IN HONOUR OF SOMEBEACHSOMEWHERE On Saturday, February 3, at the O’Brien Awards Gala, Standarbred Canada announced that the O’Brien Award for Horse of the Year is now named the Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year Award.  “In light of his extraordinary success as a racehorse and stallion, and most importantly, the tremendous impact that Somebeachsomewhere has had on the Canadian harness racing industry, it was decided that we needed to do something to properly honour Beach,“  said Dan Gall, President and CEO of Standardbred Canada. “We made the offer to the Schooner Stable and they graciously accepted this,” continued Gall, “This is a way that each year when we honour our champions, we’ll be reminded of the great impact that Beach had on the industry.” Members of the Schooner Stable – Reg & Louise Petitpas, along with trainer Brent MacGrath and driver Paul MacDonell were on hand at the O’Briens to make the inaugural presentation of the Somebeachsomewhere Horse of the Year Award to Jerry and Theresa Silva, owners of the exceptional trotting mare, Hannelore Hanover.   Hannelore Hanover won 10 of 17 races last season, won over $1.1 million in purse money and scored victories against male rivals in an elimination and final of the Breeders Crown Open Trot, the Allerage, and the Maple Leaf Trot. She also swept the Armbro Flight.  She was also recognized with an O’Brien as Canada’s Older Trotting Mare of the Year. Following a short battle with cancer, Somebeachsomewhere was humanely euthanized at Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Center in Ringoes, New Jersey at roughly 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 14. The syndicate announced that Somebeachsomewhere will be laid to rest at Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, Pennsylvania after an autopsy is complete. Somebeachsomewhere had stood stud at Hanover since his on-track career concluded at the end of the 2008 racing campaign. Driven by Paul MacDonell and campaigned by Brent MacGrath for the Nova Scotia-based Schooner Stable, world champion Somebeachsomewhere won 20 of his 21 races during his legendary career and earned $3,328,755 in purses. His major victories as a freshman included the Battle of Waterloo, Metro Pace, Champlain Stakes and Nassagaweya. At three, his highlights included the Burlington (which was later renamed the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes), Pepsi North America Cup, Confederation Cup, Simcoe, Bluegrass, Tattersalls, Messenger, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and Breeders Crown. The two-time Canadian Horse of the Year was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame nine months after he retired – at the time holding eight world records. During his stud career, Somebeachsomewhere’s offspring earned more than $87 million and he was the first sire in harness racing history to top $20 million in progeny earnings in a single season. Among his offspring are 13 millionaires, including Captaintreacherous ($3.2 million), Pure Country ($2.4 million), Downbytheseaside ($2.3 million), Huntsville ($1.8 million) and Check Six ($1.6 million). Kathy Wade Vlaar Manager, Industry Marketing Standardbred Canada

SYDNEY, N.S. — Two years after first putting the shuttered Tartan Downs harness racing raceway on the market, owner Jack MacNeil is still hoping a buyer can be found. The 24-acre property was recently posted again on the multiple listing service for $235,000. Harness racing ceased at Tartan Downs in 2007 as it was no longer financially viable and a buyer could not be secured. The property at 755 Upper Prince St. is currently assessed at $88,500. “There’s been some interest but there hasn’t been anything recently,” said MacNeil of prospective buyers. He said he’d like to see a developer transform the land into lots for single detached and semi-detached homes and apartment buildings. Approximately 25 horses are housed at the track in barns on the property. The grandstand building described by municipal staff as “deplorable and dilapidated” was demolished in November 2012, following several intentionally set fires and an unsightly premises order from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. The property is located in a multi-use zone for manufacturing, recreational and residential development including apartment buildings, townhouses or duplexes, according to its real estate listing with Marquis Realty. Roy Milley of Marquis Realty said another option could see it refurbished as a racetrack once again. “All the horse racing is over on the Northside but basically if someone wanted to start it up again as a race track that’s a possibility too,” he said. Toronto-based Racino Royale Inc. had signed a purchase agreement in November 2006 to buy Tartan Downs from MacNeil but the deal fell through. MacNeil said when he bought the racetrack in 1995 after it was placed in receivership, harness racing was still a “vibrant” sport in the community. “There was something called simulcast racing out of Ontario that had just come into its own and we all thought that was going to be the saviour of live harness racing and it was for a good number of years.” Now that he’s retired, MacNeil said it’s time to let go of the property that was once a big part of his life. “It’s sitting there doing nothing. Perhaps someone out there could have plans for it,” he said. “I’m hoping someone will see the sign and decide to (develop) the property. It’s a good property for that purpose obviously. “Where else could you buy some (24 acres) of land there in the heart of the city … for that price?” Twitter: @cbpost_chris Tartan Downs history • The Sydney track had its first public race on July 13, 1899. • Racing halted in Sydney from 1938-44 due to a fading interest and a boom at the North Sydney track. • Formerly known as the Cape Breton Sports Centre, Tartan Downs resurfaced in 1945. • The name Tartan Downs Raceway was adopted in 1984, after a group headed by Halifax lawyer Victor Goldberg took over operations. • Tartan Downs fell into receivership in the 1990s. It was bought by horse owner Jack MacNeil in 1995. • The raceway shut down in 2007 as it was no longer financially viable. • After several break-ins and intentionally set fires, the Tartan Downs grandstand was demolished in November 2012 due to a dangerous and unsightly premises order issued by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. By Chris Shannon Reprinted with permission of the Cape Breton Post