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TROIS RIVIERES, QUEBEC - Trevor Henry is a quick study, and that fact was the primary reason why he and the Western Ideal stallion Western Fame emerged victorious in the $200,000 Prix d'Ete for four-year-old pacers, the signature race at Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres (3R) in Quebec on Sunday. Henry said during the card that he had driven at 3R "only once before, years and years ago," but after the race he noted "I had been watching the starts here today, and the way the car goes it looked like a good spot for me to be leaving, from post five (the stats back his thinking up - 3R is a half-mile track, but posts four and five account for 39% of the winners). So I was thinking about leaving fast from the very start." Western Fame was of the same mind, and he and Henry made the lead before getting into the first turn. Awesomeness defended the pocket, so Roll Away Joe, looped leaving, was stuck outside nearing the 1/4, with Jody Jamieson, behind 1-5 favorite Sintra and starting from the rail (10% winners at 3R), doing his best to extricate himself from a tough situation by giving a tuck to "Joe," then backing out behind the still-parked-from-PP8 Dr J Hanover, just ahead of Lyons Snyder, just past the 27.1 quarter. Since a parked horse was "leading" the outer tier and not belligerently battling for command, Western Fame got a breather on the lead, reaching the half in a very pedestrian 56.3. With Sintra moving three-wide but failing to gain quickly, and Awesomeness in the pocket doing all he could to stay close, Western Fame was required to pace only a pair of 28.2 quarters home to stop the timer in 1:53.2, leaving Awesomeness 1 1/4 lengths behind and Roll Away Joe a further ¾ of a length back in third. Lyons Snyder had to rally four-deep to be along for fifth, ahead of final checkgetter Sintra, who just did not have his "A" game today. Western Fame, who has been there or thereabouts in many of the top races of his division at both three and four, is owned and was bred by the legendary Brittany Farms LLC, and is trained by Jimmy Takter, allowing Takter to combine with Ron Burke for a stranglehold on the Prix d'Ete trophy - Takter won the race that marked the revival of the stake in 2014, and Burke then took it the next two years. (More on this idea at the bottom.) "I wasn't sure how good a spot I was in coming off the third turn, because I knew Sintra would be coming up three-wide to challenge," Henry recounted. "But when we were heading towards the last turn and he was still out three-wide, I started to feel better about my chances." And Trevor Henry and Western Fame felt better and better about those chances the nearer they got to the wire. ****** There were $7500 divisions of Quebec-bred "Coupe de l'Avenir" contests for two-year-old pacers, colts and fillies each going in two sections - the babies' last chance to qualify for September 3's $480,000 day of Q-bred Championships for the eight divisions of two- and three-year-olds. The "Stock market" is certainly bullish at 3R right now, as the Sportsmaker colt Stock again turned in a dominant performance while winning in 1:55.4 as a shower started to pass quickly through. Stock opened his career with an Ontario Roots win, took a division of the opening leg of the Q series, then tried his luck at the Battle Of Waterloo, where he won an elimination before being undone by PP8 in the final. But he certainly bounced back with authority on Sunday, with only G A Speed Sammy able to stay anywhere close to the talented winner, who carried 77% of the win pool and 96% of the place pool. Stock is trained by Dany Fontaine for owner Sotirios Anastaspoulos and Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. and 3R's leading driver, Stephane Brosseau. Driver Louis Philippe Roy can seemingly do no wrong at 3R - even when it looks like he may have, as it did at the half in the other colt section. Roy kept the pocket shut early with El Muchacho behind a speed duel, then was locked in when the outer tier formed nearing the half, with odds-on favorite Power Fog second-over and looking like a possible sweeper. But the horse who had been two-wide in the speed duel, Determinant, bore out going to the third turn and severely cramped the chances of the outer tier while also giving a clear road to El Muchacho and Louis Phillippe. The Goliath Bayama colt, given this second life, moved to the lead before the ¾ and won nicely for trainer Maguire and the owning partnership of the driver and Ecuries Maguire Inc. Their main concern, in relation to the Championship, was framed by the timer, which stopped at 2:01.1 - a new mark for El Muchacho, now a two-time series winner, but five seconds slower than the clocking posted by Stock. Hall of Famer Mike Lachance was the grand marshal for Prix d'Ete Day, so it seemed appropriate that his buddy from the "French Connection" days of success in the mid-Atlantic area in the 70s, Yves Filion, would be a winners circle visitor in a division of the filly competition, as he overcame post eight with Katniss S BG to win handily in 2:03.2. The daughter of Mach Three, out of a full sister to Wakizashi Hanover, certainly looked like a warrior leader on Sunday, limbed out to a 29.4 quarter on a wet track before taking the lead, rating the middle half as she pleased and then striding home much the best. Filion is the trainer/driver of the two-time series winner for owners Sylvain Descheneaux and Gaston Bibeau. (This race lost some luster when DGs Shadowbell, the only baby of either sex going 2 for 2 to start the series, was scratched; she now has two weeks to get back to her best for the Championship.) In the second cut for the misses, first-time Q-Series winner Lit De Rose thrust herself squarely into the main frame of Championship possibles with a victory in 1:59.1, a personal best. The daughter of Leader Bayama paid a very high price for the lead, being parked in 28.1 before getting the top, then had to keep the speed going - middle fractions of 57.1 and 1:27.1 were required to keep favored La Balafre hung out to dry, driver Dan Dube (a four-time winner on the day) determining that he wanted the front end with his filly. His strategy worked as the hot fractions burned everybody else out, and his filly could coast home well ahead of the opposition for trainer Maxime Velaye and breeder/owner Guy Corbeil. A pair of $8000 Invitationals was also scheduled on the big card, with the trot reuniting driver Louis Philippe Roy, trainer Kevin Maguire, and the winners circle via the twelve-year-old Conway Hall gelding Four Starz Speed, who was parked to a 28.2 quarter to get the lead but turned back all challenges from there in his 1:59 victory. The win was the 52nd of Four Starz Speed's career, which has seen him run up winnings of $831,887. Ecuries Maguire Inc. own the spry graybeard, who is indeed the horse who won his New York Sire Stakes final - in 2008, when he was three. On the pacing side, the day's popular theme of "take the punishment you must to the quarter, as long as you then can control the pace" (see d'Ete, Prix) was again played out, as Louis Philippe Roy reported home first for the fourth time on the day after he and Ufdragons Rocket came home all alone in 1:54.1. The favored Dragon Again gelding was out to a 27.3 quarter, then parked major danger Bali through middle splits of 56.3 and 1:25.2; from there, he could pull away for his 11th victory of the campaign. The winner of $336,513 is trained by Yves Tessier for owner Francois Morin. FINISHING LINES - The sire of Roll Away Joe, third in the Prix d'Ete, is Roll With Joe, whose name is on a FFA pace held annually at New York's Tioga Downs. This race was held a few hours before the Prix, and was won by Dealt A Winner - the only reason we mention it here is that the 2-3-4 finishers in the race were Rockin Ron, Sunfire Blue Chip, and All Bets Off, who won the 2016, 2014, and 2015 Prix d'Etes, respectively! ... Also, because Dealt A Winner, the longest shot on the board at Tioga, paid $72.50 - and it took Hippodrome 3R, with 11 favorites successful on its 15-race card, until the very last race to have its win mutuels combined reach that figure! (The biggest contributor? Western Fame at $14.80.) From the Quebec Jockey Club

The 58th running of the Gold Cup and Saucer race at the Charlottetown Driving Park ended with a come-from-behind harness racing victory for Shadow Place and driver Gilles Barrieau, a native of Dieppe, N.B. Shadow Place, an underdog according to odds makers, made up a considerable distance in the final stretch to snatch first place in the race from the favoured Always At My Place. Barrieau won his fourth career Gold Cup and Saucer race after victories in 1997, 2000, and 2002. Shadow Place finished with a time of 1:53.2 and Always at My Place finished in 1:53.3, Arque Hanover finished third in 1:54. By Malcolm Campbell Reprinted with permission of the CBC News

AUGUST 20, 2017 - Ontario's talented three-year-old pacing colts kicked off the Honourable Earl Rowe Invitation Trot program at Georgian Downs on Sunday evening and harness racing trainer Jack Darling picked up two more Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots trophies to add to his collection. The Cambridge, ON resident shipped three pacing geldings to the Innisfil oval and Southwind General was first off the gate for the Darling Stable, finishing third behind Wildriverbumblebee and Western Phil. "General, he was a little bit sluggish early for some reason, but he was pacing strong at the wire, another few steps he'd have been second," said Darling of the Sportswriter son's effort. Fan favourite Wildriverbumblebee got away fourth from Post 5 and watched as Rebel Voyager led the field to a :27.1 opening quarter. Wildriverbumblebee remained in fourth as Silverinyourpocket took over before the :55.3 half, but had stepped to the outside behind Western Phil as that colt powered up to a 1:23.3 three-quarters. On Western Phil's flank as the colts turned for home, driver Sylvain Filion turned Wildriverbumblebee loose in the stretch and the colt sprinted away to a four and one-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:53. Sunday was Wildriverbumblebee's debut in the Ontario Sires Stakes program for trainer Francis Richard and owner-breeder Dr. John Bradbury of Cookshire-Eaton, QC. The win boosted the son of Sportswriter and Alcor Semalu's sophomore record to four wins and one second in six starts, for earnings of $20,225. In the second $18,800 Grassroots division driver Randy Waples sent Darling trainee The Dark Shadow directly to the front from Post 2 and the fan favourites reeled off fractions of :27.3, :57 and 1:25.2 on their way to a one length victory in 1:53.4. Pocket-sitter Doc Semalu finished second and Ugottobinittowinit was third. "He's just a really good Grassroots (horse)," said Darling of The Dark Shadow. "I was happy with him, he hung in there real game in the stretch. He's racing good." A son of Shadow Play and Bestofbothworlds, The Dark Shadow now has two Grassroots wins, one third and two fifths to his credit for a total of 122 points and sole ownership of third spot in the division standings, 10 points behind stablemate Southwind General. Milton, ON resident Waples opted for identical tactics with favourite Frontier Seelster in the last Grassroots division, sending the Artistic Fella gelding to the front from Post 7 and rolling through fractions of :27, :57.1 and 1:25.2 on the way to another 1:53.4 clocking. Three More Smiles paced up the outside into second, three-quarter lengths behind the winner and just ahead of hard closing All It Takes. "He was sick, he's getting over being sick, so he maybe wasn't quite at his best tonight," said Darling of Frontier Seelster, whose last start was in the July 22 Gold Series event at Mohawk Racetrack. "He raced good, but I just don't think he's quite good enough for the Gold right now." Frontier Seelster was a winner in the season opening Grassroots event at Flamboro Downs, and then made two starts at the Gold Series level, finishing fourth and sixth. With Sunday's win the gelding moves into fourth spot in the Grassroots standings, giving Darling three contenders for the season ending $50,000 Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 30. "Looks like the three of them are going to be in the Final," noted Darling, who owns and trains all three pacers. The trio will be looking to pad their point tallies in the last regular season Grassroots event on Sept. 11 at Mohawk Racetrack. In addition to the Grassroots divisions, Georgian Downs fans were treated to an outstanding battle in the $75,000 Honourable Earl Rowe Invitation Trot. Fan favourite Windsun Revenge carved fractions of :27.4, :58.2 and 1:25.2, but Lookslikeachpndale pressed him through the second half and got up in the stretch for a head victory in 1:54. Dia Monde closed well to be second, leaving Windsun Revenge to settle for third. Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion, the leading driver in both Canada and the Ontario Sires Stakes last season, scored his second stake win of the night with Lookslikeachpndale, guiding the Muscle Hill son to his second win of the season for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Georgian Downs wraps up its stakes season next Sunday, August 27 when the three-year-old trotting fillies will compete in their second last regular season Grassroots event. Sunday's first race goes postward at 6 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 19, 2017 - Two-year-old pacers were in the harness racing spotlight at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night, competing in four Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions worth a total of $390,400. The two fastest divisions were clocked in 1:51.4, one by pacing colt Declan Seelster in his first lifetime start, and the other by pacing filly Percy Bluechip in her third straight Gold win. In the first pacing colt division, Declan Seelster and driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON lined up at Post 6 and landed on the rail in seventh as Jimmy Freight took the field to a :27 opening quarter. Fan favourite Shadow Moon took command on the way to the :55.3 half and continued to lead at the 1:23.3 three-quarters, while Jamieson opted to keep Declan Seelster on the rail. In the stretch a sliver of racetrack opened up on the rail and, after some manoeuvering, Jamieson was able to squeeze Declan Seelster up the inside to a head victory over a duelling Shadow Moon and Jimmy Freight. "Putting him in there tonight, I really wished I could have had a maiden start into him. I just told Jody (Jamieson) not to sacrifice him, you know, put him in a spot where if he can win he can win, but it's an awful lot to ask," said trainer Dave Menary. "That qualifier (1:55.4 on August 8) was his very first time behind the gate. We did stretch him out a little bit the last three-quarters aiming for this, but you know there's a difference when they're down to the quarter in :27 or they're down to the quarter in :33." Declan Seelster's debut was a long-awaited one for the Cambridge resident and his partners Michael Guerriero of Brampton, Denis Breton of Welland, ON and Tim Purkiss of Port Coquitlam, BC. Menary had been impressed with the colt early in his education, but some growing pains in the spring caused the trainer to back off with the son of Big Jim and Demi Seelster, who was a $48,000 purchase out of last fall's Forest City Yearling Sale. "February-March he was definitely my favourite colt. He just did a lot of growing and his feet were really bothering him right when baby races were getting started," recalled Menary. "I backed off and worked on his feet, and actually I sent him to a friend of mine, Brian Lee, to go on the TheraPlate and swim for two weeks. Brian did a great job and that really helped him turn the corner. "And Frank O'Toole was a very good help with the horse, and Jeff Courchesne takes care of him and does a very good job, so just everybody working together," Menary continued. "I appreciate my partners' patience, everybody was getting a little antsy because I touted the colt so much, so early, and they're watching all our other colts out there racing and winning, and I kept telling them. 'It's gonna be okay, it's gonna be okay,' and tonight their patience was rewarded." Declan Seelster The patience of trainer Dr. Ian Moore and driver Trevor Henry was tested in the evening's last Gold division as Percy Bluechip arrived at Mohawk for her third start with a newfound level of aggression. "She was a handful warming up tonight, holy smokes," said Dr. Moore. "She took off right there on the track on me, like pretty well ran away with me tonight warming up, and I turned her to go the right way thinking that might help and that was worse, so I put ear plugs in her to race, she's never had them in in her life." The ear plugs did not help Henry in the post parade as Percy Bluechip once again tried to start the race early. With some assistance Henry was able to get the filly settled and the Arthur, ON resident kept her at a walk until the starter called the fillies to the gate. Fortunately, once the gate started to roll Percy Bluechip was all business and after getting away second from Post 2, Henry sent her after the lead just after the :28 quarter and she rolled through a :56.2 half and 1:24.1 three-quarters on the way to her third Gold Series win. Kendall Seelster finished one and one-half lengths back in second and Play The Bell was another length back in third. "I think she took a lot out of herself warming up tonight, she had to, it's impossible that she didn't," said Dr. Moore. "She's a very smart filly so I'm hoping that this is a phase she's going through and that she will eventually settle down and relax a bit, but at least she was good in the race, so that's good to know." Moore shares ownership of the daughter of Shadow Play and Advantest with his partners in the Shadow Two Stable of Puslinch, ON, James and Wilma Mackenzie of Ennismore, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The group, who offered up $110,000 to acquire the filly from the Forest City Yearling Sale, was hoping Percy Bluechip would make her open stake debut in the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk on August 26, but Moore is tempering expectations after Saturday's fractious outing. "We're hoping to go in the Eternal Camnation next week, but it doesn't give me much time to resolve some of that situation, to get her under control," said the Puslinch resident. "Hopefully I'll have a little bit of equipment on her to settle her a bit. I don't want to T her off, but I've got to do something." Percy Bluechip The other pacing filly Gold trophy went home with Lady Grande, who went gate-to-wire from Post 6, hitting the wire three and three-quarter lengths ahead of Delaney R and Lady Ella in 1:52.3. Jonathan Drury of Guelph engineered the win for trainer Victor Puddy of Mountain, ON and owners Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, Lloyd Stone of Portland, Jerome Voldock of Arnprior and numbered company Ontario 1085195 of Gloucester, ON. The group purchased the daughter of Big Jim and Lady Latte out of last fall's Canadian Yearling Sale for $25,000 and Lady Grande has returned $97,992 from one win, four seconds and one third in seven starts. Lady Grande Hudson Phil captured the other pacing colt division, making a successful leap up from the Grassroots Series for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The son of Shanghai Phil and Hazel, in rein to newly crowned World Driving Champion James MacDonald of Guelph, also found racing room along the rail, sprinting from fifth at the top of the stretch to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:52.4. Favourite Evening Play was second and Taste Of History was third. Hudson Phil The two-year-old pacing fillies and colts return to Mohawk Racetrack for their fourth Gold Series event, the fillies on Friday, Sept. 8 and the colts on Saturday, Sept. 9. Two-year-old pacing fillies will also be featured at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday, August 24 as the Campbellville oval hosts the fourth Grassroots event for the novices, with a first race post time of 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 19, 2017 - Ontario's talented Ontario Sire Stakes three-year-old pacing colts will light up Georgian Downs on Sunday evening in advance of the Innisfil oval's harness racing signature event, the $75,000 Honourable Earl Rowe Invitation Trot. The pacing colts will kick things off at 6 pm in the first race and maintain the excitement in Races 4 and 7. Division point leader Dream Of Luck will be looking to pad his lead from Post 4 in the third $18,800 Grassroots division, squaring off against a field of seven that includes number three colt Kazimoto at Post 8 and eighth-ranked Frontier Seelster from Post 7. "He trained down, as a two-year-old, as a top colt, but he needed time to mature," said trainer Jeff Gillis of Dream Of Luck's journey to the top of the standings. "I thought he was a Gold colt, I really thought he was a pretty nice colt, but through the winter he didn't really race very good at all. Since we put him on Lasix (May 21) he's been very consistent and he actually, I think he's getting better." In four Grassroots appearances Dream Of Luck has recorded two wins, one second and one fourth for a point tally of 133, nine points ahead of rival Southwind General. The Camluck gelding also has a pair of overnight wins to his credit and has banked $57,009 lifetime for Mississauga, ON resident Gillis and his partners Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY. In addition to Dream Of Luck, Gillis will send out Major Athens in the Honourable Earl Rowe Invitation Trot, getting Post 6 for the Race 9 contest. The Andover Hall son comes into Sunday's test off a pair of seventh-place finishes south of the border, but Gillis is hopeful that the winner of $758,855 lifetime is poised for a sharper effort. "He was racing really well until we went down to Ohio (June 10) and I didn't think he raced very good there and he's struggled a bit in a couple recent efforts, but he schooled well and I'm happy with the way he's heading into the race," said the trainer, who conditions Major Athens for Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. "Hopefully we have some trip luck. There's obviously some quality horses in there, but I think he can contend in there with the right trip." It will be up to Georgian Downs' leading driver Bob McClure to find the right trip for both Major Athens and Dream Of Luck. Sunday's appearance will be McClure's first behind both horses, but Gillis is confident in the young reinsman's ability to put the pair in contention. "I've got tremendous confidence in Bob. He's been very professional with me at all times, and I really appreciate that, and he's always well prepared, he's always watched replays," said Gillis. "I think he's got a bright future." Elora, ON resident McClure has been on a roll in recent weeks, capturing the Dream Of Glory Trot at Hanover Raceway on August 5 and the Battle of the Belles at Grand River Raceway on August 7. In addition to Dream Of Luck he will steer Grassroots contenders Silverinyourpocket from Post 1 in the first race and Ugottobinittowinit from Post 5 in the second division. Along with the exciting racing action, Georgian Downs has a full slate of family fun activities lined up for fans on Sunday, including a giant maze, Toy Story 3 inflatables, baseball pitching cage and air brush and glitter tattoos. All the excitement gets under way at 6 pm. "It's a great night for racing, hopefully a lot of people come out," said Gillis. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

Charlottetown, PEI -- On Saturday, August 19, the International Media Award winners were announced at the 25th edition of the harness racing World Trotting Conference, hosted in Charlottetown, PEI. Winners in eight categories were awarded at the closing ceremonies. Here is a complete list: BEST PHOTOGRAPHY France 'Waterworks', photographed by Jean Luc Lamaere BEST NEWS ARTICLE Australia 'Desperate attempt to save promising pacer', written by Paul Courts BEST MAGAZINE ARTICLE Sweden 'The man from Finnskogen', written by Even Elvenes BEST VIDEO OR FILM (ONLINE INCLUDED) AD France Prix D'Amerique, produced by Le Trot TV BEST TELEVISION PROGRAM OR DOCUMENTARY Sweden The Ultimate Triumph, Produced by Kanal 75 AB; Producer: Lissi Gustafsson BEST POSTER Canada San Pail, Produced by Standardbred Canada. Art Director: Kathy Wade Vlaar. Graphic Designer: Andrea Bertucci BEST WEBSITE Sweden; Chief Editor: Joakim Svensson BEST SOCIAL MEDIA Australia - Scott Hamilton Media    

The 2017 World Trotting Conference concluded with its official closing ceremony on Saturday, August 19, at the Delta Prince Edward, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The torch was passed from Canada to Sweden, where the Conference will be hosted in 2019. Standardbred Canada president and CEO, Dan Gall addressed the international delegates and observers. "We have identified through the committee work a distinct message of committing to be open, and a commitment to work together better than we have in the past," said Gall. "I have heard the need to be action-based and results-oriented as a priority for the International Trotting Association. We are working as a united front in the best interests of our sport, and the interests around the world are very similar. As champions and leaders of our sport, it's incumbent on us to take our sport forward in the future. "We must ask the customer how they want us to move forward. We need to listen to our customers, at our racetracks, in our paddocks and of course, our fans. By listening to them, our job is relatively easy." Prior to closing the conference, Gall thanked the efforts of delegates, management, staff, volunteers, and the province of Prince Edward Island. "Kent Oakes and his team at Red Shores have done a fantastic job," said Gall. "I can't believe the number of people that have told me how great it was to have hosted this event in Prince Edward Island. There is a great link between harness racing and the province of PEI. It is a model for all of us to aspire towards." International Trotting Association committees also presented their reports and recommendations during the ceremonies. Edward Rennell, of New Zealand (Constitution committee), discussed membership categories, the classification of countries participating at conferences, and early planning for future WTC and WDC sites. T.C. Lane, of the United States (Breeding committee), said that his committee looked at issues including data sharing; microchipping; moving toward wider use of electronic export certificates; and genomic research in Standardbreds. Ken Spicer, of New Zealand (Health and welfare committee), spoke about uniformity in penalty enforcement across ITA countries; sharing of international equine health and welfare statistics; and recognizing the whip as a welfare, rather than a performance, issue in the sport. Geoff Want, from Australia (Racing and wagering committee), said his committee focused on international growth of wagering markets for harness racing; addressing illegal wagering; and ensuring good relationships with government, including maintaining and providing appropriate data about the industry's value. Mike Tanner, of the United States (Marketing and business development committee), reported on his committee's discussion of quantifying worldwide impact; strengthening international communication, including social media; and comparative evaluation of horses and drivers worldwide. Kathy Wade Vlaar, Standardbred Canada's manager of industry marketing, shared her final assessments of the 2017 World Driving Championship. "With three plane trips and multiple bus trips, aside from putting on a great show, the drivers were great ambassadors for their countries and for harness racing," said Wade Vlaar. Next, the ITA's International Media Award winners were announced, with national representatives present accepting on behalf of their countries' top journalists, photographers, broadcasters, and new media. Canada formally handed over the World Trotting Conference and World Driving Championship to Sweden, the host of both events in two years. "It was great to be in Charlottetown for the World Trotting Conference," said Johan Lindberg, the Secretary General of Svensk Travsport (Swedish Trotting Association). "Old Home Week will be something I will always remember. In less than two years, we will go to Sweden. Like with the Gold Cup & Saucer, the event will coincide with the Elitloppet - one of the biggest events in our country." Sweden had generously deferred hosting the 2017 editions, in order to permit Canada to do so during the 250th anniversary of its first-ever horse race and "Canada 150" celebrations recognizing a century-and-a-half of existence as a nation.   Darryl Kaplan Manager, Industry Communications and Business Development Standardbred Canada Editor, Trot Magazine

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - Harness racing trainer Maxime Velaye says he is on "Cloud 9" that his horse, Sports Authority, is in the C$200,000 Prix D'Ete race at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday. The energetic young trainer, who two years ago won his first training title at H3R, has really come of age with his stable and despite his horse being the long shot in the race, is happy just to be in it. "He is feeling great," Velaye said of Sports Authority. "I was very pleased he went a fast mile last week (winning at Rideau Carlton from start to finish in 1:52.4), so he will not be surprised on Sunday following a fast pace." A gelded son of Sportswriter from the Good New Scooter mare, Alcyon Semalu, a 100% producer from six foals, Sports Authority is a half-brother to the $436,000 winner, Style Semalu (p, 5, 1:51). Sports Authority is owned by Guy Corbeil of Mirabel and will start from post seven in the 14th race feature. "I am hoping he will do really well on Sunday." Velaye said. "He has shown the speed in the past. I just need him to do it for four quarter miles and I think he can do it. "I'm really on Cloud 9 right now," Velaye smiled. "It is an honor for me to compete against the best four-year-old's in the business. You always dream about being in a big race like the Prix D'Ete, but now it is no longer a dream but reality. I am proud to represent Trois-Rivieres because we are the local stable." It is a tall order that Velaye and Sports Authority are hoping to do well in the Prix D'Ete. The 2-1 race favorite, Sintra, comes to H3R with seven wins in ten starts and a record of 1:47.2 taken July 1. Just two weeks ago in his last start he won at Mohawk Raceway in 1:48.4. Other contenders include Dr J Hanover, the fastest horse ever in Canada with a record of 1:46.4, Awesomeness, who just won at Mohawk Raceway in 1:50 and then there is the local hometown favorite, Sports Authority, who drew outside in post seven for driver Pierre-Luc Roy. "I am hoping for a "wicked" first half mile," Velaye said as he gave his thoughts on how the race should go. "I'm guessing the #8 horse, Dr J Hanover, is not going to back off from such an outside post and he has shown good early speed in the past. "So, there is a good chance some of the inside horses will leave hard too," Velaye explained. "And if my horse can stay inside and save some ground, he can grab a piece of the pie in the stretch. Plus, I almost forgot, we will most certainly need a lot of luck too! "I remember Dan Dube had Duc D'Orleans in the Prix D'Ete in 2014 and he was the local favorite and long odds and Dan gave him a perfect drive that day and they finished second," Velaye recalled. "Maybe my horse can have the same kind of trip. I am confident that Pierre-Luc will give him the perfect drive." Velaye said he was too young to remember the glory days of the Prix D'Ete back at Blue Bonnet Raceway, "but I have seen many photos of the great horses that have won the race and the huge crowds that would come out to the races back then," Velaye said. "I am hoping that the race fans from all around Quebec and especially Trois-Rivieres," Velaye said. "will come out this Sunday and be cheering loud for us. We can most certainly use that energy to help us score an upset. Just like it would happen in the movies, anything can happen." Track Notes: None of the eight drivers in the big race have ever won the Prix D'Ete before. Trainer Ron Burke is going for his third straight Prix D'Ete victory and Jimmy Takter won it in 2014 with Sunfire Blue Chip. The special 15-race program starts at 2:30 pm. Also on the card are four divisions of the Future Stars Series for two-year-old pacers with two colt and two filly divisions. Harness racing Hall of Famer, Michel "Mike" Lachance, is the Grand Marshal for this year's Prix D'Ete. He won the Prix D'Ete back to back with Matt's Scooter in 1988 and Goalie Jeff in 1989. Driver James MacDonald, fresh off capturing the World Driving Championship Friday night, will be at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday, driving Awesomeness in the Prix D'Ete. For more information, visit From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Charlottetown, PEI -- Canadian harness racing driver James MacDonald of Guelph, Ont. clinched the 2017 World Driving Championship (WDC), and its $25,000 top prize Friday evening (August 18) at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park, Prince Edward Island. In a night to remember, a capacity crowd witnessed the hometown triumph of MacDonald, the first-ever Canadian to claim the international title on home turf. MacDonald entered the fifth and final day of competition with a 26-point lead over Finland's Mika Forss. Without a win in the first three races to clinch the overall points lead, MacDonald sealed his claim to the WDC title in the night's final of four races by earning four points for an eighth-place finish with Instant Shadow. The Canadian reinsman amassed a total of 211 WDC tournament points, ultimately besting overall runner-up Forss, who completed his drives with an accumulated 193 points for second. Marcus Miller, from the United States, tallied 181.5 points to round out the top three WDC drivers.      The 31-year-old Prince Edward Island native returned to his home province as the only one of the 11 WDC contestants to have won at least one race at each track leading up to the final leg of the tournament. MacDonald won two of five heats at Century Downs in Alberta on Saturday (August 12), teaming up with Lucky Lucka and Barossa Blue Genes, before prevailing with Mystery Bet on Monday (August 14) at his current home base of Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. He went on to double up again at Georgian Downs on Tuesday (August 15), reaching the winner's enclosure with Shemars Lulu and Walk The Plank, before earning his sixth WDC win at Québec's Hippodrome 3R on Wednesday (August 16) aboard Federal Strike.   Hosted by Standardbred Canada, the World Driving Championship is held every two years in conjunction with the World Trotting Conference. The 2017 editions of the events coincide with the 250th Anniversary of horse racing in Canada, and Canada 150 celebrations.  MacDonald is now the fourth Canadian driver to win the World Driving Championship, the first to do so on Canadian soil. Hervé Filion won the inaugural edition in 1970; his nephew Sylvain Filion won in 1999; and Jody Jamieson won the 2001 and 2011 editions of the WDC. 2017 World Driving Championship Leaderboard (final) Rank - Driver (Country) - Points 1. James MacDonald (Canada) - 211 2. Mika Forss (Finland) - 193 3. Marcus Miller (United States) - 181.5 4. Dexter Dunn (ITA/New Zealand) - 166 5. Björn Goop (Sweden) - 152 6. Noel Baldacchino (Malta) - 148 7. Eirik Høitomt (Norway) - 136 8. Shane Graham (Australia) - 135 8. Gerhard Mayr (Austria) - 135 10. Mark Purdon (New Zealand) - 124.5 11. Rik Depuydt (Belgium) - 107   A more detailed release will follow.   Jeff Porchak World Driving Championship Media Liaison

AUGUST 18, 2017 - Mohawk Racetrack hosted the two-year-old trotting colts and fillies on Friday evening and the harness racing novices put on an impressive show in a trio of Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series divisions. The fillies jump started the evening and Apprentice M's effort had trainer Jonas Czernyson's heart beating a little quicker than normal as she toured the Mohawk oval on the front end. Starting from Post 5, Apprentice M was sitting fourth when Sorceress Seelster reached the opening quarter in :28.3, but driver Doug McNair of Guelph, ON soon moved the fan favourite to the front and Apprentice M sailed through fractions of :59 and 1:28 on her way to a three-quarter length win in 1:57.2 Sorceress Seelster finished second and Miss Mimi was third. "I was hoping for a come from behind trip with her and not being in the lead, but she did it and she got the job done from there, so I'm very happy with that," said Czernyson, adding that his concern about her early move to the front was rooted in an equipment change made after her August 4 runner-up effort at The Meadowlands. "A green horse and the first time open bridle too, so it was a little like 'I don't know if this is going to work', but she got it done." The win was Apprentice M's first after a pair of runner-up finishes, the other coming in the July 25 Gold Leg at Mohawk. A Kadabra half-sister to $1.3 million winner Charmed Life, Apprentice M was an $85,000 yearling acquisition at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale by Menhammar Stuteri AB of Paris, KY and Czernyson had high expectations for her early in the training process. "She's done everything right from Day 1, pretty much, so I've been very pleased with her," said the New Jersey-based trainer. "She's kind of a nice going filly and pretty easy to get along with." Apprentice M The winner of the second $94,800 trotting filly division is also pretty easy to get along with, and just over an hour after her third straight Gold Series win Kadabra Queen was gobbling down her dinner and heading back outside to her paddock. "We're sitting here waiting for her to eat her dinner so I can turn her back out with her girlfriend and she'll go and spend the night outside tonight," said trainer Chad Milner. "She lived outside all winter, no blanket, the whole nine yards. I think she's maybe spent five nights in the barn this year." The natural life clearly suits the Kadabra daughter, who has not been worse than third in six starts through her freshman campaign. On Friday she and driver Scott Coulter of Brantford, ON went gate-to-wire from Post 4, rolling through fractions of :29.1, :58.3 and 1:27.2 on the way to a one length victory in a personal best 1:57.1. Northern Lightning and favourite Smoke And Mirrors finished second and third. "We're very happy with her, first time on the front end, wire-to-wire, real happy," said Milner, adding that he had considered making his own equipment change after the filly made a brief bobble at the start of an overnight event at Mohawk on August 4 that resulted in a third-place finish. "I was too scared to change anything," Milner admitted with a laugh. "I tried all week and I warmed her up in the (ear) plugs and she was fine, but I was like, you know what she's already won two Golds without them, I'm just going to leave them out." Owned by breeder Harness Horsepower Inc. of Campbellville and Frank Monte of Markham, Kadabra Queen boosted her earnings to $150,900 with the win and stretched her lead out to 50 points in the two-year-old trotting filly division standings. Kadabra Queen In the $124,200 trotting colt Gold division, Perfetto got a steady steer from Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry, who sat mid-pack with the fan favourite for much of the race, waiting until the stretch to ask the novice trotter for a second gear. Perfetto responded with a sharp finishing kick that propelled him to a two and three-quarter length victory over Winning American in 1:57.3. Union Jack was well behind the leaders in third. "I think he's going to be a really nice colt. He's very green and he's a little goofy, as we saw last week when he kind of made a break," said trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman. "He's just a little unsettled yet, but Trevor did a fantastic job driving him, and kept him really quiet. You know, the main thing was just to get him round in one piece and try and teach him something, and he did that and got paid for doing it, so it worked out really good." Friday's outing was just Perfetto's second lifetime, he finished third in the August 1 Gold Leg at Mohawk, recovering from a bobble going to the half. The Majestic Son gelding, who was a $32,000 purchase from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, is owned by Norman's Enzed Racing Stable of Allentown, NJ and his partners David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Joe Hansford of Foothill, AB. Perfetto The two-year-old trotting fillies and trotting colts will return to Mohawk Racetrack for their fourth Gold Series starts on Sept. 25 and 26 after a series of open stake events, starting with the Champlain Stakes on August 31 and Sept. 1. On Saturday the Campbellville oval will host the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies as they battle in their third Gold Series event. The pacing fillies will compete in Races 2 and 8, while the colts duel in Races 5 and 7. Mohawk Racetrack's first race goes in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - It's no surprise that Sintra has been made the 2-1 morning line favorite in Sunday's C$200,000 Prix D'Ete at the Hippodrome 3R for four-year-old pacers. The gelded son of Mach Three has been nearly perfect this season for trainer Dave Menary, winning seven of his ten starts so far and now drawing the rail for Sunday's Prix D'Ete makes him the horse to beat. Owned by Brad Gray of Dundas, Michael Guerriero of Brampton and Menary Racing Inc. of Rockton, Ontario, Sintra will have Jody Jamieson once again doing the driving. In their last start, two weeks ago in the Preferred Pace at Mohawk Raceway, Sintra came from fifth place at the top of the stretch, kicked in a :25.4 last quarter mile and posted a 1:48.4 triumph. Two starts back from that he scored his lifetime best mile with a 1:47.2 romp in capturing the $240,000 Graduate Series Final at the Meadowlands. While Sintra has raced against and beaten everyone in the field except for Sports Authority, it will still take a big effort to win on Sunday. Awesomeness, from post three for driver James MacDonald, won his last start at Mohawk in a lifetime best 1:50. Brittany Farm's Western Fame (post 5) for driver Trevor Henry, is one of two in the race for trainer Jimmy Takter and in his last start, Western Fame was second by a nose in a dead heat at Yonkers Raceway in 1:53.1. Lyons Snyder, also from the Takter Stable, is the 4-1 second choice from post two and will have Trois-Rivieres native, Daniel Dube, in the sulky. And drawing the far outside in post eight is Dr J Hanover, who earlier this season became the fastest Canadian winner ever with his monster 1:46.4 triumph at Mohawk. He will be driven by Doug McNair and in the past, has shown great leaving ability, even from post eight. Rounding out the field is another contender in Roll Away Joe from the Ron Burke Stable. He goes from post four for driver Louis-Philippe Roy. Trainer/driver Stephane Pouliot will start his son of Mach Three, Stonebridge Beach from post six. The long shot in the field is a local horse, Sports Authority, starting from post seven for trainer Maxime Velaye. This son of Sportswriter, owned by Guy Corbeil of Mirabel, is coming off a strong 1:52.4 victory at Rideau Carlton. He will be driven by Pierre Luc Roy, the older brother of Louis-Philippe. Trainer Ron Burke is going for his third straight victory in the Prix D'Ete, having won last year in a classic battle with Rockin Ron over Wiggle It Jiggleit in 1:52 over a sloppy track. The prior year he won with All Bets Off, tying the all-age track record in 1:50.3 that was first set by Jimmy Takter's Sunfire Blue Chip in 2014. The Prix D'Ete was revived by the Quebec Jockey Club back in 2014. The Prix D'Ete was the most prestigious race in all of Canada from 1966 through 1992. World champions Bret Hanover, Albatross, Niatross, Hot Hitter, Cam Fella, On The Road Again, Ralph Hanover, Matts Scooter and a host of other top pacers had won the Prix D'Ete when it was held at the old Blue Bonnets Racecourse. There are four divisions of the third and final preliminary round of the Future Stars Series for two-year-old pacing colts and fillies on Sunday. This is the last chance for the youngsters to earn points towards the C$55,000 finals on Sunday, September 3. 14th Race $200,000 Prix D'Ete 1. Sintra (Jody Jamieson) 2-1 2. Lyons Snyder (Daniel Dube) 4-1 3. Awesomeness (James MacDonald) 5-1 4. Roll Away Joe (Louis-Philippe Roy) 5-1 5. Western Fame (Trevor Henry) 6-1 6. Stonebridge Beach (Stephane Pouliot) 10-1 7. Sports Authority (Pierre Luc Roy) 12-1 8. Dr J Hanover (Doug McNair) 6-1 Track Notes: H3R's leading driver this season, Stephane Brosseau, is just three wins away from his 3,000th career victory. He has ten drives on Sunday's program. The 15-race program on Sunday has a later first race post time of 2:30 pm with the Prix D'Ete scheduled to go off at 7:00 pm. Hall of Famer Michel Lachance, who won back to back Prix D'Ete's with Matt's Scooter in 1988 and Goalie Jeff in 1989, is the Grand Marshal this Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. For more information, visit From the Quebec Jockey Club  

The Symposium portion of the 2017 World Trotting Conference, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, concluded on Thursday with four panels addressing topics important to the future of harness racing worldwide. Following Friday's World Driving Championship Final, the World Trotting Conference will resume for its final sessions on Saturday, followed by the closing ceremonies. On Thursday, Angel Suarez of Red Circle, an American marketing agency serving a racing and gaming-industry clientele, suggested ways in which tracks can bring traffic to their websites, and customers to their grandstands and simulcast signals. He said easy toggling between racing and gaming areas of racino websites was "extremely important." Suarez said targeting the Millennial customer base was difficult, yet offered opportunity: "They don't have money and they're not interested in sitting at a slot machine," but harness racing "lends itself to the Millennial mindset." Racehorse breeding experts took to the stage next, with Ryan Dupuis of Ontario Racing sharing recent developments in that province's Standardbred industry. He explained how purse bonuses and benefits for mare owners and breeders were helping Ontario harness racing in its lengthy recovery from the end of the Slots at Racetracks Program in 2012. "we're actually starting to see, in our Standardbred sector, stability and growth," said Dupuis. Christina Olsson of Sweden's Svensk Transport opened her remarks by advising that "To promote breeding is very much to promote horse-owning". She said that trotters of mixed Standardbred-Trotteur Français bloodlines comprised around 100-thousand of Sweden's 350-thousand horses, with Coldblood trotters making up around 10 percent of racing stock. "The next generation is born in Stockholm and has to have an opportunity to meet horses," she said, adding that programs like Rikstravet fractional ownership and the "Star Driver" program have helped keep harness racing popular. Lisa Pfister promoted upcoming clinical trials of a specialized "milk analysis system" for mares, called Pfera. She said that better predication of foaling times reduces the mortality rate for mares and foals. The "It's a Small World" international simulcasting panel was led by PMU France's Scott Finley, who identified three main barriers to the export of signals: data quality, pool size, and "time of day" that races are conducted. Arthur Cooper, a consultant to the Irish Harness Racing Association asked, "How do you change the image of trotting in Ireland?" to attract wagering. Andrew Kelly, the chief executive of Harness Racing Australia, credited the late Sam McKee with having "great confidence" in Southern Hemisphere racing, and "really delivering" by helping get Sky Racing World's simulcast Australian races to North American wagering sites and racetracks. The last panel of the conference explored the question of "Is it time for whip-free racing?" Geoff Want, chairman of Harness Racing Australia, said the whip ban that would have taken effect in September 2017 was now on indefinite hold, and he was concerned about the popularity of racing in light of animal welfare activists' growing influence. John Campbell, the new director and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, said that, in his driving career, he considered the whip essential safety equipment, especially for pacers. Whip rule enforcement in Ontario had not harmed speed or racing performance, said Brent Stone, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's director of racing. In fact, Stone said a number of horses had taken new lifetime marks shortly after stricter regulation became the norm. Darryl Kaplan World Trotting Conference Media Liaison

AUGUST 17, 2017 - Fresh off a runner-up performance in the Hambletonian Oaks, Magic Presto returned to Ontario Sires Stakes harness racing competition at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday and cruised to her second Gold Series win of the season. Starting from Post 1, driver Trevor Henry settled Magic Presto in third as Winter Sweet Frost rang up early fractions of :28.1 and :57.1. Heading for the 1:26.1 three-quarters Henry sent the heavy favourite to the outside and Magic Presto coasted down the stretch to a one length victory in 1:55.1. Winter Sweet Frost finished second and Gravitator was third. "Nice and handy and not too hard a run, so I was pleased with the way things worked out," said trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman. "We've got a really busy month coming up, so anytime you can get a relatively easy run, it's good for everybody." In the next month Magic Presto and her peers have a series of open stake races at Mohawk starting with the Casual Breeze on August 25, followed by the Simcoe Stakes on Sept. 1 and the Elegantimage eliminations Sept. 9, with the final on Sept. 16. The last Gold Series event goes postward at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 27 and the season ending Super Final is Oct. 14 at Mohawk. With that schedule in mind Norman said Magic Presto will enjoy a lighter than normal training routine in the coming weeks, but overall the New Jersey-based trainer is pleased with the filly's condition at the mid-point of her sophomore campaign. "She's in really good shape physically, she's carrying a lot of weight, so I'm really happy with that part of it," said the trainer. "She's pretty laid back, and she's a good eater; she's a pretty happy horse, so not much worries her." In her 18 career starts the laidback daughter of Kadabra and In The Mean Time boasts a record of nine wins, five seconds and two thirds for total earnings of $755,159. Norman trains the filly for Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL, David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Magic Presto Sweet Of My Heart also picked up her second Gold Series win on Thursday, although her journey back to the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle was far more tortured than Magic Presto's. Both fillies scored their first Gold Series win at Mohawk on June 8, but since then Magic Presto has not been worse than second racing against the very best fillies in North America while Sweet Of My Heart checked herself out of two straight Gold Legs after making breaks behind the starting gate and was forced to requalify. "That running off a couple starts was no fun for anybody," said trainer Paul Reid. "When you don't even get to race because you're on the break, that makes for a long night." After the miscues Reid and his wife Laurie teamed up with driver Jody Jamieson and the group has been working tirelessly, on and off the racetrack, to keep Sweet Of My Heart on an even keel. Their efforts paid off Thursday as the Angus Hall daughter got away cleanly from Post 6 and led the field through fractions of :27.1, :57.1 and 1:26 on her way to a 1:55.4 victory, keeping a head in front of fan favourite and division point leader On A Sunny Day. Majestic Kat was well back of the leaders in third. "Jody did a good job of keeping her quiet in the post parade. Usually, as soon as she sees the starting gate, a little switch flips, and he's been putting her right up on it and just kind of letting her get more relaxed behind it, kind of forcing her to get more relaxed behind it," said Reid, who trains Sweet Of My Heart for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. "And we've schooled her a couple times, and he qualified her for me, and he's been working with me so we've re-rigged her and right now she's controllable, so that's our main thing. If she's controllable she can trot with them. Otherwise, you've seen what can happen when she's not." For his part, Jamieson was pleased with Sweet Of My Heart's performance, but said there is still room for improvement from the winner of $207,900. "Tonight she was much improved, but she's still not back to where she was when Louis (Roy) won with her early in the summer," said the Moffat, ON resident, referring to the 1:55 personal best the filly recorded in her June 8 victory. Sweet Of My Heart Like Magic Presto, Sweet Of My Heart is eligible to all of the open stake events in the coming weeks, but Reid said the decision to compete in each event will depend on the filly's performance in the days leading up to the entry deadlines. Mohawk Racetrack continues to showcase the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series this weekend, hosting the two-year-old trotting colts and fillies on Friday, August 25 and the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies on Saturday, August 19. Post time for both events is 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

Large crowd greets John Campbell and Wally Hennessey at World Harness Racing book launch John Campbell and Wally Hennessey two superstars in the world of harness racing were on hand Wednesday for the launch of the book World Harness Racing. It all took place at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino in Charlottetown Prince Edward Island, Canada. Hosted by the book’s managing editor Jerry McCabe and Red Shores marketing manager, Lee Drake, the launch featured strong presentations by Campbell, Hennessey, and Robert Mitchell, the minister responsible for harness racing on the Island while the book was taking shape. A long line-up of people waited to purchase the book with Hennessey and Campbell and two of the co-authors signing books for a long stretch. No one went home disappointed or empty handed. For more information on the book go to .

The World Trotting Conference Symposium opened to members of the public on Wednesday with a full day of sessions, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The schedule began with a keynote address from Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario CEO Jean Major, a regulator of gambling for the last 27 years. He said that since Ontario introduced legal casino gaming in 1992-93, horse racing has lost its “complete dominance” in provincial gambling, dropping to “less than 11 percent” of dollars wagered there annually.   Major said Ontario is moving from a prescriptive approach to a new, outcome-based way of regulating the alcohol and gaming industries. Next, a panel discussion on the “Brave New World” of betting provided insights on wagering analytics. Dean Towers, secretary of the Horseplayers’ Association of North America, said that handle on sports betting had doubled during the same period that games of chance, like slots, were declining in popularity. Fixed-odds wagering and carryovers were two growing trends Towers identified as capturing gamblers’ interest. Brad Cummings, founder and CEO of Equilottery LLC, said that “the problem is not the product -- it’s the packaging.” He presented data showing how the quick-pick horse racing lottery game could help attract the Millennial-aged players currently lacking in the sport’s customer base. Woodbine Entertainment’s Senior Vice President of Information Technology, Chris Lush, said most of the volume on the company’s Horseplayer Interactive wagering site came from Baby Boomers. He added that newcomers “look at our tote systems and they are lost”, but a recently-introduced “Woodbine app” for mobile devices was part of company outreach to “make [wagering] more interactive, more fun.” Christopher Schick, representing Golden Bear Racing LLC, which operates Cal-Expo Harness, focused on betting options and how they were received by the gambling public. “Each track needs a signature wager,” he said, but some offer “too many gimmicks” relative to respective pool size. Schick noted that “guaranteed pools drive handle”, while reduced takeout is unattractive to Cal-Expo’s biggest bettors, who prefer lower host fees and more rebates. Next, equine health was front and centre. Dr. Kathleen MacMillan, assistant professor of equine ambulatory medicine at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, provided an overview of some of the most common conditions affecting Standardbred racehorses. Her topics included respiratory health, fractures, and gastric ulcers. Adrienne Herron, a traceability systems specialist, followed with a presentation about the microchipping of horses. She said that although the practice is still gaining wider acceptance in the Standardbred industry, it will be implemented as a mandatory identification measure in registered Canadian Thoroughbreds, beginning with foals of 2017. Herron said that microchipping was safe and valuable for accurate, immediate racehorse identification, as well as faster cross-border horse transport.  An afternoon panel discussion addressed the topics of medication control and research. Dr. Carolyn Cooper, director of equine drug control at the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) cautioned that “you really need to know where your compounded medications come from”, because questionable “trunk-of-a-car compounding” could result in positive tests for prohibited substances. She noted that natural health products also face “little to no regulatory oversight”. Lydia Brooks, manager of research and analysis for the CPMA, said environmental contamination was “a challenge in the testing for prohibited substances”, because of the many possible ways for horses to come into contact with trace amounts of controlled or prohibited substances. She said cobalt poses a threat to equine health, and was identified as a prohibited substance by the CPMA beginning in 2015. “The good news is that cobalt levels have decreased significantly since cobalt was first identified as an issue in Canada.” United States Trotting Association president Russell Williams described the evolution of racing regulation as a response to the sport’s development as a gambling entity. The Hanover Shoe Farms chairman said there was no clear need for the National (US) Uniform Medication Testing Program in harness racing, as it would shift federal program costs to horsepeople and fail to utilize “the human capital in the regulatory system that we now have.” In the afternoon, the Symposium featured a trio of panel discussions on ways to promote harness racing to new audiences. They followed a lunch presentation by Woodbine Entertainment’s Tom Via, who introduced plans to make Mohawk Racetrack into a “year-round mecca of North American harness racing.” “The Facts About the Fracs” examined the topic of fractional ownership. Mats Norberg, a board member with the Swedish trotting organization Svensk Travsport, described the highly-popular Rikstravet model of sharing a racehorse. The trainer selects the particular trotter for the fractional owners, said Norberg. “One payment, all-inclusive” billing, and the ability for owners to exit a fractional group if they so choose, have helped make Rikstravet a success. Justin Van Daele, marketing director for, spoke on behalf of founder Anthony MacDonald’s Ontario-based fractional ownership group. He said that at a cost of roughly $24 a month, per share, The Stable removed the element of unwanted surprise from the cost of racehorse ownership. Live-streaming drone video on training days, and keeping in touch with owners via “chain e-mails, three to six times a week”, helps owners feel connected, added Van Daele. Paul Ryneveld, general manager of Alberta’s Century Downs, said the track’s racing club was established, in part, to help remedy the local racehorse shortage. “The goal was to bring horses from out of the jurisdiction to the province,” he said. Ryneveld noted that a “new class of license” initially needed to be developed in consultation with Horse Racing Alberta, ensuring that “no current horse owner would be a part of the racing club” as a means of “hidden ownership.” Century Downs Racing Club purchases and manages the racing careers of its horses. In 2017, there are 94 members, each paying $250 per year. Mike Tanner, executive vice-president and CEO of the US Trotting Association, said that while the breed registry cannot own or sell horses, it can help in other ways. He mentioned time-limited fractional stables based at Scioto Downs in Ohio, and The Meadows in Pennsylvania, although concerns that horse shares might be considered “securities” under U.S. law have made it a challenge to replicate the model of Later, the symposium theme shifted to working with government. Don Marean of the U.S. Trotting Association stressed the importance of open communication with elected officials, and Joe Faraldo, representing the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, emphasized the value of printed materials and transparency. Gilllaume Maupas, from France’s Le Trot, drew attention to the people and horses that distinguish the racing industry from other forms of gaming today. The Honourable J. Heath MacDonald, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism for the Province of Prince Edward Island, spoke about the importance of the relationship between government and the horse racing industry, stressing that the industry has many important messages and must make sure that government has the data and information to make informed decisions. The day wrapped up after a rapid-fire “Lightning Round” of marketing ideas from international panelists. The audience voted on their top three marketing pitches from Harness Racing New Zealand’s Edward Rennell, Standardbred Canada’s Darryl Kaplan, Adriana Spatzner of Ontario Lottery and Gaming, Johan Lindberg of Svensk Travsport, and Red Shores marketing manager Lee Drake. Results will be revealed today (August 17), when the WTC Symposium resumes at the Delta Prince Edward Island.  The full schedule is available at Darryl Kaplan World Trotting Conference Media Liaison  

AUGUST 16, 2017 - Seven of this year's Battle of Waterloo hopefuls returned to Grand River Raceway on Wednesday and four of the two-year-old pacing colts went home with the result that had eluded them in the Elora oval's signature harness racing event. Casimir Richie P, the only one of the seven who started in the Battle of Waterloo Final, made the quickest trip to the winner's circle, capturing the last $19,150 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots division in an impressive 1:54.4. Starting from Post 1 fan favourites Casimir Richie P and driver Tyler Moore laid down fractions of :27, :55 and 1:25.1 on their way to the four length score over Pokerface Bluechip. On The Take was three more lengths back in third. "He's been a nice colt all along, we only paid $6,000 for him, and he's been a dandy," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore. "It's too bad that Murray McConnell wasn't alive to see him, because he bred the colt and he liked the colt. He was the nicest Astronomical colt - as you know I had Astronomical, he won a lot of Golds in his day - and he was the nicest Astronomical colt that I'd seen from Murray, so I had to have him, and he's been one of our top colts all along." Wednesday's win was Casimir Richie P's first and will likely see him return to the Gold Series, where he started the season. Puslinch resident Dr. Moore shares ownership of the colt with his son, driver Tyler Moore of Campbellville, and Michael Goldberg of Toronto, ON. The Moore Stable also picked up a Grassroots trophy in the second division as favourite Atomic Seelster led the field of eight through fractions of :28.4, :59.1 and 1:29 on his way to a 1:57.3 victory over Sports Nation and Sports Band. Tyler Moore crafted the win for Shadow One Stable of Puslinch, ON, Shawn Murphy of Charlottetown, PEI and Darcy Murphy of Rothesay, NB. "He's a very nice colt. He had a really nice race his first race in the Gold at Mohawk (July 7), looked like everything was going to be good, and then, I don't know, he's been growing a lot lately, like getting real tall and big, and maybe that was part of it, but he just kind of had a what I call a two-year-old recession," noted Dr. Moore. "He raced well in the Consolation here, he got run into in the head of the stretch and still finished third, so we were very pleased with that, and he went a nice race tonight for sure." Dr. Moore and his partners purchased Atomic Seelster at last fall's Forest City Yearling Sale, offering up $100,000 for the son of Shadow Play and Angelina Seelster. The other entry from the Moore Stable, Lucky Michael, finished fourth in his Grassroots division, seven lengths behind winner Family Sports. "I enjoy Grand River and the Grassroots are good for one that's struggled a little bit in the Gold, it tends to give them a little confidence," said Dr. Moore. "We're very pleased." Like Dr. Moore, trainer Dave Menary is hoping Wednesday's win puts Family Sports on track for further success in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. The Sportswriter son and driver Travis Cullen made a bold three-wide move at the three-quarters and powered home to a 1:56.3 victory, the gelding's second in Grassroots action. Letjimmytakeover and Ferrarifever were over five lengths back in second and third. "I was just hoping to get him back on the right track; I've done a lot of fiddling with equipment. I was really happy the first start I raced him (July 20), thought things were heading in the right direction, and then he got torched really bad in his Battle of Waterloo Elimination," explained Menary. "I was hoping to race him from right off the pace last week (in the Consolation) and he was just too hot after leaving with him two weeks in a row, so I did a little bit more fiddling tonight and that's the kind of trip I wanted to see him get, and he responded the way I wanted to see him." Cambridge resident Menary trains Family Sports for Brad Gray of Dundas and Denise Guerriero of Toronto, ON. Wednesday's victory moved the gelding into a tie for top spot in the two-year-old pacing colt division. Sprocket finished behind Atomic Seelster and Family Sports in the Battle of Waterloo Consolation on August 7, but the Sportswriter son was a one length winner in the first Grassroots division on Wednesday. In rein to trainer Wayne Henry Sprocket hit the wire in 1:58, besting favourite JM Jack Of Hearts and Pinstripe Pride. Bred and owner by Fred Brayford of Alliston, ON, Sprocket now has a win and a second to his credit in two Grassroots starts. The only one of Wednesday's Grassroots winners that did not compete in the Battle of Waterloo was Jonathan Quick, who got a head in front of Mission Three and favourite Howmac Dancer in the third division. Jonathan Drury piloted the Mach Three colt to the 1:58.1 victory for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and owners Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC and Conrad Leber of Montreal, QC. "He's a very green colt that qualified well, but got a touch sick shortly after," noted Steacy. "He's healthy now and starting to be more competitive. JD (Drury) gave him a great drive tonight." The two-year-old pacing colts and geldings will try and pad their point totals in the fourth Grassroots event at Clinton Raceway on August 27. The Ontario Sires Stakes program returns to Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, Sept. 13 with the last regular season Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting colts. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

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