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The Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) is pleased to announce an expanded line-up of Facebook Live Shows for 2020 which will showcase 12 major event race days from across the province. The Facebook Live Series will kick off this Sunday afternoon at picturesque Clinton Raceway with coverage of the track's signature event, the $64,700 Kin Pace for three-year-old fillies. The 90-minute broadcast will also feature a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for three-year-old filly trotters. "COSA is pleased to be able to continue our Facebook Live Series with even more shows this season," said the association's President Bill O'Donnell. "We've seen the audience for these shows continuing to grow and this platform allows us the flexibility to broadcast from various tracks throughout Ontario. It gives us a chance to showcase their special event days to a broad audience of race fans and industry stakeholders." CUJO Entertainment will produce the shows and each 90-minute broadcast will feature live races, interviews, features and the ability to engage with viewers in real time through questions, comments and contest giveaways. Greg Blanchard, Mark McKelvie and Jaime MacDonald will serve as the show's hosts. "We are really looking forward to bringing a high quality production to these big race days," said Curtis MacDonald who owns and operates CUJO Entertainment. "When possible, we will incorporate some of our new technology like the drone camera and the cable camera into the broadcasts in order to enhance the viewer's experience. We want the audience to be entertained and engaged." The live stream can be accessed by subscribing to the COSA TV YouTube page which also gives fans access to other feature content. The shows will also be broadcast on COSA TV's Facebook and Twitter channels. A tentative schedule of 12 Facebook Live events is listed below. For complete details, visit www.cosatv.ca. Kin Pace Final - Clinton Raceway (July 5) Battle Of Waterloo - Grand River Raceway (Aug 3) Des Smith/Earl Rowe - Rideau Carleton/(Remote) Georgian (Aug 16) Balanced Image - Hanover Raceway (Aug 22) Canadian Pacing Derby/Maple Leaf Trot - Mohawk (Sept 5) Wellwood Memorial Final - Mohawk (Sept 12) Canadian Trotting Classic - Mohawk (Sept 19) Confederation Cup - Flamboro Downs (T.B.D.) Mohawk Million/Metro Pace - Mohawk (Sept 26) Grassroots Final - Mohawk (Oct 10) OSS Super Finals - Mohawk (Oct 17) SBOA Finals - Mohawk (Nov 14) by Greg Blanchard, for Western Fair

June 16, 2020 -- Two of Canada's most prominent harness racing conditioners will be the special guests of host Greg Blanchard during another episode of COSA TV this Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Double Hall-Of-Famer Bob McIntosh and Dr. Ian Moore will send out a host of rookie performers this weekend at Woodbine Mohawk Park and will join the show to discuss their starters as well as some of their high profile three-year-olds who have returned to action. The broadcast can be viewed on the COSA Facebook Page as well as the COSA TV YouTube page and the Standardbred Canada website. COSA TV will once again provide enhanced live coverage of the baby races this weekend at Woodbine Mohawk Park which will be available on all three platforms. Greg Blanchard

June 11, 2020 -- COSA TV has teamed up with the folks at Woodbine Mohawk Park and is pleased to be able to provide enhanced coverage of the first full session of harness racing baby races this Friday morning from the Campbellville oval beginning at 9:30 a.m. A total of 122 two-year-olds were entered to qualify this weekend with a portion conducted as part of Thursday's regular qualifying session and another 14 races slated for Friday morning. Greg Blanchard will host the show and will be joined on the broadcast by Mark McKelvie who will also call the action. Blake MacIntosh and Anthony MacDonald, who spoke about a number of their rookies during Wednesday night's Baby Race Preview Show on COSA TV, will send out several starters on Friday morning. Fans will also get their first look at Marlboro Seelster, a record $270,000 purchase from last Fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. The son of Bettors Delight - Macapelo Rose has drawn post four in the morning's seventh race with Louis Phillipe Roy driving for co-owner/trainer Ian Moore. The show will be available on various COSA TV platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter as well as Woodbine Mohawk Park's YouTube channel. Standardbred Canada will post FREE TrackIT program pages on their site on Friday morning and will also offer the live broadcast to their online audience.                 GREG BLANCHARD​DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONSEmail: gblanchard@westernfairdistrict.comOffice: 519-438-7203,239Fax: 519-438-2388Western ​Fair ​District ​ ​316 Rectory St ​London, On ​N5W 3V9 Please consider the environment before printing this email message.

June 9, 2020 -- In what is a sure sign of summer, the baby races for harness racing  two-year-olds return to Woodbine Mohawk Park this Saturday morning and COSA TV will hold a Facebook Live preview show Wednesday night beginning at 7:30 p.m. Blake MacIntosh and Anthony MacDonald will both be busy sending out a number of starters during the morning session and they will join Greg Blanchard to discuss some of their young prospects and what to expect on Saturday. COSA TV has scaled back the virtual Facebook Live shows to once a week - Wednesday nights only, which will continue over the coming weeks - as they prepare for more live event coverage during the summer months. COSA will announce more details as they become available. Wednesday's show can be view on both the COSA TV Facebook platform or on the Standardbred Canada website. COSA TV

Mississauga, ON — While dual Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey and prominent harness racing trainer Tony O’Sullivan were the featured guests on Wednesday night’s (June 3) edition of COSA TV, the spotlight more truly landed on the premier distaff trotters they’ve been associated with. To read the full story and view the video, click here.

London, May 28, 2020 -- The return of horses behind the starting gate will bring renewed excitement to the Ontario harness racing industry this weekend. But, it will also be bittersweet as this was to be the weekend of the Camluck Classic, presented by Seelster Farms - the annual Closing Night event at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The event has been cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, however COSA TV will pay tribute the longstanding event during its Facebook Live broadcast this Sunday night. Hosts Greg Blanchard, Greg Gangle and Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle, will relive some of the greatest editions of the race which was formerly called the Labatt Pace and then Molson Pace before being renamed the Camluck Classic in 2018. The race was renamed in honour of the late, great Camluck who became the most prolific pacing stallion in Canadian history during his time at Lucan, Ontario's Seelster Farms. He will be remembered in a special feature during the broadcast. Sunday's show will also feature a pair of simulated 'virtual' Camluck Classic races put together by Ryan Clements' Farmgames.com - one comprised of past champions and the other made up of possible starters from this year's crop. There will also be trivia during the show with commemorative Camluck Classic baseball caps to be given away as prizing. To tune into the broadcast, visit the COSA TV and Raceway at Western Fair District Facebook pages or watch through the Standardbred Canada website. Greg Blanchard

May 26, 2020 - Drivers Corey Callahan, J. Harris and Travis Henry will be the special harness racing guests of COSA TV's Facebook Live broadcast this Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Callahan has become a fixture in many of North America's Grand Circuit races in recent years and is closing in rapidly on $100 million in career earnings. Harris and Henry have both risen through Ontario's Signature driving ranks and come from two of the province's most well-known racing families. Viewers can have their say by submitting questions in advance through the COSA TV Facebook page or during the live broadcast. The show can also be viewed on Standardbred Canada's website. Fans are reminded that the new Scratch N Win promotion, brought to you by COSA and Ontario Racing (OR), has been launched. The game is available free every day and to find out more visit freescratch.ca. Central Ontario Standardbred Association

As the countdown to racing continues, there are many questions that still exist for horsepeople in Ontario as the harness racing community will have to adjust to a new normal. On tonight's (May 24) episode of COSA TV host Greg Blanchard interviewed horseman and COSA Director Mark Horner, General Manager and Race Secretary Ian Fleming and Jamie Martin, Grand River Raceway’s Director of Operations. Together the trio discussed new racetrack protocols, the importance of increasing racetrack handle and how the industry will have to adapt to a new normal of racing. Questions from viewers were also answered as well as trivia questions for fans and viewers to win a prize courtesy of COSA. First to take the stand was Jamie Martin, who discussed recent expansions at the Elora oval. “Last fall we started a $6 million expansion project of our backstretch, it was supposed to be finished on the 1st of June but construction has been halted due to the shutdowns. Normally we have our facility ready and open for training a month out to our opening race night. We added a 7,000 sq. ft. building in between the paddock and the grandstand, this will hold our offices and our simulcast. We also added a 5,000 sq. ft. addition to the back of the paddock that will include a maintenance shop and an open space for additional ship-in stalls. Because of all this construction is why we are not open and ready for training yet. Our track is in good shape and ready for opening.” Horseman Mark Horner discussed how he has managed his stable throughout the pandemic -- a similar approach that most horsemen have taken. “We did back them off a bit, but schedules remained pretty on track. I didn’t train my three-year-olds as much, I backed them up to about one trip a week and when things looked like we were going to get back up and going around the first of May then we started to up the training. We trained a few in the race bike yesterday and everyone is going good -- next week when we are ready to qualify, we will be ready to go.” A representative for horsemen, Horner also discussed the atmosphere throughout the industry during this unprecedented time and how participants are preparing to handle the new protocols put in place. “I’ve talked to a variety of horsemen that race either on the WEG Circuit or the ‘B’ tracks, for the most part the horsemen understand what COSA has gone through and are appreciative of what Ontario Racing has been able to do to provide relief for the horsemen. It’s very important that horsemen follow social distancing, racing is now going to be an in and out process, there will be no hanging around the paddock area, there will be no Lasix except for at Woodbine Mohawk Park. This will be a work in progress but a major part of getting through this pandemic successfully lies in a collaborative effort of racetracks and horsepeople. We need to show that we can wear masks, those who refuse too, will be removed from the paddock.” Following the same suit of adjusting to a new normal, Ian Fleming touched base on adjusting to a new normal of racing without spectators -- an adjustment that Clinton Raceway, a track with a strong community connection, is prepared to face. “It’s not ideal, we have people here from the community every day watching horses jog and train and to tell them in two weeks that they cannot come here and watch these horses race is very hard. I’ve talked to all of them and they understand why they are not able to come and watch the races but it’s going to be very strange. It’s also tough for the local groups that come to the track to fundraise. No matter where you go, it’s going to be strange. For now, we will just have to see how things play out.” Fleming also discussed that although the race office will be taking entries, trainers are still advised to make use of Standardbred Canada’s self-serve online entries. Fleming also credited the system and noted he believes it will be quite helpful in the future. Jamie Martin informed viewers that Grand River Raceway fans will have access to HD streaming since fans will not be able to watch racing live. High-definition video will be available through Grand River Raceway’s website and HPI TV. Martin also noted that in-house handicapping contests will be moved online and that the racetrack still plans to engage fans with their product as much as possible. Switching roles from a director to an owner/trainer/breeder, Horner provided an update on a few sensational mares that have called his stable home. “Pinky Tuscadero is in foal to All Bets Off, she had a big heart and was a very nice mare to race around the small tracks.” From a similar perspective, Horner also touched on how yearling sales will be impacted by COVID-19 -- more specifically the London Selected Yearling Sale. “We have been working very hard exploring different options as to how to conduct the sale, we have put every possible option on the table from a virtual sale and how it would look and have also looked at what other sales are going to do. Ann Straatman is working very hard on how we can successfully have our sale, but no decisions have been made yet. “I don’t think that after spending $1 million on turning the [Western Fair] Agriplex where the sale is conducted into a hospital, that they will be wanting to take it down anytime soon so I think we will have to take a serious look at taking care of the breeders and consignors and consider a virtual sale.” The very informative episode was produced by CUJO Entertainment and featured a mass amount of valuable information for owners, trainers, drivers and all those involved in the industry. The episode is available for viewing below.  Central Ontario Standardbred Association

May 23, 2020 -- The return of live harness racing in Ontario will be the topic of discussion during this Sunday night's Facebook Live edition of COSA TV. Grand River Raceway's Director of Operations Jamie Martin will be part of the lineup as well as Clinton Raceway's GM Ian Fleming who also serves as race secretary for several provincial racetracks from Clinton's centralized race office. Rounding out the guests will be Mark Horner who operates one of the largest stables in Southwestern Ontario and is a past chair of Standardbred Canada. The trio will join host Greg Blanchard beginning at 7:30 p.m. As always, questions can be submitted ahead of time or during the show by visiting the COSA TV Facebook Page. The show will also be aired on the Standardbred Canada website. Greg Blanchard Central Ontario Standardbred Association

May 19, 2020 - A double Hall of Fame driver, a trainer of multiple world class pacers and one of the top female drivers in harness racing will be the special guests of COSA TV’s Facebook Live show this Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Prince Edward Island native Wally Hennessey is one of the latest additions to harness racing’s 10,000-win club and has a spot in both the U.S. and Canadian Horse Racing Halls Of Fame. Wally Hennessey – courtesy Dave Landry Native Islander, Dr. Ian Moore, has conditioned some of the best pacers in the sport in recent years including Little Brown Jug champion Shadow Play and multiple stakes winners State Treasurer and Percy Blue Chip, just to name a few. Ian Moore – courtesy Mario Glynn Natasha Day is a native of Australia who now calls Ontario home. She has worked for Canada’s perennial leading trainer Richard Moreau for several seasons and has become a driving regular at many of Ontario’s Signature race tracks. The trio will join host Greg Blanchard on the broadcast. Viewers can submit questions ahead of time or during the show on the COSA Facebook Page and can also tune in via Standardbred Canada’s website. Greg Blanchard

As the harness racing world anticipates the return of racing, Sunday evening's episode of COSA TV honoured Flamboro Downs' signature event -- the Confederation Cup, which due to COVID-19 is postponed to a later date in the season. Host Greg Blanchard was joined by guests Ken Middleton and Ken Warkentin, and together the trio discussed the history behind the race created by the founder of Flamboro Downs, Charles Juravinski, who built the half-mile oval in Dundas, Ont. in the 1970’s. The episode also included a virtual Confederation Cup race which featured eight of the greatest past champions. The Farm Games team, headed by Ryan Clements, developed the simulated race. Track announcer Ken Middleton was first to offer up some insight behind the experience of the coveted event. “The paddock and grandstand were flooding with people. In the early days of this race, people would be lined up 20 deep. It will always be a race that holds a lot of stature. The afternoon cards to me, were the best because the undercard of the day featured many Ontario Sires Stakes events and then you had three straight races of the Confederation Cup -- two eliminations and a final. There was always an Invitation type of race and for any race fan it was just a very enjoyable experience.” Warkentin also shared similar feelings on the event. “We had a lot of coverage, back then the Confederation Cup was covered by TSN, they would bring in a live crew and the quality of the card was just incomparable. You had the best three-year-olds and the best drivers were always there to drive in the race as well. John Campbell, Bill O’Donnell, those are drivers that would show up at Flamboro Downs to drive in the Cup.” The duo of announcers answered questions from viewers while giving a special honour to the founding father of the Confederation Cup, and revisited some of their most favourite memories of the race. “Charles was always very supportive of me, he always was the first one to give you a pat on the back and rarely ever got mad about anything, he could always come up with great zingers,” noted Warkentin. “Aside from my father, one of my biggest supporters was Charlie. I think he took a great sense of pride in knowing that he helped us all become successful. He’s a role model and an inspiration to anyone. He came from such humble beginnings and worked hard for every nickel he made and then when he had all those nickels, he gave them all away to a great cause. The biggest thing about Charlie was that he gave everyone opportunity. He is someone who means a great deal to me,” Middleton said with a smile. Middleton and Warkentin also entertained viewers with an insightful outlook as to what it takes to prepare for a major race card such as the Confederation Cup. “You vacuum up all the articles that are written and you get all the background information on all the horses in the race, For a race like the Hambletonian, I have a separate binder where I keep all my notes and press kits. A lot of it is in your head but you have to have it in front of you because there are a lot of distractions and there is a lot going on. You can get easily distracted because in your heart you are a racing fan, but you still have to work, pay attention and do your job. So, that's why I find it very handy to have all that information in front of you. I do a lot of preparation prior to big events,” said Warkentin. “Everybody does things different, sometimes there is a lot of preparation work that goes into the big races. For me, it's the records -- speed records. I try to be cognizant of race records, track records, Canadian records. After that, I just watch the race, if there's a 1-9 shot, everyone is going to expect that horse to win, but there are times where there is an upset horse that you need to be watching for. There have been many horses who have upset race favourites. I think the best way to do it as an announcer is not worry about having scripted lines but just go with the flow, stay relative with what you are saying in front of you -- be spontaneous and just call the race," Middleton added. The virtual running of the Confederation Cup, which consisted of the greatest past champions, was won by none other than one of the greatest horses to ever step foot on a racetrack, Somebeachsomewhere -- who nosed out another of the greatest equine athletes to step foot on a racetrack, Cam Fella. The virtual race consisted of: ► Abercrombie – Glen Garnsey ► American Ideal – Mark MacDonald ► Art Major – John Campbell ► Cam Fella – Pat Crowe ► Jate Lobell – Mark O'Mara ► Matts Scooter – Mike Lachance ► On The Road Again – Buddy Gilmour ► Somebeachsomewhere – Paul MacDonell The interactive feature is produced by Curtis MacDonald’s CUJO Entertainment and is available for viewing below.  

May 15, 2020 -- This was to the be the weekend of the Confederation Cup final at Flamboro Downs but due to COVID-19 the race has been pushed back to later in the harness racing season. To mark the event, COSA TV will present a Confederation Cup edition of its Facebook Live show this Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. Ken Warkentin and Ken Middleton - two of the best announcers in the business, who started their careers at Flamboro Downs - will join Greg Blanchard for the broadcast. The Confederation Cup was the brainchild of the legendary Charles Juravinski who built the half-mile oval in the mid 1970's and many of harness racing's greatest pacers have competed in that time. Governor Skipper, driven by John Chapman, was the winner of the inaugural edition in 1977. Sunday's show will also feature a virtual Camluck Classic race featuring eight of the greatest past champions. The Farm Games team, headed by Ryan Clements, has developed the simulated race which will be aired live during the broadcast. The star studded field will include: Cam Fella - Pat Crowe Matts Scooter - Mike Lachance Somebeachsomewhere - Paul MacDonell Art Major - John Campbell American Ideal - Mark MacDonald Abercrombie - Glen Garnsey On The Road Again - Buddy Gilmour Jate Lobell - Mark Omara Viewers can submit questions ahead of time or during the show on the COSA TV Facebook page where they will also have the chance to play along with virtual trivia and take part in poll questions. In addition to the COSA TV Facebook page, the show can be seen by visiting the Standardbred Canada website. Greg Blanchard

A trio of prominent Standardbred owners were the harness racing stars in Wednesday night’s (May 13) edition of COSA TV, swapping stories from the past and — in one case, at least — sharing a window to the future. Adriano Sorella, Jeff Davis and Rob Giles joined moderator Greg Blanchard for the panel discussion, with the dialogue largely focusing on the gentlemen’s highlights as Standardbred owners. Sorella, who is heavily involved in the advertising and marketing industries, found his way into horse ownership — and partnership with trainer Casie Coleman — by way of a provincial association mentorship program, and he was hooked from day one. “After the mentorship program, I asked Casie (Coleman) if I could partner in on some babies,” Sorella explained. “She kind of pushed me toward Blake MacIntosh, and I started experimented with the claiming game. The following year, Casie and I bought a few horses. “She was at the Lexington Sale, and she told me she bought a horse called Vegas Vacation,” Sorella continued, noting his affinity for holidays in Las Vegas and indicating that Coleman invited him to buy into the horse. “I didn’t even ask how much he was; I said ‘Sure, I’ll take half.’ They thought he would probably sell for $80,000, and then just before the sale, Steve Calhoun backed out. He got out, I got in, and I was lucky to benefit from that.” Ultimately, Vegas Vacation sold for just $32,000, and Sorella hit the jackpot of his life as a partner in Vegas Vacation when he won the Little Brown Jug. “It was exciting for all of us,” said Sorella about Vegas Vacation’s Jug win just one year after Coleman sent Michaels Power to victory in the September classic. “To go back and win the Little Brown Jug with Vegas Vacation, it’s one of those moments that you think isn’t going to happen again. It’s a tough race to be in, let alone win it.” After Vegas Vacation, it didn’t take long for Sorella to find another diamond in the rough — or, more aptly, the corn fields of Iowa. “I got a call from an agent that I use — Mark Reynolds — and we had a deal set up for another horse,” he recounted. “It fell through in the last minute, and Mark knew I was kind of upset. He called me back a couple days later and told me, ‘I’ve got another horse for you,’ but he wouldn’t tell me the name.” That horse was Jimmy Freight. Sorella looked up the horse’s past performance lines, but was largely underwhelmed with his findings … until he dug a little deeper. “I had a horse called Ballerat Boomerang, who raced in Iowa too, and compared the two,” Sorella said. “I did a little bit of research, and something caught my eye,” he continued, noting he found video of Jimmy Freight racing at What Cheer, Iowa, as a two-year-old. “It looked like they were racing in a sand pit, and he went 1:58. “We got a deal done. I bought him for $115,000, and he was on a trailer. He missed the first OSS Gold, but he managed to make the second. It was three days after he shipped. He got the seven-hole, he was 10-1, and he ended up winning his first race here in 1:52 and a piece. At the time, I was like, ‘Wow, we might have something here.'” Jimmy Freight lived well beyond the billing, overcoming stretch trouble to win the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final in his three-year-old season. Despite many difficult trips in his career, Jimmy Freight won 21 of 52 races, hit the board in 22 others, and banked over $1.4 million in purses. Now, he stands in Ontario, and his offspring exclusively will be eligible to the innovative Jimmy Freight Stakes, a payment-free event to launch in 2023. Sorella is far from alone in blazing new trails in harness racing. Davis, an Illinois native who was bit by the racing bug at Quad City Downs in the 1970s and who stands stallions World Of Rocknrolll and Stevensville in the Prairie State, is looking to revitalize horse sales and auctions by embracing mobile technology. “We were talking about trying to create something easy to use that would have the new technology,” Davis said of Hoofbid, a new app for mobile phones dedicated to facilitating Standardbred sales between owners. “Most people have their phone within five feet of them, so we thought it was an important step forward to bring it to the new technology… It’s built on a powerful, scalable system, so it can handle lots of different situations.” Davis led COSA TV viewers on a virtual tour of the app, demonstrating the interface and its user-friendly features. Integration with TrackIT and Roberts Communication Network will enable sellers to easily list their horses and incorporate race replays in listings, while advanced mobile technology allows sellers to easily upload photos and other resources. Completing the panel was Giles of the ubiquitous RAW Equine, and to no surprise, he had many reflections to share — but with an unexpected common thread. “It was a long way to travel for an eight-hole,” Giles said about ultimately not making the trip to Hippodrome 3R to watch Sunfire Blue Chip the 2014 Prix d’Été, “but he raced like a bearcat that day.” Sunfire Blue Chip drilled a 1:50.3 win over off going in Québec’s top race, and ever since, Giles hasn’t balked at an outside draw when it has come to seeing his top horses in action on the big stage. Another standout for Giles, a produce distributor by trade, was The Joy Luck Club, and for good reason. “She was a homebred, so she has a special place in our heart,” he shared. “We bought her mother in Lexington. She wasn’t a success story, so we bred her to Camluck. We lost the first two foals, but the third time was a charm. Mark and Mike Horner did a great job raising her and getting her to the racetrack.” Like Sunfire Blue Chip, The Joy Luck Club made easy work from an outside post in one of her toughest assignments. She overcame post 7 en route to a dominant score in the 2017 Kin Pace at Clinton Raceway. On the trotting side, distaffer Evident Beauty stands out to Giles, in large part to his success with her dam, Struck By Lindy. “We raced her mother with Nifty Norman, and then we bought her first two fillies. We bought Evident Beauty in Kentucky, and the rest was history. She had a good two-year-old year and a fantastic three-year-old year. “There was some heartbreak, but I’m only crying out of one eye,” Giles said wryly, noting that Evident Beauty broke in the Hambletonian Oaks and her elimination of the Breeders Crown. Her biggest triumph of 2019 came at her home track, as she vaulted off cover to overcome post 10 at 9-1 in the Elegantimage at Woodbine Mohawk Park. “We were only five minutes away; we weren’t going to miss that one.” All three gentlemen offered advice to individuals who may be interested in testing the ownership waters, and their sentiments were largely congruent. “Get involved with some of the good people in the business, and maybe get a piece of a horse,” said Sorella. “Maybe wet your feet with a claimer or an older racehorse so you can see some of the excitement. You can experience the fun with other partners, trainers, grooms, caretakers — and it helps along the way.” Davis noted that diving into ownership may be daunting for the uninformed, but he concurred on the benefits of “easing in”: “For the person who doesn’t have any connection, you’ve got to ask a lot of questions. For the people who don’t know anyone to ask those questions, I think what Anthony MacDonald is doing with TheStable.ca is fantastic. For those who do have a connection, just find someone you can trust and listen to the experts, and only invest in what you can afford.” Giles, who had the last word in the 90-minute roundtable, seconded Davis’ stress on trusting the experts: “You have to associate yourself with good people and let them do their job. I don’t want my trainer telling me how to sell tomatoes; I’m not going to tell my trainer how to train horses.” Central Ontario Standardbred Association The full broadcast, which aired on the COSA Facebook page, appears below.  

London, May 12, 2020 -- A pair of prominent Ontario harness racing owners will be the special guests of COSA TV’s Facebook Live broadcast Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Adriano Sorella, owner of top class pacers Jimmy Freight and Double A Mint in recent years, will join RAW Equine’s Rob Giles whose operation over the years has boasted standout performers such as Metro Pace winner Rover Hanover, Sunfire Blue Chip and The Joy Luck Club to name a few. The pair will be joined by Illinois owner Jeff Davis who has recently teamed up with Sorella to unveil a new online horse auction and sales platform called Hoofbid. They will discuss the new initiative along with other projects during the broadcast. As always, viewers will have a chance to ask questions, take part in the weekly poll question and play along with racing related trivia. The show will be aired on the COSA Facebook page as well as the Standardbred Canada website. Greg Blanchard

While they may be a degree removed from the limelight most days, harness racing drivers Aaron Merriman, Montrell Teague and Jonathan Drury had their share of stories to tell in Sunday night’s (May 10) edition of COSA TV. After being forced to settle for a runner-up finish with Wiggle It Jiggleit in his first Pepsi North America Cup appearance, the Delaware-based Teague relished the chance to come back to the Toronto suburbs in 2018 with Lather Up — and he made the most of the opportunity. “It was definitely redemption, because I was pretty sour about finishing second (with Wiggle It Jiggleit),” Teague related to COSA TV presenter Greg Blanchard. “Getting the opportunity to do it with Lather Up was definitely redemption.” The redemption was paired with vindication, as Teague silenced scores of doubters in his ability in the sulky. “It felt great,” Teague continued. “I literally went through it with Wiggles and Lather Up — it was always the talk that if Brian Sears, Yannick, Tim Tetrick, Aaron Merriman were driving the horse, he would do much better. I proved them all wrong; that was the best feeling.” The next year, Lather Up and Teague teamed up for a pair of world record efforts at The Meadowlands — a 1:46 mile in the Graduate and the first nine-furlong race faster than 2:00 in the Sam McKee Memorial. Like Teague, Merriman makes the most of his handful of Grand Circuit appearances, but finds the bulk of his perennial success close to home. “I’ve had the opportunity to drive Grand Circuit races, but never the best horse,” said Merriman. “Everybody’s got a niche in this business, and I’m very happy with where mine is. I had to think of my children first, and (Ohio) was the best place to raise them.” Merriman, a home-grown Ohioan who learned the ropes of harness racing from his father, Lanny, has blossomed from humble beginnings racing for $1,200 purses at Raceway Park in Toledo into one of the sport’s top drivers — and the only one to ever record three consecutive 1,000-win seasons. “It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of luck, to be able to get from track to track and have the opportunity to drive nice horses,” said Merriman, who shuttles back and forth on Interstate 76 between Northfield Park and The Meadows. “The second time I did it (reached 1,000 wins in a season) actually meant so much. Last year, I didn’t think I had a shot, and to get it on the last night of racing made it special.” That fateful thousandth win came in his last drive of the season — aboard The Spinster N in a late-closing series final at The Meadows on Dec. 30. While primarily a half-mile track driver, Merriman credits the addition of The Meadows to his schedule as having improved his depth as a driver. “I’m so absent-minded a lot of times when I drive,” Merriman admits of driving at Northfield, where he has been a mainstay for the past two decades. “You know the drivers’ tendencies; you know a lot of the horses. Northfield’s a fast track; it’s got a lot of speed and it does overcompensate my driving some. “Going to The Meadows has made me a better driver — definitely a lot more thinking and a lot more tripping horses out.” Drury may fly under the radar more so than Teague and Merriman, but his experience as one of Betting Line’s two regular drivers in 2016 served to put him on the map in Canada’s premier driving colony. “He was a lot of fun to drive,” Drury said of dual classic winner Betting Line, with whom he teamed up for a 1:50.1 win in the Somebeachsomewhere and a trio of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions. “He had just an unbelievable turn of foot to him. He never felt like he was out of place when you were sitting behind him; he just picked off horses so easily. “Horses like that make your job really easy. They can take care of you when you make a little mistake.” Before gaining the trust of Casie Coleman to drive Betting Line, Drury worked his way to the Woodbine Entertainment circuit by way of a couple Signature tracks in Ontario — and a brief detour south of the 49th parallel, too. “I started out driving a lot at Kawartha and Georgian, and I got hooked up driving for Carmen Auciello quite a bit,” Drury recounted. “He actually gave me a chance to go down and drive a little bit in the States when he had some horses first go there. Once I came back home, I drove a vast majority of his stable, and it took off from there.” Central Ontario Standardbred Association The entire broadcast, which aired on the Central Ontario Standardbred Association’s Facebook page, appears below.

May 5, 2020 - As optimism begins to grow for the return of live harness racing in the province of Ontario, the Woodbine Entertainment Group's CEO Jim Lawson along with COSA President Bill O'Donnell will discuss the situation on COSA TV's Facebook Live show Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. The pair will join host Greg Blanchard on the broadcast which will be aired on the COSA Facebook channel along with the Standardbred Canada website. In a recent article Lawson has stated that he is cautiously optimistic that racing could return as soon as early June. Of course that will be dependant on the direction of the Ontario government and local health authorities. Viewers will have a chance to submit questions prior to and during the broadcast and can do so through the COSA Facebook page. For more information, visit www.cosaonline.com. Greg Blanchard  

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