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MAY 19, 2017 - The 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes season will kick off on Sunday, May 21 at Flamboro Downs as part of the Dundas racetrack's $460,600 Confederation Cup harness racing program. Ontario's best three-year-old trotting colts and geldings will highlight the Confederation Cup pre-show, competing in the Gold Series season opener. Waterdown, ON resident Scott McEneny will send out Tycoon Seelster in the first of three Gold Series divisions. The Angus Hall gelding was a three-time Ontario Sires Stakes winner as a two-year-old and finished second in the season ending Super Final. "He's come back pretty good this year," said McEneny, who conditions Tycoon Seelster for Chris Storms of Picton, ON. "He was a little bumpy last year, he didn't have the best gait, but he seems to be coming back a little better this year. He got a lot bigger, a lot thicker, over the winter." Tycoon Seelster and regular driver Paul MacDonell of Guelph, ON will start from Post 4 in Race 1 of the Confederation Cup program, going postward at 7 pm, with the other two $65,600 Gold Series battles scheduled for Races 2 and 5. Also making their 2017 Ontario Sires Stakes debut on the Confederation Cup undercard are the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, competing in the first Grassroots event of the season in Races 4, 6, and 8. Prairiecreekprince and driver James MacDonald of Guelph will lead the pacing colts onto the half-mile oval, starting from Post 1 in the first $18,450 division for trainer Dave Menary of Cambridge, ON. "He's a nice big strong colt, he doesn't have very many lifetime starts so I'm hoping that he can kind of mature into a useful horse," said Menary, who trains the Mach Three gelding for Ryan Morefield of Brighton, MI. "I was happy with his second qualifier (May 15) and he drew really good on Sunday - the exact opposite of Sintra - so I'm super happy about that." In addition to first-time Ontario Sires Stakes starter Prairiecreekprince, Menary will also send out former Ontario Sires Stakes star Sintra from Post 8 in the evening's main event. Another son of Mach Three, Sintra was a commanding two and one-half length winner in his Confederation Cup elimination, halting the Flamboro teletimer at 1:52.4. "That's a big hurdle to overcome, but if anybody can do it I think he can," said the trainer of the gelding's outside post position in the $176,000 Final. Menary, whose operation is based at a farm no further than a Dustin Johnson tee-shot from the Flamboro Downs entrance, shares ownership of Sintra with Brad Gray of Dundas and Michael Guerriero of Brampton, ON. The gelding heads into Sunday's final undefeated in the first three starts of a four-year-old campaign that has seen him triumph in an April 29 overnight event at Mohawk Racetrack, the May 6 opening leg of the Graduate Series at The Meadowlands, and last weekend's Confederation Cup Elimination. Regular reinsman Jody Jamieson of Moffat, ON will pilot Sintra in his bid for a fourth win on Sunday. "The four-year-olds are really lucky, most of the starts are front loaded," noted Menary. "The Confederation Cup, and the Graduate Series, and even the Prix D'Ete in Quebec, they're all a little bit earlier in the year so before they have to test, you know these are nice horses, but before they have to test the real deep waters it gives them a chance to get started with their own kind." Scott McEneny will also harness a starter in the Confederation Cup Final, sending out Mr Wiggle Pants with Doug McNair aboard from Post 7 in the eleventh race. Mr Wiggle Pants, owned by Brad Grant of Milton, ON, finished third behind Western Fame in his elimination. In addition to Sunday's outstanding program of racing, Flamboro Downs fans will be treated to a host of trackside activities including giveaways and prize draws, stilt walkers and face painters to entertain the youngest fans, a miniature horse race and live music by local band Speakeasy. Details about the Confederation Cup program are available at http://www.flamborodowns.com/confederation_cup.html. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing www.ontarioracing.com Follow the OSS on Social Media! @ONTSSNews  

It is the place where dreams begin; it is the place where the top drivers and trainers of the future are born. It is the place where friends become family, and complete strangers become friends. This is the place where many trainers and drivers capture their first victories and dream of making it to the big leagues. These are the “B” tracks.  In the communities where these tracks are located, race nights are a time for family, friends, and neighbors to come together to laugh, enjoy each other’s company and create memories; and if they are lucky, maybe even cash a winning ticket or two. The people who race horses here, may not be racing for a million dollars, but to them, their horses are worth just that. Even though they may be racing in a claiming race, they are worth so much more to those that love them. For many fans, it is where they first experienced the thrill of betting and winning. For some owners like myself, it is where we got our first thrill of winning too.  Sometimes the trainer may have roles other than just a trainer. They may be the owner, as well as the driver, as well as the caretaker. In some rare cases, they have also bred the horse. I am going to share with you some of my favorite memories which were created at a “B” track.  There are many, and all of them mean something to me. Not every horse can race at an “A” track like Mohawk Raceway; that is precisely why there are “B” tracks. “B” tracks provide another place for horses to race and be successful. For example, Sydney Seelster (Pinky) liked the tight turns the smaller tracks have, in addition to the speed being a little more manageable for her. This was discovered after we tried racing her once at Mohawk Raceway and once at Woodbine, in both races she tried her very best, came fifth in one of those starts but she definitely raced more competitively on the “B” tracks. The majority of my experiences as an owner came from racing at Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, and Grand River Raceway- all “B” tracks. When Pinky won her first race for me on a Saturday afternoon, at Flamboro Downs, I felt like I had won a stakes race. I cried tears of joy. It is because of a “B” track my dream of being a winning owner came true. It is where my adventure with Pinky begins.  It is the place where I discovered the thrill of being an owner. Every track has their big day; their day to shine. It could be holding a stakes race or a track’s opening day for the season. This is one aspect of the sport which unites both “A” and “B” tracks. Whatever the occasion or event is, the ‘little’ tracks always make the occasion a big deal. I look forward to attending these special events and I do my best not to miss one.   Every year on the holiday Monday in August, Grand River Raceway, in Elora, hosts an annual event celebrating the harness racing industry in the province of Ontario. The day is called Industry Day. The day features the finals of the Battle of Waterloo for Ontario-sired colts and the Battle of the Belles for Ontario- sired fillies. The Industry Day of 2011 was my first time attending Industry Day. It is also the first time I recall going to another track other than Mohawk Raceway. Walking through the grandstand, I marveled at the new sights, it is a bee hive of activity. The atmosphere is lively and the passion is remarkable.  That day, driving stars Scott Zeron and Doug McNair were there to take pictures with fans, so I got mine taken with them. That was a highlight for me. The races were fast paced and action packed. The crowd was passionate and excited. There was clapping and cheering. The atmosphere was celebratory and made an impression on me. Many memories were made that day, and I will cherish them always. Since that Industry Day, I have attended every one. Like many people, going to Industry Day has become a tradition for me, and I look forward to going every summer. In the summer of 2012, I made the journey to Hanover Raceway for the Dream of Glory Stake and the fireworks which followed the races. It was time for me to experience another track. Hanover Raceway was a charming track. It was not fancy but that is what makes Hanover Raceway so special. The Dream of Glory may not be the most celebrated stakes race, but for fans in the small town of Hanover, they look forward to it every year. I was honored to be asked to present the trophy. After the races finished, everyone was anticipating the fireworks. The firework show was mesmerizing. To add to the colorful spectacle, snow-like flakes fell on me, they were ashes from the fireworks. In a strange way, it added charm to the night and was something unique, an experience I will always remember. Flamboro Downs holds the Confederation Cup and I look forward to going every year. It is a day where some of the best horses and drivers come to compete on the same track Pinky did. To think of it like that always makes me smile. I was given the signs which have the names of the horses in the Confederation Cup that are used when assigning post positions. I have the ones from 2015 and 2016 (with the exception of the winner, as that gets displayed). They are something I treasure. I have proudly displayed them in my room. My parents and I visit Flamboro Downs often. We go for dinner, to watch the exciting races and cheer on our friends who are racing. I always enjoy talking with the friendly staff. All levels of staff at Flamboro Downs always makes me feel special. Gary Guy is the announcer for Flamboro, as well as Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs. He is always sure to give me a shout out when he sees me sitting along the rail. I always feel so special when he does. I appreciate how he takes the time to do that. When Pinky won he always tried to play a song that mentioned pink as Pinky returned to the Winner’s Circle.  That made winning even more sweet. Every second-year Clinton Raceway holds an event which is like no other. Legendary drivers including Bill O’Donnell, Ron Waples, and Wally Hennessey, just to name a few, compete in one signature race. Although he did not drive, Keith Waples was also there. Hence, this day is called Legend's Day. The first time my parents and I went, every driver I wished good luck to in post parade won that race. My dad thought I was wearing horseshoes that day. After the Legend's Day race, all of the Legend's went to have a group photo taken.  I said hello to Wally Hennessey on his way to get his picture taken. He asked if I could watch his helmet and gloves. I agree and when he returned he gave his gloves and signed them. For the rest of the day, I wore those gloves with such pride. Later that afternoon it rained a lot. While we were taking cover [outside] from the rain, under an overhang at the end of the grandstand, we met a caretaker who had a horse in the last race on the card, we told her how ‘lucky’ I had been with telling drivers good luck. She told me “Trevor Henry is driving my horse is the last race, wish him good luck, and if we happen to win, come out for your picture”. Trevor Henry won that race. The rain was now teeming down. I raced through the rain to the winner’s circle. I was still wearing the gloves given to me by Wally Hennessey. I had to shield the signature from the rain, so the ink would not run. The drive home that afternoon was spent drying out.  I was drenched, but it added to the memories from that day. Today, those gloves have dried and are in a safe place for me to cherish. Two years later, I returned to Clinton Raceway for Legend's Day. I had the pleasure of interviewing a few of the legends for a story a friend was doing. He is a journalist and was unable to make it. That was an experience which I was honored to have. This past October I made four-hour journey to Leamington Raceway. My parents thought it would be the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I sat in the backseat, with my iPod and snacks, and we were on the road bound for Leamington Raceway. It was my first time visiting Leamington Raceway.  I love to visit new tracks and meet new friends. My dad was excited to be going too because Leamington was one of the few tracks he had not visited either. Before long, we are driving through small towns and countryside, soon we arrived at Leamington Raceway. I stepped out of my car and I was greeted by smiling faces. Then I received an awesome surprise, I was speechless. It was a sign which read “Stop! Parking for Sydney Weaver”. I felt so special, like a celebrity. It was just a small gesture that made my day even more special. I have always believed it is the little things in life that take up the most room in our hearts. That is something "B" tracks have in common. They add little personal touches, that make you feel welcome. For example, at Grand River, when you walk in the front doors, you are greeted by a gentleman, whose name is Tom, in a top hat and tails. He is happy and always smiling. That warm welcome is so special and has a big impact. The grandstand at Leamington was packed with people of all ages, and lots of kids. Everyone was having a grand time. Lawn chairs lined the fence. The day was picture perfect  We met up with friends and watched a few races, before being invited to take a tour of the new paddock. While in the paddock I had the opportunity to meet the people who were instrumental in getting the new paddock built.    The lovely people of Leamington Raceway were kind and gave me a Leamington Raceway sweater and baseball cap. I helped with on track draws too. Overall it was a fun day, and the day passed quickly. Before I know it, my parents and I are on the road again.  This time headed for home. As we drove, we reminisce about the memories that were created. “B” tracks might not be as well-known as the major tracks, but we need to embrace and support them. “B” tracks make our industry what it is. They are the foundation of our industry.  It is because of the smaller tracks that major tracks are able to prosper.  “B” tracks provide strength and support which is vital to the success of our sport. That is the beauty of a “B” track. Sydney Weaver is 16 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, groom's horses, jogs them on the track, owns both a Standardbred and a Thoroughbred racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.

Some members of the CKG Billings Amateur Drivers Series including the Glasser brothers, David and Neil, ventured north of the border to participate in harness racing at two different Canadian racetracks. On Sunday (Oct. 2) the battle was at Flamboro Downs which will be followed on Monday (Oct. 3) at Mohawk Racetrack. The event marked the first time that brothers David "Poppa" Glasser and Neil "Skinny Legger" Glasser competed against one another in a betting contest. However, the Sunday race proposed challenges for the Glasser's. First they had to move their Rosh Hashanah celebration to Saturday prior to leaving for Flamboro Downs on Sunday, the first day of the weeklong religious celebration. But that the brothers were in the same race posed a dilemma for their mother, Evelyn, who said, "I cannot cheer for either of you because then I'm cheering against the other." Undaunted, the Glasser boys went about the business of amateur racing venturing to Ontario with both having their sights set on victory in Canada, which, by no means, was a given. However, luck was on David's side. He not only drew the favorite in the race but one that was an overwhelming bettor's choice. The combination of a hot favorite and a good journey allowed the older Glasser brother to score an easy six-length victory with LMC Mass Oak in a 2:02 clocking over Windsong Lekeobnav and driver "Mighty Matt" Zuccarello. Third place went to Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford who got 30-1 shot, Muscle Action, home for the show dough. "In this Billings travel race, thankfully and luckily for me, the race secretary insisted on a one-hundred percent random draw for horses and I luckily drew the best horse. Sometimes trainers request a driver," David Glasser said and then added, "I've never been 1-9 before in any race and this horse was really good. All I had to do was steer." When the race was official and the winner's prices were posted backers of LMC Mass Oak received $2.20, $2.20; and $2.30 across the board. The Muscle Mass 4 year-old gelding is owned by Loredana and Frank Cirillo and trained by Ken Riebeling. You might ask what happened to the other Glasser brother. Unfortunately Neil's horse, Sky Angel, made a break behind the gate and was never in the hunt finishing ninth. But with David winning at least momma Glasser had something to cheer about. by John Manzi for Billings Series  

OCT. 2, 2016 - Ontario's top three-year-old trotting fillies closed out their Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series season with a pair of impressive miles over an off harness racing track at Flamboro Downs on Sunday evening. Emoticon Hanover took over top spot in the division point standings with a track record effort in the second $105,000 Gold division. Driver Sylvain Filion fired the fan favourite away from Post 6 and dropped in second behind pacesetter Magical Steph as the Grassroots champion took the field to a :28.3 quarter. Filion allowed Magical Steph to continue her work on the front end through a :58.3 half and a 1:27.3 three-quarters and then sent Emoticon Hanover after the lead. The filly powered down the stretch to a three length victory in a track record 1:56.3. Dewdle All Day trotted into second, leaving Magical Steph to settle for third. "I was a little concerned going to the first turn, there was a horse made a break, two horses made a break, and mine got a little bumpy," said Filion. "I thought maybe mine would jump for a while, but she settled as soon as she hit the backside, so I was real happy with that. I was just being extra careful in the turns, so I moved her down the backside and I knew she had tons of go, I knew if she stayed flat that she was going to win for sure." Filion engineered the track record effort for trainer Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest, QC and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. The 1:56.3 mile took two-fifths of a second off the 1:57 record shared by former Ontario Sires Stakes competitors Condi Lane (2008), Miss Paris (2012) and Riveting Rosie (2014). The win was Emoticon Hanover's third in Gold Series action and, combined with a pair of seconds, gives her 200 points and top spot in the sophomore trotting filly standings. In 12 sophomore outings the daughter of Kadabra and Emmylou Who has only missed the board on two occasions, logging six wins, two seconds and two thirds for earnings of $360,418. In addition to her Gold Series success the talented young trotter has held her own in open company, winning her Casual Breeze and Simcoe Stakes divisions. "She's been pretty good throughout the season and she feels like she's even getting stronger now," noted Milton, ON resident Filion. "I know she'll be coming into the Super Finals in top form, because she's been racing so good and she's still fresh." Flowers N Songs earned her second Gold Series trophy in the other division, employing a similar come-from-behind strategy. Starting from Post 2, driver Doug McNair settled the filly in fourth as Major Muscle stepped out to :29.3 quarter and a :59 half. Heading for the 1:28.3 three-quarters McNair sent the fan favourite up the outside behind Elegantimage champion Royal Charm, and turning for home Flowers N Songs shifted into high gear, sailing under the wire one and one-quarter lengths in front in 1:57.3. Royal Charm finished second and pocket-sitter Tymal Tempest was third. "She's been a pleasure to drive all year," said Guelph, ON resident McNair. "She gives it 100 per cent every week." Unraced at two, Flowers N Songs made her debut at Pennsylvania's The Meadows at the beginning of February and made her first stakes start in the Celias Counsel Series at Mohawk Racetrack in April. In addition to her pair of Gold Series trophies, the daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe and Pleasures Song has captured one leg of the Celias Counsel, the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Stake Final, the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial and her Elegantimage Elimination. Through 25 starts she has tallied 10 wins, six seconds and three thirds for earnings of $460,284. "We've just been going week by week, basically, and she's held up to a pretty tough schedule," said trainer Paul Reid of De Leon Springs, FL, who conditions Flowers N Songs for owner-breeder Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. "She's a very nice filly to be around, always happy, really loves her work, which has made the kind of season she's had possible," Reid added. "Some of the fillies aren't quite as cooperative, and she's been very cooperative with everything we've wanted to do. She's a good keeper, she eats good, so she's been a joy to have." While most of her peers will spend the next two weeks preparing for the Oct. 15 Super Final, Flowers N Songs will be heading to Lexington, Kentucky's The Red Mile for the Oct. 9 Kentucky Filly Futurity. The filly is also eligible to the Oct. 22 and 29 Breeders Crown. "She's just a real nice filly, and like I said we've still got a full schedule ahead of us, so we're just taking her week by week," said Reid. "Hopefully we can make them all." Flowers N Songs and Emoticon Hanover will go head-to-head in the Oct. 15 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack, battling against eight other leading point earners for a share of $250,000 and the three-year-old trotting filly division title. Ontario Racing

SEPT. 8, 2016 - Grassroots regular season action came to a close at Flamboro Downs on Thursday evening and harness racing driver Billy Davis Jr. finished up the campaign with a Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots double on a night he piloted four of his five mounts to victory. Both the two-year-old pacing colts and pacing fillies were in action on Thursday, and Davis was victorious with one of each, kicking things off in the second $18,000 pacing filly division with Dudesalady. Starting from Post 2, Dudesalady went straight to the front and made her way through fractions of :28.2, :59 and 1:28.4 before sailing home a one and one-half length winner in 1:58.1. Fan favourite Village Jamie was second and Casino Classic finished third. "There was a bit of a delay and everyone went into the paddock because they didn't know how long they were going to be, and I just stayed out there because she's so calm and relaxed," said Davis. "It was so hot and muggy inside the paddock; I just stayed outside so she could cool down and keep her air and stuff. And then the race, it just kind of set up good because no one really left, she made front easy, she got nice easy fractions, and then just sprinted home. "She's just a classy old race mare, I really like her," added the reinsman. Susanne Kerwood of Rockwood, ON conditions Dudesalady for M And L Of Delaware LLC of Wilmington, DE and Victoria Dickinson of Greenville, DE. In four Grassroots appearances the daughter of Shadow Play and Accountable tallied two wins, one second and one third for 137 points and a berth in the Sept. 15 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack. While driving Dudesalady is like driving an aged mare, Davis's second win came aboard a slightly more complicated youngster. "He's fast. He's one of the faster two-year-olds, I think, around right now, but he's got a - the best way to describe him, he's kind of got a sticky transmission and he'll stall," said Davis of freshman pacing colt Dreamfair B J. "All the breaks he's made are kind of speed breaks, he just tries to change gears too quick." Leaving from Post 6 in the last pacing colt division, Davis eased Dreamfair B J into sixth on the rail as Aston Hill Dave rolled out to a :28.2 quarter. Heading for the :58 half Davis was able to tip Dreamfair B J into the outer lane behind fan favourite The Dark Shadow and follow that colt as he pressured Aston Hill Dave by a 1:26.3 three-quarters. Around the last turn Davis sent Dreamfair B J out three-wide and gave him a clear look at the finish and colt sprinted down the stretch to a head victory in 1:56.2. The Dark Shadow and Aston Hill Dave settled for second and third. "He kind of did it to me when I first got him out of the hole - he just tried going too quick right away, he just gets a little steppy -but when you get him going he's pretty good," Davis noted. "That's why I kind of moved him half early in the turn, just to kind of get him into top gear, and he just coasted down the lane. I didn't want to have to move him too late and ask for a lot of speed right away." Davis crafted the much needed win for trainer Patrick Fletcher of Hagersville and owner-breeder John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON. Heading into Thursday's test the son of Big Jim and Dreamfair Orchid was just outside the cut off for the post season and his first Grassroots victory assured him of a berth in the Semi-final round. Dreamfair B J finished up the regular season with one win, one second and one seventh in three Grassroots appearances. In addition to his Grassroots victories, Davis also returned to the winner's circle with two of his overnight mounts, two-year-old pacing filly Go Find Out in the fourth race and five-year-old pacing mare Jennys So Great in the eleventh. Driver Sylvain Filion, whose lead atop the Ontario Sires Stakes drivers' standings was 92 points heading into Thursday's contest extended that margin with victories in the first two pacing colt divisions. In the first race the Milton, ON resident guided heavy favourite Silverinyourpocket to a front-end victory, cruising away from Post 1 and through fractions of :28.2, :57.1 and 1:26 en route to a two and one-quarter length win in 1:56.3. Master The View and Thrownoutofbetter sat second and third throughout the mile and crossed the wire as they started. Puslinch, ON resident Richard Moreau conditions Silverinyourpocket for owners David and Marguerite Ratchford of North Sydney, NS. In six Grassroots starts the son of Badlands Hanover and Fillys Victory posted four wins, one third and one fifth and he leads his peers into the post season with a point total of 217. Aboard fan favourite Tymal Peacemaker in the second pacing colt division, Filion employed the same tactics, sending the colt straight to the front from Post 5. Tymal Peacemaker clocked fractions of :28.3, :58.1 and 1:27.3 on his way to a 1:56 victory, the fastest win of the Grassroots competition on a rain-soaked Flamboro oval rated one second slower than normal. Trident Seelster finished four and one-half lengths back in second and London Seelster was third. Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON trains the son of Mach Three and Flying Color for Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC. With 100 points from two wins in two Grassroots starts, Tymal Peacemaker will join Silverinyourpocket in the Sept. 15 Grassroots Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack, which could present Filion with a difficult choice should the colts draw into the same race. The other two pacing filly divisions were captured by Daenerys Hanover and Treasures Pearl, who both advanced to the Semi-final round. Daenerys Hanover earned her second Grassroots trophy with a 1:57 off-the-pace effort crafted by Thornton, ON resident Aaron Byron. The pair tipped off of cover in the stretch and paced home to a three-quarter length victory over favourite Anderson Seelster and Amulet Seelster. Sean Mehlenbacher of Hamilton conditions Daenerys Hanover for John Mehlenbacher of Burlington, ON. In four Grassroots starts the daughter of Camluck and Dragon Moon delivered two wins, one fourth and one seventh for a point tally of 110. Treasures Pearl picked up her third Grassroots win with a gate-to-wire effort in 1:56.2. The daughter of Sportswriter and St Lads Treasure finished three and one-quarter lengths ahead of Warrawee Speedy and one more up on White Dancer. London resident Nick Steward engineered the win for trainer Ron Adams of LaSalle and owner-breeder Donald Leschied of South Woodslee, ON. In addition to her three Grassroots victories, Treasures Pearl also had one third and one fourth-place result and heads into the post season on a point total of 170. Semi-finals for the two-year-olds go postward on Sept. 15 at Mohawk Racetrack with the top five finishers from each Semi-final returning to the Campbellville oval on Sept. 24 for Grassroots Championship Night. Ontario Racing

SEPT. 6, 2016 - While the two-year-old pacing colts and fillies wage their last regular season Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots battles at Flamboro Downs on Thursday, Sept. 8, harness racing fans can enter the final Ontario Sires Stakes "Be A Winner" contest of the 2016 campaign. Ballot boxes for the seven two-year-old pacing fillies competing in Race 8 will be set up at the "Be A Winner" contest table and one finalist will be selected from each ballot box. Each finalist will receive an Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) t-shirt, ball cap and lanyard badge and a $15 win-place-show wager on their chosen filly. After enthusiastically cheering the fillies home, the finalist who chose the victorious filly will join her connections in the winner's circle for the blanket and trophy presentation. The winning finalist will also go home with a trophy, a commemorative winner's circle photograph, an OSS jacket and golf shirt, and a $50 wagering voucher. In addition, early arrivals to the Dundas oval can pick up an Ontario Sires Stakes ball cap with their program purchase and get in on the racetrack's weekly Thursday Survivor Challenge. More information about the Survivor Challenge is available at www.flamborodowns.com. Thursday's test is the final opportunity for the novice pacing colts and fillies to earn points toward a berth in the Sept. 15 Grassroots Semi-finals. Trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, ON will send out three colts in pursuit of Grassroots points and two of them need a big effort to extend their season. Master The View will lead off for the Darling Stable, starting from Post 2 in the first $18,000 division. The Vintage Master gelding recorded two seconds, two thirds and one fourth through the first five regular season events, giving him a total of 82 points, enough to secure a post season berth. "He's been racing well. He hasn't quite fired in the stretch the way I'm hoping he will, but he's got lots of talent," said Darling. "He's been racing decent, but we need him to step up a notch. "He just hasn't got that real killer instinct yet, he's just kind of having fun out there," added the trainer. Master The View and driver Jody Jamieson will have their hands full on Thursday, facing off against current point leader Silverinyourpocket from Post 1 and fourth-ranked Test Ride from Post 4. Darling's second starter, Trident Seelster, currently sits right at the cut-off for the post season with 28 points earned from one second and one sixth. Jamieson will steer the Big Jim son from Post 1 in the second pacing colt division and Darling is hoping the return to a half-mile track will suit the youngster. "I'm hoping the half-mile track helps him. He was a nice second the last time on a half (August 17) and then his last start (August 29) was kind of a disappointing finish," explained Darling. "He's one, we're just hoping for a cheque with him." Trident Seelster faces the division's number three colt, Down On My Luck, from Post 6. The Dark Shadow will anchor the Darling entry from Post 4 in the final Grassroots division of the season. After starting his Ontario Sires Stakes career at the Gold Series level, where he was second on one occasion and fifth twice, The Dark Shadow dropped down the Grassroots level for the August 29 event at Mohawk Racetrack, where he finished second. "He did okay in the Golds, but then it just got tougher - and now I've got Southwind General for that - so I just dropped him down to the Grassroots. He fits in there pretty good," said Darling, who also owns all three colts. "We've got to have a good finish in there to make the final, so we're hoping for the best. He's a quality horse." With just 25 points, The Dark Shadow currently sits below the post season cut off. A win or a second would advance the Shadow Play son to the Semi-final round. All the on-track action gets under way at 6 pm on Thursday, with the two-year-old pacing colts squaring off in Races 1, 3, and 9 and the pacing fillies waging their last Grassroots battles over the Flamboro Downs oval in Races 2, 5 and 8. Ontario Racing

SEPT. 4, 2016 - Flamboro Downs kicked off its 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule on Sunday evening with the Grassroots regular season finale for the harness racing three-year-old trotting fillies. The first $18,000 Grassroots division rolled in behind the Flamboro Downs starting gate in the sixth race and Sunrise Avenue powered straight to the front from Post 3 and never looked back, ringing up fractions of :29.1, :59.4 and 1:29.4 before reaching the finish in 1:58.4. The Power Of Many and Anneli Hanover were two and one-quarter lengths back in second and third. The reason why I dropped her back down into the Grassroots is she hasn't been strong enough for me this year," said trainer-driver Rick Zeron. "I've really struggled with keeping her strong and that's the reason why she was back in the Grassroots tonight, because she can handle the Grassroots." Sunrise Avenue started her sophomore campaign at the Grassroots level, posting one sixth and one second-place result, then moved up to the Gold Series level for two starts, where she finished seventh in both efforts. Zeron conditions the daughter of Kadabra and Miss Wisconsin for his partners Millar Farms of Newmarket, James Walker of Port Perry and Noblock Racing Stable of Collingwood, ON, and says the partners are confident the filly will eventually mature into a stronger trotter. "I will move horses from time to time, put them in sales and stuff like that, and I really want to keep this filly, because I think, if she can develop over the winter, I think she's going to be an open trotting mare for me next year as a four-year-old," the Oakville, ON resident explained. In the short term, Sunday's victory extended Sunrise Avenue's Ontario Sires Stakes season through the Sept. 16 Grassroots Semi-final at Mohawk Racetrack. All three of Sunday's winners will compete in the Semi-finals in spite of spending time competing at both the Gold and Grassroots levels this summer. In the second division, Could It Be Magic returned to the Grassroots after one start at the Gold level and picked up her second Grassroots win. The Kadabra daughter powered out to the front from Post 2 and led the field through fractions of :28.3, :58 and 1:27.2 on her way to a season's best 1:57.1. Fan favourite Magical Valentine settled for second, six and one-quarter lengths behind Could It Be Magic, and Moonlight Cocktail was two more lengths back in third. Trainer-driver Wayne Henry of Arthur shares ownership of Could It Be Magic with Fred Brayford of Alliston, and the partners have been disappointed that the filly has not regained the freshman form that saw her win six of 10 starts and bank $195,156. "She didn't come back this year the way that we'd hoped," said Brayford. "I think she's got a couple of wins in the Grassroots, but that's about it." Through eight sophomore starts Could It Be Magic has tallied two wins and two seconds and earned $27,000. She wraps up the Grassroots regular season with 125 points, good enough for a top 10 ranking in the division standings. Myretirementticket went to the top of the standings with her third Grassroots win of the season in the last division. In rein to Paul Mackenzie the Cornaro Dasolo daughter controlled the tempo through fractions of :28.4, 1:00, 1:28.2 and sailed home a one length winner in a season's best 1:57.4. Windsong Magic and Roadmapper rounded out the top three. "You go out, you parade her, you score her down, she's good, and put her nose on the gate and she knows what it's all about," said Mackenzie. "So she's not hard to drive, she's really good for a trotter to drive, she's very consistent, and if you ask her to leave she can leave, or you take her back, do whatever you like, she's handy. She's just a real nice filly in that class." Like Sunrise Avenue and Could It Be Magic, Myretirementticket dabbled in the Gold Series, making two starts and netting two fifth-place cheques from her battles against the division's top tier fillies. "He said he tried her in the Golds, but she can't go with Caprice Hill and them, so he put her back in the Grassroots, she's real competitive here," said Puslinch resident Mackenzie, who piloted the filly to victory for trainer-owner-breeder Eli Wagler of Ingersoll, ON. "She's been really good to him from a two-year-old right up to now." The other 17 top point earners will join Sunrise Avenue, Could It Be Magic and Myretirementticket in the Sept. 16 Semi-finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 24. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Flamboro Downs on Thursday, Sept. 8 with the last regular season Grassroots event for the exciting two-year-old pacing colts. Racing gets under way at the Dundas oval at 6 pm. Ontario Racing

Rockin Ron and driver Yannick Gingras established a new track and Canadian record in winning the 38th edition of the $244,000 Confederation Cup on Sunday night (May 15) at Flamboro Downs. The streaking Ron Burke trainee held off reigning Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, the 3-5 favored second tier starter, in 1:50.1 to set a new record for older harness racing pacers on a half-mile track. Burke, trainer of 2015 champion All Bets Off with three entrants in this year's edition, has set a new track record in the Confederation Cup for the second year that it has been contested as a race for 4-year-olds. Last year, All Bets Off won his elimination in what was a track record 1:50.4 before returning to take the final, and later won the Prix D'Ete in 1:50.3 at Hippodrome 3R for a share of the former Canadian record. Gingras left with Rockin Ron from post four as he indicated he would in a pre-race interview on the Flamboro Downs broadcast. Rockin In Heaven (Trevor Henry) also left from post seven and cleared to command heading to the first turn. However, Rockin Rock retook the lead into a :26.2 first quarter. As the 4-5 second wagering choice led the field off the turn in front of the grandstand, his stablemate My Hero Ron (Matt Kakaley) tipped first over from fourth with Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) following his cover. Rockin Ron raced past the half in :55.3 and headed to three-quarters in 1:23.3 while Teague fired Wiggle It Jiggleit three-wide down the backstretch to take over second place. Wiggle It Jiggleit continued to chase the leader as they turned for home, but Rockin Ron maintained a one length advantage down the stretch as he sprinted home in :26.3 to score the 1:50.1 triumph, equaling his lifetime mark that he took at Miami Valley Raceway in his last start. Rodeo Romeo (Brett Miller) finished 2-1/2 lengths behind in third off a three-hole trip. The finish order was completed by Rockin In Heaven, National Seelster (Sylvain Filion), Burke trainees Rock N Roll World (James MacDonald) and My Hero Ron, Drachan Hanover (Randy Waples) and Americanprimetime (Chris Christoforou). After the race, Gingras admitted that he was concerned that the front-end looked tiring, but opted to stick with his strategy after speaking with Burke. He pumped this horse up, but he sure put up," said Gingras in a post-race interview. "He went a big mile, and at the wire, he was just starting to get going. If he went around again, he was going to win anyway. I never touched him with the whip and I was ultra-impressed by him. I was able to cross right over, but :26.2 and :55.3 are no easy fractions. And 1:23.3 and then he had :26 on the end of it to come home, so you've got to give the credit to the horse, he put in a big performance." Rockin Ron has now won all 11 of his starts racing for the Burke stable, including 10 this year. The 4-year-old Real Desire gelding is owned by Burke Racing LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Rtc Stables Inc. Prior to the race, Burke noted that the Confederation Cup would be a good test for Rockin Ron to decide what direction he takes with the pacer. That's very impressive -- :26.3 tonight was a very good quarter and Yannick really thought that he had more left so this is another step in the right direction and we'll try to figure out where we go from here," said Burke after the victory, noting that Rockin Ron is scheduled to compete in next Saturday's Graduate Series at the Meadowlands. Standardbred Canada

Rockin In Heaven made a name for himself last year as a surprising Grand Circuit harness racing competitor and Sunday he will look to continue making a mark in the $244,000 Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee will be making his third start of his four-year-old season on Sunday after earning more than $367,000 last season as a sophomore. Rockin In Heaven was not on many, if any, radars to be a Grand Circuit level colt last year and his conditioner is not shy to admit even he was caught off guard by his trainee's breakout season. "As I stated last year, he has been one of the most pleasant surprising horses I've ever had in my entire life," said Dr. Moore, Thursday afternoon. "How he went from a two-year-old that was so-so to a nice stakes horse last year, hopefully he will become a nice four-year-old this year." The journey to a nice four-year-old season has certainly started off well for the son of Rock N Roll Heaven. Rockin In Heaven finished a close fourth in his season debut on April 30 and followed it up with an impressive 1:50.1 victory last Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. The Dr. Moore trainee will now tackle his first stakes engagement of the season Sunday and will be forced to overcome the tough starting spot of post-seven. "He's really feeling good and all that sort of thing," Moore said. "It's really a shame that we drew so bad, which as everybody knows is very important in a half-mile track race of that caliber or any caliber." Rockin In Heaven, who is 7-1 on the morning line, is no stranger to stepping up in big moments. He was an 11-1 upset winner in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes last June at Mohawk and a few months later, at the exact same price, won the $290,000 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs. Rockin In Heaven spent most of last summer on the New York Sires Stakes circuit, becoming well adjusted to racing on a half-mile track. Sunday's Confederation Cup will put him against some familiar faces from his Empire State battles. "There is a lot of New York horses in there that he raced against, including National Seelster and Americanprimetime," said Moore. "So they are all good half-mile horses." Dr. Moore is confident his driver, who is very familiar with Ontario's half-mile tracks, gives Rockin In Heaven a bit of an added boost in Sunday's dash. "Trevor (Henry) is well-versed on a half-mile track, so I'm glad we have Trevor to drive," said Moore. "He got along very well with him last year and we are looking forward to Sunday." Henry and Rockin In Heaven have teamed up on 13 occasions and visited the winner's circle in six of those starts. Dr. Moore will leave the strategy up to his driver on Sunday, but with heavy-favourite Wiggle It Jiggleit starting from the second-tier, the start and first-turn at Flamboro could be interesting. "Our horse has raced at Flamboro as a two-year-old and he finished his two-year-old season there," noted Moore. "I presume there will be a bit of a mad dash (at the start)." Dr. Moore co-owns the four-year-old with Douglas Polley, Francois Lecomte and Gordon McComb. Rockin In Heaven is entering the Confederation Cup less than $2,000 away from $400,000 in career earnings. Whether Rockin In Heaven is able to stun his rivals on Sunday, Moore knows his pleasant surprise will certainly give him and his co-owners a great effort. "He's a very tough animal. He's always up to the task and no matter what he always gives us his best." Mark McKelvie

Harness racing this week: Confederation Cup, Flamboro Downs, Dundas, Ontario. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will visit Flamboro Downs on Sunday and will feature the C$244,000 Confederation Cup for 4-year-old pacers. Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit headlines the field of nine and will start from the second tier in post nine. The George Teague stable star is by far the richest horse in the field with $2.3 million in earnings. Entries for the Flamboro race are available at this link. Last time: Ake Svanstedt says Dante possesses the ability to cover short distances extremely quickly. On Saturday (May 7), the colt used that skill to win the $140,800 Dexter Cup at Freehold Raceway. Starting from post seven, Dante and trainer-driver Svanstedt blazed to the front prior to the first turn and coasted from there, winning the Dexter Cup by 1-3/4 lengths over Cufflink Hanover. Credevie finished third. The time for the mile was 1:59.4 over a track labeled good. Dante, part of the favored entry with Dominion Beach, paid $4.20 to win. Dante benefited from several horses --- including Dominion Beach --- going off stride in the first turn, which enabled Svanstedt and his horse to separate from the field by several lengths. Dominion Beach rallied from more than a dozen lengths back, going three wide at the halfway point, to get alongside Dante on the backstretch, but was unable to sustain his drive in the stretch. Dominion Beach finished fifth, beaten by 4-1/4 lengths. Dante, a son of Credit Winner out of the stakes-winning mare Michelle's Angel, was purchased as a yearling for $355,000 at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale. He is a full brother to millionaire Archangel. Svanstedt, trains Dante for owner Anders Strom's Courant A B stable. Almost immediately after Resolve crossed the finish line 4-1/4 lengths in front of runner-up Bee A Magician in the inaugural $150,000 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff on Sunday (May 8) at the Meadowlands, his number "4" began to blink on the infield toteboard with the word "Inquiry." Resolve, driven and trained by two-time Elitlopp champion Ake Svanstedt, had just scorched a field of top-class trotters in 1:51.2, but had clearly gone inside three pylons turning into the stretch. After a lengthy judges' inquiry, Resolve was disqualified and placed ninth while Bee A Magician was elevated to the victory. Gural Hanover finished third and was placed second while longshot Obrigado was elevated to third. The victory was the second of the season in two starts for Bee A Magician, a 6-year-old daughter of Kadabra-Beehive. Owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee, the Richard "Nifty" Norman trainee has now banked $3,803,615 in her career. Hannelore Hanover and Solar Sister notched Grand Circuit victories on closing day of the 2016 Miami Valley Raceway meet on Sunday (May 8). The pair of $100,000 races were highlights of the 88th and final program of Miami Valley's third season. Hannelore Hanover kept her 2016 season perfect in her fifth start by wiring a classy field of North America's best older trotting mares in 1:52.3, a new track record for 4-year-old female squaregaiters. Despite facing a full field with lifetime earnings north of $4 million in the $100,000 Miami Valley Distaff, the winning daughter of Indiana sire Swan For All was dispatched as a prohibitive favorite and driver Ricky Macomber Jr. guided her accordingly. Hannelore Hanover increased her career bankroll to $405,324 with her 14th win in 26 lifetime starts. She is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and Frank Baldachino. Solar Sister had to survive a lengthy judge's inquiry before being named the official upset winner of the $100,000 Chip Noble Memorial for the continent's top pacing mares. Although it appeared that Solar Sister and driver Doug McNair may have forced at least one other horse wider when they vacated the pylons down the backstretch, the judges ultimately decided that the confusion was caused by a tiring frontrunner (Lady Shadow) who was simultaneously drifting into the outer flow. Solar Sister emerged victorious following a thrilling stretch drive that resulted in a three-horse photo finish in 1:51.2. Favorite Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube), who won the inaugural Noble Memorial in 2014, was parked much of the mile and finished just a head behind, with Purrfect Bags (Victor Kirby) third across the wire, just another head behind in her first seasonal start. Gregg McNair trains the winning 4-year-old daughter of Mach Three for David Willmot and Clay Homer. She now sports 11 career triumphs and $681,387 in earnings. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Jordan Stratton - 161.5; 2. Daniel Dube - 115; 3. George Brennan - 96; 4. Jason Bartlett - 90; 5. Tim Tetrick - 69. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 134.5; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 128; 3. Ron Burke - 123; 4. Rene Allard - 120; 5. Richard Banca - 42. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch - 134.5; 2. Bamond Racing - 75; 3. Courant A B - 40; 4. Allard Racing - 39.55; 5. Durazzano Stable - 35. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at The Meadowlands (Graduate Series first legs for 4-year-old pacers and trotters); The Meadows (Currier & Ives races for 3-year-old trotters); Northfield Park (Battle of Lake Erie for older pacers); and Yonkers Raceway (Art Rooney and Lismore eliminations for 3-year-old pacers). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

When horse owner Peter Mazzella was growing up, he looked up to his grandfather, John Nittolo. It was Nittolo, known as "Oompa," who introduced a young Mazzella to harness racing --- and ever since then it has been Mazzella's passion. And although his grandfather is no longer alive, he is still with Mazzella whenever he sends out a horse to compete. Mazzella races under the stable name Oompa's Farm Inc. in honor of his grandfather. On Sunday, two Chris Ryder-trained horses co-owned by Mazzella --- Rodeo Romeo and National Seelster --- will participate in the C$244,000 Confederation Cup for 4-year-old pacers at Flamboro Downs in Ontario. Rodeo Romeo will start from post one while National Seelster will leave from post six. The nine-horse field also includes Wiggle It Jiggleit, the 2015 Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year. "I used to hang out with my grandfather, go to the farm with him, and that's how I got into the horses," said the 57-year-old Mazzella, who as a young child gave his grandfather the name "Oompa" when he couldn't pronounce "Grandpa," and the name stuck forever thereafter. "He was like an idol. He lived for the horses. When he was dying, I made him a promise that any horse I ever owned would race under the stable name Oompa. And that's what I did. "That's something I'm kind of proud of. I haven't had any Wiggle It Jiggleits, but I've had some nice horses. It's something that means a lot to me. He got me started in the horse business. It was a love of his and it's a love of mine." Mazzella, who has a 20-acre farm in Cream Ridge, N.J., owns Rodeo Romeo with Ohio's Bob Mondillo and New Jersey's Michael Day. He shares ownership of National Seelster with Mondillo. The partners bought both horses at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. National Seelster, a son of Bettor's Delight-No Strikes Against whose family includes millionaires Strike An Attitude, Delinquent Account and Artiscape, was first for $50,000. Rodeo Romeo, a son of Rocknroll Hanover-Southwind Vanna and a half-brother to recent Pennsylvania Classic winner Check Six, was purchased for $30,000. Neither horse raced at age 2 as the connections gave both time to mature physically. Last year at 3, National Seelster won eight of 21 races and earned $203,402. His wins included four preliminary divisions of the New York Sire Stakes, an elimination for the Adios and a preliminary round of the Buddy Gilmour Series. He was often a victim of bad post luck in the big money races; he drew the outermost starting spot or second tier in all four of his starts for $400,000 or more. National Seelster is winless in two starts this year, heading to the Confederation Cup off a second-place finish to Mel Mara in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands on April 30. Rodeo Romeo won three of 10 races last year and earned $45,333. All three of his victories came after October and he closed the season with consecutive triumphs in conditioned races at the Meadowlands. This year, he has won four of six races, including the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series championship at Yonkers, and earned $67,660 while hitting the board in every start. He heads to the Confederation Cup off a win in a conditioned race at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on May 1. "When people don't see horses racing at 2 they think something happened to them, but it's better to not race if you're not quite ready," Mazzella said. "We just gave them the time they needed. Chris liked both colts. They both came back really strong. We're happy with both of them. "They can go to the front, they can come from off the pace; they're very versatile. They've raced against some really top horses in the last year or so. I think they've shown what they're made of. Obviously you need a lot of luck in this game. You have to draw well, stay sound. But I think they should have a good year." National Seelster and Rodeo Romeo are eligible to the upcoming Graduate Series, but Mazzella is taking it one race at a time. And that means focusing on the Confederation Cup. "When you're racing against horses like Wiggle It Jiggleit and these kinds of horses, you've got to take one at a time," Mazzella said. "Wiggle It Jiggleit isn't the only good horse in that race, though. There are nine horses in that race and all good horses. Of course Wiggle It Jiggleit is a champion, and he certainly deserves it. He's a great horse. When I'm not in a race with him, I root for him. "But I think our horses will race well," Mazzella added. "Chris is great at prepping horses. You just need to get a good trip and hope for the best." Post time Sunday is 6 p.m. Below is the full field for the C$244,000 Confederation Cup. C$244,000 Confederation Cup PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer 1. Rodeo Romeo (Brett Miller-Chris Ryder) 2. My Hero Ron (Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke) 3. Americanprimetime (TBA-Rick Dane) 4. Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke) 5. Drachan Hanover (Randy Waples-Marcel Barrieau) 6. National Seelster (Sylvain Filion-Chris Ryder) 7. Rockin In Heaven (Trevor Henry-Dr. Ian Moore) 8. Rock N Roll World (Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke) 9. Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague-Clyde Francis) Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager Harness Racing Communications A division of the U.S. Trotting Association

Below this article is the harness racing story about the naming of Sydney Weaver’s foal that took place at Flamboro Downs Sunday night. The story had been held up due to the refusal by Standardbred Canada (SC) to allow the name that Sydney Weaver chose to be used. The United States Trotting Association (USTA) also supports Standardbred Canada’s decision. This is because the winning name has the word God in it. Live on the air Sunday, the name Only God Knows Why was announced as the winner of the contest run by Harnesslink. Standardbred Canada’s Manager & Registrar, Linda Bedard, wrote to Harnesslink Monday morning and stated, “It has been brought to my attention that the winning name for "name Pinky's foal contest" is Only God Knows Why. The word "GOD" is not to be used in a horse name. Names for any contest should always be verified by the USTA or SC prior to releasing the winner.” The Weaver’s and Harnesslink gleaned through the rules and regulations and saw nowhere does it mention that God or religious names cannot be used. “There have been names of horses both in Canada and the USTA and in other countries that have God in it.” Said Lisa Weaver, Sydney’s mom. “There is God Only Knows, God Bless America, God Bless The USA, Goddess, Godspeed, Jesus Loves Me and many more God names. This is not right. “I understand that SC and the USTA have a job to do,” Weaver add, “they have to sort through so many names but why isn’t it listed in the rules that the word God or any religious references are not allowed or may be not accepted? We read these rules from top to bottom and it never mentions this. “Yes, they said they have final approval on all names and that we should have called them to check on the finalist’s names,” Weaver said, “but we never dreamed they stopped allowing the word God to be used and they have never updated it in the rules.” Harnesslink went back to SC and the USTA to try again and ask that the name be allowed. The answer from Linda Bedard was, “The rules states "...cannot be obscene or offensive, or endorse any form of hate or hate group". The word GOD can be offensive for some people, personally, I would be offended if a horse would be named "Only Allah Knows Why".  Words or references excluded in name are not listed as the list could be very long and can also change from time to time. There is a 39 year old horse named Terrorist, I remember in late September 2001 someone wanted to call their foal Terrorist and because of the timing the name was rejected. Nowadays, we do have to be very careful regarding religious references and for this reason the name Only God Knows Why will not be approved. While Standardbred Canada continues to work in co-operation with the United States Trotting Association to reserve horse names and reject those names that may be considered offensive or vulgar, the system is not foolproof and from time-to-time certain names do get passed us that are not within the guidelines of our rules, once found and the horse has not yet raced, the name is recalled and the horse is not allowed to race or breed until a new name is submitted. Most of USTA and SC members who are applying for horse names are familiar with the rules of naming horses which are published on both the USTA and SC websites and still hundreds of names are refused every year. Part of the process of naming a foal is to have the name verified and approved, which was not done in your case.” “I see names of horses racing that are offensive to myself and many others,” Lisa Weaver responded, “Names including Domedomedome, Nickle Bag and Porno Queen. Do you think we should allow our children to hear track announcers promoting those types of names at the races? You want to compare those names to using the word God? “When something wonderful happens to Sydney,” said Lisa Weaver, “and there has been times wonderful people cross our paths and we wonder why, and we believe everything happens for a reason -  Only God Knows Why is in the Cambridge Dictionary - dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/god-knows and states:  used to emphasize that you do not understand something at all or have no knowledge of something at all.” “Why is this name so special to Sydney and our family,” Lisa Weaver said, “Is because Sydney has Cerebral Palsy, and all her life when she should ask why did I get this disease, the majority of time the answer she would get was “Only God Knows Why” and that is why this name is so special to her. “You can say that myself and Don are the most upset about all of this,” Weaver said. “Sydney is so great, she never complains, but she was very disappointed when they said she can’t have that name for her foal. I am not looking for anything special because this is Sydney. It’s just not right to not have the word God or any religious names or meanings in a horse’s name listed in the rules.” The Weaver’s said they will now wait and see what other courses of action they may take. Harnesslink has officially named the winner and second place finisher in the contest and will award them their prizes accordingly, regardless of what Sydney Weaver’s foal is named in the future.   Sydney Weaver’s foal now has a name After months of anticipation, owner Sydney Weaver of Acton, Ontario, now has a name for her special mare’s foal, and its Only God Knows Why. Sydney “Pinky” Seelster gave birth to a beautiful filly by Pet Rock on April 11 and Weaver teamed up with Harnesslink to have a contest to allow race fans to name the filly. Top prize for the winning name was a free breeding to two-time world champion pacer, He’s Watching, and the second place finisher would win $500 in free wagers on WatchandWager.com. Flamboro Downs management graciously agreed to host the naming ceremony Sunday night and track announcer Gary Guy cleverly took Weaver’s top six choices for the filly and wove it into a race call.   The six finalist names were Just Pink It, Only God Knows Why, Pinky Promise, Seeled With A Kiss, Tickle Me Pink and When Dreams Are Real. Guy weaved all of the horses into the race and as they came down the stretch in the fictious race, it was Only God Knows Why winning with Seeled With A Kiss second and Tickle Me Pink third. “Tonight was an amazing night,” Sydney Weaver said. “There were so many great names that were submitted and I had a lot of fun going through them all. It was tough to pick just one name. Only God Knows Why was the name I kept coming back to every time I went over the list.” And the winner of the breeding to world champion He’s Watching is John Turnbull of Nova Scotia, Canada. He was the only one who entered the name God Only Knows Why. Turnbull works for Boilermaker Local 73 in Turo and has a small stable of horses with his father. “I knew about the announcement taking place Sunday night at Flamboro,” said John Turnbull, “But I was sound asleep after having just arrived back home after working for days in Fort McMurray in Alberta with the fires. “When I woke up the next morning there was a message from a friend of mine who was watching the races at Flamboro and he sent me a photo showing my name had won. Then there were all these emails and Facebook messages congratulating me. “I first saw the story about the contest to name Sydney’s foal,” Turnbull said. “And I started thinking of different names and remembered that was one of the names for a filly we had foaled last year but did not use it. So I figured I would enter that one. “Wow, it just blew me away that my name was selected by Sydney.” Turnbull added, “Then Sydney called me and congratulated me. That was great to speak with her.” John Turnbull has been involved in harness racing all his life. His father, Frazer Turnbull, has owned, bred and trained and drove horses since the late 1960’s. “I do the training and dad does the driving,” Turnbull said. Can John and his father make good use of the first place He’s Watching free breeding. “Oh yes,” Turnbull said. “My father and I had a decent race mare that we bred, Carol’s June Bug and her first foal is Junebugs Baby, who has made over $85,000 and has a record of 1:55.1. Dad was tickled pink when I told him we won the breeding to He’s Watching. It is perfect timing for the mare too!” The second place prize of $500 in wagering credit from WatchandWager.com went to Brenda Doherty of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Brenda was a former groom and owner who helped break Nononsensewoman as a yearling. She was also an under saddle jockey with Standardbreds. “This is so great,” Doherty said. “I was hoping that Sydney liked the name and I am so pleased even finishing second. I have not been working in harness racing for the last 17 years but still follow the sport and love it. I most certainly will have some fun with the $500 in free bets and thank you Harnesslink and WatchandWager!” “Thank you John Turnbull for submitting the name.” Sydney Weaver added, “Congratulations and hopefully you can come by and see her one of these days, or better yet, come in the winner’s circle when she wins her first race!” The breeding was generously donated by Muscara Racing Trust, Menary Racing, Inc., Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero. I want to thank everyone who submitted a name for the contest,” Weaver said. “You are all so wonderful. And I must thank Steve Wolf and Harnesslink for doing the contest, and Muscara Racing, Dave Menary, Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero for donating the breeding to He’s Watch. Also thank you Flamboro Downs for hosting the name drawing and to WatchandWager for putting up the $500 second place prize. Everyone made this such a special night and fun contest.” Sydney Weaver is 15 years old and resides in Acton, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, groom’s horses, jogs them on the track, owns the Standardbred Sydney Seelster, a Thoroughbred racehorse, has already won major youth writing awards and does public speaking. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

The post position draw for the 2016 Confederation Cup took place Monday morning. With no eliminations necessary, a group of nine harness racing four-year-old pacers advanced directly to this Sunday's (May 15) $244,000 Confederation Cup final at Flamboro Downs. U.S. Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit headlines the field of nine and will start from the second-tier in post-nine. The George Teague stable star is by far the richest horse in the field with over $2.3 million in earnings. Trained by Clyde Francis and driven by Montrell Teague, Wiggle It Jiggleit has won four of six starts this season. The son of Mr Wiggles won 22 of 26 starts last year, including victories in The Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug. Wiggle It Jiggleit is no stranger to racing on a half-mile track. He has won seven of eight career starts on a half with arguably his greatest victory coming in the Little Brown Jug over the half-mile surface at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. "We train on a half, he showed in the Jug he can race on a half and when he went around Northfield he raced on a half," said Francis. "Size of the track doesn't bother him." A pair of Canadian owned and trained four-year-olds will look to upset the reigning U.S. Horse of the Year. Marcel Barrieau trainee Drachan Hanover will start from post-five with driver Randy Waples. The Ontario-sired son of Jeremes Jet made close to $200,000 last season, while racing primarily in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Dr. Ian Moore trainee Rockin In Heaven was a standout last season in the New York program with his biggest victory coming in the $290,000 Empire Breeders Classic. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven has drawn post-seven and will team up with driver Trevor Henry. Rockin In Heaven, who posted a Grand Circuit victory in a division of last year's Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, is coming into the Confederation Cup off a 1:50.1 victory last Saturday at Mohawk. Trainer Ron Burke, who sent out last year's Confederation Cup winner All Bets Off, will send out three starters in Sunday's race. My Hero Ron (post-two), Rockin Ron (post-four) and Rock N Roll World (post-eight) will offer the Burke stable a chance at consecutive Cup victories. Conditioner Chris Ryder will also send out multiple starters in this year's Cup. Rodeo Romeo has drawn the coveted rail starting spot, while stablemate National Seelster will start from post-six. Rounding out the field of nine is Rick Dane trainee Americanprimetime from post-three. The son of American Ideal recently posted a 1:51.3 victory over the half-mile track at Yonkers on April 18. The Confederation Cup will highlight an outstanding evening of events set for Sunday at Flamboro. Fans visiting the track Sunday will be able to enjoy an interactive trade show floor featuring sample stations, a parachute drop into the infield and live entertainment from the Mike Barnes Duo. The entertainment on the racing surface will also include a Racing Under Saddle event, which will be followed by a poster signing. A miniature horse race and meet is greet is also scheduled, while the Dachshund Dog Dash, in support of the Dachshund Rescue Fund will also entertain fans. Flamboro will once again be holding a canned food drive on Sunday, in support of the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Hamilton. Fans who donate a canned food item will have the chance to win a Dinner for Four at Flamboro. Post time Sunday is 6 p.m. Below is the full field for the $244,000 Confederation Cup. $244,000 Confederation Cup (PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer) 1. Rodeo Romeo (Brett Miller - Chris Ryder) 2. My Hero Ron (Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke) 3. Americanprimetime (TBA - Rick Dane) 4. Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke) 5. Drachan Hanover (Randy Waples - Marcel Barrieau) 6. National Seelster (Sylvain Filion - Chris Ryder) 7. Rockin In Heaven (Trevor Henry - Dr. Ian Moore) 8. Rock N Roll World (Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke) 9. Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague - Clyde Francis) Mark McKelvie

DUNDAS, ONT - This Sunday night, Mother's Day at Flamboro Downs, is when Sydney "Pinky" Seelster's newborn foal, a filly, will be officially named after a month long contest held by Harnesslink.com. Pinky's owner, 15-year-old Sydney Weaver of Acton, has narrowed the list of nearly 500 names submitted from around the world to just six finalists and after the eighth race on Sunday at Flamboro Downs, the official name will be announced. The top prize winner will receive a breeding to two-time world champion pacer, He's Watching, who stands at both Tara Hills Farm in Port Perry and at Alabar Bloodstock in New Zealand. He's Watching's stud fee for the 2016 season is at $5,000. The breeding was generously donated by Muscara Racing Trust, Menary Racing, Inc., Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero. There is also a second place prize of $500 in free wagers on WatchandWager.com. That prize winner will also be announced after the eighth race. "This was so hard and also so much fun," said Sydney Weaver. "There were too many great names that people came up with. I feel sad that only one of the names will be used. "I want to thank everyone that took the time to enter a name," Weaver added, "and especially say thank you to my friend and editor, Steve Wolf at Harnesslink, who set up the whole contest. Now I just have to be patient until Sunday night and then my little filly will have a name." Of the names submitted, 44.7% came from Canada, 39.9% from the USA, 7.8% from Australia and New Zealand and the remaining 7.6% from Ireland, UK and Europe. After the eighth race Sunday, Flamboro Downs track announcer Gary Guy will be joined in the Grandstand by Sydney Weaver and her parents, Lisa and Don, for the special live and unique naming ceremony. "I also must say thank you again to Joe Bellino, who donated the breeding to Pet Rock for Pinky," Sydney Weaver said, "and to the owners of He's Watching for their generosity in offering the first place prize and to WatchandWager for the second place prize and to Flamboro Downs for allowing the naming to take place at the track on Sunday. Everyone has been so super throughout the contest." Sydney Weaver is 15 years old and resides in Acton, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, grooms horses, jogs them on the track, owns the Standardbred Sydney "Pinky" Seelster, a Thoroughbred racehorse, has already won major youth writing awards and does public speaking. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink    

With no eliminations necessary, an outstanding group of nine four-year-old harness racing pacers will compete in the 2016 Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs. The field of nine will battle for a purse of $244,000 in the Confederation Cup on Sunday, May 15. U.S. Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit headlines the field of nine. The George Teague stable star has won four of five starts to begin his four-year-old season. Last year, Wiggle It Jiggleit won 22 of 26 starts for earnings of over $2.2 million en route to being named America's Horse of the Year. His list of accolades also includes victories in The Meadowlands Pace, Little Brown Jug and Progress Pace. Trained by Clyde Francis and driven by Montrell Teague, Wiggle It Jiggleit will prepare for the Confederation Cup in the Preferred Pace this Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. Here is the full group of nine four-year-old pacers, in alphabetical order, to enter the Confederation Cup. Americanprimetime Drachan Hanover My Hero Ron National Seelster Rock N Roll World Rockin In Heaven Rockin Ron Rodeo Romeo Wiggle It Jiggleit The post position draw for the Confederation Cup will take place next week. Post time for Confederation Cup night (Sunday, May 15) at Flamboro Downs is 6 p.m. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, April 28 - The deadline for nominations to the Alliance Spring Series is this Monday (May 2). A total of 11 events will be contested as part of the Alliance Spring Series. Flamboro Downs, The Raceway at Western Fair, Clinton Raceway, Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs will all host series races. The Alliance Spring Series offer racing opportunities for $6,000 and $12,000 claimers, along with four-year-olds and younger who are non-winners of $5,000. Flamboro Downs will host two series finals on Confederation Cup night (May 15), while Western Fair will also host a pair of series finals on Molson Pace night (May 27). The nomination fee for each series is $100 ($75 USD) and the Woodbine Entertainment Group will handle all payments. To view the full conditions for each series and nomination form to the Alliance Spring Series, click here. To make payments online, click here. by Mark McKelvie - WEG Communications

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