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Like so many others, involved in harness racing, horseman Lorne House was born and raised into the business as well… “Indeed I grew up in it,” he says. “My Dad, Mike House, had horses and my Grandfather, Alf Smith, he raced horses too.” It’s now been about 20 years in the business, for House, as a licensed harness trainer and driver in Ontario. His first career training win would come in London, with Fluid Drive, on November 4, 1999… “He was the first horse I ever owned too,” says House. “Don McElroy would have drove him and many others for me back then. I just didn’t have the itch to drive at that time…” That itch would indeed come along, a few years later, when House would get in the majority of his qualifying drives, at The Raceway, during the Spring of 2001. It’d be Sarnia, in September of that year, where he’d guide Tinkers Magic to an off-the-pace win for his first career driving victory. And then it would be Fantastic Lil giving Lorne his first London driving win in early 2003. The pair would double up, next start at Flamboro, before that same mare would get claimed. “The guy that claimed her - well I guess he didn’t like her… He called me to see if I wanted her back, not long after, but I turned him down.” And so it goes - Fanstastic Lil would retire with just two career victories. A few favourite horses, for House, over the years at The Raceway… “Grogan was a nice, nice trotter I trained and drove… I still remember the day he won an O.S.S. Grassroots in London (June 19, 2007)… The track was sloppy and we won by 11 in 2:00 flat! If the track would have been fast, that day, we’d have broke the track record I’m sure,” states House. “He’s retired now and I believe he’s breeding Dutch Warmblood mares in Indiana.” “Kendal Gustav was another great horse to drive,” offers House. “I had lots of thrills aboard him. He was just so consistent and when it was time to go - it’s like he just knew and he’d show up… I could always count on ‘Gus’.   A very interesting question came up, recently, during a COSA TV special featuring driving legends Ron Waples, John Campbell and Bill ODonnell. Broadcast host Greg Blanchard would ask the gentlemen if there was ever a horse they never had a chance to drive, but wish they could have… Well they all quickly agreed on Niatross as that one horse they wished they could have drove in a big race. So I then asked House that same question and his answer may surprise some… “The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) would be the dream horse and an obvious choice for many, I’m sure, but I’ve always liked the hard knocking older horses - the blue-collar types, so Admirals Express would likely be that one horse for me.” Outside of harness racing House says he’s a big Toronto Blue Jays fan and he loves to fish as well. “I do miss seeing the Jays play and my boy (Luc) loves the baseball too, but he’s not a Jays fan just yet though,” he laughs. “The fishing I picked up from my Grandfather years ago - we’d get out lots… And now it’s been Luc and I getting out.” Lorne’s son Luc, at just 8 years of age, would come up big, recently, on the Niagara River around Queenston. “We’d never fished there before, but away we went last Friday (March 27),” says House. “We weren’t there 15 minutes and Luc hooked on to a 12-pound rainbow (trout)… And he wouldn’t need any help, from me, though he was getting tired into the stretch, but he dug in and landed him,” House chuckled. “It was a very proud moment for us both and he was grinning from ear to ear… We’d end up catching 13 that day and he’d catch 8 of them… I always loved fishing with my Dad and Grandpa, so my boy Luc - I guess he gets it honest enough!” “We weren’t there 15 minutes and Luc hooked on to a 12-pound rainbow (trout) And like his Dad - Luc enjoys the horses too… Sitting alongside Lorne, at The Raceway in 2017, Luc would guide Ping to an exhibition pony race victory… “Now that was fun! Just for him alone - he was ecstatic… And we still have Ping too - she looks after the yearlings on the farm.” Final words go to House on this current downtime for horse racing… “We’ve been quite busy training and I look after the track at Dorchester Downs,” he says. “Angela (Clark) has been training Munndutch back under saddle, but we’ll have him back in the bike when racing returns… We’re just hoping to get back to racing soon and preferably in London. There’s no doubt we’ll be ready to race when and where the tracks are open.”    Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Track Announcer - The Raceway sdoyle@westernfairdistrict.com

With a very light schedule of harness racing taking place throughout the world, right now, it was easy to catch up with lifelong harness racing fan and bettor Melissa Keith. A recent winner of the 2019 John Hervey Award (for feature writing) at the Annual Dan Patch Awards - Keith, of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, had been a recent addition to the Bettors’ Corner - featured on the Ontario Racing website. Keith’s Friday night in-depth analysis, for The Raceway, was just starting to heat up - when all of a sudden - Ontario harness racing came to a halt due to the corona-virus. “My favourite win of the season was Rubber Knows beating Dan Dar Mal on that final Friday night card (March 13). She was my Ontario Racing ‘Spot Play’ of the night on the Bettors’ Corner and she’d return $50.90 to win!” Keith’s interest in harness racing goes back to the days of Sackville Downs, in Halifax, N.S., attending the races with her Dad and brothers. “I can remember my elementary school class getting a tour of the backstretch, back in the day, as well. I became fascinated by these amazing animals and the unique world of the racetrack.” “Sackville Downs had incredible crowds and handle - up until it closed in the 1980’s, so simply attending the races was enough to cultivate a strong interest in harness racing. There were several stars, at the time, who captured everyone’s imagination: Winners Accolade, Waveore and Angels Shadow were the ‘big three’. When my Dad signed me up for riding lessons, naturally I was paired up with a retired standardbred pacer (Starshot Lobell). I took some heat for occasionally letting him pace fast under saddle on the farm’s training track!” After many years of watching and wagering on the horses around the Maritimes – Keith was bound to find a few favourites along the way… “My favourite racehorses, past & present, is a long list! The first horse that I really followed closely was a pacer who came to Sackville Downs, from Sudbury Downs, in the 1980’s - a good-looking pacing stallion named Syd Grattan. Carl Jamieson trained and drove him - many years later I learned Syd Grattan was the horse Carl credited with really getting his career moving forward. There was also a trotting stallion by the name of Sunbound who was driven and also trained, I believe, by Ken Arsenault (not the Kenny Arsenault still active in P.E.I.). I cheered for him trackside every race and he was the first horse I ever got out for a winner’s circle photo with. They weren’t the winningest or fastest horses, at Sackville Downs, but they were charismatic and exciting to watch. My Dad’s friend Charlie Piper bought a grey gelding by Smog - named Irish Fog and I became a fan of this pacer as well.”  It’s years later now and after learning to play the horses, growing up around Sackville Downs, we asked - when was it that Keith would actually stumble upon The Raceway as a betting option? “My earliest memory of The Raceway is watching and wagering, with my Dad, at the Sackville Superbowl OTB and finding out that it was a tough track to handicap! And then I wasn’t following racing so much, during my university years, because there was no track around and no online wagering yet, but I got drawn back into it immediately in the Moni Maker era. I remember going to Champions OTB on Bloor Street, on a Sunday morning, to watch her in the Prix d’Amerique. She was one of a kind!” “This year is tough - with horses sidelined now - right as the Grand Circuit races were scheduled to start with the MGM Borgata (formerly George Morton Levy) and Blue Chip Matchmakers Series at Yonkers. It was disappointing, but understandable when The Raceway closed as a corona-virus precaution back on March 19… So my favourite ‘active’ horses, right now, are hopefully going to come back strong: Gimpanzee, Shartin N and hopefully Bold Eagle makes it back to North America.”  Looking back on some favourites, at The Raceway, Keith says she really enjoyed the 2014 edition of the Molson Pace. “That race featured such a gutsy effort by State Treasurer. He had a rough start and had to close from last for a three-horse photo finish with Foiled Again and Apprentice Hanover. He got there just in time! Scott Coulter is probably my favourite driver at The Raceway; he seems to get the best from any horse and rates horses so well on the front end. From past Western Fair drivers - Dave Wall & Trevor Ritchie both obviously went on to have great careers with great trotters… I associate them with Goodtimes and Peaceful Way - two of the best trotters I’ve ever seen race.” “Past performers Button Up and Lady Latte were a couple of my Raceway favourites as well. Before the COVID-19 hiatus, I was enjoying the emerging rivalry among Windsong Ophelia, Warrawee Usain and Super T - three talented young trotters who were ready to duke it out again on March 20 - which ended up being cancelled. Talbot Eh Plus has probably been my favourite horse this season. She’s won half her starts, racing respectably at Woodbine Mohawk Park and dominating at the mile distance on a half.” And one last bit from Keith on handicapping The Raceway… “Handicapping The Raceway, for Ontario Racing, has really highlighted the quality winter racing at Western Fair. Wagering is up - which reflects that as well. Favourites often win, but there is value to be found and that last turn is always full of suspense. I’ll be looking forward to another Camluck Classic, but more than that, I’ll be looking forward to the return of the regular London races that keep the sport rolling.”  *To read Melissa’s two-part award-winning story from 2019 - click on the following Harness Racing Update links… Part 1) The tragic and mysterious death of a harness horseman https://harnessracingupdate.com/2019/04/14/the-tragic-and-mysterious-dea… Part 2) A wanderer with an incredible heart https://harnessracingupdate.com/2019/05/24/a-wanderer-with-an-incredible… Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle Announcer - The Raceway

Here we go… With his ‘growing up’ ties to London and now his ‘making a living’ life in Sarnia - Raceway horse owner Stewart McQueen has been going to the horse races for as long as he can remember… “My Dad (Jack) loves the horses and we’d go to Orangeville back in the day…” says McQueen. “And please - call me Stew - the only one that calls me Stewart is my Mom and it’s usually when I know I’m in trouble,” he chuckled. “Dad had horses with trainer Peter Shody years ago and that’s likely how I got the bug too,” notes McQueen. “They raced Brandnew Man, Coyote Spur and Lochboisdale in the mid-90’s and now here I am, years later, racing horses with Dad cheering me on.” Stewart is a licensed Red Seal and 310S technician (auto mechanic) by trade and together with his wife Meghan - they own and operate After Hours Automotive in Sarnia. And from that - they put After Hours Stables in play during the Fall of 2018… So where does the ‘After Hours’ come from? “I had a one-bay shop - doing some undercoating on cars ‘after hours’ and away from my other job at the time…” he remembers. “I was doing it to help pay for our wedding and the business took off from there. That was two and a half years ago.” The competition of racing is nothing new to McQueen as he used to race Camaros around the Delaware Speedway… “That was a fun hobby, at the time, but those cars were more expensive than these horses.” The claiming game is Stew’s game and when looking to buy into harness racing, in that Fall of 2018, he was in need of a trainer. “I convinced my wife to look into buying a race horse,” he explains. “I got looking, for a trainer, around Sarnia - my friend Jimmy MacDonald led me to the (Peter) Core barn and around that same time - I happened to run into Danielle and Marc St Louis on the grounds there and asked them who their trainer was - they both looked so young and I thought they were grooms for another stable… Well we hit it off up front - I liked what I saw in them and the rest is history… Not long after - we’d team up and claim LDL Gem out of London.” Claimed for $7,000 - LDL Gem would try the $8,500 level next start out and finished well back. “She was OK for us… I tried to make some calls in the early going - bumping her up in class, but when we put her back where she belonged - she won for us and she’d win a few more for us too - before being claimed,” he said proudly. “That was a great learning experience and it was nice to get a win, so early, after becoming an owner.”  Favourite horses - past and present? “The past is easy - Hopetobefirst! I was maybe too naive, at the time, to understand just how special he was and what he was doing for us on the race track.” McQueen would claim the son of Sagebrush for $7,000 and the veteran pacer would go on to win his next six starts in London and then add another five ‘Forest City’ victories, in 2019, before being claimed away. “He’s the one that made me say ‘yes I want to back Danielle and Marc’ with the horses. His win at Flamboro (April 25) was the most amazing mile I had ever seen - parking first-up all the way and he just wouldn’t give up.”   McQueen ‘hopes’ to maybe get him back someday as Hopetobefirst now finds himself racing for a $20,000 claiming tag at Yonkers.  “The present - Oh K Man! And I picked this fella…” mentions McQueen. “I remember being in the paddock with Marc and we’re looking over the program and we see that Oh K Man is way down in class and priced at $7,000 and I say ‘how did we miss this horse?’ Well he won easily that night and then I watched and I waited for him again and again - I wanted him! He raced a few more times and I just said to myself ‘I don’t care how much he is - I’m going to buy him anyway’… Well I claimed him for $9,000 and picked him up - bathed him myself at Mohawk and he was in the barn for them (Danielle and Marc) when they arrived the next morning.” Since being claimed, in late November, Oh K Man has gone on to win nine of sixteen starts and banked over $30,000 - with all victories coming at The Raceway - his latest win being a gate-to-wire Preferred 3 score at the 1-1/16M distance. And moving forward with ‘After Hours’… “We want race horses. I like to claim and I hope for improvement…” states McQueen. “And we’d like to duplicate last summer… We were the leading owner at a few tracks, but what I really want - is to be the leading owner at The Raceway for 2020. We just missed to Jack Wray last season.” McQueen’s Hopetobefirst would take home the ‘Claiming Pacer of the Year Award’ at The Raceway’s Annual Awards Banquet last month. His team St Louis, of Danielle and Marc, would also take home The Raceway’s Trainer and Driver of the Year Awards respectively. “There’s no substitute for hard work,” states McQueen. “Marc, Danielle, Tyler and Kandee (St Louis) - they all put so much time and effort into looking after the horses. And that’s why we came away with the awards we won for 2019.”   The Raceway at Western Fair District  

Harness racing driver Doug McNair remains eternally grateful to still be working, even if it's under somewhat bizarre circumstances. The Guelph, Ont., resident continues to race at Woodbine Mohawk Park despite all other major sports — and even some racetracks — shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But events at the Campbellville, Ont., track are being conducted without fans in the stands. McNair understands why the measure is in place. But he admits looking into the bare grandstands is surreal and emphatically drives home the point that these are indeed unique times. "It's not terrible, but it's definitely different," he said. "You look over (to grandstand) and everything is dark. People might say there's no crowds there, especially in the winter, but even if there's 50 to 100 people at Mohawk, it's a lot different having none ... and the casino is empty as well." And McNair, Canada's top driver in 2018, said it's something he's reminded of daily. "When you go (to Mohawk), it's funny, you don't see any traffic," he said. "It's absurd, definitely, it's different. "We're really lucky just to be racing, but things change day today, hour to hour. I just hope it continues." Some tracks suspend racing Racetracks across North America have reacted differently to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Kentucky Derby organizers announced Tuesday the first jewel of the U.S. Triple Crown was being shifted from May 2 to Sept. 5 due to COVID-19. But the $1-million Grade 2 Louisiana Derby will run Saturday without spectators in the stands. Among the American tracks to suspend racing are Yonkers, Dover Downs, Freehold Raceway, The Meadowlands, The Downs at Mohegan Sun, and Pocono. Facilities in Europe, Denmark and Italy have followed suit. In Canada, Horse Racing Alberta temporarily suspended racing. But Century Downs, in southern Alberta, is holding events without spectators, as are harness tracks in Ontario. Union representing workers at Casino Woodbine calls for its closure amid COVID-19 outbreak All Ontario casinos to close temporarily amid COVID-19 outbreak "We've spoken to government officials about Mohawk regarding what we're doing," said Jim Lawson, the chief executive officer of Woodbine Entertainment Group. "We're changing post times as of Friday night to spread out the races. "We don't want any more than 50 people in the paddock, probably 40 people. We're going to start to use more of the new portion of the paddock to make sure there's more social distancing. "We're (continuing to race) for horse people more than anything. But we won't hesitate to close down if what I'd call the very strict policies and protocols we have in place aren't working and this thing gets beyond us." Wagering continues Empty stands haven't seemed to dampened fan interest. Wagering at Mohawk on Friday and Saturday was up 10 per cent, while Sunday's handle remained steady despite the absence of spectators. "We have the benefit of a robust and sophisticated system, which is good and it does help bring in some revenue," Lawson said. "The wagering revenue, though, is less than the purse money you pay out to do this. "Our only mandate as a corporation is to support horse racing and that's what we're doing as best we can. We're effectively not-for-profit mandate ... anything we earn goes back into horse racing." McNair and fellow driver Jody Jamieson both gave back last week, each donating a night's earnings to the Red Cross. McNair bequeathed $1,350, while Jamieson chipped in with $1,050. "I figured we were fortunate enough to be racing and what could we do to help a little bit," McNair said. "I definitely think little things like that aren't going to hurt." Paddock, announcer booth disinfected Woodbine Entertainment has also implemented temperature screening for all people entering the paddock at both Mohawk Park and Woodbine Racetrack. Although the thoroughbred season doesn't open until April 18, horses are in barns there and, like at Mohawk, require daily attention and care. At Mohawk Park, both the paddock and announcer's booth are disinfected nightly after racing is completed. "It's fundamental for these people to exist, to continue to have commerce and a livelihood," Lawson said. "We're prepared to do it on the basis of respecting government direction and protocols. "But we're not in the business of risks. We moved first and quicker than anyone to shut down our grandstand, to send our employees home, to shut our bars and restaurants immediately off-site. We're closely monitoring this. We have a very strong board that's involved, we're speaking to government officials and trying to help by creating some commerce." Many living paycheque to paycheque A fact not lost upon driver Bob McClure, who drove 15/1 pick Forbidden Trade to an upset win in last year's US$1-Hambletonian. "The biggest fear I have for this whole thing is there's a large majority of this industry that's still living paycheque to paycheque," said the Rockwood, Ont., resident. "And I don't know how they're going to be able to weather this storm if we have to shut down racing. "I think owners, all of a sudden, are expected to pay the bills without any money coming in. That's more than I'd want asked of me. Trainers having to pay grooms when they're not racing either. The money stops at the top and at some point it's the people at the bottom who need it the most. I really worry about that because there are people who simply can't take weeks off work." McClure said he's barely noticed the empty Woodbine Mohawk Park grandstands because once a race begins, he's focused entirely on driving. Ditto for the tarmac traffic. "If this was summer and this was going on, you'd definitely notice," he said. Racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park is scheduled to resume Thursday night. Both McNair and McClure agree that until told differently, drivers are intent on continuing to work. "Obviously one day at a time," McNair said. "But I'm happy with what Woodbine is doing and hopefully no one gets sick." Added McClure: "I think there's going to be a lot of pressure from Health Canada and the government going forward. But obviously we want to race and track officials want to race so long as it's safe." By Dan Ralph  Reprinted with permission of The Canadian Press

MILTON, March 19, 2020 - As an added precautionary measure being taken to help flatten the COVID-19 curve and maintain live harness racing, Woodbine Entertainment would like to inform all horsepeople that training at Woodbine Mohawk Park has been cancelled until further notice. Qualifiers will continue to be offered each Thursday morning. Live racing continues every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Post time is 6:40 p.m. Mark McKelvie      

TORONTO - In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and in the interest of the safety of customers, employees, horsepeople and the larger community, Woodbine Entertainment announced today that it will be closing Woodbine Mohawk Park and Woodbine Racetrack to the general public for a minimum of two weeks. Preparations to close both facilities to the general public are well underway and will be closed starting tomorrow, Sunday, March 15. Woodbine Entertainment will continue to monitor the situation closely and stay in contact with public health officials to determine when it is safe to fully reopen its operations and facilities to the public. "We strongly believe that closing our racetracks to the public is the right thing to do for the wellbeing of our employees, customers and horsepeople," said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. "We also recognize that we all have a role to play in slowing down the spread of this virus to protect the larger community. We will continue to work closely with public health officials and make decisions that are consistent with health and safety being our highest priority." The decision to close these facilities follows the recommendation of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams for the suspension of all large events and public gatherings due to Covid-19. Woodbine Entertainment's live harness racing at Mohawk Park will continue as scheduled but without spectators and only essential staff, licensed horsepeople and regulators permitted in the facility. As an additional precaution, Woodbine Entertainment is screening all horsepeople entering the paddock, which will also have highly restricted access for licensed personnel only. Plans to open the Thoroughbred season remain scheduled for Saturday, April 18 but are subject to an ongoing assessment of the situation. Currently, the training facilities at Woodbine Racetrack will remain open with screening for all horsepeople entering the backstretch and restricted access to licensed personnel only. Woodbine Entertainment does not operate the casinos in either of its properties. Currently, Elements Casino at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Casino Woodbine at Woodbine Racetrack remain open and any updates will be provided directly from the operators of the casinos. Mark McKelvie

MILTON, January 25, 2020 – Sintra completed a perfect January with his fourth consecutive harness racing Preferred victory on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The winner of $1.1 million and driver Jody Jamieson were assigned post-seven in the $36,000 feature event, taking on six-rivals over a track rated ‘Good’. Nirvana Seelster shot out to the lead and cut the mile, posting fractions of :28.1, :58. And 1:26. Sintra was able to settle in third and Jamieson showed plenty of patience, not angling to the outside until just near the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Sintra powered to the lead and held off a push from Points North to secure his 28th career victory in 1:53.4. Points North finished second by three-quarters of a length, while Easy Lover Hanover and Islandspecialmajor completed the Superfecta. Trained by Dave Menary, Sintra is now four for four since returning from an injury that sidelined him for seven months. The 2017 Canadian Pacing Derby winner has now banked $72,000 this season for owners Michael Guerriero, Kelly Waxman, Nunzio Vena and Frank Cirillo. Sintra paid $2.20 to win. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. Sintra Scott Young on achieving his 1,000th victory. Mark McKelvie  

MILTON, January 24, 2020 - Woodbine Entertainment would to issue a reminder to all interested parties of its upcoming stakes nomination deadline on February 18, with a focus on the Mohawk Million and its major two-year-old trotting events. The Mohawk Million follows a buy-in formula with nine slots available for purchase at a cost of $110,000. The tenth and final spot will be awarded to the winner of the William Wellwood Memorial. The William Wellwood Memorial has received a purse increase in 2020 with the final estimated at $610,000. Any two-year-old trotting fillies eligible to the Peaceful Way will be able to enter the William Wellwood Memorial by paying a $5,000 starting fee. The William Wellwood Memorial and Peaceful Way will take place on Saturday, September 12. The Mohawk Million is scheduled for Saturday, September 26. The deadline to nominate to each event is Tuesday, February 18, 2020. The Mohawk Million requires a $55,000 nomination fee by February 18, 2020 to be eligible for a slot in the $1 million (USD) race. The other $55,000 is due June 1, 2020. If more than nine nominations are received, a draw will be held to determine the slot recipients. To view the full conditions for all Woodbine stakes, click here.   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park

MILTON, October 31, 2019 - It was all treats and no tricks for harness racing driver Jody Jamieson in Thursday evening's Harvest Series finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Jamieson took the gold in both series finals for Ontario sired two-year-old colts and geldings. Sportswriter colt Beaumond Hanover completed a series sweep in the $47,800 pacing colts and geldings final with a convincing _ length victory, grabbing command in the second-quarter and posting fractions of :57.2 and 1:25.1 before a :28.1 kicker to win in 1:53.2. The strong performance came despite a post-nine starting spot and a stiff headwind in the stretch. Sundown Kid finished second, while Rockin Roll Beach and Sixfingerfreddie completed the Superfecta. Owned and trained by Jack Darling, Beaumond Hanover is now four for five with $23,900 earned. The Sportswriter colt made his career debut on September 30 and was a $45,000 Harrisburg Yearling Sale purchase. Beaumond Hanover paid $2.30 to win. Sitting behind another heavy-favourite, Jamieson guided Simsalabim to a blowout 7 ½ lengths score in the $48,400 final for trotting colts and geldings. A son of Kadabra, Simsalabim got a two-hole trip behind Beyond Ordinary, who set fractions of :29.3, :59.3 and 1:29.3. The 1/5 favourite stormed by at the head of the lane and pulled away for the big victory in 1:59.3.   Beyond Ordinary finished second, while I Got The Looks and Lmc Hope completed the top-four. Trained by Rene Dion, Simsalabim is now three for eight with $65,446 earned for owners Susie Kerwood, Dion and Martin Leveillee. He paid $2.70 to win. The Harvest Series was open to Ontario sired two-year-olds, who were non-winners of $30,000 as of September 30, 2019. Live racing continues Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m.   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park Manager, Communications & Content

MILTON, October 28, 2019 - Woodbine Entertainment today announced plans for added distance races and a change to the post-ten starting spot as part of pilot harness racing projects beginning November 1 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Beginning Friday (November 1), all races at Woodbine Mohawk Park will now score nine across the gate with post-ten starting in the second-tier. The start of November will also launch a project to contest a race nightly at the distance of a mile and three-eighths (1 3/8) with 11 starters. The mile and three-eighths races will receive a purse increase and all starters will receive money. Posts ten and 11 for the added distance races will start from the second-tier. These pilot projects are scheduled to run through the remainder of the calendar year. An update on the projects will be given prior to the start of the 2020 live racing season.   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park Manager, Communications & Content

MILTON, OCT. 12, 2019 - If power, desire and intelligence are the traits of a harness racing champion, all three qualities were on vivid display during Saturday's $1.8 million Super Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Taking his place in the Ontario Sires Stakes history books, three-year-old trotting colt Forbidden Trade became just the fifteenth horse in the history of the year-end event to repeat as Super Final champion. The Kadabra colt defended his Super Final title with a powerful kick home that saw him reel in the leaders and draw away to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:53.2. Pocket-sitter Manatlas finished second and pacesetter All Wrapped Up was third. "I think that everything worked out. He had to go there, and take his time, and after that we were comfortable," said trainer Luc Blais of the trip that saw the fan favourite get away sixth from Post 9, move into the outer lane as the pace slowed heading for the half and then tip out three-wide coming off the final turn. "I was happy, very happy." Blais trains Forbidden Trade for Determination of Montreal, QC and Rockwood, ON resident Bob McClure steered the colt to his eighth win in 13 sophomore starts. The Hambletonian champ will now return to open stake competition in the Oct. 19 Breeders Crown eliminations and Blais said he and his staff will spend the next seven days keeping the winner of $1.37 million as happy as possible. "Keep him happy, in the paddock and light, very light, light training, just keep him fresh," said the Campbellville resident. "He is good on himself too. He takes care of himself... like a good horse." Once race later, Boadicea showcased her raw power in the three-year-old pacing filly Super Final. In rein to Guelph, ON resident Jonathan Drury, Boadicea took control heading for the :53.4 half and continued to roll through a 1:21.1 three-quarters and on to a 1:49.2 victory. Early pacesetter Sunny Dee finished three and one-quarter lengths back in second, just ahead of a closing Ideation Hanover. "She is the horse of a lifetime. You know I've had some good horses too, but nothing ever like her, and to tell you the truth I knew it when she was born and she's just...every month of her life has been impressive," said owner-breeder Charles Lawrence. "I guess it was her intelligence more than anything else that caught my eye, and she grew into a big powerful animal," Lawrence continued. "And she has that determination to win, and you can't breed that into them, they're born with it, you know, they're born with it." The Blenheim, ON resident and his grandson Gordon Lawrence bred and own Boadicea, who is by Big Jim and out of their mare Rose Seelster, and they were joined in the Super Final winner's circle by a jubilant crowd of family and friends. After the hugs and cheers and photographs were finished the Lawrence's stopped by the Woodbine Mohawk Park race office and paid the $62,500 supplement to make Boadicea eligible to the Breeders Crown. "That's a big step to take, and I know there's a lot of tough horses in there, but we hope we can do well, do the best we can," said the elder Lawrence. "It's a lot of money for us to put up, but we think we owe it to her." Also headed to the Breeders Crown, so long as she remains happy and healthy, is two-year-old pacing filly Alicorn. The division point leader barely broke a sweat on her way to a in 1:52.4 Super Final victory, besting Karma Seelster and Temagami Seelster by three lengths. Like Blais, trainer Chantal Mitchell said the next six days will be spent keeping the Bettors Delight daughter as happy as possible. "I couldn't ask for anything better for her. She didn't really get pushed, she didn't get tested," said Mitchell of the filly's Super Final effort. "She raced in the Eternal Camnation (Aug. 24) and had to come back in six days for a Gold and she won in 1:51 and then came back in 1:50.3 and all we did is jog her in between, just lots of turnout, and go nice and easy on her." Mitchell trains Alicorn for Windermere Stable LLC of New York, NY and Robert Muscara of Ivyland, PA and Guelph, ON resident Louis-Philippe Roy handles driving duties on the Big Jim daughter. In 11 lifetime starts the duo have recorded seven wins, three seconds, one fourth and earnings of $520,789 and lowered the Ontario Sires Stakes record not once, but twice. "She's a dream, she just does everything that you want a horse to do," said Hamilton, ON resident Mitchell, adding that the filly also does a few less than dreamy things when she gets her game face on. "I mean she's got an attitude. She kicked me in the hand today so I've got a new bruise, and then we got here and she bit me in the elbow, I've got some dirt to prove it, so she's feeling pretty sharp right now." New Jersey-based driver Dexter Dunn made his first Super Final appearance on Saturday and guided three horses to victory. In the three-year-old trotting filly showdown, which kicked off the event, Dunn teamed Kadabra filly Haveoneforme to a two length victory in 1:55.4 for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman, Norman's Enzed Racing Stable Inc. of Allentown, NJ and partners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, ON and Little E LLC of New York, NY. Defending champion HP Titania Runner finished second and pacesetter Angies Luckeylady was third. Four races later Dunn climbed aboard Tattoo Artist's race bike in the two-year-old pacing colt Super Final and guided the Hes Watching colt to a commanding four and three-quarter length score in 1:52. Examiner Hanover finished second and Sports Obsession was third. Cambridge, ON resident Dr. Ian Moore trains Tattoo Artist for Frank Cannon of Sanford, FL and Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL. Dunn finished off the hat trick in the two-year-old trotting colt showdown, steering E L Titan son Moon Bridge to a head victory in 1:55.4 for New Jersey-based trainer Ake Svanstedt, owner-breeders Esa Lahtinen and Janne Korpi of Cambridge, ON and their partner Jussi Hietalahti of Turku, Finland. Port Perry finished second and Blue Cupertino rounded out the top three. Jula Shes Magic battled to a head victory over fan favourite Wine Rack Hanover in the two-year-old trotting filly Super Final, which saw the rivals hit the wire in 1:55.3, just ahead of She Rocks Kemp. Susanne Kerwood of Rockwood, ON trains the Kadabra daughter for Jula Racing Inc. of Delray Beach, FL and Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson drove the filly to the win. B Stoney delivered the biggest upset of the evening, squeaking through traffic in the stretch to get a head in front of Stag Party in the three-year-old pacing colt finale. Division point leader and fan favourite Century Farroh finished third in the 1:50.3 mile. "That was unbelievable. That's a good field of horses, and he drove that horse perfect tonight," said owner-breeder Doug Millard of the steer by 2019 Lampman Cup champion Trevor Henry. "I'll tell you, when I saw him go up the inside, I thought, 'This is the best shot he's got,' and I couldn't believe it when he got through to win it. That was great. That was perfect." Woodstock resident Millard shares ownership of B Stoney with trainer Murray Brethour of Sunderland and Barry McClennan of Cavan, ON. In his five regular season starts B Stoney had not finished better than fourth, but Henry took full advantage of the Sunfire Blue Chip gelding's gifts and the racing luck they were given to deliver the biggest win of the pacer's career. To see the complete results from Saturday's program visit Super Final Results. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park www.ontarioracing.com

MILTON, OCT. 5, 2019 - Driver Doug McNair almost missed Saturday night's Grassroots Championships at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but when the Guelph resident finally arrived he went straight to the harness racing winner's circle, a trip he would make two more times before the $600,000 championships were over. "Oh it was a great night, I mean it started off bad, I missed my first drive, and I thought she was one of my best shots, that pacing filly of Rob Fellows' (Mach My Kiss)," said McNair, whose arrival was delayed due to the late finish of the afternoon program at The Red Mile in Lexington, KY where he had two stakes drives. "I thought, 'This is going to be the start of a bad night', but everything just clicked, everything worked out and it usually doesn't work out like that." After missing the drive aboard two-year-old pacing filly Semi-Final winner Mach My Kiss, who finished tenth for driver Jonathan Drury, McNair's first assignment was with two-year-old pacing colt Mayhem Hanover. Lining up at Post 1 the pair got away second, tucked in behind fan favourite and division point leader Quick Tour as he rang up fractions of :26.3, :56.3, and 1:24.1. My Land pressed the pace through the middle of the mile, but there was room for Mayhem Hanover to slide out of the pocket in the stretch and the colt kicked home in :26.3 to get a neck in front of Quick Tour for the 1:51.1 victory. Bettorbuckleup closed hard to be third, almost four lengths behind the leaders. "Off that trip, he might've surprised some people tonight, but he didn't really surprise me," said McNair. "He's a real fast, high-speed colt, and he just got such a good trip tonight, it kind of worked a bit better for him." The driver's father, Gregg McNair of Guelph, trains Mayhem Hanover for Scott Horner and Clay Harland Horner of Toronto, ON. The championship victory gives the Sportswriter colt a freshman record of four wins and two seconds in nine starts for earnings of $79,405. McNair's next drive was aboard three-year-old pacing filly Kylie Seelster and the Big Jim daughter closed like a rocket to finish second behind heavy favourites So Much More and driver Louis-Philippe Roy, who cruised home one and three-quarter length winners in 1:51.1 for trainer Don Beatson of Granton, his son Ken Beatson of Palgrave and grandson Cole England of Exeter, ON. Kylie Seelster's stablemates in the Gregg McNair barn, Sports Flix and Swift Ally, finished third and fourth. In the seventh $75,000 division final, McNair was in the race bike of three-year-old trotting filly Semi-Final winner Rebellious Lady. The pair started from Post 4 and watched from third as Halo Its Me and Petro Hall battled to a :26.4 quarter and then Petro Hall opened up a four length gap on the field before the :55.2 half. The gap started to shrink on the way to the 1:24.3 three-quarters and when McNair tipped Rebellious Lady to the outside coming off the final turn the Angus Hall daughter reeled in Petro Hall and then fought hard to hold off Lefkada and claim the head victory in 1:55.1. Warrawee Ultra also closed well to be third. "The last turn they were going a real good clip up front and she kind of felt half-relaxed, but she trotted real hard through the stretch and it was a good win," said McNair. 'It was good to win for Duane Marfisi the trainer, like I said on the TV there, I think it was my second-ever race and he put me down to drive one, so it was great to get a Final win for him. "She surprised me," he added. "I thought I had a shot at Louis (Roy, Petro Hall) when she went by because his horse was likely a little tired, but I didn't think she'd fight off Scotty's (Wray, Lefkada). But I'm pretty sure he was three-wide for a lot of the last turn, so that makes a big difference." Guelph resident Duane Marfisi trains Rebellious Lady and leases her through his Green And Gold Inc. from Hugh Fitzpatrick, who also calls Guelph home. McNair completed the Grassroots Championship hat trick in the last division, sending fan favourite Fast N First to the lead early from Post 10. Fast N First took over control from Dreamfair Moxy heading by the :26 quarter and was comfortably in control at the :54.4 half. By the 1:23.4 three-quarters Carlisimo was applying pressure and turning for home Carsons Shadow had stepped around Carlisimo and looked ready to score the upset, but Fast N First dug in and kept a nose in front for the 1:51.1 victory. Dreamfair Moxy was promoted from fourth to third when Sportsline was judged to have caused interference in the stretch and placed from third to ninth. "I kind of really just wanted to float with him and see what happened, because I think he's just as good off the pace as he is on the lead. And I mean once Bob (McClure, Dreamfair Moxy) made the front at the eighth-pole I figured he'd want to follow me, and he did the rest from there. "He scared me for a second but that was kind of my fault, I kind of had him right to sleep you know, worried about Bob on my back, I wasn't worried about anybody else," McNair continued. "If I would've just kind of let him rattle I think he'd have won a lot easier. He impressed me tonight. That's the best he's raced for me. Nice little horse. That was a good night." Blake MacIntosh trains Bettors Delight colt Fast N First for his co-owners Ridgeway Racing of Ridgeway and Steve Heimbecker of Conestogo, ON. The win caps off a stakes season that saw the colt win two regular season Grassroots divisions and last week's Semi-Final, along with his Little Brown Jug elimination. In 20 starts Fast N First has logged 10 wins, four seconds and two thirds for earnings of $306,409. St. George, ON resident MacIntosh was also victorious in the two-year-old pacing filly division with Queso Relleno, who hit the wire two and three-quarter lengths ahead of So Delightful and Kat in a personal best 1:52.2. MacIntosh shares ownership of the Betterthancheddar filly with Sue Vernon Smith of Oakville, ON, Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA and The Flanagan Sisters of Dublin, Ireland. Moffat resident Jody Jamieson piloted Queso Relleno to the win, his second appearance in the winner's circle after playing the role of proud father earlier in the evening while his daughter Hailey Jamieson sang the national anthem. The two-year-old trotting filly championship went to Scorched Romance, who controlled the tempo on the way to a one length victory in 1:57.2. Milton resident Sylvain Filion drove the Kadabra daughter to the win for New Jersey-based trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and owners Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL. Two-year-old trotting colt point leader Lovedbythemasses wrapped up his Grassroots campaign with a division title, sailing home four lengths ahead of his peers in an impressive 1:55.4. Campbellville resident Mike Saftic drove Lovedbythemasses to the victory for trainer Ed Peconi, Jr. of Peterborough and his co-owners Nicholas Peconi of Lakefield, ON and Wade Peconi of Stanchel, PEI, who also bred the son of Muscle Mass. Division point leader Gold Edition took the three-year-old trotting colt final with a big 1:53.4 effort for driver Phil Hudon of Guelph, trainer Blair Burgess of Campbellville and owners Stirling Fisher of Waterloo and Karin Olsson Burgess of Campbellville. Southwind Frost finished one and one-half lengths back in second and Royale Elite rounded out the top three. Complete results for Saturday's program are available at Grassroots Championship Results.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park www.ontarioracing.com

LONDON, OCT. 4, 2019 - Only 10 horses advance to the Super Final and when they lined up behind the harness racing starting gate at The Raceway at the Western Fair District on Friday night neither Denali Seelster nor Beach Blanket Book was among the 10. Denali Seelster was sitting in twelfth spot in the two-year-old pacing colt division standings with 29 points and Beach Blanket Book was seventeenth with 18 points. Both colts needed a win to guarantee themselves a post season berth and neither one was the morning line favourite to get the job done in their respective divisions. Fortunately for their connections, both colts ignored the odds-makers and came up with victories that will extend their season through the Oct. 12 Super Final. "Denali raced real good tonight. With the rail there, I got away third, and I really didn't want to come first up and I'm pretty sure Doc (Moore) didn't want me to sit in the three-hole, so I made the move early, cleared to the front and controlled the pace from there and he raced really good," said driver Sylvain Filion. "He was pacing good. Usually he gets a little bumpy in the turns, but tonight he was perfect." Denali Seelster rang up fractions of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:24.3 and then dug in down the stretch to secure the one-half length victory in 1:54.4, a new track record for two-year-old pacing colts. The record replaced the mark of 1:55.4 set by Keystone Raptor in a November 2009 Gold Series event. Fan favourite YS Mathis finished second and Examiner Hanover claimed the third-place finisher's share of the $104,800 purse. Filion engineered Denali Seelster's first Ontario Sires Stakes victory for trainer Dr. Ian Moore of Cambridge, ON and owners Ratchford Stable NS of North Sydney, NS. The son of Sunshine Beach and Demi Seelster was born and raised at Seelster Farms' Lucan, ON nursery. With one win, one second, one sixth and one eighth in his four Gold Series starts Denali Seelster wraps up the regular season with 79 points, good enough for sixth spot in the standings. The colt scored his first lifetime victory in an overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 20 and heads into the Super Final on a two-race win streak. In the second $104,800 division Filion tried a similar strategy from Post 1 with Denali Seelster's stablemate Tattoo Artist. The fan favourites took command just after the :27.1 quarter, hit the halfway marker in a sharp :55.4 and the three-quarters in 1:25.3. Starting from Post 5, driver Chris Christoforou and Beach Blanket Book watched the early speed from the back of the six-horse field and advanced along the rail as their rivals shifted into the outer lane. After tipping out behind Aneto in the final turn, Beach Blanket Book shifted into high gear as soon as he got a clear look at the wire and reeled in the field for a three-quarter length victory in 1:57.3. Aneto finished second and Tattoo Artist stayed game for third. "We've been happy with him, and the battle up front helped too tonight, so it worked out," said trainer Blake MacIntosh. "He's a nice colt and he deserved to win tonight, because he's had a tough year, so it was good, a good night." St. George, ON resident MacIntosh trains Beach Blanket Book for Hutt Racing Stable of Malvern, PA and Mac And Heim Stables of Cambridge, ON. The win was the second lifetime and the first in Ontario Sires Stakes action for the Sportswriter colt, who got his first win in the Battle Of Waterloo eliminations at Grand River Raceway and was one of the favourites for the Aug. 5 final before hooking wheels with Bettorbuckleup and being forced to pull up before the finish line. "He's been a tough luck horse. He hooked wheels in the Battle Of Waterloo there or he would have won that I thought, or been right there," said MacIntosh. "He raced great in the (Sept. 21) Metro, he paced a third quarter in :25.1, he was just a little overmatched in there, that's all." In his five Gold Series starts Beach Blanket Book delivered one win, two fourths, one seventh and one ninth-place result for a total of 68 points and ninth spot in the standings. Friday's event marked the end of the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series regular season. The top Gold Series competitors from all eight divisions will meet in the $1.8 million Super Final Night at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, Oct. 12. Complete results from Friday's program are available at The Raceway at the Western Fair District Results.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park www.ontarioracing.com

MILTON, SEPT. 30, 2019 - Two-year-old pacing filly Alicorn wrapped up the Gold Series regular season on Monday evening with another impressive harness racing effort over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval, matching her Ontario Sires Stakes record with a spectacular late sprint. Lining up at Post 5 in the six-filly field, driver Louis-Philippe Roy opted to ease Alicorn away from the gate and the heavy favourites were sitting fifth when Rose Run Vantage reached the :26.3 quarter. The fillies carried on in single file behind Rose Run Vantage to the :55.3 half, but heading into the final turn Roy tipped Alicorn into the outer lane. Temagami Seelster provided a brief windbreak for Alicorn as Rose Run Vantage paced by the 1:23.3 three-quarters, but Roy was soon showing his charge an open lane to the wire. Once Alicorn dropped into gear she drew away to a two and one-half length victory in 1:50.3, reeling off a :26 final quarter. Pocket-sitter Keystone Kalimba claimed the runner-up share of the $104,800 purse and Rose Run Vantage was third. "He said, 'I didn't plan on racing her that way, but behind the gate everyone was leaving out so I just sat back and waited'," said trainer Chantal Mitchell of her post-race conversation with Roy. "I told him I was a little worried because he was waiting on the other horse, and the other horse that was in front of us wasn't really advancing. I said, 'I thought we were just too far, there was just too much ground to make up,' and he said, 'I wasn't worried'." Roy's confidence in the Bettors Delight filly is more than warranted. Monday's win was her third in Gold Series action and her sixth in 10 freshman starts. She has only been worse than second on one occasion - a fourth-place result in the July 8 Gold Series opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park where she paced home in :26.1. "I really don't have very many words for it all," said Mitchell, who trains Alicorn for Windermere Stable LLC of New York, NY and Robert Muscara of Ivyland, PA. "She just has that desire. She wants to do it, she wants to beat everybody." Ironically, Mitchell said that Alicorn's fierce attitude is reserved for the racetrack. At home with her paddock-mate Windy, the division point leader plays a solid second fiddle. "She has a turn out buddy and that filly runs this filly. She's the boss of her. She chases her around the field, and she makes her do everything, she is the boss of her," said the Hamilton, ON resident. "One of the owners said, 'Windy is the boss of Alicorn, and Alicorn's the boss of everybody else'." So long as she remains healthy and happy Alicorn will make her next start in the $225,000 Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Oct. 12 and then turn her attention to the Breeders Crown eliminations at the Campbellville oval on Oct. 18. "I'll likely just train her up a bit on Tuesday next week (Oct. 8) and keep an eye on her, make sure she's healthy and she's eating well, and as long as she looks as bright as she does every other day then we'll just keep going," said Mitchell. "She doesn't look any different from the day she qualified to now. It doesn't look like she's dropped a pound and, if anything, she's sharper." The top 10 point earners from the regular season will compete in the Oct. 12 Super Final and Betalady gave herself a chance to join them with a win in the second $105,600 division. Starting from Post 2, Betalady left smartly and found herself behind pacesetter All Day Sunshine as that filly reeled off a :26.2 quarter. Betalady continued to sit behind the pacesetter through the :55.3 half and 1:22.3 three-quarters and was able to sneak up the inside late in the stretch for a head victory over Free Flyin Ticket and Off The Press. The 1:52.2 clocking was a personal best for Betalady, who was driven to the win by Jody Jamieson. "I had the opportunity to drive her for the first time in the Champlain a couple of weeks ago (Sept. 7). She impressed me then with a third and I haven't had the chance to drive her again until tonight," said the Moffat, ON resident. "The trip wasn't the same as I planned for, but it worked out in the very end. But it took right up until the wire to work out." It was the first Gold win for Betalady, who moved from twenty-sixth in the point standings to twelfth. If all of the fillies ahead of her enter the Super Final the Bettors Delight daughter will be the second also eligible in the season finale, but if any opt not to enter she could find herself with a shot at the $225,000. Rockwood, ON resident Susanne Kerwood trains Betalady for owner-breeders M And L Of Delaware LLC of Wilmington, DE. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday, Oct. 1 with the final regular season Gold Series event for the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The program gets under way at 7:10 pm and the trotters will duel in Races 3 and 8. Complete results from Monday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park www.ontarioracing.com

MILTON, SEPT. 28, 2019 - Trevor Henry arrived at Woodbine Mohawk Park for Saturday's three-year-old Grassroots Semi-Finals with an almost insurmountable lead in the Ontario Sires Stakes driver's standings and the Arthur resident boosted his point tally with three harness racing victories. Henry's first two wins came with Bob McIntosh trainees Judge Ken and Splurge On Me in the three-year-old trotting colt and filly Semi-Finals. Lining up behind Post 3 with Judge Ken, Henry fired the gelding to the front and never looked back. Judge Ken rolled through fractions of :28.1, :57 and 1:26 before digging in down the stretch to fend off Windsong Pioneer for a head victory in 1:54.4. Red Hot Torch finished third, LA Magic was fourth and fan favourite Southwind Frost finished fifth. "He's really sharp, he's ready now, he's good," said Henry. "He can leave pretty good, but he can sit on a helmet. You can do whatever you want with him." Windsor resident McIntosh bred and owns Judge Ken in partnership with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON and C S X Stables of Liberty Center, OH. "He's a fighter that's for sure. I mean he's perfect gaited - he can trot about as fast on a half as he can on a mile - but he's got that will to win and he's determined," said McIntosh of the Justice Hall son. "He's got a big heart." In spite of starting five positions farther out on the starting gate, Henry opted for the same strategy with trotting filly Splurge On Me. The fan favourites took early command of the race and were never under threat, trotting by a :27.1 quarter, :57 half, 1:25.4 three-quarters and on to the victory in a personal best 1:55. Petro Hall was one and one-quarter lengths back in second, Halo Its Me finished third and Checkmate Titan and Lefkada were fourth and fifth. "She's more or less the same way. You can do whatever you want with her," said Henry. "She can leave fast, that's why I put her near the front, and she's good gaited." McIntosh and C S X Stables bred and own Kadabra daughter Splurge On Me, who finished the Grassroots regular season atop the point standings and has now won nine of her 16 sophomore starts. Henry completed the Grassroots Semi-Final hat trick in the second $20,000 sophomore pacing filly Semi-Final, once again opting for front-end tactics with Deb. The pair left smartly from Post 5 and took command just before the :26.4 quarter. Unchallenged through the :54.4 half, Deb was under pressure from fan favourite Swift Ally from the 1:22.4 three-quarters to the wire, but held on for a neck victory in a personal best 1:51.2. Freya Seelster finished four lengths behind the duelling leaders in third, just ahead of Crisp Mane and Premier Cabernet. James Dean of Guelph trains Deb for Wilma and James MacKenzie of Ennismore, ON and was delighted to see the Sportswriter daughter return to form after a pair of lackluster performances at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the first two months of September. "I really don't know why she hadn't shown up the last two weeks. Her blood came back good. She just raced poorly," said Dean. "I just changed some driving gear on her and we schooled her Tuesday (Sept. .24) at Mohawk and she never had a harness on her after that, I just turned her out in the paddock. Try to keep her happy I guess, just try to cheer her up a bit. It's getting later in the year, if they ain't fit now they never will be." Henry said the equipment changes worked wonders as he and Deb battled division point leader Swift Ally and driver Doug McNair down the stretch. "She wasn't on a line, she drove perfect. She went a big trip, I think that was a lifetime mark," said Henry. "That horse of Dougie's (McNair), it's a good filly, and she just fought her right to the wire." Although he couldn't get past Deb, driver Doug McNair won two other Grassroots Semi-Finals, the first and last of the evening. Starting from Post 10 with three-year-old trotting filly Rebellious Lady in the opening event, McNair hit the accelerator early and the Angus Hall miss rang up fractions of :27.3, :58.1 and 1:28.1 on her way to a neck victory in 1:58. Miss Congeniality was second, Cambridge Kate finished third and Warrawee Ultra and Witches N Angels claimed the other two berths in the Oct. 5 Grassroots Championship. "They didn't, obviously, go nearly as fast as the other division, but she did everything right, just hope for a good spot in the final and she'll hopefully pick up some money," said McNair, who drives the filly for trainer Duane Marfisi's Green And Gold Ltd. of Guelph. "She's great to drive, she's good gaited, there's maybe some better ones than her, but she tries hard." McNair closed out the sophomore Semi-Finals with pacing colt Fast N First, who took command heading by the half and powered home to a three and three-quarter length victory in 1:51. HP Napoleon closed well to be second, Better Than Cash was third, Phils Sun was fourth and Jay Eye Em finished fifth. "He usually doesn't want to win by that many. He was just really good tonight," said McNair of Fast N First, who was making his first start since winning his elimination and finishing second in the final of the historic Little Brown Jug. "Obviously he was great at the Jug, so maybe that kind of woke him up a little bit. He's getting real sharp right now." Trainer Blake MacIntosh of St. George, Ridgeway Racing of Ridgeway and Steve Heimbecker of Conestogo, ON share ownership of Bettors Delight son Fast N First, who has won nine of 19 starts. The other pacing colt Semi-Final went to Dreamfair Moxy, who was a one and three-quarter length winner in a 1:50.4 personal best. Henry and Sportsline finished second, division point leader Sugartown was third, Carlisimo was fourth and Carsons Shadow was fifth. Travis Cullen drove Bettors Delight son Dreamfair Moxy to the win for trainer Jodie Cullen and owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON. The second trotting colt Semi-Final saw Royalty For Life son Royal Elite and driver James MacDonald storm down the stretch to a one and one-half length victory in 1:55.3 Encarnacion was second, division point leader Gold Edition was third, A Royal Line was fourth and Wings Of Speed was fifth. MacDonald engineered the win for trainer Shawn Steacy and owner-breeders Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. So Much More took the second pacing filly Semi-Final with a commanding performance, cruising home four lengths ahead of her peers in 1:51.1 McNair and Kylie Seelster were second, Saulsbrook Jessie was third, Sports Flix was fourth and Manhattan Night completed the top five. Louis-Philippe Roy drove So Much More to the win for trainer Don Beatson of Granton and his son Ken Beatson of Palgrave and grandson Cole England of Exeter, ON. The Big Jim daughter now boasts a record of 11 wins and three seconds in 17 starts. The top five finishers from each Semi-Final will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, Oct. 5 for eight $50,000 Grassroots Championships. Complete results for Saturday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park www.ontarioracing.com

MILTON, SEPT. 24, 2019 - Jula Shes Magic and Wine Rack Hanover arrived at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday evening sitting in a tie for fifteenth in the two-year-old trotting filly Gold Series standings. Both fillies had been victorious in an early season Grassroots event, but a Gold Series win had been elusive due to temperament rather than talent. Fortunately for their connections, everything went flawlessly on Tuesday and the fillies now sit in a tie for fifth. "It's not that it's not there, it is there, it's just sometimes you know, she's a little bit of a temperamental woman," said Susanne Kerwood, who trains Jula Shes Magic. "She's got a mind of her own, that's for sure, but there's lots in there, it's just you've got to try to get it out of her." Jula Shes Magic opened the Gold Series action with a commanding victory from Post 6 in the first $108,000 division. Thanks to a sharp move off the gate and early errors by two of her peers, the filly and driver Jody Jamieson were eight lengths ahead of the field at the :27.1 quarter. Jamieson eased off the accelerator heading by the :57.2 half and allowed the field to get back within hailing distance before he let Jula Shes Magic roll on to a 1:25.4 three-quarters. Down the stretch Jula Shes Magic once again pulled away from the field, hitting the wire six and three-quarter lengths in front in a personal best 1:55. Ride To Justice was second and She Rocks Kemp rounded out the top three. The win was the Kadabra daughter's second of the season. She was also victorious in a Grassroots division at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 30. In her other two Gold Series starts she finished seventh and third. In addition to her Ontario Sire Stakes starts Jula Shes Magic also logged a fifth-place result in the Aug. 29 Champlain Stakes and a third in her Sept. 5 Peaceful Way elimination, then made an uncharacteristic break at the start of the Peaceful Way final. "What she did in the Peaceful Way, Jody just said when he went up to the gate - usually she grabs a hold of you and she wants to leave out of there - that day she went up to the gate and she let go of the bit and he was like, what are you doing. It's something she's never done before, never done that training or nothing, she's always been more than willing to go, so I have no idea. I would be lying if I told you I knew what she was doing," said Kerwood. "It's frustrating though because I think, what did they go 1:55 and change in the final (1:55.2)? And I mean she wins tonight in 1:55 flat, so it's a little frustrating that way, but you know what, at least she won tonight, that's the main thing." Rockwood resident Kerwood trains Jula Shes Magic for Jula Racing Inc. of Delray Beach, FL, who offered up $100,000 for the third foal from $1.2 million winner Windsong Soprano at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Wine Rack Hanover's story is similar to Jula Shes Magic's, but trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and his staff might even peg their frustration level a little higher than Kerwood's. "It's been a real test because we've tried so many combinations of equipment trying to get her to calm down and it's just been trial and error and trial and error and finally we think, we think, we might have it," said Norman. "I've got to give Scotty (Petherick), my second trainer, all the credit because he's the one that's been doing the messing and the trialing and erroring and stuff. So the whole credit's got to go to him, he's done a good job with her." Like Jamieson and Jula Shes Magic, driver Trevor Henry left smartly from Post 5 with Wine Rack Hanover and was able to drop into third behind the fans' top choices Winter Olympics and Sheer Energy. Winter Olympics led the field through fractions of :27.3, :58 and 1:27.4, but failed to find a bigger gear in the stretch. Sheer Energy tipped out of the pocket heading by the three-quarters and Wine Rack Hanover was able to sprint between the two favourites and on to a four and three-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:56. Alpina closed well to be second and Sheer Energy finished third. Wine Rack Hanover also won a Grassroots division at Georgian Downs on July 14 and finished seventh and third in her other two Gold Series starts. The Kadabra daughter also tried her hand in the Champlain Stakes, but made an early break and repeated that in a Sept. 9 overnight event, forcing her to requalify on Sept. 17. "She's really nice to be around, and jogs fine, and you can train her on her own and she's fine, but from Day 1 you put her in behind a horse and she's tried to run it over," said Norman. "She's got a great gait and she's got a bit of speed, and finally, maybe she's getting her brain to work with her gait. "I mean the trip worked out great, everything worked out in her favour, but she was very strong down to the wire," added Norman, who trains the filly for Pinske Stables of Plato, MN and Bridgette Jablonsky of Hanover, PA. "And credit to Trevor (Henry), he's persevered with her too. He's been trying to help us and trying to get her to behave." Norman said Wine Rack Hanover will compete in the last regular season event at Flamboro Downs on Oct. 2, while Kerwood said she and Jula Shes Magic's owners will make that decision on Wednesday or Thursday. Gold Series action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening with a single division for both the three-year-old trotting colts and three-year-old trotting fillies. The fillies will compete in Race 5 on the 7:10 pm program, while the colts battle in Race 7. Complete results from Tuesday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results.   OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com   OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing Woodbine Mohawk Park www.ontarioracing.com

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