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TORONTO, March 4, 2019 /CNW/ - Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Union (OPSEU), is concerned with the behaviour of Ontario Racing and the not-for-profit Woodbine Entertainment Group, who have been entrusted by the Ontario Liberals to manage nearly $2 billion dollars over twenty years that is supposed to support horse racing in rural Ontario. Recently, Woodbine Entertainment Group and Ontario Racing gave the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) just sixty days notice that the organization will no longer be responsible for managing the health, insurance and retirement benefits of standardbred horsepeople in Ontario. Instead, Ontario Racing has mandated that the Woodbine-created Central Ontario Standardbred Association, which presently only represents horsepeople at Woodbine Mohawk Park, will now be responsible for all standardbred horsepeople in Ontario. This decision was made without a democratic vote by horsepeople or any consultations on the topic. OHHA was founded in 1962 and has passionately represented the interests of standardbred horsepeople across the province since, including in negotiations with racetracks and all levels of government. OHHA's work has sustained tens of thousands of agricultural jobs for a diverse set of men and women across rural Ontario that support horse racing, and encouraged billions to be reinvested in rural communities.  "Horsepeople in Ontario rely on the Ontario Harness Horse Association to fight for the interests of their industry and negotiate to protect the wellbeing of standardbred horsepeople across the province. What Woodbine Entertainment Group and Ontario Racing are doing is no different than union busting, and they need to be stopped," said Kent Baker, longtime owner, trainer, and breeder in Ontario. "OHHA fights for the interests of the men and women who work hard each and every day across this province to support horse racing. Many of these individuals are excellent at what they do, but lack easily transferable employment skills. They will be the casualties of a Woodbine centric horse racing industry." "The government's first mistake was entrusting Woodbine Entertainment Group, an organization whose handling of funds meant to support horse racing have long been the subject of intense scrutiny by media and government, to look after the interests of all horse racing money for the government. They probably could not have come up with a less responsible party in the industry to manage those funds if they had tried", said Smokey Thomas, President of OPSEU. "This is worse than asking the fox to watch the hen house. The previous government forced the hens to move in with this fox. Doug Ford has claimed to care about rural Ontario, well this is his chance to prove it," Thomas added. OPSEU is joining OHHA's call for Ontario Racing and Woodbine Entertainment Group to withdraw their April 1, 2019 direction and are asking the provincial government to intervene if Ontario Racing and Woodbine Entertainment Group won't do the right thing. SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) For further information: Lindsay Macaulay, The Broadview Team, 647-748-3300 NEWS PROVIDED BY Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

John Hayes is chairman of Ontario Racing, a group founded in December of 2017 that aims to represent all the sport's players in the province to present a unified voice in marketing the sport and lobbying lawmakers. Its board includes representatives (or seats) of Ontario's Thoroughbred and Standardbred tracks, Quarter Horse breeders, Standardbred breeders, Thoroughbred breeders (position currently not filled by Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society representative), Standardbred horsemen, and Thoroughbred horsemen. Its five committees include an executive committee, a Horse Improvement Program committee, governance committee, horseplayer and customer committee, and a committee on equine welfare. Hayes recently met with editor Frank Angst to discuss its marketing and legislative efforts, a plan to commit a larger percentage of HIP money to Thoroughbreds, and to address concerns from breeders that money could be shifted from breeder bonuses and stallion awards to purses. In 2013 the government cancelled the Slots at Racetracks Program and slot machines located at the tracks are now controlled by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. In May 2018, Ontario committed up to a $105 million annual contribution to racing—total for Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds—into 2038. That commitment is about a third of the previous SARP commitment. In June Hayes was elected independent chairman of the Ontario Racing board. Hayes has served in finance and administration positions with General Electric, Black & Decker, and Home Depot. He has more than 25 years of experience as a Standardbred owner. and previously served as gaming director with Ontario Lottery and Gaming, with operational responsibilities at Georgian Downs, Ajax Downs, Grand River Raceway, Woodbine and other racetracks across the province. He most recently served as an at-large director of Ontario Racing. Ontario Racing took full shape when the Standardbred Alliance voted in December of 2017 to merge the organizations. BloodHorse: Could you describe Ontario Racing, how it came together? John Hayes: Following the cancellation of the SARP program, the Ontario government was looking for a unified, cohesive body responsible for horse racing in the province. It's non-profit, includes all the breeds, breeders, horse people, and racetracks, in essence to be the one voice of and for racing in the province. I ended up being on the initial Ontario Racing board as a director at-large. With the formation of the new board in March and April, they asked if I would be the independent chair of the board. BH: I understand racing has been part of your life for many years? JH: I was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, basically in the shadow of the Peterborough racetrack (Morrow Park) to the point I would be there every night in the summer. I came to love horse racing, both Standardbred and Thoroughbred. From the Thoroughbred side, I remember being at Woodbine for Secretariat's last race (the grade 2 Canadian International Championship Stakes)—I still have the uncashed show ticket.  When I started my working career, most of the jobs I had involved extensive travel and I always made it a point, whether it be California, Florida, Chicago, Kentucky—to hit the racetracks during the down times at work. I'll confess to being a small time bettor, but I just love the thrill of horse racing. Working at the General Electric plant in Evendale (Cincinnati area), a few of us went to the Kentucky Derby. I've been a fractional owner in harness racing for 25 years, all with the same trainer, John Bax. I think that says a lot, being with the same trainer for so long. I absolutely love the sport. BH: What are some of your goals for this organization? JH: We want to serve as a single voice for all facets of racing. Over the past nine months, we've made numerous trips to the Ontario government to push racing's agenda and make sure they're aware of exactly what they have here. In Ontario there's about 45,000 jobs that in some way, shape, or form are related to racing. Our estimates are there's about $2 billion in economic activity that horse racing generates within the province. We directly employ about 17,500 people. It's a fairly big company, a big operation. That represents everybody from the Sunday afternoon races at the fair tracks to Mohawk and Woodbine on the upper side of it.  We're there to promote the industry. Horse racing got shuffled as casinos populated themselves throughout North America. In my opinion, racing handle suffered some because of that. We want to get out there and promote the business.  We want to determine our own destiny. We believe that there's a path to self sufficiency in the province. Through the short-term, we need the government as a big supporter for policy development and allow us to make the big decisions on racing as we move forward. Economic Impact of Horse Racing in Ontario BH: What were the reasons the Thoroughbred Improvement Program (component of HIP) was moved under the Ontario Racing umbrella? JH: This year we will receive in excess of $100 million from the provincial government. The idea is to be fully transparent. We already were operating the Standardbred program and the Quarter Horse program. We had contracted with the CTHS to do the Thoroughbred program, which we're going to move back in house—all under one roof—nothing to hide, not that it was an issue with the CTHS or anything. Just for transparency purposes and to have one unified voice, especially when we're speaking with government. It's all under one roof. (The CTHS) in essence still administer the funds based on what the committee determines.  BH: So you don't see any big changes there? JH: No. BH: The CTHS expressed concern that the 25% commitment of TIP money to stallion awards and breeder bonuses could be moved to purses. Where is Ontario Racing on that issue? JH: It would be a committee decision if that happens and the breeders are on the committee. I don't see any big changes in the way those funds are administered right now. I think the board and the committee are both fairly comfortable with the way the money's being spent at this point in time. BH: On a different topic, in December Ontario Racing made a small change beginning this year to add a slightly larger percentage of HIP money on the Thoroughbred side. JH: We have decided to change the breed allocations. It had been 50-50 between Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds. Over the next three years we will be moving to 55% Thoroughbred and 45% Standardbred of the total funds. That basically just reflects wagering in the province on horse racing. BH: How will that change affect Thoroughbred racing? JH: Hopefully it will provide some certainty. It's a business where I think everybody understands risk. We are, as most jurisdictions in North America, facing lower horse populations. The idea would be to provide some certainty for owners and breeders to continue breeding horses, maintaining sale prices, getting the horses to the races, and having the races available for them to race. BH: Do you see some opportunity for growth? JH: Given my background working for the Ontario Lottery Group, the ideal would be expanding betting through the lottery network, which is at every gas station, convenience store, and supermarket in the province basically. It wouldn't be so much that they'd handle bets on every race, but maybe featured races or one race a week just to drive some volume. BH: What are some of the promotional ideas Ontario Racing has put forward? JH: Within the province, Ontario Lottery and Gaming administers horse racing. Part of that mandate is promoting horse racing. We have had a pretty impactful promotional campaign—television anyway. Ontario Racing also helps at the individual tracks but the province-wide campaign is to get new people to the track and enjoying horse racing. VIDEO BH: What do you think are the advantages of having a group like this in place for Ontario racing? JH: It is a unified group; conversely and I don't know how well it worked in the past, but you'd have like three to five groups all lobbying—that might be too strong a word—with government. This allows us to promote racing as a whole. ... It just provides a unified force to serve as the single voice of racing in the province. Racing basically had no unified presence before Ontario Racing was formed.  BH: Is there an initial message your group wants to get across to lawmakers? JH: We're here to promote the business because it is vital to Ontario. As I said earlier, 17,500 direct jobs and 45,000 indirect jobs. As each day passes, we're becoming more and more entwined with government. We're down at the legislature over the last few months at least once a week. We're meeting individually with representatives, providing them with updates, asking for their support; I believe it's getting there.  We have hired Katherine Curry as president of Ontario Racing Management and she has assembled the administrative team to execute the plans that Ontario Racing has. You think you know a lot about (horse racing), but it's a business in this province with many moving parts. If you get one part that sinks, the whole thing can grind to a halt. We just want to keep moving forward. BH: Does that message on jobs and economic impact get lawmakers' attention? JH: I would go so far to say that when the government originally cancelled the SARP program, it was the grassroots horse people that basically brought them to their senses (leading to HIP) because all of a sudden the government realized how many votes, especially outside the urban areas, were horse racing supporters.  By Frank Angst Reprinted with permission of Bloodhorse

OCT. 6, 2018 - Eleventh hour victories secured a post-season berth for both Sweet Young Thing and Keystone Concrete as the harness racing two-year-old pacing colts and fillies wrapped up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday evening. With 38 points, Sweet Young Thing was sitting just below the cut off for next weekend's $225,000 Super Final when she lined up behind the starting gate for the second $97,200 pacing filly division. With driver Trevor Henry in the race bike, Sweet Young Thing got away second from Post 5 and then tucked in behind Grassroots champion Sports Flix, who led the field of nine to a :26.4 opening quarter and a :56.1 half. Heading for the 1:26 three-quarters Henry sent Sweet Young Thing up the outside and the Sportswriter daughter powered right by the pacesetter and on to a 1:54 victory over a track rated one second slower than normal. Sports Flix found another burst to finish just three-quarters of a length behind the winner, with Cinderella Delight hard on her heels in third. "She trained okay through the winter. She wasn't a very big filly, well she still isn't, and she trained well, she got progressively better, but she wasn't what I thought was one of my better ones," said trainer Tony O'Sullivan. "The first time we put the race bike on her she just was just different and as the year's gone on, even though I've raced her lightly, she's a happy filly, she's eating well, she just seems really happy to do her job. "After last week (Sept. 28) I had my doubts (about the Super Final), because we were at the mercy of an 11-horse field and Trevor couldn't find a spot," the horseman added. "She ended up on the outside the whole mile, but he didn't beat her up and she came out of that race great, so it probably worked in our favour." With Saturday's victory Sweet Young Thing boosted her point tally to 88 and moved into fifth spot in the standings. In her three previous Gold Series starts the Sportswriter daughter had finished second, fourth and fifth. O'Sullivan conditions Sweet Young Thing for owner-breeders Lorne and Jean Keller of Exeter, Ontario and the Cambridge resident was delighted to score the win for the couple. "Snowbird, which is Sweet Young Thing's dam, is the first horse I trained for them," the horseman explained. "I trained Snowbird and we've had horses together since then. We've had some really good times and we've had a couple lean years. They are really nice people. I'm lucky; I have some really good owners." Sweet Young Thing The other pacing filly division went to point leader Better Single, who rocketed from last to first with a :27.1 final quarter, hitting the wire in a personal best 1:53.1. Fan favourite Powerful Chris bobbed and weaved her way down the stretch into second, two and one-quarter lengths behind the winner, and Ideation Hanover was another length back in third. Louis Philippe Roy piloted Better Single to the win for trainer Anthony Beaton of Waterdown and his partner David Mercer of Sydney, Nova Scotia. In five regular season appearances the Betterthancheddar daughter recorded three wins, one third and one fifth for a total of 167 points. Better Single Pacing colt Keystone Concrete also leapt into the post season with a victory in the second $96,400 division for the pacing colts and geldings. Starting from Post 2 driver Louis Philippe Roy settled the Bettors Delight colt in third as heavy favourite Bronx Seelster took the field to a :27.3 quarter and :57.3 half. Stuck on the rail as a herd of horses powered up the outside at the 1:27.2 three-quarter mark, Roy found a lane up the inside in the stretch and Keystone Concrete roared by Bronx Seelster to a 1:54.1 victory. Division leader Bronx Seelster was two lengths back in second and pocket-sitter Fast N First was third. "We were very lucky, and I know that as a horse trainer. We were very lucky," said Rob Fellows. Saturday marked Keystone Concrete's first start since August 28. The colt was not eligible to the open stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park in September and after a month-long break Fellows did not feel the youngster was fit enough for the Sept. 28 Gold event, so he had his fingers crossed that Keystone Concrete could score enough points to extend his season another week. In five previous starts the pacer had posted three wins, two of them in Grassroots action, and two seconds. "I didn't stake this guy because, he did nothing wrong, but he wasn't flashy," said Fellows. "He did everything right training down, his first qualifier was disappointing, and after that he was very, very good." The Rockwood resident trains Keystone Concrete for his wife Yolanda Fellows, Arpad Szabo of Bradford, Ontario and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alberta and figures the colt will need another dose of luck to tackle the division's best in the Oct. 13 Super Final. Keystone Concrete "Stag Party is a dominant horse in this division, and Bronx Seelster, a dominant horse, and then you look at Bettors Wish," said the trainer. "So hopefully with some post position luck and some racing luck, I think with a trip we could be fourth. I think to be better than that we're going to have to overcome someone else's bad luck, because I have so much respect for those three horses." Bettors Wish captured the other pacing colt division with an impressive 1:51.1 mile as the rain started to fall at the Campbellville oval. With regular reinsman Paul MacDonell in the race bike the fan favourite took command going by the half and never looked back, cruising to a two and one-half length win over Better Up. Twin B Watching was well back in third. Chantal Mitchell trains the Bettors Delight son for Chris Ryder of Allentown, NJ, Bella Racing Ltd. of Delaware, OH, Fair Island Farm Inc. of Versailles, KY and Kenneth Solomon of Coral Springs, FL. In five regular season appearances Bettors Wish netted three wins, one second and one third for 187 points and second place in the standings behind Bronx Seelster. Bettors Wish The top 10 point earners from both divisions will return to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, Oct. 13 for the season ending Super Final. Post time for the $1.8 million Super Final card is 7:10 pm. Ontario Racing

AUGUST 20, 2018 - Ontario's talented harness racing two-year-old pacing fillies were back in action at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday, competing in six $19,500 Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions. All six winners delivered impressive performances, but none of them were more meaningful than the 1:53 effort turned in by third division winner Freya Seelster. Sent off as the fan favourites, the Sunshine Beach daughter and driver James MacDonald went gate-to-wire from Post 6, besting Free Exchange by three lengths. Whitehaven Beach was two more lengths back in third. "It was a very emotional win. She was purchased by Fred Haskell - a great person who I wish I would have known for a lot longer - along with other partners. Unfortunately, Fred passed away just before Freya qualified," explained trainer Mark Steacy. "His share has been carried on by his brother Guy. Fred would have been so excited to see her win." Freya Seelster won her first qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 17 and finished fourth in a second qualifier on July 24. In her race debut she was second by a head in a July 31 overnight event at the Campbellville oval, hitting the wire in 1:55, and then finished third in another overnight test on August 7, touring Woodbine Mohawk Park in 1:53.2. "Freya trained down very nicely and probably resembles her dad the most of all his offspring," added Steacy, who trained the filly's sire Sunshine Beach throughout his $977,438-winning career. Off Monday's victory, the fastest of the six divisions, Freya Seelster may be looking at a move up to the Gold Series for the two remaining events, a decision the trainer will contemplate in cooperation with owners Katherine Steacy of Lansdowne, Shawn Steacy and Guy Haskell of Guelph, Ontario and Bertrand Gilhespy Stable of Edmonton, Alberta. The fourth Grassroots event goes postward September 2 at Clinton Raceway and the fourth Gold event takes place at Woodbine Mohawk Park on September 28. Freya Seelster Several of the division's top fillies opted for Monday's Grassroots on the seven-eighths mile oval rather than the August 15 Gold Series event over Grand River Raceway's half-mile, including the first division winner Powerful Chris. Starting from Post 10 the Betterthancheddar daughter powered to the front and never looked back, cruising through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25.4 on her way to a 1:53.3 victory. Aumydarlin was three and one-quarter lengths behind the heavy favourite in second, with Buckingham two more lengths back in third. "I was really happy with her. She was as good as ever," said driver Bob McClure. "She really did not get along with the half-mile track, so John (Pentland) thought an easy trip in the Grassroots was best and it worked out great." Powerful Chris tested the Grand River half-mile in the Battle of the Belles, finishing second by a neck in her July 30 elimination and a well-beaten fifth from the outside Post 8 in the August 6 final. Prior to that effort she had been undefeated, posting an eight and three-quarter length victory in the Grassroots season opener on July 10 and a personal best 1:52.1 triumph in the July 20 Gold event, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Dorchester resident John Pentland trains Powerful Chris and shares ownership of the filly with Jack Darling Stables Ltd. of Cambridge and McClure's Syllabus Stable of Elora, Ontario. Powerful Chris The connections of Gold Series winners Springbridge Sassy and Deb also chose Monday's Grassroots event and went home with a green blanket. Springbridge Sassy and driver Doug McNair rolled up the outside in the fourth division and then rocketed down the stretch to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:55.3. Twin B Friendly and Karans Choice finished second and third behind the heavy favourite. "She has explosive speed, but she's tricky sometimes on the turns," said McNair of Springbridge Sassy's appearance in the Grassroots. "She's very green still, but I'm excited about the rest of the year for her." McNair pilots the Sunshine Beach daughter for trainer Jim Ritchie and owner Paul Ritchie of Orangeville, Ontario. Through three starts she now has two wins and one second, including one Gold and one Grassroots victory. Springbridge Sassy Like Powerful Chris, Deb went gate-to-wire from Post 10 in the fifth division, pacing under the wire in 1:54.2. Loves Delight finished two and three-quarter lengths behind the favourite in second and Rue Hanover rounded out the top three. Randy Waples piloted Deb to the win for trainer Dr. Ian Moore and owners Wilma and James MacKenzie of Ennismore, Ontario. In six starts the Sportswriter daughter has tallied two wins, both in Gold Series action, and three thirds. Deb The other two divisions went to Soft Wind Hanover and Cinderella Delight. Soft Wind Hanover picked up her second Grassroots victory with a 1:55 front-end effort in the last division. In rein to Doug McNair the fan favourite paced home two and one-half lengths ahead of Erikas Shadow and Waltzing With Tina. Casie Coleman trains the Sportswriter daughter for her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Mac Nichol of Burlington, Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham and Brad Grant of Milton, Ontario. Soft Wind Hanover Cinderella Delight posted her first-ever victory in the second division, sailing along on the front end to a 1:54.1 score for driver Jody Jamieson. Saulsbrook Jessie and Sports Flix were one and one-half lengths back in second and third. Dave Menary conditions Bettors Delight daughter Cinderella Delight for Menary Racing Inc. of Rockton, Michael Guerriero of Brampton, Kenneth Ewen of Georgetown and Bruce Norris of Caledon East, Ontario. Cinderella Delight Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, September 1 with the fifth, and final, regular season Gold Series event for the three-year-old pacing colts. Post time for the Saturday, September 1 program is 7:10 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 10, 2018 - When the two-year-old trotting fillies returned to Woodbine Mohawk Park for their third Gold Series event on Friday evening, harness racing driver Jody Jamieson had an opportunity to make amends for a decision he made in the July 15 season opener. In that event Jamieson chose Shesa Sweetheart over Cambridge Kate and watched as the filly he had qualified and driven in one overnight event swept to victory with Louis Philippe Roy in the race bike while he settled for fourth with the pacesetting fan favourite. With Shesa Sweetheart absent from Friday's contest trainer Carl Jamieson chose to give his son a second chance at steering Cambridge Kate and the reinsman took full advantage of the opportunity, guiding the filly to her second straight Gold victory. "I made the right choice this time," Jamieson quipped. "Actually, I didn't have any choice so I was happy that Dad gave me the call on her tonight." Starting from Post 8 the pair trotted strongly away from the start and settled briefly in third as Royaltys Pearl took the field to a :28.3 quarter. Soon after the quarter-mile pole Jamieson sent Cambridge Kate after the lead and the filly was showing the way by the :59.2 half. Under pressure from Presto Change O around the final turn, Cambridge Kate reached the thee-quarters in 1:28.4 and then dug in through the stretch to secure a one and one-quarter length victory in a personal best 1:57.3. Angies Luckeylady closed well to be second and Presto Change O was third. "She's just perfect really, she does nothing wrong on the track and just goes," said Moffat resident Jamieson of the fan favourite. "I had the chance to retake the lead easily tonight, so I did, and she did the rest." Rockwood resident Carl Jamieson shares ownership of Cambridge Kate with Glengate K Farms of Erin and Dr. Robert Boyce of London, Ontario. The daughter of E L Titan and former Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) competitor Aimees Image was a $44,000 acquisition from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale and has recouped $85,400 through her first four starts. Cambridge Kate While he may have missed out on a second win aboard Cambridge Kate, driver Louis Philippe Roy still made an appearance in the OSS winner's circle, guiding HP Titania Runner to victory in the second $98,800 division. The second of three winners the 28-year-old would steer on Friday's program, HP Titania Runner also marked the 1,000th career win for the native of Mont-Joli, Quebec. Roy, who currently sits atop the OSS driver standings, eased HP Titania Runner away from Post 3 and watched from mid-pack as Petro Hall rolled to a :28.3 opening quarter. Moving steadily up the outside behind Royal Rhythm as Petro Hall carried on to a :58.3 half and 1:28.2 three-quarters, HP Titania Runner turned for home with a clear view of the finish line and powered by the leaders to a 1:57.3 victory. Petro Hall settled for second, one and one-half length behind the fan favourite, and Champagne Jane closed hard to finish third. "She's a nice filly with a lot of speed. I had to be a little bit careful with her tonight to keep her trotting, but she wasn't tired at the end, so I hope she keeps on showing more and more," said Roy. "I'm happy for the owner-breeders. They are among the first people that gave me stakes drives while I was racing in Quebec, so to win Golds here with them is very nice." Roy steers the daughter of E L Titan and $466,034 winner Canaco Runner for owner-breeders Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff and Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, Quebec and trainer Rene Bourassa of Fergus, Ontario. In two starts the filly has earned $82,600 and shares ownership of top spot in the division standings with Cambridge Kate and Petro Hall, each filly tallying 100 points in the first three Gold events. The two-year-old trotting fillies will make their fourth Gold Series start at Flamboro Downs on September 25. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, August 16 with the fourth Gold Leg for the three-year-old trotting fillies. Post time for the program is 7:10 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 9, 2018 - Roger Mayotte has been expecting big things from Okeanos since the harness racing gelding arrived in his barn last October and on Thursday night the two-year-old trotter put all the pieces together and gave the Mississauga resident a trip to the Gold Series winner's circle for his birthday. "I was hoping," said Mayotte with a chuckle. "I was hoping. "He's very, very nervous, a high strung horse. He's been an ongoing project that way through the winter," the 62-year-old continued. "We had to get him over that stuff, but he's always showed us some speed and the gait." Okeanos showed off both his gait and speed in Thursday's victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Starting from Post 7 in the second $67,200 Gold division, Mayotte settled the gelding in seventh as Lifetime Royalty stormed out to a :27.4 opening quarter. The pair joined the parade up the outer lane heading for the :57.2 half and by the 1:26.3 three-quarters they were three-wide and Mayotte was reaching for another gear. Okeanos responded with a burst that saw him reel in the leaders and claim a one-half length victory in 1:56.4. Southwind Avenger also closed hard to claim second and fan favourite Dream Nation was third. The win was Okeanos' first, coming on the heels of a break in the July 16 Gold Series season opener and a hard-closing second in the July 31 Grassroots leg, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park. "He's been showing a lot of promise all along and when he broke in that first Gold there, in my mind he was going to be first or second, the way he was starting to change gears. Unfortunately I think it was my fault, I might have just startled him a bit," reflected trainer-driver Mayotte, who also shares ownership of the gelding with his partners in the Just In Time Stable of Mississauga and R A W Equine of Burlington, Ontario. "We decided to go to the Grassroots instead of going to Georgian to keep him on the big track; he's a fairly big colt." Mayotte noted that the long-legged son of E L Titan will also miss the Sept. 24 Gold Leg over Grand River Raceway's half-mile, but is eligible to the Aug. 31 Champlain Stakes and the Sept. 8 William Wellwood Memorial eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park. So long as he remains happy and healthy Okeanos will return to the Gold Series for the Oct. 4 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, hoping to score another top finish and tally enough points to land one of 10 berths in the season ending Super Final. Through his first two Gold starts the gelding, a $62,000 purchase from the London Selected Yearling Sale, has accumulated 51 points. Okeanos Forbidden Trade padded his point total with a 1:57.4 victory in the first Gold division, besting Cool Clifford by one and three-quarter lengths. Isnt He An Angel was seven lengths back in third. Bob McClure piloted the heavy favourite to his second Gold Series win for trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. The Kadabra colt also triumphed in the July 16 season opener. "He's been a complete professional right from the start, he acts like an aged horse," said McClure, who felt the colt may have been at his most impressive in the July 29 Gold Leg at Georgian Downs, where he finished fourth. "Last week was probably his most impressive mile, he was just beat a head for second. Three of the previous week's winners were in together and he had the nine-hole and got away last," the Elora resident told Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema in the winner's circle. "I think he showed he's one of the best, if not the best colt in the division right now." A $110,000 purchase out of the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Forbidden Trade has accumulated 108 points and $65,076 in his first three starts. Forbidden Trade The final division saw Royal Rob make a successful transition from the Grassroots to the Gold, scoring a second straight victory in 1:56.3. Knight Angel was two and one-quarter lengths behind the fan favourite in second and pacesetter CT Conabra was third. "He's a nice colt. He's smart and has a great gait," said driver Trevor Henry, who also piloted Royal Rob to a Grassroots victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 31. "He has all the tools to be a good one." Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh of Windsor bred Royal Rob and shares ownership of the Royalty For Life son with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, Ontario, Gordon Wright of Charlotte and Randy Liepa of Livonia, Michigan. Thursday's victory gives the trotter 50 points toward a Super Final berth with two regular season events remaining. Royal Rob On Friday evening Woodbine Mohawk Park will showcase the two-year-old trotting fillies in a pair of Gold Series divisions, scheduled as Races 5 and 9 on the 7:30 pm program. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

AUGUST 4, 2018 - Balmy temperatures set the stage for fast harness racing miles at Woodbine Mohawk Park during the Campbellville oval's Civic Holiday celebration Saturday night, and none of them were faster than the 1:48.3 clocked by Jimmy Freight in his fourth straight Gold Series victory. Firing away from Post 6 in the second $96,400 Gold division, Jimmy Freight took command before the :26.1 quarter and driver Louis Philippe Roy opted to maintain the sharp pace through a :54.1 half and 1:21.3 three-quarters. Turning for home just over two lengths on top, Jimmy Freight had opened up a three and three-quarter length margin on pocket-sitter Backstreet Shadow by the 1:48.3 finish. The Downtown Bus was four more lengths back in third. "The only thing I didn't like with Backstreet Shadow, Doug's (McNair) horse, being on my back is that that horse can be really quick," said Roy to Woodbine Mohawk Park's Jason Portuondo in the winner's circle. "So I just wanted to make sure we didn't turn it into a sprint for the last quarter, because I think that horse, for a quarter or an eighth, he can be as fast as Jimmy. The only thing, I don't think for now he can handle, he can't carry that speed. "All of these horses, most of them can come a 26 second last quarter, just the same as Jimmy, so if he is too far (back) going into the last turn, I think that is the only way he can get beat," the reinsman added. Jimmy Freight will make his next start against some of the top colts in North America in the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park next Saturday, August 4, and the Sportswriter son will be looking to improve on the fourth-place finish he posted in the July 14 Meadowlands Pace. "Jimmy is leaving Tuesday morning, going to Andrew Harris for the Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park Saturday," said trainer Richard Moreau. "We are hoping for a good post, fingers crossed." Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ontario owns Jimmy Freight, who has posted seven wins, one second, two thirds and one fourth in 11 starts this season, banking $306,639. With his flawless record of four wins in four Gold Series starts the colt also has a commanding 200 points in the division standings. Jimmy Freight The first Gold division was captured by St Lads Neptune, making his first visit to the winner's circle since the season opener at Flamboro Downs on May 20. Starting from Post 5, St Lads Neptune and driver Jody Jamieson landed in third behind early pacesetter When You Dance. The pair remained on the rail through the :28.2 quarter, :56 half and 1:23 three-quarters, but when space opened up behind the duelling leaders in the stretch Jamieson fired the fan favourite into an open lane and St Lads Neptune sprinted to a one and one-half length victory in a personal best 1:50.3. Yacht Seelster finished second and When You Dance rounded out the top three. "I'm ecstatic," said driver Jamieson, who shares ownership of St Lads Neptune with his father Carl Jamieson of Rockwood and Menary Racing Inc. of Rockton, Ontario. "He responded well after a tough trip to, and at, Ottawa two weeks ago (July 22) - he scoped sick with a guttural pouch infection and pimples and the lot. After being treated with antibiotics for over a week we couldn't train him like we would have normally, so we were concerned about his fitness. "That's one of the reasons I was hesitant to move him tonight, even as the betting favourite," the Moffat resident continued. "Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good, and lately I've need to be quite lucky." The win brings the Mach Three son's sophomore record to two wins and three seconds in eight starts for earnings of $149,020. With a total of 130 Gold Series points, St Lads Neptune sits second in the division standings. The top 10 point earners following the fifth Gold leg, at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 1, will advance to the season ending Super Final. St Lads Neptune Next on Woodbine Mohawk Park's Ontario Sires Stakes calendar is the third Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting fillies on Tuesday, August 7. The fillies will compete in Races 2, 6, and 8 on the 7:30 pm program. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

JULY 29, 2018 - Competing under fair skies and on a fast harness racing track at Georgian Downs on Sunday evening, the Ontario Sire Stakes two-year-old trotting colts and geldings took their game to a whole new level. Kicking things off in the first $67,200 division was Jumpshot, who sprinted home to a neck victory in 1:58.2, a full second faster than any of the miles clocked in the first Gold Leg, which was raced over a rain soaked Woodbine Mohawk Park oval. Starting at Post 6, Jumpshot and driver Sylvain Filion got away in the middle of the nine-horse field and watched Montevideo lead the field to a :29.3 quarter and a 1:00.1 half. Heading for the 1:29 three-quarters fan favourite Tymal Houdini took control of the pace and Filion moved Jumpshot out behind attacker Allthefixins. Turning for home less than two lengths separated the top three colts, but it was Jumpshot who closed hardest to claim the victory. Tymal Houdini settled for second and Allthefixins was one-half length back in third. "He was always a nice trotter and last time I raced him in Mohawk, when I removed to the front, he didn't really want to clear, he tried to pull up a bit," said Filion. "So tonight I was being extra careful to make sure he had cover and we were lucky enough to get a second over trip, which helped a lot, and he felt really strong." Filion drives Jumpshot for trainer Jean Francois Maguire and owner Ecuries Richelieu Inc. of Venise-En-Quebec, Quebec. The son of E L Titan finished third in the Gold Series season opener, getting caught in the stretch by Forbidden Trade and Tymal Houdini when he eased up. Prior to the July 16 season opener, Jumpstart had finished third in a June 21 overnight event and won a July 5 contest, both at Woodbine Mohawk Park, so Filion is confident that he will be able to add to his $48,544 in earnings. "He's very athletic and he's got all the abilities to go fast, he's just got to put it all together," noted Milton, Ontario resident Filion. "Like most two-year-olds, they're all still learning and they each learn at their own rate. Sometimes you need to be patient." The second division saw Dream Nation scorch around the Georgian Downs oval to a 1:56.3 victory, equalling the track record for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Southwind Avenger finished three and one-half lengths behind the fan favourite and Tymal Tullo was another half-length back in third. Louis Philippe Roy was in his usual spot in Dream Nation's race bike. Through three starts the pair has tallied three straight victories, two in Gold Series action, and $66,700 for trainer Jacques Dupont and owners Les Ecuries Dorleans Inc. of Repentigny, Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy, Gestion C. Levesque 2005inc of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal, Quebec. The son of Archangel and Mississippi Dream was a $42,000 purchase at the 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The final division saw CT Conabra go gate-to-wire from Post 2, sailing home six and three-quarter lengths ahead of Magical Journey in 1:57.4. A Royal Line was five more lengths back in third. The win was CT Conabra's first, and came as a relief to driver Jody Jamieson, who had been alarmed when the Kadabra colt faded to sixth in the Gold Series season opener. "He's always been training down like a monster, so when he raced quite sub-par last time out I was very concerned," admitted Jamieson. "Dad (Carl Jamieson) said that he had been sick and that he couldn't train him at all between the qualifier (July 3) and the first OSS, so he felt that was the only issue. "I was as nervous for tonight's race as I can remember being for a race in a long time," the driver continued. "I always thought he was the second coming, so I felt him and I both had a lot of explaining to do if he raced sub-par again. Thankfully he was tremendous tonight and I really didn't have any anxious moments after the gate got away." The Moffat resident shares ownership of CT Conabra with his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, Ontario. The elder Jamieson purchased the colt from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling Sale for $18,000 after he was sent back into the sales ring for a second time. "I wasn't really going to buy any horses at the Harrisburg Sale, I just happened to be there, putting in time, and I seen this horse come in and I looked at him and I said, geez that's a nice colt," the elder Jamieson recalled. "I didn't bid him and it was stuck at $17,000 in the back, two guys at the back had a tie bid, so they said we're selling this horse again. When they sell a horse again it's usually just between them two guys, but the horse come in to sell him and they kind of waited what seemed like five minutes, and I said $18,000 - sold. So I made one bid and got him." Once CT Conabra arrived at Jamieson's farm he soon became convinced that his impulse buy had been an excellent decision. The colt was flawless from his first day in harness. "I think I could've went in 3:00 minutes the day I broke him. He was a beautiful gaited horse, just beautiful gaited, easy, everything. I loved him," recalled the trainer. "So we paid him up in everything, the Hambletonian for next year, all that kind of stuff. He's a very nice horse." CT Conabra and his peers will have another opportunity to impress their connections in the third Gold Series leg on August 9 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement returns to Georgian Downs on Tuesday, August 14 with the third Grassroots event for the two-year-old pacing colts. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

JULY 13, 2018 - Woodbine Mohawk Park was flooded with two-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Friday evening as 68 of the harness racing youngsters went postward in seven Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots divisions. Driver Bob McClure kicked things off in the $19,150 first division, employing a come-from-behind strategy with B Stoney who paced under the wire three and three-quarter lengths the best in 1:54. Fan favourite Kenny Joe finished second and Century Farroh was third. "He has lots of go, he just needs some experience," said McClure of B Stoney, whose time would stand up as the fastest of the Grassroots divisions. "He's kind of goofy, but he was significantly smarter from his first start to this week." McClure piloted the Sunfire Blue Chip son to the win for trainer Murray Brethour of Sunderland and his partners, breeder Doug Millard of Woodstock and Barry McClennan of Cavan, Ontario. In B Stoney's first start, a July 1 two-year-old race at Georgian Downs, the Elora resident engineered a fourth-place result with the youngster. B Stoney Both McClure and Brethour would return to the winner's circle with a second Grassroots winner, McClure in the fourth division and Brethour in the sixth. Aboard Sauble Play in the $19,500 fourth division, McClure also opted for come-from-behind tactics, getting the Shadow Play gelding home to a one-half length victory over Balder Son in 1:55.2. Favourite DA Delightful was another length back in third. "He seems to have very high speed," said McClure of the gelding, who paced home in :27.1. "I think he'll keep improving." Tara, Ontario resident Larry Hall trains Sauble Play and shares ownership of the homebred with his wife Marilyn through their Sauble Hill Farms. A half-brother to $206,548 winner Sauble Claire, Sauble Play now has one win, one fourth and one fifth in his first three career starts. Sauble Play Brethour returned to the winner's circle with Machdavid, who hung on for a neck victory after carving out most of the fractions in the sixth division. Sylvain Filion drove the Mach Three son to the 1:55.1 victory for Brethour and breeders Jeff and Lori Thomson of Chesley, Ontario. Boys Turn settled for second and Carlisimo sprinted into third. Machdavid Like McClure and Brethour, Filion also picked up a pair of Grassroots wins. The Milton, Ontario resident guided Battle Strong to a commanding five and one-quarter length victory in the second division, stopping the teletimer at 1:55.2. Ballparkfrank finished second and Come On Barney was third. Tony O'Sullivan of Cambridge, Ontario trains Battle Strong for Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania, who also bred the son of Betterthancheddar at their Winbak Farm of Chesapeake City, Maryland. Battle Strong In between McClure, Brethour and Filion's first and second victories, Mo Bettor captured the third division with a late sprint that saw him reach the wire in 1:55.1, one and one-half lengths ahead of Ys Sunshine and Big Kiz. Guelph resident Anthony MacDonald drove the Bettors Delight son to his second lifetime victory for trainer Kevin McMaster and owners Thestable Mo Bettor Group of Guelph and breeder Karry Howard of Wardsville, Ontario. "He's a medium-sized horse that's filled out well, and you know, he's ahead of the curve right now because it's early in the season," said MacDonald. "He's been good from Day 1, he never wore a boot or anything like that and he's really turned into a nice little colt. "We're probably going to aim him toward the (Aug. 6) Battle of Waterloo," MacDonald continued. "He wears a 56-inch hopple, I think, and no boots or nothing like that so he's built for a half, I think he'll excel on a half." Mo Bettor The other divisions went to Sports Hero and Keystone Concrete. Fan favourite Sports Hero led from gate-to-wire in the fifth split, laying down a 1:55.2 effort for driver Jonathan Drury of Guelph. Twin B Jays recovered from interference to be second and Mittnite Delight was third. Blake MacIntosh of Cambridge trains Sportswriter son Sports Hero for his partners in the 3 Hero Stables of Cambridge, the 30 Plus Stable of Trenton and Touch Stone Farms of Guelph, Ontario. A half-brother to 2012 3-year-old pacing filly Super Final champion Mach A Wish ($601,975), Sports Hero was a $60,000 purchase from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Sports Hero In the last division Keystone Concrete took command early and never looked back, cruising home to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:54.3. Chiefs Beach followed the pacesetter into second and Ok Kudo closed well for third. Oakville resident Rick Zeron piloted the Bettors Delight colt to the win for trainer Rob Fellows and owners Yolanda Fellows of Rockwood, Arpad Szabo of Bradford, Ontario and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, Alberta. The partners acquired the colt for $18,000 at the 2017 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Keystone Concrete The two-year-old pacing colts will make their second Grassroots start on July 23 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to the Campbellville oval on Monday, July 16 with four Gold Series divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The trotters will make their Ontario Sires Stakes debuts in Races 2, 3, 6 and 9, with the evening's first race going behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

JULY 10, 2018 - On Tuesday evening the harness racing  Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots fillies picked right up where their Gold Series counterparts had left off on Monday, roaring around Woodbine Mohawk Park in impressive style. Delivering the quickest mile was second division winner Powerful Chris, who romped to a 1:53.1 victory. Lady Maya finished second, eight and three-quarter lengths behind Powerful Chris, and Sugar Shadow finished four more lengths back in third. "I was shocked every teletimer that came up, because she was doing it so easy. I didn't even think I was going that fast," said driver Bob McClure, who sat motionless down the stretch as the Betterthancheddar daughter opened up on the field. Elora resident McClure drives Powerful Chris for owner-trainer John Pentland of Dorchester, Ontario and while he had piloted the filly in her June 22 and 29 qualifiers at Woodbine Mohawk Park, he had no idea she was going to lay down a 1:53.1 mile in her Ontario Sires Stakes debut. "She was a little bit aggressive the first time she went to the gate (June 22), so I took her back and made sure she sat in a hole the whole way, never let her out," explained McClure. "And then the second week there (June 29) she went a little bit faster, but she was well in hand, so I didn't know once she got stressed, you never know how deep they are." McClure expects Pentland will boost Powerful Chris up to the Gold Series level for the second leg, which takes place July 20 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Pentland acquired the filly for $12,000 from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale and has already recouped $9,925 of his initial investment. Powerful Chris Driver Anthony MacDonald and trainer Kevin McMaster, both of Guelph, Ontario, teamed up for a pair of Grassroots victories, taking the last two $19,850 divisions with Hard Eight and Buckingham, who both hit the wire in 1:56. Hard Eight led from start to finish and battled down the stretch to keep a head in front of fan favourite Machlikeanegyptian. Justjennysliberty was two lengths back in third. Bettor's Delight daughter Hard Eight, a $35,000 acquisition from the Harrisburg Yearling Sale, is owned by fractional ownership group Thestable Hard Eight Group of Guelph. "She's a big filly with a big frame and she's only going to get better, I think," said MacDonald. "She's always had a beautiful gait and it's almost like she's a small horse put into a big horse's body. She gets around a half or a big track the same, and she's really a big, big chunk of a filly. "It was great, we had a gentleman and his two, well kids, but they're like 45 or so, come by the barn there about two weeks ago. He hadn't owned a horse in 50 years and he bought the last 15 shares in Hard Eight, and she won tonight and he was in the winner's circle," continued the horseman, who operates The Stable in partnership with his wife Amy MacDonald. "He was pretty pumped." Hard Eight The group's enthusiasm continued into the last division as Buckingham popped out of the pocket in the stretch and dug hard to the wire, finishing three-quarters of a length ahead of fan favourite Karans Choice and Saint Albray for Thestable Buckingham Group of Guelph. "I wasn't surprised that she won, I was happy the way she did it," said MacDonald of the Sportswriter daughter. "She was a little bossy training down, a little grabby, and she sat in the two-hole very good. I moved her over and I didn't really know if she had enough steam left in her to chug through there, but as soon as she got daylight I called on her and she just shot through, she raced awesome." Buckingham Blossom Onthebeach opened the Grassroots program with a 1:54.3 victory, pacing under the wire two and one-quarter lengths ahead of Whitehaven Beach and Windsong Parisian. Moffat resident Jody Jamieson engineered the Sunshine Beach daughter's first victory for trainer Dave Menary, Menary Racing Inc. of Rockton, Ontario and Billy Joe and Anthony Timmins of Birmingham, Great Britain. Blossom Onthebeach Soft Wind Hanover closed well in the third division to claim a one-half length victory over Lady Driver in 1:54.1. Persistant Xample finished two lengths back in third. Guelph resident Doug McNair piloted the Sportswriter miss to the win for trainer Casie Coleman and West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Mac Nichol of Burlington, Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham and Brad Grant of Milton, Ontario. Soft Wind Hanover The fifth division was captured by Sporty Song and driver Paul MacDonell of Guelph, who reached the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Jessicas Legacy and Ideation Hanover in 1:55.3. Bruce McGean of Stewiacke, Nova Scotia trains the Sportswriter daughter for his partner Scott Davidson of Waterloo, Ontario. Sporty Song The Grassroots fillies will make their second Ontario Sires Stakes start at Grand River Raceway on July 18. Woodbine Mohawk Park continues to showcase Ontario Sired two-year-olds this week, with the two-year-old pacing colts taking centre stage on Thursday, July 12 in three Gold Series divisions. The colts will aim to follow the fillies' impressive example in Races 3, 5 and 7. Thursday's first race goes to post at 7:30 pm. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

JUNE 29, 2018 - Sophomore pacing colt Pretty Handsome has earned top harness racing honours in five of his six Grassroots outings over the last two seasons, but none were as impressive as Friday evening's 1:50.1 clocking at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Starting from Post 7 the fan favourite went straight to the front and reeled off fractions of :27.2, :56.1 and 1:23.3 before battling down the stretch to a three-quarter length victory over hard-closing Avalon Hanover and Yacht Seelster. The 1:50.1 mile lowered the gelding's personal best - set in his June 1 Grassroots win at Woodbine Mohawk Park - by two full seconds. "Those hot humid days, no wind, they like to go fast," said trainer Andrew McCabe with a chuckle. ""He just keeps getting better that horse." Noting that driver Jonathan Drury never pulled the gelding's ear plugs, McCabe added that the toughness Pretty Handsome displayed in the stretch has developed through his six starts this season. "He's learned that, I believe, at three. Now that he's in an open bridle he can see them coming at him," explained the Guelph Eramosa resident. "Last year I had him a little bit more closed up. He saw the odd thing on the track and I just didn't want him to make a mistake in that regards. Now that he can see, if he's on the front, see them coming to him, he's got some fight to him." The 2017 two-year-old Grassroots champion, Pretty Handsome now boasts a sophomore record of four wins in six starts for earnings of $28,705, giving owners Glenview Livestock Ltd of Wallenstein, Ontario a two season total of $84,905. Friday's effort put Pretty Handsome in a two-way tie for top spot in the Grassroots standings and has likely earned the Mach Three son a start at the Gold Series level. Pretty Handsome JM Jack Of Hearts also scored his second straight Grassroots win on Friday, giving him a share of the lead in the Grassroots point race alongside Pretty Handsome, and driver Trevor Henry thinks he too has earned a shot at the Gold Series colts on July 22. "I think they should try the Gold with him. He is at the top of his game right now," said Henry, who piloted JM Jack Of Hearts to the win for trainer Isabelle Darveau of Flamborough and owner Jason Redmond of Smithville, Ontario. "He can race from the front, the back, it doesn't matter." Starting from Post 8 on Friday, Henry opted for a pocket trip behind his co-favourite Western Passage, who posted fractions of :27.1, :56 and 1:24.3. In the stretch Henry squeezed JM Jack Of Hearts out of the pocket and the Shadow Play gelding sailed away to a three and one-quarter length victory in 1:52.1. Atomic Seelster closed for second and Lucky Sport was third. The win gives JM Jack Of Hearts a record of four wins and two seconds in six starts this season for earnings of $41,325. JM Jack Of Hearts Shadow Of Lindy earned his first-ever Grassroots victory with a tour up the outer lane in the $19,500 second division. In rein to Jody Jamieson, Shadow Of Lindy got away fifth from Post 5 and watched as Shadow Moon and Denver Seelster traded blows through a :27.1 quarter and :55.3 half. Tipping off the rail going past the half Shadow Of Lindy stalked up the outside, reaching the front by the 1:24.2 three-quarters and cruising home to a two length victory in 1:52.3. Pokerface Bluechip and Shadow Moon finished second and third, giving sire Shadow Play a sweep of the top three spots. "I was very happy with the way he raced. He made a strong first-over move and kept going," said owner-trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ontario. "I was a little concerned because he hadn't raced for just under a month. Luckily he is a good training colt and was ready enough for this race." Shadow Of Lindy, who was a $110,000 purchase out of the 2016 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, had made his last start in the June 1 Grassroots season opener where he finished third. Through 16 starts this season he has tallied three wins, three seconds, two thirds and $44,762. Shadow Of Lindy The other Grassroots division was captured by Stock, who sailed along on the front end to a seven length victory in 1:51.4. My Teen Idol and Declan Seelster rounded out the top three behind the fan favourite. Louis Philippe Roy piloted Stock to the win for trainer Dany Fontaine, owner-breeder Sotirios Anastasopoulos of Sainte-Therese and Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, Quebec. The win was the Sportswriter son's first of his sophomore campaign, which he started with a seventh-place finish at the Gold Series level. Stock Both the Grassroots and the Gold Series colts will make their third start at Rideau Carleton Raceway on July 22. Next on Woodbine Mohawk Park's Ontario Sires Stakes schedule is the first two-year-old event of the season. The Campbellville oval will host the two-year-old pacing fillies in their Gold Series debut on Monday, July 9. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing

JUNE 7, 2018 - A trio of fresh faces graced the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday evening in the first harness racing  Grassroots event of the three-year-old trotting filly season. Making just her second lifetime start, Magical Glider captured the first division off a confident steer from Campbellville, Ontario resident Chris Christoforou, Jr. Starting from Post 3 Christoforou eased Magical Glider into sixth as Princess Stephanie stepped out to a :28.4 opening quarter. The fan favourites continued to sit sixth through the :59.3 half clocked by Sheza Chunkymonkey, but Christoforou soon tipped Magical Glider to the outside and the filly started to advance on the leaders. One and one-half lengths back at the 1:30.2 three-quarters, Magical Glider pulled away from her peers in the stretch, reaching the wire three lengths ahead in 1:59.3. Princess Stephanie finished second and Kant Afford It was third. "She's a nice filly," noted Christoforou. "She floated up an easy first over on a slow third quarter and drew off in the stretch to a comfortable win." Christoforou crafted the win for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario and owner-breeders Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, Quebec. Heading into Thursday's Grassroots start the daughter of Glidemaster and Serenas Genie had logged just two qualifiers and a runner-up finish in a May 31 overnight at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Magical Glider The quickest of the three divisions was clocked by Stormont Chef, who overcame the outside Post 10 to record a 1:57.2 victory in the third $19,850 contest. Getting away tenth, Stormont Chef watched favourite Ezee Tiguan ring up fractions of :27.4, :57.4 and 1:27.2 from the back of the line in the outer lane. Eighth, and eight and one-half lengths behind the leader, at the three-quarters, Stormont Chef found a whole new gear in the stretch, sprinting home to a head victory over Ezee Tiguan and Uvie Hanover. "She raced great, because the flow wasn't all that great from where I was," said driver Phil Hudon. "She dug deep to get the job done. She's an honest filly and she trots nice." The Guelph resident drives Stormont Chef for trainer Kevin Benn of Napanee and owner-breeders Stormont Meadows of Long Sault, Ontario. A Gold Series competitor at two, Thursday's outing was the Angus Hall daughter's first at the Grassroots level. The 1:57.2 clocking was a personal best for Stormont Chef, who was also a winner at Woodbine Mohawk Park in an April 30 overnight. Stormont Chef The other division went to Stpattysday who, like Magical Glider, had just one start on her resume prior to lining up behind Post 6 in Thursday's fifth race. Like Stormont Chef, Stpattysday was tenth at the :28.3 quarter, and she was last heading to the :58 half. Still eleventh as pacesetter Zorgwijk Sophia reached the 1:28 three-quarters, driver Mario Baillargeon shifted the Majestic Son daughter out wide coming off the final turn and Stpattysday powered down the stretch to snatch a neck victory away from Zorgwijk Sophie. Galary Girl was three-quarters of a length back in third. Acton resident Baillargeon picked up the drive aboard Stpattysday on her arrival at Woodbine Mohawk Park from Hippodrome Trois Rivieres, where she made her first lifetime start on May 29. Sylvain Cote of Joliette trains the filly for his partners Les Ecuries St-Thomas Inc. of St-Thomas De Joliette and Laurent Daviault of Saint-Lambert, Quebec. Stpattysday The three-year-old trotting fillies will make their second Grassroots start at Clinton Raceway on July 8. Ontario Sires Stakes action returns to Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday, June 22 with the second Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Racing

TORONTO, ON - June 4, 2018 - Ontario Racing (OR) today announced the full composition of its new Board of Directors.   The first order of business for the new Board was electing, unanimously, Mr. John Hayes, the Independent Chairman of the Board.   Mr. Hayes brings significant business management and executive expertise to the role of OR Chair, with former positions in finance and administration positions with General Electric, Black & Decker and Home Depot. He also has over 25 years of experience as a Standardbred race horse owner. He previously served as Gaming Director with Ontario Lottery and Gaming, with operational responsibilities at Georgian Downs, Ajax Downs, Grand River Raceway, Woodbine and other racetracks across the province. He most recently served as an At-Large Director of Ontario Racing.   "I am honoured to be appointed to the Independent Chair of Ontario Racing," said Mr. Hayes. "I have a passion for horse racing and am confident in the direction and approach of Ontario Racing. I look forward to working with the industry's diverse group of stakeholders to create a sustainable future for the sport in Ontario."   In addition to Mr. Hayes, there are 10 seats, five from industry associations and five from racetracks, on Ontario Racing's Board of Directors.   Bill O'Donnell (President, COSA, on behalf of Standardbred Horsepeople), Sue Leslie (President, HBPA, on behalf of Thoroughbred Horsepeople), Bob Broadstock (President, Quarter Horse Racing Owners of Ontario, on behalf of Quarter Horse Horsepeople), Walter Parkinson (President, SBOA, on behalf of Standardbred Breeders) and Bernard McCormack (President, Cara Bloodstock, on behalf of Thoroughbred Breeders) will represent the Associations on the board.   Jim Lawson (CEO, Woodbine Entertainment, on behalf, of Premier Thoroughbred Racetracks), Jim Thibert (CEO, Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, on behalf of Signature Thoroughbred Racetracks), Jessica Buckley (President, Woodbine Mohawk Park, on behalf of Premier Standardbred Racetracks), Hugh Mitchell (President, Western Fair District, on behalf of Signature Standardbred Racetracks) and Ian Fleming (General Manager, Clinton Raceway, on behalf of Grassroots Standardbred Racetracks) will represent the racetracks in the new composition.   "John brings substantial expertise and vast perspective in the areas of racing, finance and administration to his role as Chair of Ontario Racing," said Mr. Mitchell. "His previous experience on the OR Board, combined with his extensive grassroots racing experience make him the ideal person for this position."   "Ontario Racing Management (ORM) looks forward to working with John and the rest of the Ontario Racing board in building a long-term foundation for success for the province's horse racing industry," said Katherine Curry, Executive Director, ORM. "Ontario Racing's emphasis on transparency, inclusiveness, credibility and engagement to continue to develop confidence and credibility with all stakeholders in the industry will be critical to its achievements. Ontario Racing has laid the foundation for long-term success for all of its stakeholders."   About Ontario Racing   THREE BREEDS. ONE VISION.   Ontario Racing is a non-profit horse racing industry association and is recognized by the provincial government as the authority for horseracing in Ontario. Ontario Racing is directly responsible for setting an annual program of races, attracting new horse owners, implementing breed improvement programs, growing the fan base and connecting the industry with the government and general public. Ontario Racing gives horse people in the province significant control and responsibility over their future. Ontario Racing is establishing new ways of doing business and building new relationships. Ontario Racing is committed to listening to horse people and giving them a voice, in support of a vibrant racing industry.   From Ontartio Racing      

MAY 31, 2018 - Mark Steacy earned his second straight Johnston Cup award as the Ontario Sires Stakes program's leading harness racing trainer in 2017, and the horseman tallied two wins in support of a third title in the three-year-old pacing filly Grassroots opener at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Thursday, May 31. Steacy trainee Hello Love went off as the favourite in the first $19,150 division and delivered a brave effort after missing some time due to sickness in recent weeks. Starting from Post 1 driver James MacDonald settled the filly into fifth as Mittany Nicole took the field of nine to a :27.2 opening quarter. Just before the :57.1 half Guelph, Ontario resident MacDonald tipped Hello Love to the outside and went after new leader Lifelong Dream. Three lengths back at the 1:25.1 three-quarters, Hello Love dug deep in the stretch to get a head in front of Lifelong Dream at the 1:52.4 finish. Mittany Nicole rounded out the top three. "I thought it was kind of iffy whether she was even going to race tonight, but her blood came back not too bad there last night so we said, 'Well, we'll give her a try'," explained Steacy. "So she showed a lot of courage." The 1:52.4 score was a new personal best for Hello Love, who has just four starts under her belt, all at Woodbine Mohawk Park. After a pair of qualifiers in April the daughter of Shadow Play and $203,040 winner Don't Point At captured her April 26 debut, finished third in her second start on May 3 and was back in the winner's circle on May 10. She was scratched out of a May 24 contest, but Steacy hopes the filly is back on the road to good health. "I think she can only get healthier from here and I'm hoping that she'll be able to step up maybe into the Golds for the rest of the year," noted the Lansdowne, Ontario resident. "She's not a big filly, but she's a nice average size filly. And she always was - you know that's why she cost so much as a baby - she was always a good looker." A $100,000 purchase out of the 2016 Harrisburg Yearling Sale, Hello Love is owned by Landmark 10 Racing Stable of Kingston, Ontario, J And T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, New York, Bertrand Gilhespy Stable of Edmonton, Alberta and Conrad Leber of Montreal, Quebec. After a burst of rain that saw the racing surface downgraded from 'fast' to 'good', Steacy and MacDonald were back in the winner's circle with Lady Bubbles who, after a brief appearance on the front near the :27.3 opening quarter, was able to follow fan favourite Firestorm through most of the mile. On Firestorm's heels through fractions of :56.2 and 1:25.1, Lady Bubbles tipped out in the stretch and powered home to a one-length victory in 1:53.2. Color Envy and Campassion finished second and third. "You know I wasn't so sure about her coming back this year, because she's not very big, and she didn't end the year real great, but she's come back actually better this year," said Steacy. "She's been a real nice surprise, because I think she's improved a lot from two actually, she's gotten stronger and she can carry her speed farther." The win was the Sportswriter daughter's second this season and her fourth in Grassroots competition; she was a three-time winner at two for owner-breeders Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec. Sudden Passing clocked the fastest mile of the five Grassroots divisions, cruising along on the front end to a nine and three-quarter length victory in 1:52. Sweet Toujours and Hey Sweetie finished in second and third behind the heavy favourite. Guelph resident Doug McNair crafted the victory for his father, trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, and owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, Kentucky. The win was the Mach Three daughter's second this season and her first in Ontario Sires Stakes action. She was a Gold Series regular at two and finished second to Gold filly Percy Bluechip in the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stake at Woodbine Mohawk Park on May 19. "She's a big, strong filly. She went a very nice mile tonight," said Doug McNair. "Randy (Waples) said she was a little bit steppy-gaited last start (May 19), but she was perfect tonight." Like Hello Love, Sudden Passing could jump up to the Gold Series level for her second provincial start. Milton, Ontario resident Randy Waples, who subbed for McNair in Sudden Passing's race bike on May 19, also won a Grassroots division on Thursday, piloting favourite Machnhope to a 1:53 score over Avery Seelster and Lady Everlong. Bill Robinson trains the Mach Three daughter for breeders CMR Farms of Hagersville, David Serwatuk of Hamilton and BC Reichheld Stables of Caledonia, Ontario. The other division was captured by Shower Play and driver Louis Philippe Roy in 1:52.2. The Shadow Play miss bested Askmysecretary and favourite Neon Moon. Rene Dion of Rockwood conditions Shower Play for his partners Susanne Kerwood of Rockwood, Ontario and Martin Leveillee of St-Blaise-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec. The three-year-old pacing fillies will make their second Grassroots start on June 22 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, while the Gold Series fillies visit the Campbellville oval on June 23. Woodbine Mohawk Park's opening week of Ontario Sires Stakes action continues on Friday, June 1 with five Grassroots divisions for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing

MAY 20, 2018 - Ontario's three-year-old trotting and pacing colts served up five impressive performances on the $425,000 Confederation Cup program at Flamboro Downs on Sunday, May 20. Super Final champion Western Passage picked up where he left off at the end of last season with a gritty 1:53.4 victory in the second $66,400 Gold Series division. Parked outside pacesetter Levis Day from just before the :58.1 half right through to the finish, Western Passage got a nose in front to claim the third Ontario Sires Stakes victory of his career. Levis Day settled for second and Shadow Moon was two lengths back in third. "That was a big back-half first-over," said trainer Casie Coleman from the winner's circle. "I was really happy with him tonight." Cambridge resident Coleman shares ownership of the Sportswriter gelding with her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, John and McKinlay Fielding of Toronto and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, Ontario. The win bumped the fan favourite's lifetime earnings to $244,680. Driver Doug McNair's appearance in the winner's circle with Western Passage was his fourth of the evening and his second straight in Gold Series action. The Guelph, Ontario resident captured the first Gold division with Backstreet Shadow for his father, trainer Gregg McNair, and owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, Kentucky. Starting from Post 2, McNair sent Backstreet Shadow to the front and the Shadow Play gelding cruised home a one length winner in 1:52.3. Favourite St Lads Neptune was second and Wind Blast was third. Sunday's win was the second of the 2018 campaign for Backstreet Shadow, who was unplaced in two Gold Series starts as a two-year-old. "Backstreet was a fast horse last year, just a little immature," McNair noted. "He's really matured and seems like he's on the right track to being a real nice horse." The fastest of the three Gold divisions, and the fastest mile of the evening, was clocked by Jimmy Freight and driver Louis Philippe Roy in Race 11. The fan favourites hit the wire six and one-quarter lengths ahead of Chocolate Swirl and Burning Midnight in 1:51.3. It was the second win of the sophomore campaign for Sportswriter son Jimmy Freight, who was a two-time Gold winner at two and the runner-up to Western Passage in the Super Final. "I don't know what his limit is," said Roy from the winner's circle. "So far I don't see - how he raced tonight - I don't see much that can beat him." Roy engineered the win for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ontario. Trainer John Bax and driver Steve Byron opened the Confederation Cup program with a sweep of the $18,800 three-year-old trotting colt Grassroots divisions. The pair graced the winner's circle for the first time with Delcrest Holiday in Race 1. Starting from Post 2, Delcrest Holiday went gate-to-wire in 2:00.3, fending off Nobodynosjustice and Leaderofthepack to secure the one-half length victory. The win was the first of the season for Delcrest Holiday and marked a new personal best for the gelding, who was also victorious in the first Grassroots event of the season as a two-year-old. The son of Holiday Road is owned by Bax Stable of Campbellville, Gaelic Stable of Sharon, Ken Bax of Cavan Monaghan and John Houston of Cobourg, Ontario. Byron employed the same tactics in the second Grassroots division, sending favourite Sicario directly to the front from Post 5 and reaching the 1:58.2 finish without facing a challenge. Sicario sailed home one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Bigboy Roscoe and Northern Ruler. Sunday's outing was Sicario's first appearance in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, but not his first in the winner's circle. The son of Holiday Road is now a four-time winner in 10 sophomore starts for Bax Stable and breeder Dave Hudson of Dallas, Texas. "We are pleasantly surprised and grateful," said Bax. "That was a good start to the year, hopefully it will carry on. "It's Matt's birthday today, so it was a nice birthday present," added the horseman, who shares training duties and ownership in the Bax Stable with his son Matt. The evening's finale, the $182,500 Confederation Cup was captured by Filibuster Hanover and driver Yannick Gingras in 1:51.4. Ron Burke trains the son of the late Ontario Sired superstar Somebeachsomewhere for Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA, Joseph Di Scala Jr. of Katonah, NY, J And T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, NY and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA. For complete results from Sunday's Confederation Cup program visit For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: Ontario Racing

Toronto, May 9, 2018 - Ontario Racing Management (ORM) welcomes senior industry leaders, Katherine Curry and John Siscos to the organization. Ms. Curry becomes the organization's first Executive Director, while Mr. Siscos assumes the newly established role of Director, Marketing, Communications and Stakeholder Relations.   As Executive Director, Ms. Curry will oversee all day-to-day operations of the organization, including the transparent administration of funding, and purse management. She comes to ORM after three years as Woodbine Entertainment's Vice President, Legal and Compliance. In that role, Ms. Curry focused on regulatory compliance, risk management and corporate governance, as well as general commercial issues. Previous to her time with Woodbine Entertainment, Ms. Curry performed similar roles with Productivity Media Inc., The TDL Group Corp., and others.   Mr. Siscos brings a wealth of progressively senior leadership experience garnered throughout his career with Woodbine Entertainment. Heading communications at Woodbine Entertainment since 2013, Mr. Siscos is uniquely aware of and connected to all industry issues and personnel.   "Katherine and John are ideal people to lead ORM," said Hugh Mitchell, Board of Directors, Ontario Racing. "John is on a first-name basis with many of our industry's most prominent stakeholders both in Ontario and beyond; while Katherine's leadership has already led to the successful merger of Ontario Racing and the Standardbred Alliance, in addition to finalizing the historic fundraising agreement."   ORM is a wholly owned, Woodbine Entertainment subsidiary that will implement the Ontario Racing Board of Directors approved business plan.     Woodbine Communications contact: Keith McCalmont Communications Manager 416-675-3993 x2667   ORM Contact John Siscos O: 416-675-3993 x 2229 C: 416-802-4842    

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