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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: www.ontariosiresstakes.com 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: www.ontariosiresstakes.com 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: www.ontariosiresstakes.com 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: www.ontariosiresstakes.com 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 http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0520flmdn.dat. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com 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 kmccalmont@woodbineentertainment.com   ORM Contact John Siscos O: 416-675-3993 x 2229 C: 416-802-4842    

Guelph, ON, First released by Ontario Racing April 16, 2018 - There’s no doubt Cameron Lago has charted a successful course in the Standardbred industry, thanks to an unmistakable passion for the harness racing sport and an exceptional educational experience through Equine Guelph.   “I started my appreciation for horses when I was about 9-10, when I attended the OHHA Youth camp at Flamboro Downs,” recalled the 20-year-old. “My love for horses and racing kind of all started with that. I’ve been hooked on it ever since.”   Lago admits that might be somewhat of an understatement.   “Yes, it probably is,” he said with a laugh. “My grandfather has had a couple of broodmares around as part of his retirement project, so he and I kind of kick-started things here on our farm after I attended the youth camp. Ever since then, we’ve just continued to grow, slowly, but surely, getting involved in the horse racing industry, overall just building our broodmares.   “We currently have four broodmares at home here,” continued Lago. “I’m working in partnership with my grandfather for the moment, slowly starting to buy into some of them. Buying new mares is the goal for myself over the next couple of years, to expand my own herd and get more involved in the breeding side. I have a passion for it – the genetics – and I want to pursue that.”   His fascination with and appreciation for Standardbreds continues to grow.   It’s what eventually drew Lago to Equine Guelph, specifically, the vast array of online educational courses that are offered. He applied for and won the Stuart Stocks Memorial Tuition Award (Equine Guelph Tuition Awards) through Equine Guelph in 2016.   “I was thrilled to be chosen,” he said. “I knew there was some tough competition. I think education within the industry will continue to grow. It’s extremely important.”   His association with Equine Guelph turned out to be twice as nice one year later.   Lago, who was part of the 2016 Wannadrive team, a Hands on Horses Program, also received two online courses through Equine Guelph (valued at $549 each) after being selected as the recipient of the inaugural Roger L’Heureux Award in 2017. Certificates were available in Equine Science, Equine Welfare and Equine Business.   “Getting to take the Equine Genetics and Equine Exercise Physiology in 2017 was an amazing experience,” said Lago, who is set to take the Health & Disease course out of the University of Guelph this May. “My main motive behind it all was to gain more experience. Horses, at one point, they were an unknown to me. I was going to Agricultural school (Business and Livestock Production) at the time in Olds, Alberta. There wasn’t much focus on racehorses, of course, so I wanted to further my education in that, so by taking these courses through Guelph, it’s really helped me in so many ways and helped me increase my knowledge of racehorses. It’s opened a lot of doors.”   He’s hoping other young people get the same opportunities.   “I want to keep giving to this industry to the fullest extent,” offered Lago. “By doing interviews, talking to people, it’s just tremendous because it really shows off the sport. Any positive publicity that harness racing can get is great. The sport has a lot of room for growth and I believe there are a lot of positive outlooks for the industry.”   An industry that Lago believes offers a little bit of everything, with the exception of tedium. Why would he encourage people to consider a horseracing life?   I would say it’s thrilling, that you’re always doing something new every day and you never know what your day will be like,” said Lago. “When you go into a barn, someone always has a story and someone always teaches you something. Working with the equine athletes is something in itself. I’ve really come to appreciate them even more after taking these Guelph courses. It’s fueled my passion even more. To work with them every day, it’s a privilege. You get hooked.   “I would encourage anyone to apply with Equine Guelph because there is so much to learn about these amazing athletes. They’re very complex animals, so to better care for them and understand them is so important. Whether they are racing or they’re a broodmare, they all have a purpose. I would highly encourage anyone to get connected with Equine Guelph and Ontario Racing. There’s a lot to learn from one another.”   Cameron Lago would certainly know.   Story by: Chris Lomon

Toronto, May 8, 2018 - The Ontario Racing (OR) Board of Directors today announced the signing of an historic 19-year funding agreement with the Ontario Government. The Ontario Government announced last month that it would allot up to $105 million annually to horse racing industry stakeholders over a 19-year period. The funding will be used to sustain horse breeding and racing, including purse management, operational expenses and capital improvements. Horsepeople associations and racetracks, which represent 94% of the race dates and 99% of the wagering in Ontario, across all three horse racing sectors (thoroughbred, standardbred and quarter horse) have signed the agreement.   "This is an historic day for horse racing in the province," said Bill O'Donnell, President of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA). "This government clearly remains committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Ontario horse racing industry and the rural communities that depend on it. This new, collaborative agreement will help provide horsepeople, owners, breeders and racetrack operators with the support needed to ensure stability and long-term success."   "This agreement signals a new era in horse racing in the province," said Hugh Mitchell, President of Western Fair Districts. "It significantly advances the Ontario Racing mandate to have the industry become self-determining as it tries to create and sustain a vibrant horse racing business while fostering a trusted and credible partnership with government and other stakeholders across the province."   The signing of the agreement is a key milestone for the restructured OR organization. As announced in December, OR merged with the Standardbred Alliance, a centralized coalition of prominent harness racing tracks throughout the province. A new independent OR entity has been formed as a result of the merger, which has support from key industry stakeholders and includes board seats representing five horsepeoples groups and five racetrack operator groups. Industry associations Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA), Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA), Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. (QROOI) and the National Capital Region Harness Horseman's Association (NCRHHA) are founding members under this agreement.   On the racetrack side, the deal has been signed by Woodbine Racetrack, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Fort Erie Racetrack, Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Rideau Carleton Raceway, Grand River Raceway, the Raceway in the Western Fair District, Clinton Raceway, Dresden Raceway, Hanover Raceway and Ajax Downs.   "We are exceptionally pleased to be included in this inclusive and historic funding agreement," said Jim Thibert, CEO, Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium. "We are confident that these resources will greatly benefit our racing operations for decades to come. Also, we look forward to working with the new Ontario Racing organization to further promote our exciting sport to new and long-time facing fans alike."   As part of the agreement, additional funding of up to $13 million per annum has been made available to all non-Woodbine Entertainment Ontario Racing member tracks in the province.   Woodbine Entertainment has created an entity called Ontario Racing Management Inc. (ORM). ORM will execute the OR Board of Directors approved business plan including day-to-day organizational responsibilities such as purse management, stakeholder relations and industry advocacy.   "As a leader of the horse racing industry in Ontario and a stakeholder in the sport in the province for nearly 140 years, Woodbine has always had the best interests of the industry in mind," said Katherine Curry, ORM, Executive Director. "Under the ORM banner, Woodbine is committing substantial resources, racing expertise and effective management in support of a model in which the industry itself will determine the best path forward."   "The long-term funding agreement provides Ontario's horseracing sector with a strong and stable base," said Walter Parkinson, SBOA President. "This funding will allow Ontario's Standardbred breeding and racing industry the ability to remain a leading jurisdiction in North America. I am very optimistic about the future of horse racing and breeding in Ontario."   "We regard the Long-Term Funding Agreement as a starting point, not an end point, to finally begin stabilizing the future of our industry," said Sue Leslie, HBPA President. "Challenges remain, but we now have something to build on. The commitment to create new revenue streams and growth through new products continues."   "The long-term funding by the government of Ontario will provide a stable foundation for our industry to regroup and begin looking to the future," said Bob Broadstock, QROOI President. "Ontario Racing can now focus on providing an environment where all three breeds can grow wagering and develop new revenue streams."   Funding under the agreement will commence April 1, 2019.   Keith McCalmont   Communications Manager 416-675-3993 x2667 kmccalmont@woodbineentertainment.com   ORM Contact   John Siscos O: 416-675-3993 x 2229 C: 416-802-4842 Mark McKelvie  

December 14, 2017 - Toronto, Ontario - The Board of Ontario Racing and members of the Standardbred Alliance have voted to merge the two existing harness racing organizations. The combined entity will be an independent, not-for-profit industry organization that will represent all Ontario racetracks and horse racing industry associations in the Province with one unified voice.   "We're excited to announce the merger of the two organizations to create a more inclusive Ontario Racing with an expanded membership and governance mandate," said Hugh Mitchell, Chair of Ontario Racing Board of Directors. "Both the board of Ontario Racing and the Standardbred Alliance are confident that the merger will create a unified voice for racing to advocate for the sector's interests and ultimately negotiate a long-term funding agreement that ensures the sustainability of three breeds of horse racing in Ontario."   The newly formed entity will create a more cost-effective and streamlined approach to industry administration and governance, as well as a more collaborative and effective approach to decision-making and strategic planning on behalf of 15 racetracks and racing industry associations across the Province.   Ontario Racing will create a not-for-profit to be called Ontario Racing Management (ORM), utilizing shared resources from Woodbine Entertainment's management team. This formula follows the successful business model of the Standardbred Alliance and allows racetracks to realize on multiple operational cost savings.   "Members of the Standardbred Alliance have benefitted from Woodbine Entertainment's expertise and have realized countless benefits including greater operational efficiencies and a coordinated approach to overcoming shared challenges," said Ian Fleming of Clinton Raceway.   The newly merged organization is committed to having a three-year business plan in place by April 1, 2018. The plan will include guarantees of purse payments for all member tracks, staking programs and race schedules, as well as establishing and administering common racetrack rules and policies.   "Once the long-term funding model is determined, the sector can move towards a more sustainable plan for racing, which includes strengthening the industry to meet public demand and ensure the long-term success of viable racetracks," said Sue Leslie, President, Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. "We need to work together, all racetracks and horsepeople, and we are committed to working collaboratively with all industry stakeholders moving forward."   "The alliance track model has helped stabilize racing since its inception. Merging the alliance tracks and OR will create a unified voice to communicate with Government and secure the long-term funding. ORM will help sustain racing in Ontario for years to come," says Bill O'Donnell, President of Central Ontario Standardbred Association.   About Ontario Racing - One unified voice for the industry   Ontario Racing is a not-for profit industry organization created out of the merger of the current Standardbred Alliance and the existing Ontario Racing organizations. It will serve as the industry organization responsible for making strategic decisions on issues that affect the horse racing industry, including distributing the OLG transfer payment agreement, and will represent all Ontario racetracks and horse racing industry associations in the Province.   Mike Chopowick Ontario Racing 416-477-5519 | mikechopowick@ontarioracing.com

OCTOBER 14, 2017 - At the last possible moment, Milton resident Sylvain Filion pulled a rabbit out of his hat at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night to secure his third straight and fifth overall Lampman Cup title as the leading harness racing driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Heading into the $1.8 million eight race Super Final showdown, Filion was tied with Trevor Henry for top spot in the standings with 348 points. The lead seesawed between the two men through the first five races, with Filion winning one contest and Henry finishing second in two, and a second victory by Filion put them back level at 362 points with two races remaining. Capturing the second last race with two-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip, Henry appeared to have secured his third Lampman Cup title, but Filion came back in the last battle to score a win with lightly rated Tymal Peacemaker and knock Henry out of top spot by a single point. "It's not over yet, we'll keep going at it," said Filion, prophetically, after knotting things up in the sixth race. "It's a good competition me and Trevor, I think whoever wins deserves it. Trevor's having a good go, he's working hard at it, we're both working hard at it, and it's fun to watch." Filion drove in all eight races and scored a trio of victories with three-year-old trotting gelding R First Class, three-year-old trotting filly On A Sunny Day and three-year-old pacing gelding Tymal Peacemaker, adding 20 points to his total. Arthur, ON resident Henry drove in seven races and, in addition to the win with Percy Bluechip, finished second twice and third once for 19 points. While Tymal Peacemaker was a longshot, both R First Class and On A Sunny Day were heavily favoured and delivered commanding victories over a rain-soaked surface that started the evening rated "Good" with a one second variance, but was downgraded to "Sloppy" with a two second variance by the ninth race. From Post 3 in the evening's second $225,000 Super Final Filion put R First Class on the front before the halfway marker and the Kadabra son was never threatened, trotting home to a two and one-quarter length victory over LMC Mass Gem and Tycoon Seelster in 1:54.4. Guelph resident Ben Baillargeon trains the gelding for owner-breeders Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin of St. Catharines, ON and the group is excited about what the future holds for the trotter, who wrapped up his 12 race sophomore campaign with seven wins, four seconds and earnings of $307,246. "I hate that it's time to stop with him, but we'll be back next year," said Baillargeon. "He's awesome, I mean, he's getting stronger and stronger you know," added Filion. "I'm anxious to see him as a four-year-old. He's such a nice horse, big, strong, I'm just fortunate to drive him." R First Class Four divisions later the reinsman expressed similar sentiments about On A Sunny Day, who took command before the half and cruised to a four and one-half length triumph in 1:55.2. Winter Sweet Frost was second and Majestic Kat was another four and one-half lengths back in third. "I thought she was the best one in there and I didn't want to try to be fancy or anything you know, I wanted to avoid road trouble, so I decided to race her on the front end," noted Filion. "She's probably not her best on the front, but it was good enough tonight." The regular season point leader, On A Sunny Day is trained by Luc Blais of Lochaber Ouest and owned by Determination of Montreal, QC. The talented daughter of Muscle Mass boosted her career earnings over $546,000 with the victory, her tenth lifetime. On A Sunny Day With the Lampman Cup title on the line, Filion also opted for front-end tactics with Tymal Peacemaker in the last Super Final. Starting from Post 9, the Mach Three gelding went after the lead heading by the half and, once he reached the front end, simply pulled away from the field, powering under the wire nine lengths on top in 1:51.2. Red John finished second and Sports Column was third. "He was good tonight, and he did it on his own, I was just a passenger," said Filion. "Leaving the gate he was a little more aggressive than he is usually and I just took a shot down the backside, I didn't really know what to do, and I just cleared the front and from there he was on his own." The reinsman steers Tymal Peacemaker for his father Yves Filion's Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, QC and Stephane Larocque of Carlisle, ON conditions the gelding, who was the Grassroots champion as a two-year-old. Tymal Peacemaker Henry's victory with two-year-old pacing filly Percy Bluechip put him within a whisker of claiming the Lampman Cup title and may have caused trainer Dr. Ian Moore to extend her freshman campaign through next weekend's Breeders Crown Eliminations at Hoosier Park in Indiana. Sent off as the second choice behind her division co-leader Kendall Seelster, Percy Bluechip returned to her dominant early season form on Saturday, reaching the wire three and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:53.4. Play The Bell finished second and Kendall Seelster was third. "I'm just going to talk to Trevor and see how she was," said Moore. "We might go to the Breeders Crown maybe, I don't know, she's only had eight starts, so we've been kind of saving her a bit." Moore shares ownership of the daughter of Shadow Play with his partners in the Shadow Two Stable of Puslinch, James and Wilma Mackenzie of Ennismore, ON and Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The filly's fifth victory of the season was the first Super Final win for both Moore and Henry. Percy Bluechip Mark Horner also hoisted his first Super Final trophy when The Joy Luck Club captured the three-year-old pacing filly title, sailing home four lengths ahead of stablemate Action Majesty and Dudesalady in 1:51.2. Guelph resident Gregg McNair conditions the filly for owner-breeder Horner of St. Marys and R A W Equine Inc. of Burlington, ON, and Doug McNair piloted the Camluck daughter to the victory. "We're just elated right now," said Horner, who trained the filly until late June when he decided to hand her over to McNair. "She's always been really good, well mannered, well natured. She was meant to be a champion, and she is." The Joy Luck Club Doug McNair recorded a second Super Final win in the two-year-old pacing colt division, guiding Western Passage to a 1:51.3 score for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge. Jimmy Freight and Sports Legend rounded out the top three. Coleman shares ownership of the Sportswriter gelding with her long-time partner in the West Wins Stable, Ross Warriner of Burlington, along with John and McKinlay Fielding of Toronto and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, ON. Western Passage Local filly Kadabra Queen capped off her near perfect Ontario Sires Stakes season with an impressive come-from-behind score in the two-year-old trotting filly final, reeling in Henry and pacesetter Smoke And Mirrors for a one-half length victory in 1:57.3. Illusioneesta also closed well to be third. Brantford resident Scott Coulter crafted the win for trainer Chad Milner of Campbellville, owner-breeder Mileo Monte's Harness Horsepower Inc. of Campbellville and his brother Frank Monte of Markham, ON. "She went one, two, three, four, with a little bit of luck we would have had a fifth one, she just broke stride at the top of the stretch at Flamboro," said Mileo Monte of the division leading daughter of Kadabra and Queen Street. "I have got to give all the credit to Chad and his wife Kajsa, they have done a fantastic job for us. And I've got to give Georgie (Antonio) a lot of credit for looking after this horse and Scott Coulter for believing in the horse and coming out every time to race." Kadabra Queen Finally, the two-year-old trotting colt trophy went home with Kadabra colt Draft Year, who got a front-end steer from Milton resident Randy Waples to reach the wire three and three-quarter lengths ahead of T Barrr and Perfetto in 1:57.1. Guelph resident Brad Maxwell conditions Draft Year for Doug Millard of Woodstock, ON, Timothy Murray of Shawville, QC, Ben Mudry of Toronto, ON and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. Draft Year OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

OCTOBER 11, 2017 - Eight harness racing division champions will be crowned on Saturday during the $1.8 million Super Finals at Mohawk Racetrack and the Ontario Sires Stakes season finale will also determine the 2017 Lampman Cup winner. Drivers Sylvain Filion and Trevor Henry are tied atop the Lampman Cup standings with 348 points, meaning the fight for top spot could extend all the way through the final race of the season. "I didn't think I was near the front, I didn't think I had enough points," said Milton, ON resident Filion, who made a late run up the standings in the final weeks of the regular season to catch early leader Henry. "We'll give him a run for it. I'm sure he thinks the same way too." Reigning title-holder Filion has amassed a record of 27 wins, 24 seconds and 15 thirds from 138 Ontario Sires Stakes starts and Henry has scored 24 wins, 17 seconds and 28 thirds from 145 starts. Henry's mounts have earned $1,310,532, while Filion's have banked $1,289,859. Filion has prevailed in the driver race four times, in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016, while Henry captured his first title in 1996 and added a second in 2007. "It's always nice to be on top, that's always good. If you're not up there you're not making any money," said a pragmatic Henry. The Arthur, ON resident has mounts in seven of the eight Finals while Filion will appear in all eight. Bolstering both men's chances of adding another Lampman Cup to their resume are commitments to division point leaders, with Henry steering three-year-old pacing filly leader Action Majesty, two-year-old pacing colt leader Shadow Moon and two-year-old pacing filly co-leader Percy Bluechip and Filion piloting three-year-old trotting filly leader On A Sunny Day. Heading into the $225,000 Super Final off a track, Ontario Sires Stakes and Canadian record set at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 27, On A Sunny Day will be among the heaviest favourites on Filion's dance card and the reinsman is optimistic about her chances of landing the division title. "She drew pretty good. I think if we get the right trip she has a really good shot," said Filion of the Luc Blais trainee who will start from Post 3 in the eighth race. "She comes in on top form, and she's been trotting really good." While Henry has been aboard division leaders Shadow Moon and Percy Bluechip for all of their Ontario Sires Stakes starts, and will send the Dr. Ian Moore trainees after their respective division titles from Post 6 in Race 5 and Post 5 in Race 9, Saturday will mark his first appearance in Action Majesty's race bike. "Gregg had asked me to drive the one," said Henry of the Gregg McNair trainee, who will start from Post 8 while her stablemate The Joy Luck Club lines up at Post 6 with Doug McNair in the bike. "She looks all right, but that's a tough bunch too." Among the horses Henry expects to put up a fight in the three-year-old pacing filly showdown is reigning Super Final champion Yaris Bayama, who will start from Post 10 with Filion at the helm. "Two of my father's didn't draw so well, Tymal Peacemaker and Yaris Bayama," noted Filion. "But he came down this week and trained them on Tuesday before the qualifiers and he said that they trained really good. He was a little disappointed with that draw, but he said that they were going in in top form so hopefully we get a good trip." Yves Filion's Bayama Farms owns Yaris Bayama and Tymal Peacemaker, and both horses are trained by Stephane Larocque. Three-year-old pacing gelding Tymal Peacemaker will line up at Post 9 in the tenth race, the only Super Final in which Henry does not have a mount. Henry will also spend some time on the outside of the starting gate Saturday, beginning with two-year-old trotting filly Smoke And Mirrors, who gets Post 10 for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman in the second race. "She raced really well there (Mohawk) her last start (Sept. 25), come from a long ways out. She's in good shape I think," said Henry of the Kadabra daughter. "She has the ten-hole though, which will be tough." Henry will also pilot two-year-old trotting gelding Perfetto for Norman from Post 4 in the sixth race, the only contest that will see him start elbow to elbow with Filion, who steers Jimmy Takter trainee Cousin Rickard from Post 5. In the three-year-old trotting colt battle Henry will steer On First from Post 9 for his wife, trainer Shannon Henry, and his co-owners David Darocy and James Fleming, while Filion has R First Class for trainer Benoit Baillargeon. "He's been racing really, really good and his last start there (Sept. 25) he really won easy," said Filion of R First Class, who drew Post 3 in the third race. "I was talking to Ben yesterday, he said he trained good this week and he's all ready for Saturday. We drew good and I just cross my fingers I'm able to avoid traffic and troubles. If we get a clear track I think we've got a good shot." In addition to Action Majesty Henry also picked up a drive aboard three-year-old trotting filly Paradise Image (Post 8) for trainer Mike Keeling and Filion landed Allerage Stargazer (Post 2) in the two-year-old trotting filly division for trainer Paul Reid, St Lads Neptune (Post 4) in the two-year-old pacing colt division for trainer Carl Jamieson and two-year-old pacing filly Machnhope (Post 10) for trainer Bill Robinson. Reid, who will also start two-year-old trotting gelding Torches Pirate (Post 7), three-year-old trotting filly Sweet Of My Heart (Post 5) and two-year-old pacing fillies Just Her Luck (Post 1) and Kendall Seelster (Post 2) on Saturday, has worked with both Filion and Henry this season and says it is no surprise they are in a battle for top spot in the driver standings. "I have utmost respect for both of them. I would put them on any horse of mine, either one of them," said Reid. "I think Trevor's the more aggressive guy and seems to get along with any trotter or pacer, whereas Sylvain is more relaxed, he seems to create the same speed, but in a more relaxed way." Whether making their first appearance behind a horse or guiding one of their regular mounts, both Filion and Henry will be battling to the wire in every race on Saturday, hoping to deliver a Super Final trophy to each horse's connections. "It's going to be a big day for the breeders and the owners," said Filion, noting the Lampman Cup race is of secondary concern. "They've been watching their horses all year and cheering for them all year and now they get to see them in the Final. That's a big night for them." Mohawk Racetrack's first race goes in behind the gate at 7:30 pm on Saturday, with the eight $225,000 Super Finals going postward in Races 2 through 6 and 8 through 10. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

OCTOBER 5, 2017 - Harness racing driver Randy Waples capped off the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series regular season with a pair of victories at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday evening, using similar tactics to get Draft Year and Kendall Seelster from Post 5 to the winner's circle. On an calm, clear October evening, Waples decided the front end was the best place for fan favourite Draft Year and the decision proved to be a wise one as the Kadabra gelding cruised to a five and one-half length victory in 1:56.4. Chief Justice enjoyed the outer lane windbreak offered by Levitation through the later stages of the mile and then circled around to be second, leaving Levitation to settle for third. "He's a really nice colt, he always has been a nice colt," said Waples from the winner's circle. "Tonight when he left the gate he was going forward and I looked over and Sylvain (Filion with Cousin Rickard) was already grabbing up, so I just kind of kept the whip on his tail and kept his mind on it and he just kept getting faster and faster as the race went on." Milton resident Waples crafted the win for trainer Brad Maxwell of Guelph and owners Doug Millard of Woodstock, Ben Mudry of Toronto, ON, Timothy Murray of Shawville, QC and Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, PA. The win was the first in Draft Year's five race career and it propelled the gelding from fifteenth to fifth in the point standings, giving him a berth in the Oct. 14 Super Final at Mohawk. Draft Year Five races later Waples lined up behind Post 5 for the second time and opted for the same strategy, sending the fans' second choice Kendall Seelster directly to the front. The three-year-old pacing filly rolled through fractions of :28, :56.2 and 1:24.1 and then kicked into high gear in the stretch, sprinting home to a 1:51.3 victory. Firestorm paced into second and Play The Bell closed hard, nudging favourite Percy Bluechip out for third. "Tonight I actually was looking to cut the mile out, I kept making her roll along because I wasn't looking for a re-move with her tonight," said Waples from the winner's circle. "It is the first time she's been in front, but she finished with the plugs still in her ears. "They both were very good, and both seemed strong at the finish," said the reinsman of his pair of winners. Waples piloted Kendall Seelster to the win for trainer Paul Reid and owner 1187422 Ontario Inc. of Ottawa, ON. Thursday's victory was the Shadow Play daughter's fourth of the season and second in Gold Series action, putting her in a tie for top spot in the point standings with three-time winner Percy Bluechip. "I didn't think she'd end up cutting it. With Percy (Bluechip) on the rail I thought we might have a little more tussle getting to the front, but it worked out all right for us," said trainer Paul Reid. "He (Waples) knows the filly and I trust him. He's come in a couple different times and trained her with me, and so he knows her as well as anybody. I know he has confidence in her, so any way he felt to drive her, I was fine with that." Kendall Seelster Reid also picked up a third-place finish in the other $95,600 three-year-old pacing filly Gold division with Just Her Luck, and the trainer is hoping both fillies can maintain their momentum heading into the Super Final. "She's had a little time off too and she finished up good in the end of that, so hopefully we look good going into next week," said Reid. "Sometimes plans work out, sometimes they don't, but right now if I can keep things going the way they are, I'll be happy." Just Her Luck finished a closing third behind winner Easy Three and Lady Grande in the 1:53.4 mile. Lady Grande did all the work on the front end, waging a fierce battle with fan favourite Cardiff, but a late sprint saw Easy Three and driver Jody Jamieson hit the wire on top by a two length margin. Jamieson drives Easy Three for his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, ON, breeder Winbak Farm of Chesapeake City, MD and George Harrison of Preston, England, and the reinsman says the trip to the winner's circle has been a tough one with the daughter of Mach Three. "She's an absolute nut. She's just been a loon ever since Dad threw a harness on her. He's had a real tough time getting her to where I can actually drive her in a race," said the Moffat, ON resident. "Now that he's figured her out exactly, she has some talent. It's hard to say if she can go with the top fillies from the other division, but there's only one way to find out." Thursday's win, her first in 10 starts, boosted Easy Three from sixteenth to fifth in the standings and she will be part of the top 10 point earners competing in the $225,000 Super Final on Oct. 14. Easy Three The other two-year-old trotting colt and gelding Gold trophy went home with Barney Mac, who finished third in the division Grassroots Championship at Mohawk on Sept. 30. Also starting from Post 5, driver Chris Christoforou eased Barney Mac into fifth as Spark A Dream led the field to a :28.3 quarter and a :59.2 half. When former Gold series winner T Barrr swung off the rail into the outer lane, Christoforou sent Barney Mac in his wake and stayed right on that colt's heels as he opened up a gap on the field heading for the 1:29.2 three-quarters. Squaring up in the stretch Christoforou asked Barney Mac for another gear and the gelding dug hard to the wire for his second lifetime victory in a personal best 1:58. T Barrr settled for second, one and three-quarter lengths behind the winner, and Torches Pirate was third. "He's a nice little colt," said Christoforou. "We got a second over trip and he kicked home very well when I asked him." The Campbellville resident crafted the win for trainer Per Henriksen of Norwood and owners Tor Jan Larsen of Norwood, ON and Adv Racing Stable LLC of Pawling, NY. The partners acquired Barney Mac two weeks before the Grassroots Championship and have recouped $53,800 of their investment in just two starts. Although the win would have given him enough points, Barney Mac is not eligible to compete in the Super Final due to his appearance in the Grassroots Championship. Barney Mac The top 10 trotting colts and geldings and pacing fillies will return to Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday, Oct. 14, along with the leading point earners from the other six divisions, to compete for a total of $1.8 million in the season ending Super Final. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

OCTOBER 4, 2017 - Ontario's two-year-old trotting fillies wrapped up their regular season at Flamboro Downs on Wednesday and fans of the longshot had a field day as the harness racing favourites faltered in both $94,800 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold divisions. In the opener second choice Sorceress Seelster fired out of Post 4 to an early lead, reaching the quarter pole three and one-quarter lengths ahead of her peers in :28.1. The filly continued to draw away from the field heading for the :57.1 half, but skipped off stride in the third turn and left Allerage Stargazer in brief possession of the lead. Heading into the backstretch for the final time, driver Lyle MacArthur sent Zorgwijk Sophia to the front, reaching the three-quarters in 1:28.2, and the filly was on cruise control from there to the wire. The longest shot in the six-horse field, Zorgwijk Sophia stopped the Flamboro Downs teletimer at 2:00.1. Allerage Stargazer was four and one-half lengths back in second, holding off a charging P L Layla who finished third. Favourite Smoke And Mirrors recovered from a series of breaks to be fourth. St. George Brant resident MacArthur drives and trains Zorgwijk Sophia for Linda Wellwood of St. George Brant and Tammy Aspden of Caistor Centre, ON. With Wednesday's win the Majestic Son daughter jumped into fourth spot in the division standings with 77 points from one win, two thirds, one seventh and one eighth in five Gold Series starts. The victory also more than tripled the filly's earnings, which now stand at $70,824 after eight starts. The second division saw Wayne Henry fire longshot Gotta Pay To Play out of Post 4 and take command of the early tempo. Illusioneesta and Shamrock Shaker took a run at the pacesetter heading by the :29.4 quarter, but Henry refused to yield control and they tucked back onto the rail in second and third. Gotta Pay To Play carried on to a :59.2 half and when heavy favourite Kadabra Queen mounted a challenge rolling off the third turn, Henry once again opted not to concede the lead and just after the 1:30.3 three-quarters Kadabra Queen went off stride. From there Gotta Pay To Play sailed home to a two length victory in 1:59.1. Illusioneesta finished second and Shamrock Shaker was third. Kadabra Queen finished well back in sixth. Arthur, ON resident Henry drives, trains and owns first-time winner Gotta Pay To Play, who had two fifths, one sixth and one seventh-place result in her first four Gold Series starts. The victory bumps the Windsong Espoir daughter up to seventh spot in the point standings and increases her freshman earnings to $62,020. Both Zorgwijk Sophia and Gotta Pay To Play will compete in the $225,000 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack on Oct. 14, along with the other eight leading point earners, part of the Ontario Sires Stakes program's $1.8 million season finale. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

OCTOBER 3, 2017 - London area harness racing fans got a look at Ontario's talented two-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Tuesday evening as the novices wrapped up their Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series season at The Raceway at Western Fair District. With a berth in the Oct. 14 Super Final at stake, driver Doug McNair and Bo Mach set the tenor for evening in the first $64,800 division, firing away from Post 1 and stacking Jimmy Freight and Burning Midnight up to their right through the opening turn. Bo Mach reached the quarter pole in :27.4, but that was the last fraction he would clock without company. By the :57.1 half Burning Midnight was sitting on his flank and that colt continued to press the pace through the 1:25.4 three-quarters. After a fierce stretch battle it was Burning Midnight with a neck in front of Bo Mach in 1:55.1. Unable to find a way up the inside, frustrated fan favourite Jimmy Freight settled for third, one and one-half length behind the leaders. Louis-Philippe Roy drove Burning Midnight to his first Gold Series win for trainer Corey Giles and owners Brad Gray of Dundas and Denise Guerriero of Toronto, ON. The Mach Three son also captured a Grassroots trophy in his Ontario Sires Stakes debut at Mohawk Racetrack on July 20. The victory boosted Burning Midnight into the top ten point earners and landed him a berth in the $225,000 Super Final. The second division saw St Lads Neptune leave smartly from Post 1 and claim an early lead before ceding to Levis Day before the :28.2 quarter. Yacht Seelster led the charge up the outer lane as Levis Day led the field to a :58 half and 1:26.3 three-quarters, but it was fan favourite St Lads Neptune who slipped out of the pocket and on to a two length victory in 1:55.3 Levis Day stayed game for second and Sharp Action Money closed well for third. "He totally jogged tonight," said driver Jody Jamieson of St Lads Neptune. "He got the best trip possible on a half mile track though, and that really helps." Jamieson drives the Mach Three son for his father, trainer Carl Jamieson of Rockwood, and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. In seven lifetime starts the gelding has tallied five wins, including Grassroots victories at Clinton Raceway on Aug. 27 and Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 4. St Lads Neptune finished third in his Metro Pace elimination at Mohawk on Sept. 16, but came up a bit sick for the Sept. 23 final and finished ninth. "He had a high white blood cell count after the Metro, so that was real disappointing, because I thought he'd go with them," said Jamieson. "Hopefully he stays healthy enough to race them again at the end of the month." Before he heads south for the Oct. 21 Breeders Crown eliminations at Indiana's Hoosier Park, St Lads Neptune will compete in the Oct. 14 Super Final after squeaking into ninth spot in the point standings with Tuesday's win. The winner of the third division will also compete in the Super Final, and trainer Casie Coleman is hoping Western Passage is poised for a strong finish to the season after a mid-summer hiccup caused him to miss six weeks of racing action. "After his second in the second Gold (July 20), I really though he cheated on me and needed to be gelded," said Coleman. "So I gelded him and we lost a lot of time, as he got a lot of complications after and went in for a second surgery. "He's coming around now again, hopefully in time for the Super Finals," added the Cambridge, ON resident. "He's a really nice colt." Starting from Post 4 with driver Doug McNair in the race bike, Western Passage was sitting third when favourite Simple Kinda Man reached the quarter in :29.3, but he did not sit there long as McNair quickly sent the colt after the leader. Although Western Passage had a nose in front at the :58 half Simple Kinda Man did not give way without a fight, and the colts were by the 1:25.4 three-quarters before Western Passage finally took control and powered away from the field to an eight length victory in 1:55.4. Declan Seelster finished second and Hudson Phil closed hard for third. Coleman shares ownership of Western Passage with her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, along with John and McKinlay Fielding of Toronto and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, ON. With one win, two seconds and one seventh in Gold Series action the Sportswriter son finished the regular season in third spot in the standings with 102 points. The top 10 point earners will compete for $225,000 and divisional honours in their Oct. 14 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack, part of the Ontario Sires Stakes' $1.8 million season finale. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

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