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London, January 2, 2018 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District wishes to advise customers and harness racing people that it has made a slight adjustment to its first race post on Friday night programs to 6:55 p.m. "It is a small change of 10 minutes, but as other tracks have recently changed their post times, this better positions us in the simulcast marketplace and gets customers and horse people home a bit earlier on Friday nights," said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. The new post time will come into effect this Friday, January 5th. The Raceway is now operating on its four-day-a-week racing schedule as follows: Monday - 6:15 p.m. Tuesday - 6:15 p.m. Wednesday - 6:15 p.m. Friday - 6:55 p.m. The Raceway at Western Fair District

London, January 1, 2018 -- Goldstar Badlands and Jagersro, with 11 wins each, headline the list of 2017 harness racing award winners at The Raceway at Western Fair District. Officials with The Raceway have announced the majority of the track's 2017 award winners to be honoured during the Western Fair's annual awards night, which will take place this year on Saturday, February 17. The Raceway's top performers for 2017 will be honoured in a variety of categories. Awards for the three-year-olds and older horses are based on the top money earners who made at least six starts at The Raceway during 2017. The top claimer awards are based on total number of claiming wins at The Raceway in the same calendar year. Trainer Vic Puddy will take home his second consecutive Trainer Of The Year award while Bob McClure, who is enjoying a career-best season in the race bike, captured his first ever London driver's title. The Owner of the Year award, sponsored by Standardbred Canada, goes to the owner who finished in the top 10 for money winnings and had the highest number of starters during the season. The popular Caretaker of the Year award will be handed out once again. To qualify, caretakers must be nominated by Friday, January 26. To nominate someone, send an email with your reason why to one of the following: gblanchard@westernfairdistrict.com, sdoyle@westernfairdistrict.com, ggangle@westernfairdistrict.com or aotoole@westernfairdistrict.com. The Raceway will announce its Horse of the Year the night of the event. Also that night, Racing Under Saddle (RUS) Ontario will present its Outstanding Service Award and recognize its top performers of 2017. The evening will include dinner and dancing and tickets go on sale beginning Friday, January 12. They will be available in both the race office and marketing department. For more information, call 519-438-7203 (Ext. 299). A list of the 2017 Raceway Award winners appears below. Older Pacing Horse • Goldstar Badlands Older Pacing Mare • Solid Queen Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt • Mach One Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly • Casino Classic Older Trotting Horse • Liam Needsome Older Trotting Mare • Jagersro Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt • Pingaling Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly • Ionia Claiming Pacer • Remus Blue Chip Claiming Trotter  • Riddle Me Miss Driver • Bob McClure Trainer • Vic Puddy Owner  • Jeff Williamson Dave Wall Outstanding Service Award • TBA Caretaker • TBA Horse Of The Year • TBA Ruth Herbert Horse Woman Of The Year • TBA RUS Outstanding Service Award    TBA Greg Blanchard

December 28, 2017 -- The race for top harness racing trainer at The Raceway at Western Fair District for 2017 looks as though it could come right down to the wire on New Year's Eve. With just two programs remaining, conditioner Gord McDonnell holds a one-win lead in the standings over defending champion Vic Puddy (35-34) while Craig Gilmour sits two back at 33. McDonnell, who is in search of his first Raceway training title, will send out just one starter over the final two programs - veteran Katherine B who is the 9-5 morning line choice in Friday night's fifth race. Gilmour sends out two starters on Friday night in Zahfire and Big Lis but does not have any horses entered for New Year's Eve. Meanwhile, Puddy has strength in numbers, sending out three starters on Friday and three more on the final card this Sunday. The Auld Lang Syne Trot and Pace will highlight the New Year's Eve program and it will mark the final career start for a pair of 14-year-old London fan favourites. Weskey, a 59-time career winner with more than $326,000 earned will leave from post 5 in the trot in race 8 while Pacific Oak, a 56-time career winner of more than $453,000 will occupy post 3 in the pacing event in race 9. Those on track Sunday night will have a chance to win a set of tickets to next summer's Trackside Music Festival at The Raceway, featuring Dierks Bentley, and a Coors Light Snow Board. Live racing will be followed by a New Year's Eve 'After Party' at the Top Of The Fair. The 2018 live racing season will kick off on Monday night (New Year's Day) with a 6:15 p.m. start time. The Raceway adds Wednesday's to the weekly schedule which is as follows: Monday - 6:15 p.m. Tuesday - 6:15 p.m. Wednesday - 6:15 p.m. Friday - 7:05 p.m. Live racing continues through the end of May and will be capped off by Molson Pace Night which has been moved this year to Saturday, May 26th. Greg Blanchard

London, December 22, 2017 - For harness racing fans looking to get their racing fix over the holidays, The Raceway at Western Fair District kicks off a busy stretch of 8 race programs in 13 days with an excellent 10-race program tonight at 7:05 p.m. The London oval will also host a special Saturday matinee program tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. along with the traditional Boxing Day afternoon card next Tuesday, also starting at 1:15 p.m. A pair of Alliance Series Finals - both contested at 1-1/16 miles - will highlight the Boxing Day program. The $13,700 Final for $7,000 horse and gelding claiming pacers goes in race 6 and is led by 2-1 morning line choice Veroi Bayama who was a solid winner in leg two of the series, a race he was claimed out of by trainer Lindsey Kerr. The 8-time winner this season starts from post 4 with Garret Rooney listed to drive. Remus Blue Chip enters the final fresh off a pair of wins in London, including a 2:05.3 win at the distance two starts back. He will have to overcome the trailing post 9 on Tuesday with Nick Steward in the bike. A wide open field will square off the in the $14,400 Alliance Final for $15,000 claiming pacers in race 11. Phone In, Godro Hanover, Lyons William and Now What Hanover were all impressive winners in the series with Godro Hanover given morning-line favourite status from 4 with Colin Kelly listed to drive for trainer Joe Pereira. A number of local drivers, along with Santa, will be on hand to greet fans as they arrive on Boxing Day with a commemorative giveaway item. Three lucky fans will have a chance to pick a prize from the Gift Tree and there will be second chance draws throughout the afternoon. There is limited seating available for the Boxing Day Brunch at Top Of The Fair. To make a reservation, email topofthefair@westernfairdistrict.com or call (519)-438-7203 (ext. 252). Live racing is also scheduled for next Friday, December 29th and again on Sunday, December 31st (New Year's Eve). Fan favourites Weskey and Pacific Oak will make their final career appearances in the Old Lang Syne Trot and Pace as part of the New Year's Eve card. The night also features a pair of fantastic prize giveaways including a pair of tickets for next summer's Trackside Country Music Festival at The Raceway and a Coors Light Snowboard. The wagering menu will be bolstered by a $10,000 guaranteed pool in the late Pick-4 that night and there will be a New Year's Eve after party following live racing at the Top Of The Fair. Fans are reminded that there is live racing on New Year's Day, Monday, January 1st, which kicks off the track's 4-day-a-week schedule throughout the end of May. The Raceway will feature live racing every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. and Friday at 7:05 p.m. For complete details, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard

London, December 14, 2017 -- The race for the 2017 "Trainer Of The Year" at The Raceway at Western Fair District is coming right down to the wire with just nine programs remaining in the harness racing season. Heading into Friday night's card at the London oval, Craig Gilmour holds a slim two-win lead (33 to 31) over fellow conditioner Gord McDonnell. Defending champion Vic Puddy isn't far behind with 30 wins to his credit so far. Gilmour is in search of his first London training title and is in the midst of a career-best season with 79 wins overall and close to $500,000 in seasonal earnings. McDonnell, has been one of the top conditioners at The Raceway in recent years and may be the hottest of the trio right now having sent out four winners from his last six starters. Puddy, who won last year's training title in London, has surpassed $1 million in seasonal earnings for the fourth time in the last five seasons and recently went over 2,000 wins lifetime. He sends out two starters Friday night and will have a chance to close the gap on his two rivals who both have no horses entered on the program. The Raceway will be a busy place over the next three weeks and here is a look at the complete holiday race schedule: Friday, December 15 - 7:05 pm Monday, December 18 - 6:15 pm Tuesday, December 19 - 6:15 pm Friday, December 22 - 7:05 pm Saturday, December 23 - 1:15 pm Tuesday, December 26 - 1:15 pm Friday, December 29 - 7:05 pm Sunday, December 31 - 7:05 pm Monday, January 1 - 6:15 pm Greg Blanchard

CAMPBELLVILLE, November 21, 2017 - The Standardbred Alliance today released details regarding a group of harness racing claiming series to take place during the month of December at Flamboro Downs and The Raceway at Western Fair District. The Alliance Holiday Claiming Series will have six events with three held at Flamboro and three at Western Fair. Each series will have two preliminary legs and an added-money final. The conditions for each series are as follows: Event A: Trot, Claiming $8,500. Allowances for Age & Sex. Event B: Pace, Horses & Geldings, Claiming $7,000. Allowances for Age & Sex. Event C: Pace, Horses & Geldings, Claiming $15,000 for Non-Winners of $30,000 lifetime, as of midnight, December 1, 2017. No allowances on earnings. Event D: Pace, Fillies & Mares, Claiming $7,000. Plus Allowances. Event E: Pace, Fillies & Mares, Claiming $15,000 for Non-Winners of $30,000 lifetime, as of midnight, December 1, 2017. No allowances on earnings. Event F: Trot, Claiming $15,000 for Non-Winners of $30,000 (Fillies & Mares $37,500) lifetime, as of midnight, December 1, 2017. No allowances on earnings. (Note: Events A, B, C will be raced at Western Fair and Events D, E, F will be raced at Flamboro) The nomination fee for each event is $100 ($80 USD) and nominations close Friday, December 1. The nomination form can be viewed by clicking here. If sending nominations by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than December 1, 2017 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended. Alliance Holiday Claiming Series payments can also be made online at www.woodbineentertainment.com/sbpayments.   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Media Communications

London, November 20, 2017 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District is gearing up for another busy and exciting holiday season featuring 14 live harness racing  programs during the month of December and some exciting events to go along with it. There will be a special afternoon program on Saturday, December 23rd beginning at 1:15 p.m. It will give customers a final opportunity to play the horses prior to the short Christmas break and there will be draws for holiday gift cards throughout the afternoon. The Top Of The Fair dining room will be open featuring the track's Pub Night menu. The always popular Boxing Day afternoon program will take place on December 26th, also featuring a 1:15 p.m. start time. Three patrons will be selected that afternoon to pick a fantastic prize item from the Gift Tree and there will be second chance drawings throughout the day as well. The Top Of The Fair will feature the annual Boxing Day Brunch and the Carousel Room will be open for customers to watch and wager on the races with food also available. The Raceway will be the place to celebrate New Year's Eve in London. The live race program will get underway at 7:05 p.m. and features the annual running of the Old Lang Syne Trot and Pace for the veteran performers. Among the expected starters this year will be 14-year-old trotter Weskey and 14-year-old pacer Pacific Oak - both have become fan favourites at the London oval. There will be a grand prize draw that night for a Coors Light snowboard and second chance draws for tickets to the Wine and Food Show and Home Show along with betting vouchers and more. Guests are invited to stay following racing and ring in the New Year with dancing and party favours at the Top Of The Fair. The Raceway is currently operating on a three-day-a-week schedule - Mondays and Tuesdays at 6:15 p.m. and Fridays at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night programs will be added in the new year with a 6:15 p.m. first post. Seating at the Top Of The Fair is filling up quickly. To make a reservation call (519)-438-7203 (ext. 252) or email topofthefair@westernfairdistrict.com. For full details on everything happening at The Raceway at Western Fair District, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. Greg Blanchard

An industry older than Confederation, one that looms especially large in Southwestern Ontario, is shut out of behind-doors deal-making that could spell its demise. Harness racing in North America dates back to 1788 and was thought as recently as five years ago to support up to 60,000 jobs in Ontario. But five years after Ontario slashed funding from slots revenue to the industry by more than half, those who depend on horse racing in the London region — breeders, trainers, drivers and many who supply the business — fear the death knell may be approaching. “You got to feel kind of helpless,” said Mark Horner, who owns a stable in St. Marys and is a director of Standardbred Canada and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association. Big change is coming to the Western Fair District after the province’s gambling arm, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., (OLG), licensed away gaming in much of Southwestern Ontario in private bidding won by Vancouver-based Gateway Casinos & Entertainment. That winning bid has led to a complex set of negotiations, with Gateway demanding more favourable terms than what OLG paid to use the slots building at the fairgrounds in London, home to the region’s largest racing operation. Gateway is in the business of casinos, not horse racing, so when its spokesperson threatened to moved the casino from the fairgrounds if the company can’t secure a good deal, that sent shock waves through the local horse racing industry that’s been on shaky grounds since 2013. “It put a knot in your stomach,” Horner told The Free Press. In horse racing, it’s the greyhound-like thoroughbreds that draw the biggest spotlight, from the rolling hills of Kentucky to the racetrack at Woodbine. But while thoroughbreds are a high-stakes game and the domain of the wealthy, sturdier standardbreds — the horses used in harness racing, where they pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky — are the lifeblood of Ontario racing because they can race four times as often and deliver more predictable returns, Horner said. Western Fair offers the second-biggest racing purses in Ontario, he said, and if that’s lost or even diminished, the entire industry in the province may be trotting towards extinction. Hugh Mitchell, the chief executive at the Western Fair District, knows the stakes. “Without the lease payments we can not support live racing,” Mitchell said. “We’re working with the government and Gateway to find a solution.” Negotiations are tough because they involve agreements between four different entities: Gateway, OLG, Western Fair and the city of London, which co-owns most of the fairgrounds. “I’ve never seen something so complex — not in my lifetime, and I’m 63. . . There’s a lot of heaving lifting left,” Mitchell said. “It really has (created) apprehension . . . This is thousands of jobs . . . The horse people are anxious. Most have spent their lives in this business (and) they’re not at the (negotiating) table.” Horner is confident Mitchell does want to save horse racing – but he doesn’t know if the Western Fair has the leverage to get what it wants and Horner doesn’t see an ally in OLG, calling talks with the government agency an “uphill battle.” As for Gateway, it has no interest in subsidizing horse racing. And while it hopes an expanded casino can partner with the racetrack, it’s the former that is the company’s focus. “They are two separate entities,” Gateway spokesperson Rob Mitchell said. “We bid on a casino. (It) has nothing to do with horse racing.” Gateway wants a larger casino that would also host table games and its signature restaurants, and possible a hotel as well — plans that require a far bigger piece of real estate than what’s now home to the building housing slot machines at Western Fair District. Gateway has asked the city and Western Fair to sell it land they jointly own or to reduce the $6 million a year OLG pays to lease the casino building, a deal that expires in 2020. The company’s bargaining pitch is simple: If you want 700 new jobs and more than $140 million in investment, sell us the land or give us a better deal. So while Fairgrounds CEO Hugh Mitchell never imagined a hotel at the fairgrounds, he concedes that’s what Gateway wants, and if a deal is to be made to save horse racing, there may need to be new streams of revenue. “We’re looking for complimentary uses that benefit all four parties,” Hugh Mitchell said. “Horse racing is in our DNA.” Whether a hotel fits in city plans remains to be seen, however. Possible opponents include those who represent existing hotels. “I know none of the hoteliers are happy about it, the early rumblings,” said Luca Monti, sales manager at Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites London and a board member of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association’s London branch. “We welcome the tourists coming to the city, for sure, but if that’s going to be a one-stop destination, and have everything covered in that complex there, it’s worrisome to all of us.” “We don’t think it will put us out of business, by any means. But it’ll hurt numbers.” His concerns resonate with Coun. Phil Squire, who’s skeptical a new hotel and expanded casino will breathe more life into the Old East Village. “I don’t think people should get too excited about the economic development in the area around it, because normally a casino creates a little area around it where you don’t get as much development, because everything is self-contained. “The gambling, the restaurant, the accommodation is all in the casino structure,” Squire said. The ward councillor, Jesse Helmer, shares that view. “Casinos are not like other kinds of business. Generally speaking, they face inward. The goal is to keep people in there as long as possible, and provide everything they need in the facility, so it can tend to be a bit of an island,” he said. Even residents in the Old East Village have mixed views of an expanded casino, said Helmer, citing “a mix of cautiously optimistic and just cautious.” Helmer himself sees potential pitfalls and benefits to an expanded casino. “The social impacts that come with gambling, especially problem gambling, are really significant,” and it’s easy to “underrate” the negatives, he said. “(But) if (Gateway) relocates the casino out of the community, there might be an impact of millions of dollars on the city budget, and we’d have to make changes in the budget to accommodate that. We’d have to raise taxes or cut some services or push things off in the future. People need to understand those trade-offs,” Helmer said. “The licence is for a big geographic area. Conceivably, Gateway could operate in a different location. That’s something else we have to keep in mind.” Gateway has said it prefers the Western Fair site but will look elsewhere in London if a favourable deal can’t be struck. Once Gateway completes a deal with London, it will turning to gaming operations and horse racing elsewhere in the region, including Clinton and Dresden, said Ian Fleming, manager of the Clinton Raceway. “People are obviously nervous, Fleming said. “There have been a lot of changes the past four or five years.” By Jonathan Sher, Megan Stacey, The London Free Press Reprinted with permission of The London Free Press   PLAYERS AT THE TABLE City of London Now getting about $4.5 million a year from OLG, based on a percentage of slot revenue. Received $597,500 in rent in 2017 from Western Fair District. An expanded casino and hotel would bring construction jobs and long-term employment but also create competition for existing hotels and other entertainment venues.   Western Fair District Getting $6 million a year from OLG for use of the slots building, according to Gateway. With its agricultural roots, wants to keep horse racing viable. Most of its lands are co-owned by the city.   Gateway Entertainment and Casinos Won licensing bids to run government gambling enterprises in southwestern and northern Ontario. Wants a much bigger London casino that includes table games, signature restaurants and possibly a hotel.   Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Wants to modernize — squeeze more cash — out of gambling operations in Ontario by handing the keys to private operators that win bids. Giving about $160 million a year in benefits to the horse racing industry through the Horse Racing Partnership Funding Program and tax relief for horse-race wagering.   NOT AT THE TABLE (BUT WITH STAKES IN THE OUTCOME) Horse racing industry Saw its share of slot money slashed in 2013 from $345 million a year to about $90 million plus tax reductions Before the change in funding, about 60,000 jobs were directly or indirectly related to horse racing; about half those jobs were lost   London hotel industry Doesn’t want to lose customers to a hotel built on city-owned land   Old East Village Redevelopment there might get an assist from an expanded casino and hotel.   THE EXISTING DEALS: OLG and Western Fair District: Facility lease through 2020 that pays the fair $6 million a year, according to Gateway OLG and city of London: City gets about $4.5 million a year from a deal signed in 2013 that lasts until there are no longer games there or the licensing permit is no longer available. City and Western Fair District: Lease payments that resulted in $597,500 in 2017; the fair is exempt from property taxes, since most of its land is co-owned by the city. Any new or expanded building need the written approval of the city as well as the required permits. City also co-owns the existing grandstand slots building and half of the parking lots in front of the grandstand where the casino might be extended. OLG and Gateway: Gateway won bid for southwestern gaming services that include a casino in Point Edward and slots in London, Woodstock, Clinton, Dresden and Hanover, the last three of which have raceways.   HORSE RACING HISTORY 1788: An English thoroughbred stallion named Messenger is shipped to America through whom all Standardbreds, a more durable but less speedy breed, trace their ancestry.   1849: A great grandson of Messenger and the first standardbred, Hambletonian 10, is born in a rural hamlet about an hour north of New York City. He would go on to produce more than 1,300 foals by 1875 and make rich an illiterate stable hand named Rysdyk. 1879: The National Association of Trotting Horse Breeders agreed upon standards that require a stallion to trot a mile in two minutes and thirty seconds or better, or 2:35 if hitched to a wagon. The new name of the breed is called a standardbred and is best known for harness racing. * Source: Standardbred Canada

London, October 20, 2017 -- Saulsbrook Peach captured harness racing's inaugural Veterans Classic Pace - part of the first ever Veterans' Classic night held on Friday at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The London oval was playing host to the first-time event which honoured Military Veterans, past and present, in a unique way during the night's 10-race harness racing program. The evening began prior to the race program with opening ceremonies performed by 1st Hussars Military Troop, followed by the official unveiling of the Raceway's new 'Veterans Inspired' winner's circle. Fans also had a chance to meet several veterans and check out the various military vehicles and displays that were on hand throughout the facility. Video tributes were shown between races as well. The inaugural Veterans Classic Pace went in race 7 and it was the Isabelle Darveau trainee Saulsbrook Peach who went wire-to-wire in 1:56. The eight-year-old notched his 23rd career win for driver Robert Shepherd and owner Catheline Pelletier. Live racing resumes at The Raceway this Monday night with a first post of 6:15 p.m. Greg Blanchard      

London, October 10, 2017 - There was some confusion surrounding the harness racing payout of Tuesday night's 6th race Super Hi-5 wager at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The Super Hi-5 finish order was 2-3-8-4-6 but was made official with the fifth place finisher inadvertently left off the running order and the payout was posted on combination of 2-3-8-4-All. However, when the winning Super Hi-5 combination at The Raceway is not sold it should result in a 100 per cent carryover of the net pool, thus causing confusion among patrons. Tote officials were able to reprice the race and the corrected payout on the winning combination - which was 2-3-8-4-6 - was $456.66 for a .20 cent ticket. Most of the winning tickets were sold online through HPIbet.com and officials were able to make the correction to those accounts. There was in fact a carryover on the night's late Super Hi-5 of just over $6,800 which will go into the early Super Hi-5 pool this Friday night. Greg Blanchard

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

London, September 22, 2017 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District will usher in another exciting season of live harness racing beginning on Monday, October 2nd. The weekly Fall schedule features racing every Monday and Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. and Friday nights at 7:05 p.m. The final leg of the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for two-year-old colt pacers will take place on Tuesday, October 3rd and that will just be the start of a busy month at the London oval. Grand opening festivities will happen on Friday, October 6th and will be held in conjunction with the 250th Anniversary of horse racing in Canada. Some of the special events planned include $1 programs, an 8-foot commemorative cake, 'Wanna Drive' team on hand, seminar for potential new horse owners, a Bouncy Pony media celebrity race and prize giveaways including an opportunity to win a $250 cash prize. "We are looking forward to the return of live racing and have a busy month of October planned to kick it off," said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. "There are some changes and some new events that we are excited about and that we hope will enhance our racing product and on-track experience throughout the season." A brand new event this year is the Veteran's Classic on Friday, October 20th. The event will celebrate military veterans, young and old, in a unique setting as part of the live racing program. The night will kick off with a performance from the 1st Hussars Cavalry Troop and there will also be a showcase of military vehicles throughout the facility, veterans' tributes between races and the Veteran's Classic Pace as the on-track feature. The Raceway will use the occasion to officially unveil its new winner's circle which will also honour military veterans both past and present. Other major events during the month of October include the Forest City Preview on Friday, October 13, in conjunction with the new London Selected Yearling Sale that same weekend, and the 12thannual Harness The Hope night on Friday, October 27. Track management had considered implementation of a passing lane this season and received tremendous response to an online poll asking customers their opinion on the initiative. The overall response was slightly in favour of the move, however management has opted not to make a change for this season and will revisit it for 2018. Customers will notice a change to the Monday Pub Night menu with the addition of some new menu options to go along with the regular favourites - details to come. Customers are invited to come out to the Top Of The Fair every Monday to enjoy great food, live racing, watch their favourite game and have an opportunity at prize giveaways. Reservations are not required. The betting menu will also get a tweak as the early pick-3 each day will now be guaranteed at $2,500. The early Pick-3 has grown into one of the more popular wagers on the daily menu which also includes a pair of $5,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pools and a pair of Super Hi-5 wagers - all are 15% takeout wagers. The Super Hi-5 races were contested at 1-1/16 miles during the final month of last season as a trial and The Raceway team was encouraged by the results. "I think the experiment hit the mark in all the areas we were hoping it would," explained Blanchard. "The longer run to the first turn gave outside horses a better chance to get early position and gave drivers more time to get their horses set for the first turn which is a positive. The longer distance gave each starter an increased chance to overcome a slow start and betting was higher than anticipated on those races. It is something we feel worked very well and that we plan to continue for this season." The added distance races feature nine-horse fields with 10 per cent added to the purse and money paid out to the top six finishers rather than the standard top five. For more details on the upcoming meet visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. To make reservations for Grand Opening night at the Top Of The Fair, email topofthefair@westernfairdistrict.com or call 519-438-7203 (ext. 252). From WFD Media

MAY 26, 2017 - Happy Trio lived up to his name in Friday's sixth race at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The harness racing three-year-old pacing colt put broad smiles on the faces of his three owners as he cruised to an impressive victory in the second of two Ontario Sire Stakes $95,600 Gold Series divisions. "I'm pumped, I'm so proud of him. That's a hell of a mile," said trainer Tony O'Sullivan after Happy Trio halted the teletimer at 1:53, just one-fifth of a second shy of the track record for sophomore pacing colts. Starting from Post 1, driver Doug McNair of Guelph, ON sent Happy Trio directly to the front and the pair never faced a challenge as they rang up fractions of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:24.4 en route to the 1:53 score. Fireball followed the pacesetter throughout the mile and finished two and one-quarter lengths back in second, while fan favourite Streakavana finished five lengths back in third. "All I said to Dougie was, you know, you can let him pace out of there and after that it's up to you. He's really, really quick," said O'Sullivan. "And at the half I was pretty confident because Dougie really had a good hold of him and that's what that horse likes. He likes to feel brave, and Dougie is pretty good at making one feel brave." Cambridge resident O'Sullivan shares ownership of Happy Trio with Lorne Keller of Exeter and Domenic Chiaravalle of Hamilton, ON. The win was the Mach Three son's first of the season through two outings and his second lifetime. As a two-year-old, Happy Trio was a Gold Series winner at Mohawk Racetrack and banked $157,145 in nine starts. "I'm so proud of him, because it was the toughest division by far, on paper, and there are horses in here that have paced faster and done better," said O'Sullivan. "But he was a good horse last year. He made good money and he never, I think he raced bad once, other than that he was always right there." Happy Trio will have an opportunity to earn another piece of Ontario Sires Stakes hardware when the three-year-old pacing colts make their second Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 1. The other $95,600 Gold division on The Raceway's action-packed Molson Pace program went to fan favourite Walter Mitty, who overcame early interference to score a 1:56.3 victory. Happy Trio's stablemate in the O'Sullivan barn, Calvin K, finished one and three-quarter lengths back in second and Dreamfair B J was third for owner-breeder John Lamers of Ingersoll. Louis-Philippe Roy piloted Walter Mitty to victory in his Ontario Sires Stakes debut for trainer Richard Moreau and owners Synerco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, ON. The win boosted the Mach Three gelding's lifetime record to two wins, two seconds and two thirds in six starts for earnings of $65,560. In the evening's grand finale, the $150,000 Molson Pace, fan favourite Bit Of A Legend N took control early and never looked back, cruising home a one and three-quarter length winner over last year's Molson Pace champion Evenin Of Pleasure. Sunfire Blue Chip finished third. Jordan Stratton engineered the win for trainer Peter Tritton and owner Harry Von Knoblauch Stable of San Diego, CA. The victory boosted the New Zealand bred pacer's earnings to $1.6 million. For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing  

London, Ontario...The Raceway at Western Fair District is gearing up for its' biggest night of the year this Friday night featuring the $200,000 Molson Pace. Here are the event details on Friday night's program which promises to be action packed from start to finish: Promotions: - Special post time of 7:05 p.m. 12 race card. - Molson Party on the Patio featuring BBQ and Beer Specials! - Hands on Horses Program - Sign up at Guest Services for your chance to ride behind a real racehorse! - Molson Pace Cake in the lobby - Hat and T-shirt tosses throughout the night in the Grandstand and on the Patio - National Anthem performed by rising country music star Eric Ethridge - T-shirt and Hat Tosses in the Grandstand and on the Patio - Scratch & Win Programs - Win Trackside Music Festival tickets - Win Beer & BBQ tickets - 100s of giveaways including betting voucher and more! Wagering: - Ontario Sires Stake's Gold Divisions - 4 City of London Series Finals - 3 SUPER HI-5 (Races 7,10 &12) - $5,000 Guaranteed EARLY PICK-3 (Race 1) - $10,000 Guaranteed EARLY PICK-4 (Race 4) - $15,000 Guaranteed LATE PICK-4 (Race 9) (Low 15% takeout on all Guaranteed Pool wagers)   Greg Gangle

London, May 25, 2017 -- This Friday evening at The Raceway at Western Fair District, harness racing fans will be treated to another terrific Molson Pace card featuring 12 races and some of the sports brightest starts. With the post positions announced this past Monday, horseplayers have been sharpening their pencils to take advantage of the strong wagering menu. The Molson Pace, slated for Race 12, features eight of the sport's top free-for-all pacers for a purse of $150,000. Offering up their thoughts on the big night are Hall of Fame handicapper, statistician, broadcaster and historian Bob Heyden and HRU columnist Dean Towers along with track announcer Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle. Bob Heyden 1. What's your initial thought on the field for this year? There seem to be two possibilities in the race, in my opinion. Jordan Stratton dictates the race with Bit Of A Legend or pure mayhem. 2. What type of wager would you be apt to play? Triactor - That's why I put in the #1 (Bit Of A Legend) and backed it up with 7 (Rockin Ron) & 8 (Night Pro). 3. Provide a Late Pick 4 ticket (9-12) 235/468/56/178 Cost: $54 4. Anything else to watch for? Bit Of A Legend N not only swept the Levy last year, he posted the single biggest season ever for a down Under horse with over $700,000. Any breather at all and this race is over for the rest of them. But, in the event everyone half loses their mind, it is going to be a mad dash home and I want prices-the boxcar types. Dean Towers 1. What's your initial thought on the field for this year? At first glance when I saw probable race favorite Bit of a Legend draw the rail I thought we might be looking at a walk over. But after I dug into the race I was thrilled at this year's edition. Almost every horse has gate speed and most are half mile track specialists. I watched Clear Vision win last week at the Meadowlands and he's sharp; and Fool Me Once has looked excellent of late. From the second tier Night Pro has a nice chance to trip out. It's just a wonderful race. 2. What type of wager would you be apt to play? I'm a big fan of the super high five on half mile tracks. The takeout is great and it gives your mind a handicapping test - who may land where, what can we take a stab at for a price? If this race goes some crazy fractions - which on paper it may - this bet can pay boxcars. 3. Provide a Late Pick 4 ticket (9-12) 23457/135/7/1348 Cost: $60 4. Anything else to watch for? Maybe the most talked about card on a half mile track every year in Canada is the Gold Cup and Saucer. However, from top to bottom, with great horses, good drivers and a nice betting menu with good pool size to bet into, Molson Pace night is my favorite half mile track evening of the entire calendar. Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle 1. What's your initial thought on the field for this year? It's the deepest field of Invite pacers I've even seen on a half mile track in Canada! They've all been there & done that... What a super nice group of horses! 2. What type of wager would you be apt to play? It's all about the Super Hi 5 wager for me. I'd likely play the 1 (Bit Of A Legend N) & 3 (Clear Vision) in the top spots for Triactor, Superfecta & HI5 plays - they drew well in here, so it's all based on post position for me. Using 4 (Fool Me Once), 6 (Sunfire Blue Chip) & 8 (Night Pro) for 2nd, 3rd & 4th... Then hit the ALL button to complete the HI5. 3. Provide a Late Pick 4 ticket (9-12) 456/134589/45/13 Cost: $72 4. Anything else to watch for? With the addition of drivers like Doug McNair, Mark MacDonald & Brett Miller - among others - look for lots of early speed & great flow throughout the program. It will be 'On' this Friday night in London! The wagering menu on Friday will include a $5,000 guaranteed early Pick-3, $10,000 guaranteed early Pick-4, $15,000 guaranteed late Pick-4 and the addition of a third Super Hi-5 - all low 15 per cent takeout wagers First race post is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Greg Blanchard

London, May 23, 2017 -- The 2017 edition of the Molson Pace, slated for this Friday May 26 at The Raceway at Western Fair District, will feature some of the harness racing sport's top free-for-all pacers. One of the new faces joining this year's field is Bit Of A Legend N, who will make his first trek to Canada for trainer Peter Tritton. The New Zealand-born son of Bettor's Delight will line up from the coveted rail with regular pilot Jordan Stratton in the bike. "The draw couldn't have worked out any better," Tritton said from his home base in Pine Bush, New York. "I think most trainers would want the rail and now it's up to the horse to deliver." Tritton, a native of Australia, has spent more than 15 years in the US and will also be making his first trip to Canada. "It's something I'm definitely looking forward to it," he said. "There have been a few times in the past I've meant to come, but it never worked out. My family and I are looking forward to the trip." The veteran conditioner, who races primarily at Yonkers, has found a strong niche for recruiting horses from Down Under (Australia & New Zealand) that fits his program in New York. Standout horses that have found their way in the Tritton barn include Moss Dale Connor N, Mackenzie N, Texican N and Sell A Bit N, just to name a few. "I've been very fortunate to have a great relationship with agent Peter Larkin for the past 35 years," Tritton said. "He recruits the horses and I'll go ahead and look them up with owner Harry Von Knoblauch. He knows the horses have to fit my program at Yonkers and we've had quite a bit of success over the years." Bit Of A Legend N is one horse that Tritton has become very fond of since arriving on North American soil a few seasons ago. The 35-time winner has more than $1.5 million earned lifetime and captured the 2016 final of the Levy against the best free-for-all pacers in North America on a half-mile track. He capped off last season with more than $723,000 earned. "I shouldn't say he was a pleasant surprise how good he turned out, because I knew he was very talented," he said. "I just didn't think he'd be this good. "He's so professional and very easy to drive," Tritton continued. "He's has just a pleasant horse and his manners are perfect. I can't fault him in any way." Tritton will once again be handing the driving assignment to young driver Jordan Stratton. The young reinsman will also be making his debut in the Molson Pace. "Jordan use to drive for me a little a few years ago and we had some luck," said Tritton. "I wanted a driver that would commit to driving all my horses, because I didn't like using different drivers every week. Jordan agreed and I think it has worked out well for everyone." Tritton admits it won't be an easy task on Friday. "I think it's an excellent looking field," he said. "I wouldn't say there is a standout and that should mean a great finish. We're looking forward to the experience in Canada." The field for this years Molson Pace will line up as follows: 1. Bit Of A Legend N ($1,525,011) - Jordan Stratton 2. Rockin In Heaven ($548,971) - Trevor Henry 3. Clear Vision ($2,703,859) - Brett Miller 4. Fool Me Once ($963,778) - Doug McNair 5. Evenin Of Pleasure ($773,857) - Sylvain Filion 6. Sunfire Blue Chip ($1,181,939) - Mark MacDonald 7. Rockin Ron ($665,988) - Matt Kakaley 8. Night Pro ($738,432) - Bob McClure Greg Blanchard

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