Blogs

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Monday, April 13, 2020

There was a time in the 1980s and early nineties that the name of William (Bud) Fritz was synonymous with harness racing in Ontario. The Fritz stable came as close to dominating the province’s sires stakes program as any single operation ever has. - The Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame Enter granddaughter Monica Fritz of Walkerton, Ontario. She’s a 22-year-old student getting set to graduate from the University of Guelph with a degree in Animal Biology. She says her next step in education is ‘hopefully’ vet school. “That’s what I’m aiming for...

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Saturday, April 11, 2020

So we’ve been doing some ‘people stories’ over the last few weeks here and a question that I’ve thrown out there, for some, has been ‘What is your earliest memory of The Raceway?’. So I got to thinking about that question for myself… And it’s really not that long ago, but it is before ‘my time’ at The Raceway. He was 'The Beast from the East' and that would be Firms Phantom who, at the time, had matched the longest win streak (28 in a row) for a pacer in harness racing history... *Cam Fella (The Pacing Machine) would...

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Harness horse people stabled at Dorchester Downs Training Center, just outside of London, were the recipients of a tremendous act of generosity this month. Joe and Judy Elliott, along with their son Sam, are the owners and operators of the training center, located on the Eaton Road, in Dorchester and recently Joe held an on-site meeting for those that are stabled there - to go over some of the new ‘ground rules’ that coincide with the ongoing coronavirus. “Joe went around to everyone and he wanted us all to be at this meeting,” says lifelong horseman Laurie Bako...

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

She may just be 15, but Gracie Mae Barr has always had a thing for the horses. This young Thamesford, Ontario miss grew up watching both of her parents, Scott and Bethany, work in the business of harness racing. “There is no chance that I wasn’t going to be into the horses,” states Barr. “My parents are into harness racing - my Dad trained full time and my Mom works the London Selected Yearling Sale... The day I was born (March 8, 2005) my Dad raced two horses, Coyote Sam and Future Honey, at Western Fair Raceway and they both won! For me - I think it’s just...

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Michigan’s David Omicioli, owner of the good race mare Turbo Diva, reached out to us recently after reading up on some people stories at The Raceway. “We’re also on lockdown,” reports Omicioli. “Hopefully we see a vaccine developed soon for this coronavirus... I miss my horses and I miss hanging out at the racetracks…” Turbo Diva raced in London for trainer Tim Myers and now finds herself stabled in Hamburg, New York. “She was able to race one time at Buffalo Raceway (a fourth-best finish on March 11) before that track closed,”...

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Friday, April 3, 2020

Like so many others, involved in harness racing, horseman Lorne House was born and raised into the business as well... “Indeed I grew up in it," he says. "My Dad, Mike House, had horses and my Grandfather, Alf Smith, he raced horses too.” It’s now been about 20 years in the business, for House, as a licensed harness trainer and driver in Ontario. His first career training win would come in London, with Fluid Drive, on November 4, 1999… “He was the first horse I ever owned too,” says House. “Don McElroy would have drove him and many...

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

“We’re still quite busy, with a stable of 15 horses,” says young horse owner Cassidy Schneider. “The only thing, that’s really changed, is the fact that we don’t race now… We still jog and train them… We’re still doing our thing week in and week out.” Schneider, at just 18 years of age, can almost remember becoming a racehorse owner back in 2007… “I do know it was Arizona Gem,” she says. “He was the first horse in my name, because (at that time) I wasn’t allowed in the paddock - so my dad...

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

With a very light schedule of harness racing taking place throughout the world, right now, it was easy to catch up with lifelong harness racing fan and bettor Melissa Keith. A recent winner of the 2019 John Hervey Award (for feature writing) at the Annual Dan Patch Awards - Keith, of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, had been a recent addition to the Bettors' Corner - featured on the Ontario Racing website. Keith’s Friday night in-depth analysis, for The Raceway, was just starting to heat up - when all of a sudden - Ontario harness racing came to a halt due to the corona-virus....

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Monday, March 30, 2020

Foiled Again! He may not have won the 2014 edition of the Molson Pace, at The Raceway, but he would certainly live up to the hype for and in that race - my first 'big race' call in Ontario - after moving from Alberta during the Fall of 2013... This particular race call was going to be a HUGE deal for this small-town guy from P.E.I.! I can remember being very nervous, beforehand, on the day of May 30, 2014. Some big name horses were coming to London - Foiled Again, Apprentice Hanover and State Treasurer - among others... And then the list of drivers, for the big race, was very...

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Here we go... So what does an older racehorse and a younger racehorse owner do with no horse racing currently taking place in Ontario? Right now - it's an easy answer for Putnam's Kelley McNiven... "We ride!" At twenty years of age, McNiven - a student of family studies and psychology at Brescia University - is aiming towards a career in the education field. "My career aspirations always changed as a child," she says. "As much as I love animals, I'm not good with blood so, unfortunately, being a vet was never an option for me." So going forward...

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