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The Raceway Gearing Up For Return

Published: September 22, 2017 10:42 pm ET

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The Raceway at Western Fair District will usher in another exciting season of live 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).

(The Raceway at Western Fair District)


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