view counter
 
view counter
 
 

From Backstretch To Big Leagues

Published: August 4, 2017 1:58 pm ET

No Comments | Jump to Comments

Drivers Bob McClure and Doug McNair have been attending Industry Day at Grand River Raceway since they were young enough to spend most of the Civic Holiday afternoon in the bouncy castle.

“I’ve been going there every year since I was pretty young, young as I can remember,” said 27-year-old McNair, who hails from Guelph-Eramosa Township. “I remember running around with those water buckets, rolling bandages in the bandage contest and stuff like that. It’s always a lot of fun there.”

This Monday, in the 27th edition of the Elora oval’s signature event, the pair will be hard at work. Both drivers compete in 10 of the day’s 11 races, including three Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for three-year-old pacing colts, the $139,250 Battle of the Belles for Ontario Sired two-year-old pacing fillies and the $200,200 Battle of Waterloo for Ontario Sired two-year-old pacing colts.

“I’m very much looking forward to Industry Day. It’s the highlight of the Grand River Raceway season and they really put a lot into it, and it shows. Ted Clarke and his team do a great job putting on a great show,” said 26-year-old McClure, who is Grand River Raceway’s leading driver. “They put together a really great card of racing this year and it’s great to be part of it.

“I spent many years watching these races from the backstretch, but I’ll take the current view just as well,” added the Elora resident with a laugh.

In the first $18,450 Grassroots event, which will kick off the racing action at 1:30 pm, McClure will steer Three More Smiles from Post 3 while McNair gets All It Takes at Post 7. The $18,800 second division will go postward in Race 5 and the reinsmen will line up side-by-side, McNair at Post 3 with division point leader Dream Of Luck and McClure at Post 4 with the fourth-ranked Oak Island.

“I think he’ll love a half-mile racetrack because he’s so fast off the gate,” said McNair of the Camluck gelding he drives for trainer Jeff Gillis of Everett, Ont., Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont. and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, N.Y. “He’s good-gaited. I mean he’ll just get beat the odd time at Mohawk, just late in the stretch, so I think a shorter stretch will really help him. I think he looks real good in there.”

The final Grassroots division, also worth $18,800, is slated as Race 7 and sees McClure at Post 2 with Ugottobinittowinit and McNair at Post 3 with Pickled Preacher.

In the Battle of the Belles and Battle of Waterloo McNair has the post position edge with his mounts -- Post 3 with Sudden Passing and Post 2 with Southwind Grizzly -- but McClure is aboard two elimination winners and looks to have his best chance thus far to win one of his hometown oval’s signature events.

“Play The Bell was huge in her elimination. She had the eight-hole and got spotted okay, but they went a crawling first half and she came a wicked back half to chase them down, and did it very easy,” said McClure of his Battle of the Belles mount, who posted a 1:56.2 clocking in the elimination round. “She’s great-gaited and very mature. Casie and her team did a great job training her down.”

McClure will steer Shadow Play daughter Play The Bell from Post 5 for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge and her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, along with Mac Nichol of Burlington and Calhoun Racing Ltd. of Chatham, Ont.

In the afternoon’s finale McClure will also line up at Post 5 with Avalon Hanover, sending the Shadow Play gelding after his second straight win for trainer Dave Menary of Cambridge, Ont. and his partners Billy Joe Timmins of Birmingham, G.B. and Anthony Timmins of Wolverhamton, G.B.

“Avalon Hanover was a big surprise to I think everybody in his elimination, but Dave told me before the race he made some equipment changes and that made him more manageable and, well, the results speak for themselves,” said McClure. “Hopefully he has some luck on Monday. If things go well I’d say he has a decent shot.”

Avalon Hanover stopped the teletimer at 1:54.2 in his first-ever victory, matching the effort of earlier elimination winner Stock. Another Menary trainee, Lucky Sport, won the third elimination in a more sedate 1:56.4. In Monday’s final Stock will start from the outside Post 8 while Lucky Sport gets the trailing Post 9.

“There’s some top notch horses in there I think; some fast horses,” said McNair, who finished second by a neck to Lucky Sport with Southwind Grizzly in the elimination round and will be taking a shot at his fourth Battle of Waterloo title in Monday’s final. “It should be a fun race.”

The Industry Day undercard also includes three divisions of three-year-old pacing colts in the Grassroots series of the Ontario Sires Stakes; a Commemorative Mile to celebrate 250 years of horse racing in Canada; a memorial race for former Grand River Raceway Simulcast Manager Yvon Giguere.

As always, Industry Day offers many other delights:

• All-Access Kids’ Pass is available onsite for $5 and includes face painting, balloon artists, bouncy castles, pony rides and a petting zoo (1:00 – 4:30 p.m.).

• Enter to win one of 12 prizes valued at more than $3,000 including a $250 wager for the Battle of Waterloo, designer purses and watches and a Kid Trax Dodge Viper.

• Enter to win a $500 credit towards the purchase of a share of a racehorse with thestable.ca, complements of HPIbet.

• Free flip-flops complements of Ontario Racing.

• Pick The Winner contest for the Battle of Waterloo, presented by Standardbred Canada. The winner receives a $50 I Love Canadian Harness Racing prize pack.

• Meet ‘N Greet with Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society ambassador Ruff Me Up (1:00 – 3:00 p.m.).

• Half-Time Show (after Race #5) featuring prize tosses and the 13th annual Drivers’ Edition of the Bouncy Pony Stakes.

• ‘Good Luck’ banner for guests to sign, wishing driver James MacDonald best wishes as he represents Canada in the upcoming World Driving Championship. Standardbred Canada will present MacDonald with the banner following Race 8.

• Best of Show competition presented by the Ontario Harness Horse Association. Fifteen cash prizes totaling $1,500 are awarded to the caretakers of horses racing on Industry Day.

Greg Blanchard from The Raceway at Western Fair District and Mark McKelvie from the Woodbine Entertainment Group return to provide commentary for the broadcast which will kick off at 1:00 p.m.

Monday Entries - Industry Day 2017

Industry Day Race Program

Live streaming video (starts at 1:00 p.m. EST on Aug. 7)

The event hashtag is #industryday27

(with files from OSS and Grand River Raceway)


view counter
 
 
 

© 2017 Standardbred Canada. All rights reserved. Use of this site signifies your agreement and compliance with the legal disclaimer and privacy policy.

Firefox 3 Best with IE 7 Built with Drupal