A brand new season at The Raceway started up on Friday, October 4th... The half-mile track - located in London, Ontario - has been the strong number-two track for harness race wagering in Canada (second-best to Woodbine Mohawk Park) for a number of years now and coming back to an 'opening night record wager' may have caught some off guard, but not this guy... The record bet was $350K - a 59% increase over the opening night of 2018.
Another highlight on the opening card, of this 125-day meet, would be a new track for two-year-old pacing colt. Denali Seelster, a $34,000 purchase from the 2018 London Selected Yearling Sale, would win his $104,800 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for the Ratchford Stables of North Sydney, N.S.. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore and driven mostly by Sylvain Filion - the son of Sunshine Beach has now banked $108,820, this season, following a fourth-place finish in his $250K Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final last weekend.
Island-Owned Trot Mare Impressive
Meadowbranch Patsy - a lightly-raced trotting mare owned by William and Scott Roloson of Belfast, P.E.I., along with Princeton Farms of Ontario - is now unbeaten this season, at The Raceway, dating back to mid-January.
The four-year-old daughter of Explosive Matter began her racing career, south of the border in 2017, under conditioner Ake Svanstedt and then moved on to race out of Charlottetown, for the Roloson's, in 2018. She would then show up in London, this past January, where she'd romp away to win by thirteen lengths in 1:59.2 with Travis Henry aboard - an absolutely stunning trip on a cool winter night... And then she get some time off.
A 2:00.1 winning qualifier over a slow Flamboro track (3-second variant), in late September, would suggest that she'd be good to go right off the hop, here, on opening night and she would not disappoint... It would be an unchallenged gate-to-wire score in 1:58 flat for a new lifetime best and she'd come right back, the following week, to match that 1:58 mark. From just 23 starts - this impressive mare now has 9 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds with $50K earned. I'd like to see her race and win, here in London, a few more times this Fall - that could put her right in the hunt for a 'trotter of the year award' at The Raceway.
Maritime Invaders Win
It's always a pleasure to take note of the 'Maritime invaders' debuting in London. Gentle Warrior would show all kinds of heart in winning her first Ontario start after travelling first-up for a long ways in 2:00.2. The three-year-old Dali miss was campaigned by trainers Joe Janega and Gardner McCallum, when racing back east, but is now trained and driven by the father-son-team of Ron and Brett MacDonald
Shadow Trainer, a three-year-old trotting daughter of Armbro Barrister, has really taken to the London oval. She's now been first and second, in a pair of Raceway starts, after leaving the Gary Chappell camp of Charlottetown.