2016 Race Season Summary

Grand River Raceway 2016 season summary

ELORA, ON — Grand River Raceway wrapped up its 13th live harness racing season on September 28.

The track raced 48 days in 2016 — one less than in 2015 when the track’s wager was up a record 36 percent over 2014.

The all-sources wager in 2016 totaled $9,493,601 and the on-track wager was $934,279. While the number of races decreased from 509 to 491 (a difference of 3.5 percent) in 2016, the wager per race increased by 3.6 percent (all-sources) and three percent (on-track). The wager per card of racing increased two percent.

According to statistics provided by Standardbred Canada, the number of horses which started at Grand River Raceway in 2016 was down seven percent (from 4,323 in 2015 to 4,034 in 2016). The number of unique starters was down 11 percent (from 1,603 to 1,425).  The numbers reflect an average number of starters per race from 8.5 in 2015 to 8.2 in 2016.

The Elora, ON track kicked off the live racing season on a high note, having recently won a prestigious 2016 Business Excellence Award in the category of Hospitality/Tourism. The award was presented by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Of Commerce.

The race meet featured many new and annual events, including the 26th annual Industry Day celebration on the afternoon of August 1. The fan-favourite event saw a record handle of $481,230 wagered on the 11-race card, an increase of 54 percent over the record set in 2015. A crowd of approximately 4,000 people on-track wagered $87,890.

Award-winning equine photographer Dave Landry took the third annual Media Race during the first Friday night of the card on June 3.

Guelph resident James MacDonald was a big winner when Grand River Raceway hosted the Ontario Regional Driving Championship on June 24. MacDonald and runner-up Trevor Henry advance to the National Driving Championship on October 14 at The Raceway at Western Fair District in hopes of representing Canada in the 2017 World Driving Championship.

MacDonald was back in the winner’s circle a few weeks later for a tiny-yet-huge victory. Despite the weather, the second annual Ren’s Pets Depot Wiener Dog Races showcased between the horse races on July 8, drew a record crowd. Tank, owned by MacDonald and his wife Jenna, emerged the winner of the 30 tiny entrants.

In cooperation with the Hands On Horses Program, more than 500 people drove a Standardbred racehorse on the track at Grand River Raceway this season during events such as the annual Open House and Wanna Drive nights.

The race season saw four new track records, all set during Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) action. L A Delight paced to her seventh consecutive OSS Gold victory with a track record-equaling performance of 1:53.1 for filly sophomores during the Industry Day card. On August 10, freshman miss Sweet Of My Heart trotted to a new divisional record of 1:58.4. On the same card, Sass recorded his sixth career win in 1:56.3, a new best for three-year-old trotting colts. In the following race, Will Take Charge won in 1:55.2 to replace the track record for sophomore trotting geldings.

Driver Bob McClure of Elora topped the driver standings for the duration of the meet to secure his second consecutive title with 84 wins. Hall Of Famer Bob McIntosh won his first Grand River Raceway training title with 12 wins.

During the shoulder season, Grand River Raceway continues to provide simulcast wagering seven days/nights a week. The track’s Meetings & Events Services also operate year-round, offering unique rental spaces and amenities with complete catering options for business and social gatherings.

The off-season special events line-up includes a Terror Trivia Halloween Party on October 22, when teams of four square off for $250 in prizes. The popular Musical Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre productions will be showcased in November and December, plus February, March, September, November and December (of 2017).

Although a confirmed schedule is not yet available, live racing is tentatively set to return to Grand River Raceway at the start of June 2017.

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Kelly Spencer
Mgr. Marketing & Communications
Grand River Raceway
Office: (519) 846-5455 ext. 238