After two months of imposed shutdown, Ontario’s harness racing industry will return to action on Friday (June 11) with cards at Grand River Raceway and Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Grand River Raceway will kick off its 2021 harness racing season with a 10-race card at 6:30 p.m., while 30 minutes later and 40 minutes to the southeast, Woodbine Mohawk Park will resume its meet racing with an 11-race program.
Headlining the Mohawk card is a $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred, which sports a field of six in the evening’s third race. The field includes 2020 O’Brien Award winner So Much More, who will take her first steps onto the track since last winning at this class on April 2. James MacDonald is listed to drive the Don Beatson trainee fresh from his deployment to the U.S. in field including a pair of Carmen Auciello trainees, Ivana Flybye N and Itty Bitty, and a duo of Ashleigh Hensley pupils: Major League N and Rose Run Victory. Karma Seelster rounds the field with Doug McNair, also returning north from time racing in the U.S., listed to drive.
Top reinsmen Trevor Henry, Jody Jamieson, Bob McClure and Louis-Philippe Roy are also listed to drive on the Friday card. Those four also ventured south of the border to race during the Ontario shutdown with Henry and Roy going to Indiana, Jamieson to Tioga in New York and McClure to the tri-state area for Luc Blais’ stable.
The featured event at Grand River comes in the card’s nightcap – an $8,200 conditioned pace. Sauble Attack, starting from post six, enters on a three-race win streak dating to September of last year. Anthony Haughan pilots the Otis Hall trainee in a field including Similingbillythekid, who finished runner-up in the Autumn Series Final at Western Fair last year. George Ketros trains and drives that son of Betterthancheddar from post 3.
Several Canadian drivers are listed to make their return north at Grand River. Brett MacDonald has three drives after racing down at Freehold and Harrah’s Philadelphia, as well as Travis Henry, who raced at Northfield and Buffalo Raceway during the shutdown. Austin Sorrie has five drives after a brief stint back at home in P.E.I. while Colin Kelly flew to Alberta at the start of June, driving some horses for his brother Dave Kelly who was sidelined in a spill last month.