While the fans weren’t in the stands, Grand River Raceway kicked off its 2020 season with a 10-race card on Friday evening (June 5) in Elora, Ont.
Ozzie Young and driver Paul MacKenzie took the featured first race, a $8,200 pace for non-winners of $25,000, as racing got underway spectator-free due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a recall at the start, the three-year-old Hes Watching colt got away fourth from a second tier start then rallied off cover to post a 1:56 victory by 2-1/2 lengths over front-striding favourites Dylans Bank and Frontier Cruise.
Sent postward as the 6-1 third choice, Ozzie Young paid $15.60 to win.
After going winless in 10 starts as freshman, Ozzie Young won five of his six starts earlier this year before the pandemic shut down racing operations across the province. Back in action, his seventh career victory bumped his bankroll to nearly $30,000 for trainer Ken Oliver and owner Milton Young of Paradise, Nfld.
Total handle for the season-opening card was $386,740, up significantly from $134,012 wagered on the same night last year.
Live harness racing will continue on most Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights at Grand River through September 25, with first race post time at 6 p.m.
To view Friday’s harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results – Grand River Raceway.