Latest News

 

Dash Winning Driver & Top Percentage Leading Driver - Doug McNair

McNair enters our final race card of the season with 37 wins and a commanding 20 win lead over his nearest driving competitor, as well as an amazing .525 UDR at the Raceway.  He wins this year's Leading Driver and Top Percentage Driver Titles.

This season was like coming home for McNair, who spent much of his youth in nearby Walkerton, Ontario and grew up on the grounds of the Raceway on Saturday nights.

His season included a seven win performance on August 15th and capturing his first ever Dream of Glory Title, driving Remember Titans to a mild upset victory.

The Woodbine Mohawk Park regular can now also add 2020 Hanover Raceway Driving Titles to his resume.

 

Dash Winning Trainer - Patrick Shepherd

In 51 starts going into today's card, Shepherd has chalked up 15 wins in 51 starts, giving him a commanding 7 win lead and the 2020 Hanover Raceway Leading Trainer's Award.

Horses in his care posted 24 on the board finishes and gave their trainer a .379 UTRS at the Raceway.

 

Ray and Lue Leifso Award
(Leading Non-Driving Percentage Trainer with top UTRS - Minimum 15 seasonal starts)

To be decided on the final day's race card.  It's too close to call.  Several trainers still with a chance to win it.

This award was named in remembrance of Ray and Lue Leifso, who raced here consistently and were massive supporters of the Raceway in its early days.  Their family connection to the Raceway continues to this day, as their son Dean is Hanover Raceway's Chairman.

 

Ab Fleishauer Horse of the Year - Deputy Seelster

The 3 year old Thinking Out Loud Colt bred by Seelster Farms made his presence felt at the Raceway in his rookie season.  He registered 4 wins, a second and a third in 10 seasonal starts, earning $11,090 and posting a mark of 158.4.  Deputy Seelster is trained by Dale Fritz and owned by Fritz and his partners Mike Sawyer of Walkerton, Edward Acheson of Proton Station and BWP Stable of Toronto.

This award was named in honour of one of the founding members of Hanover Raceway, who was also a horse owner and Judge.

 

Claimer of the Year - Destiny Cruise

The  classy 13 year old Badlands Hanover mare was the Queen of the $7,000 claiming handicap, registering 5 wins in 8 starts at the Raceway, stashing away $9,215 in earnings at the Raceway.

Trained by Patrick Shepherd for owner Cameron McQueen of London, the mare has earned $252,468 in her career and has 60 lifetime wins and counting to her credit.

 

Bud Fritz Rising Star Award - Driver, Austin Sorrie

Austin Sorrie's talent and potential has been on full display this season at the Raceway.  In only his 3rd season driving, the 20 year old PEI native posted 11 wins, 14 seconds and 10 thirds in 79 starts at the Raceway and $45,815 in earnings, along with a .280 UDRS.  He has also passed $1,000,000 in career driving earnings this season and is on pace to post career highs in all categories.

The young man from PEI has a bright future ahead.

The Bud Fritz Rising Star Award is awarded to an up and coming Trainer or Driver who races at Hanover Raceway and who shows strong potential to continue to grow and become a star in our industry in the future.

by Steve Fitzsimmons

It has been a very odd type of season, with everything that we've had to contend with regarding Covid 19.  It started with our race track having only essential personnel and horse people and no fans allowed and has ended with a limited number of only 100 fans able to attend.

First of all, I want to give a huge thank you to the horsemen and women who have supported our race track with their attendance and the entry of their horses.  You are the show and a great show this season it was.   We also appreciate you rolling with the punches on the protocols we have had to deal with together, to keep us safe.  I know it was different for all of us, but you dealt with it without complaint.  For that I say thank you.

As many of you are aware, this was my first season as the General Manager of Hanover Raceway.  Even in the middle of a pandemic, it was a pleasure to be here and to be a part of helping to make the Raceway  be the best it can be.  It's a team effort and I can honestly say that we have a fantastic group of employees, who all take great pride and care in their work and who have done a tremendous job.

To everyone at home and those who have been able to come to the track, thank you so very much for all of your support, encouragement and positive messages.   With your support this season, we expect our wagering will be up over 90% compared to last year!  Many of you have told us how much you enjoy our broadcast of the races, as well as our pre-game show and between races commentary.

We appreciate that and it's been a lot of fun bringing that to you every week.  Tony Elliott did a great job in his role as our Analyst.  For a rookie, he performed like a seasoned veteran and was also my Assistant here at the Raceway.  He was a huge part of our success this season and should be very proud of his efforts.  I know I am.

We had great moments this season.  One big one was Remember Titans winning the Dream of Glory final in a modest upset, giving Driver Doug McNair his first Dream of Glory win and making a winner of the large Landmark 12 Ownership group that owns Remember Titans.  I'm told there are over 60 owners.   About 15 of them were here that day and made it quite an atmosphere.

We also had the poignant victory of Sweet Soul David in the Balanced Image final, a horse named after Driver Denis St. Pierre's 18 year old son, who passed away a couple years ago in an unfortunate motorcycling accident.  St. Pierre was in the bike and visibly moved that his son's namesake delivered when it mattered most.   It was a touching scene in the winner's circle that brought a tear even to the most hardened observer.

There were also two appearances from the all-time winningest mare in Canadian racing history, 12 year old Rustys Flying, who chalked up wins number 102 and 103 in her hard knocking career. We're glad we could be a small part on the journey of this iron tough lady.

As we look forward to next season, we all share the hope that we'll be able to have as many of you who wish to come to the race track, to be able to do so.  Thanks again and stay healthy and safe and see you all in 2021.



Steve Fitzsimmons is the General Manager of Hanover Raceway.

Follow him on Twitter @playbyplayguy

 

Doug McNair

by Tony Elliott

Doug McNair is one of Canada's top drivers and has been a regular at Hanover Raceway this season. McNair has accumulated 33 wins and over $155,000 in earnings through 13 race dates at Hanover Raceway. He also leads the Nation with 187 wins, adding to his over 3500 career wins and career earnings of just under 60 million. McNair also added the 2020 Dream Of Glory title to his list of driving accomplishments earlier this season.

Date of birth/Place of birth?

I was born in Windsor, Ontario on December 29th, 1989.

How did you get involved with horse racing?

I got involved in the business through my family, both parents and grandparents were involved.

What would your career be if you didn't drive horses?

NHL hockey player.

Describe your driving style?

Aggressive, I like to give them a shot to win.

Favourite win of your career?

My favourite win of my career is my 2017 Breeders Crown win with Stay Hungry. I always wanted to win one of those.

Long term goals in racing?

I just hope to keep doing my best and be up on top or close to the top as long as I can. It would be great to get into the 100 million club (elite club of 100 million career earning drivers).

How has your experience been driving at Hanover Raceway this year?

I had a great summer up there, I got to drive a lot of the better horses and I got to see a lot of people I usually wouldn't see every week.



Tony Elliott is the Assistant to The General Manager of Hanover Raceway.

Follow him on Twitter @elliottracing99

 

PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hanover Raceway Introduces New Season Ending Award 

"The Bud Fritz Rising Star Award"

North America Cup Winner

Hanover Raceway is pleased to announce a new season ending award, named in honour of Harness Racing Hall of Fame Driver and Trainer William "Bud" Fritz.

The Walkerton native had a phenomenal career as both a Trainer and Driver, that included a North America Cup victory with Apaches Fame, a horse he developed, trained and drove to winnings of almost 1.8 Million dollars.   He also developed A Worthy Lad, who he trained and drove to 30 consecutive victories and who was undefeated before being exported to Sweden. He developed many other notable performers, including Silver Reign, Annie Ivy, Misty Silver, Queens Arms, Tommys Becky, Silver Wraith, Trudys Omaha, Caroles Omaha and Halos Girl.

Fritz won an O'Brien Award as Canada's Horseman of the Year on three occasions, in 1986, 1989 and 1990 and won the O'Brien Award as Canada's Trainer of the year in 1990.  He was inducted into Canada's Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.

He raced regularly at Hanover Raceway, in fact for more than 40 years and has multiple Trainer and Drivers titles to his credit.   His Burgundy and White colours continue to be a familiar sight at the Raceway, with his sons Dale and Terry racing here on a regular basis.

Daryl Thiessen

by Tony Elliott

Where did you grow up?

Elm Creek Manitoba. It's a little farming and ranching community west of Winnipeg. My vision of heaven on earth. Very hot summers and extremely harsh winters. Can't be soft growing up in the creek or you won't make it long.
 
How did you get involved with horse racing?

My dad and grandpa used to own a few race horses with Richard Rey and Al Brooking. They owned a old Hanover bred pacer named Solo Ike who retired and died on the family farm. I learned to ride and drive the classy old fella right there in Elm Creek. He will always hold a special place in my heart.

Gail Murray - 32 years of service

by Tony Elliott

Throughout the history of Hanover Raceway, many dedicated individuals have blessed the Grey County oval with their hard work. However, one individual in particular has gone above the call of duty for the track. That person is Gail Murray, or as many know her, "Gail in the Race Office."

Trainer John Kennedy and R Thinking Monster

by Steve Fitzsimmons

There is an old adage that people tend to recite in the racing business, saying "Racing is in your blood." For Hanover native and long-time trainer John Kennedy that appears to be very true. Kennedy grew up watching and helping his father Howard with his stable of horses from a very early age. " We used to have a bunch of cheap claimers and we always raced here (Hanover Raceway). It was our main place all summer, the same as it still is now." Kennedy said chuckling. "There were nights we'd have six or seven horses in. This was usually the only place we raced. In the winter time it was Orangeville and Barrie, but Hanover was our summer time track." said Kennedy.

Kennedy has been in the business for 40 years now, initially as both a Driver and Trainer, (He has 189 career driving wins and $604,771 in earnings) but since 2012 has been exclusively a trainer. " I drove until about 2012, but it's a young guys game now. It's nice to get the young guys on the horses. It was nice, but I'm enjoying training a lot more. I also had two operations on one knee." said Kennedy, who stables at Hanover Raceway.

by Tony Elliott

In the sport of harness racing, there is more than one way to make a living. Becky Geisel has spent the majority of her career training aged horses and takes great pride in getting the most out of these great war horses. Geisel, a resident of Hanover, grew up like many in the racing business, spending endless hours at the barn with her family and their horses. The Geisel family has a rich history in racing and like her father and uncles before her, Becky Geisel carries on the family tradition.

Geisel fell in love with the sport growing up and always enjoyed being around the family’s horses. “I was driving horses when I was 8 and I couldn’t get enough of it. Everything in the barn, I either jogged it or rode it, if I could persuade them to let me.” Geisel joked. After spending her childhood in the barn, Geisel ventured to Mohawk Racetrack to work in security at the track, shortly after getting a diploma in college for Security.  It didn't take long however for Geisel to return to racing, ending up working for trainers around Mohawk and then returning home to Hanover to work for Trainer Mark Etsell. After learning many of the tricks of the trade, Geisel ventured out on her own and began training horses in her own stable.

Ryan Clements

by Tony Elliott

Ryan Clements was born into the heart of harness racing, growing up on Prince Lee Acres in Uxbridge, Ontario. Clements is third generation in the racing business, following the footsteps of his father Dan and grandfather Norm. Norm Clements, in the 1980s, began buying racehorses and found himself owning half of one of the greatest horses of all time. This horse was the 1982 and 1983 horse of the year, Cam Fella. Cam Fella was launching pad for the breeding farm, Prince Lee Acres, that still has 10 broodmares to this day.

Building off the family's early success, Clements' father, Dan Clements was a very successful driver with just under 20 million in career earnings and over 2500 wins. He now trains many of the horses with the P L (Prince Lee) distinction and also trains two for his son, Ryan.

Ryan Clements' path into the industry is much different than the two generations before him. Clements' parents saw the potential hardships of the industry and encouraged him to find a different path. Fortunately for Clements, the love for racing was already instilled in him. After being encouraged to stay out of the racing business, Clements found himself in second year university with an idea that would propel himself into the industry. "Online Harness Owner" was launched as a fractional ownership group after Clements and his cousin, Matt, realized they did not have the funds to purchase racehorses on their own. The business thrived to top a million dollars in purses and add on 30 racehorses for over 100 different owners. The business grew exponentially to the point that Clements' dropped out of university as this business pursuit was taking up much of his time. After some difficulties with the business, it was dissolved, but the business was an eye opening experience for Clements.

Original Article: by Garnet Barnsdale, contributing writer found at DownTheStretch

Nobody has worked harder in Ontario in 2020 to promote their on-track product than the new management team at Hanover Raceway and it’s paid off handsomely so far.

General Manager Steve Fitzsimmons indicated he is elated with the response to several new promotional initiatives which have led to handle jumping by more than double, even though the racing is happening in front of empty stands.

“We’re quite thrilled with the interest in our product in the first two race dates and our handles,” Fitzsimmons beamed. “There’s no question that our Board of Directors’ decision to move to the 2 pm afternoon post time and away from some of the bigger players on Saturday night has paid dividends.”

by Steve Fitzsimmons

Fans who have visited Hanover Raceway in the past 34 years have likely heard the long-time sound track of the Raceway, the voice of Rick Rier - who has been the track announcer in multiple stints over that period. His career started innocently enough at the age of 16, when his Uncle Randy Rier suggested he give announcing a try. " The race track needed an announcer, after Billy Kell who had done it for many years had retired and they were looking for someone and there wasn't really anybody around and Uncle Randy said "Rick you're always here, why don't you go try it." I tried it and really enjoyed it and that was the start of this journey." Rier explained.

After his first season calling the action for Hanover, Rier got the call from the now defunct Orangeville Raceway, when then General Manager Mike Stoikopoulos reached out and offered him the job at their race track, which Rier called " A great opportunity." He called races at that half mile oval for many years. He also eventually became the Track Announcer for Elmira Raceway (the predecessor to Grand River Raceway) and at one point was doing all three tracks, with only Tuesdays off.

June 13, 2020 - Hanover Raceway offered 10 exciting races to horseplayers and fans. Fans were able to watch from the comfort of their own home through Youtube, Facebook and Hanover Raceway website.

Hanover Raceway Triple Double

It was a triple double afternoon at Hanover Raceway, Bruce Richardson, Ryan Holliday and Doug McNair each won two races a piece over the 10 racecard. Bruce Richardson stole the show in the Catch Driver Showdown, sealing the deal with a $34 winner to take home this weeks prize.

Big Sir and Grandpe Knows Best Go Back to Back

Big Sir and Grandpe Knows Best become the winningest horses at Hanover Raceway this season by winning a race on both race days thus far.

Big Sir, a 3 year old Big Jim gelding, took the lead early on and played catch me if you can with Ryan Holliday in the bike. Doug McNair and Deputy Seelster made Big Sir work all the way to the wire to earn his second victory of the season, closing the last quarter in 28 seconds.

Grandpe Knows Best, a 3 year old Badlands Hanover gelding, moved up in class after last weeks win to face a tougher class. The class did not prove to be much of a challenge for Doug McNair and Grandpe Knows Best as they cruised to a 2 length victory over nearest competitor.

Inaugural Hanover Raceway Pick 4, sponsored by Catch Driver

The new pick 4 proved popular with horseplayers and paid well for those who were able to hit the ticket. The Pick 4 paid $90.65 on a $1 pick 4 ticket.

Hanover Raceway wagered well over $60,000 for the second straight Saturday. Horseplayers pushed $65,280 through advance deposit wagering windows from all over North America.

Hanover Raceway is back in action next Saturday June 20th at 2:00 pm, when they host the Inaugural leg of the Prospect Series. Hanover Raceway offers live racing action through their YouTube, Facebook and website for fans to enjoy and wagering is available through HPI Bet.

Catch Driver Showdown

Drivers at Hanover Raceway this summer will have a little something extra to race for as they line up behind the gate this Saturday and every week this season thanks to the Catch Driver Showdown.

The Showdown is a season-long driving championship, but with a unique twist. Drivers will receive points based on the two-dollar win, place and show payouts for horses they drive.

The top driver each week will win a prize from Catch Driver, and the grand champion at the end of the season will receive a sponsorship offer from Catch Driver that includes a brand new custom helmet. Should the winning driver choose to accept the offer, they will represent Catch Driver and The Farm Games, and receive other perks including a product allowance, branding and design from The Farm Games' team, promotion and more.

"We are very excited to partner with The Farm Games to bring this new take on a drivers' challenge to our track! This innovative competition format gives any driver a chance to win a sponsorship opportunity from an industry leading company," said Tony Elliott, assistant to the general manager at Hanover Raceway.

(article from Standardbred Canada)

Perfect weather and great competition were the order of the day as Hanover Raceway kicked off the 2020 Harness Racing season on June 6th. The new afternoon post-time of 2:00 PM seemed popular as fans tuned into the action through the Live Streaming options on the website, YouTube, Facebook and HPIbet.

Speaking of close competition, none were closer than the 3rd Race where #3 Destiny Cruise (D Mcnair / P Shepherd) and #4 W C Kenzie Cookie (J Ryan / T Symes) finished in a Dead Heat (photo above) with a time of 2:00.4 over the 1 mile pace.

This weeks Survivor Challenge saw 64 Entries with 2 remaining after the 5th race yet both missed the top 3 in the 6th. Each player receives a $50 deposit into their HPIbet account. Free to play, the Survivor Challenge is a weekly promotion posted each Thursday and available to enter online right up to post-time on Saturday.

photo by Ryan Clements

by Steve Fitzsimmons

After almost a full two years on the shelf, 6 year old Charmbo Chrome re-surfaced in a Qualifying race at the Raceway on Saturday, May 30th, trotting home to a 206.1 win, with a two second allowance for track condition, but there's more than meets the eye with his return to the races.

A homebred trotting son of Manofmanymissions owned by local Trainer Randy Rier and his brother John (Jack), it's been a long road back for the former Woodbine Mohawk Park regular, who last raced on June 15th, 2018.

Rick Rier, Track Announcer
Rick Rier, Track Announcer
Fans at home with have the chance to catch some live Harness Racing action, as Hanover Raceway will broadcast live their Qualifiers on Saturday, May 30th, beginning at 11:45am, with a quick pre-game show with Tony Elliott, then up to the booth with Track Announcer Rick Rier, who will call the action.
 
“We’re very pleased that we are able to broadcast the Qualifiers for our fans, who are unable to come to the track due to current restrictions.  These races will be available on our Facebook live, our YouTube Channel and on our website www.hanoverraceway.com.” said Hanover Raceway General Manager Steve Fitzsimmons.
Mike Strome
Mike Strome, Starter

Hanover Raceway is pleased to announce that Mike Strome will be their new Starter for the 2020 Racing Season. Strome brings with him a wealth of experience as a Starter, including being the Back-up Starter at Mohawk Raceway (now called Woodbine Mohawk Park) from 2009 to 2016 and their Starter for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, which included being the Official Starter for 2 North America Cups and all Stakes races held at Canada's top race track.

The Guelph native has a long history in Harness Racing, including being a Trainer and Driver for more than 20 years, following in the footsteps of his father being in the business.

"We are delighted to have Mike join our Hanover Raceway family and with his strong background and experience, we are quite confident he'll be an excellent Starter for our race track."  commented Hanover Raceway General Manager Steve Fitzsimmons.

Holliday won the 2019 Balanced Image Trot Final, steering Aphrodite Duke to victory in 201.0, for trainer Andrew McCabe and Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Wallenstein. (photo by Tiffany Chantal photography)

by Tony Elliott

As the old saying goes, "There's no place like home." For Ryan Holliday, Hanover Raceway feels very much like his second home and as the 2019 Leading Driver for wins, has the evidence to prove it.  Holliday, a native of Mount Forest, just a half hour south of the Raceway, enjoys spending his summers showing off his driving skills at the track.

The 32 year old Holliday, who has been now been driving for 12 years, has accumulated 1093 wins and over 7.3 million dollars in purse earnings in his career to date.

Holliday was raised in a Harness Racing family, learning the ropes from both his father David, as well as his Grandfather.  After stepping away for a few years as teenager, he returned and began jogging and training horses.  After experiencing the thrill of training,  Holliday felt the strong pull towards becoming a driver in the sport. “Everyone wants to be a driver.” said Holliday.

Vicki Gregg with Carsons Shadow

by Tony Elliott

Harness Racing has always been a family affair for Vicki Gregg, a long-time trainer based at Hanover Raceway. The grand-daughter of Hall of Famer Allan Walker on her mother's side, she comes by being involved in the business quite honestly.

Growing up in a racing family, she has developed a love for the sport that continues to this day. Her mother Jean, was a Driver and Trainer before having a family, while her father Peter Thibaudeau, was also long-time Trainer, who later got involved on the administrative side of the business, as the former Race Secretary of both Hanover Raceway and the former Owen Sound Race Track.

We have VERY Exciting News for the upcoming season!

We will now be offering a High Definition (HD) live stream of our live racing on YouTube and Facebook Live platforms.

The Live stream will be still available on our website, but will have upgraded quality.

This is an exciting upgrade to our current racing product and will make viewing/wagering our track even better!