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owdc logoEvent expands to 5 tracks in 2022

Hanover, ON - June 9, 2022 - The OLG Ontario Women's Driving Championship is returning in 2022, after a very successful first season at both Hanover Raceway and Dresden Raceway.  This year the championship will add three additional race tracks, with Grand River Raceway, Leamington Raceway and the Raceway at Western Fair District all hosting a stop in the Championship.

OLG returns as the title sponsor, with Ontario Racing back as a significant sponsor.

“Supporting the OLG Ontario Women's Driving Championship for a second straight year is an important part of OLG's ongoing commitment to the horse racing sector in Ontario,” said Tina MacMillan, OLG's Vice President of Horse Racing and Casino Operations. “We're proud to help showcase some of Ontario's amazing female drivers as an example of the growing diversity of talent we are seeing enter the sport. Promoting greater inclusivity within the industry builds on our efforts to create a sustainable future for horse racing across the province.”

Also, Graham's Racing Silks has signed on as a sponsor, providing a custom summer set of colours as a prize for the winning driver of the series.

“Ontario Racing is proud to support the OLG Ontario Women's Driving Championship taking place at five Standardbred racetracks in Ontario,” said John Hayes, Chair, Ontario Racing Board of Directors. “Thank you to Hanover Raceway, Dresden Raceway, Leamington Raceway, Grand River Raceway and The Raceway at Western Fair for their innovative approach to creating more opportunities and awareness for the women in Ontario Standardbred racing.”

Each race track will have five races on a race card as part of the series. The Championship will also add two additional drivers this season, providing additional driving opportunities to more female drivers.

Natasha Day, last year's winning driver, is glad to be back and sees the bigger picture of this event helping to foster women drivers at the highest level. “It's a great feeling to be asked back to participate in this year's Women's Driving Championship. As always, it's great to help support local tracks and great that they are now coming on board to support women drivers of Ontario. Hopefully this is the beginning of a long-standing relationship with sponsors and tracks to help promote women in harness racing and we see a champion driver of the future come through the ranks because of this competition,” said Day.

Driver Maggie Jones is looking forward to returning and being part of the series, as well as helping raise much needed funds for Harness the Hope. "It is a huge honour to be included in this event.  The competition will be tough - these women are all accomplished horsewomen and fierce competitors."

"Being able to support and raise awareness for such great causes is wonderful. As someone who went through a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in the past year, being able to give back and perhaps also give a ray of hope to anyone experiencing something similar is very rewarding," said Jones.

"We are excited to return and expand the footprint of our event to three additional race tracks. The opportunity to put more spotlight on and showcase many of the best female drivers in the province and to encourage more equality and inclusion in our sport is very important to us and we're proud to be playing a role in doing so. Last year's event was very successful, and we look to follow it up with another great Driving Championship this season," commented Hanover Raceway General Manager Steve Fitzsimmons, the founder of the event.
 
The series will be a fundraiser at each stop for Harness The Hope, a breast cancer charity founded by the Dustin family 17 years ago, that has deep roots within the harness racing community.  Each driver will donate their driving earnings for the series to the cause, and each race track will have individual fundraising initiatives on-site to contribute to the cause.

Kristy Dustin, the co-founder of Harness the Hope, is very grateful to be involved as the charity recipient of the OWDC.

"The strength and generosity of these participating drivers, hosting race tracks and industry participants is nothing short of astonishing. We are beyond humbled to be the recipient of this year's OLG Ontario Women's Driving Challenge, which will directly help those who have to face a cancer diagnosis through support programs, awareness and research in Ontario," said Dustin.

"Grand River Raceway is pleased to host a leg of the 2022 OLG Ontario Women's Driving Championships,” said Jamie Martin, Raceway Manager at Grand River Raceway. “We are excited to showcase Ontario's top women drivers while sharing the great fundraising efforts of Harness The Hope to our audience and community.”

Participating Drivers in 2022 are:

- Marie Claude Auger
- Natasha Day (Returning Champion)
- Marielle Enberg
- Pam Forgie
- Samara Johnson
- Maggie Jones
- Brittany Kennedy
- Debi O'Brien-Moran
- Julie Walker

The OWDC series schedule is:

Hanover Raceway
   - Saturday, July 16th
Dresden Raceway
   - Sunday, July 17th
Grand River Raceway
   - Friday, August 12th
Leamington Raceway
   - Sunday, September 25th
The Raceway at Western Fair District
   - Friday, October 14th

 

June 3, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hanover Raceway and Dresden Raceway are pleased to announced the final two drivers to complete this year's field for the 2021 OLG Ontario Women's Driving Championship.

Marielle Enberg and Pam Forgie will join the field, which already includes Marie-Claude Auger, Natasha Day, Maggie Jones, Britt Kennedy, Andrea Leon and Julie Walker.

Drivers will donate their driving earnings to the Canadian Cancer Society (for Cervical Cancer) at Hanover Raceway and to Harness The Hope (Breast Cancer research/services) at Dresden Raceway. There will also be fundraising initiatives taking place at each track for their respective charities.

The first day of the event will take place at Hanover Raceway on Saturday, July 17th, followed by races at Dresden Raceway on Sunday, July 18th. Each track will hold five races exclusively for the competition, with drivers earning points, depending on how they place, on an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

"We are very pleased to add both Marielle and Pam to our field of drivers and look forward to having them participate in our event." commented Hanover Raceway General Manager Steve Fitzsimmons.

For additional information about the event, please contact Hanover Raceway General Manager, Steve Fitzsimmons at 519-901-4360 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Marie Claude Auger

Natasha Day

Marielle Enberg

Pam Forgie

Maggie Jones

Britt Kennedy

Andrea Leon

Julie Walker

 

May 10, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hanover Raceway and Dresden Raceway are pleased to announce the OLG Ontario Women's Driving Championship — a new partnership initiative for 2021 that will see top female drivers from Ontario compete over two days.

The first day of the event will take place at Hanover Raceway on Saturday, July 17, followed by races at Dresden Raceway on Sunday, July 18. Each track will hold five races exclusively for the competition, with drivers earning points, depending on how they place, on an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.  

Drivers will donate their driving earnings to the Canadian Cancer Society (for Cervical Cancer) at Hanover Raceway and to Harness The Hope (for Breast Cancer) at Dresden Raceway. There will also be fundraising initiatives taking place at each track for their respective charities.

Eight Ontario drivers will be participating in the event, including Marie-Claude Auger, Natasha Day, Maggie Jones, Britt Kennedy, Andrea Leon and Julie Walker. There will also be two special guest drivers from other jurisdictions rounding out the field — if allowed under COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Hanover Raceway General Manager, Steve Fitzsimmons is very happy to introduce this initiative.

"This championship will put a spotlight and showcase many of the best female drivers in the province and give them a chance to compete for the Ontario title. Down the road we hope to have stops at most race tracks in Ontario for this event. I'm thrilled that OLG has come on board as our title sponsor. They saw the value of this initiative from the start and we're very happy to have them partnering with us. I also want to thank Jonathan Zammit and Ontario Racing for their strong support of this event," said Fitzsimmons.

For OLG’s President and CEO, Duncan Hannay, supporting the Ontario Women’s Driving Championship is an important part of his organization’s ongoing commitment to the horse racing sector in Ontario.

“We’re proud to support Ontario’s horse racing industry and to be part of an event that showcases some of Ontario’s amazing women drivers. The Ontario Women’s Driving Championship will also help to draw more diverse fans to the sport, which aligns with OLG’s goal of promoting equity, diversity and inclusion.” said Hannay.

Natasha Day, one of the participating drivers, is excited to be part of the event. 

"I’m looking forward to showcasing our women drivers in Ontario and I’m proud to be a part of an incentive to get women out on the race track and give opportunities to those who may not get a chance otherwise," said Day.

Dresden Raceway Track Announcer/Public Relations Director, Gary Patterson feels this event will be a must watch competition.  

"We'll have many of the best Ontario female drivers, as well as a few special guest drivers. It will be a fun competition to watch and very competitive, as they try to win the Ontario title," said Patterson.

Ontario Racing Executive Director, Jonathan Zammit feels this is an exciting event that fans and the industry alike will appreciate.

"Ontario Racing is very proud to be working with Hanover Raceway and Dresden Raceway on this exciting competition.  Showcasing the outstanding drivers and horse people that compete in Ontario is something we are always interested in. Events like the OLG Ontario Women’s Driving Championship further solidify Ontario’s reputation as a premier racing destination," commented Zammit.

Although the competitors will be donating their driving earnings to the respective charities, the event will have a $2,000 purse, with the prize money being awarded to the top five in the championship, on a 50-25-12-8-5 basis.

For additional information about the event, please contact Hanover Raceway General Manager, Steve Fitzsimmons at 519-901-4360 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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