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Contests & Winners!


July Zoom Theme: Groom With A View!

This July we will celebrate National Caretaker Appreciation Day during the weekend of July 20-22 at racetracks across the country, and to honour the event the I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club has picked ‘Groom With A View’ as this month’s Zoom Photography theme.

Caretakers/grooms are the unsung heroes of harness racing. They are critical to the success of any horse in any stable, and are charged with the responsibility of making sure the horses they care for are happy and healthy, physically and emotionally.

We are looking for photos of grooms hard at work, doing what they do best. Seeing as though the list of tasks that grooms perform is rather endless, the photos can be of many different aspects of the job. Photos can be of grooms caring for and preparing their horses (grooming, bathing, jogging, paddocking, etc.), mucking stalls, cleaning harness, on the job at the races or at the barn, at home, on the road, etc.

The winner for this month will receive a $50 Fan Club prize package as well as an official National Caretaker Appreciation Day hat and t-shirt.

Please send your photo submissions to [email protected] or in a direct message to the Standardbred Canada Facebook Page.

The deadline to submit photos is Friday, July 27 at 5:00 p.m. (EST).


 MacLellan Named 2017 Harness Racing Ambassador

Each year the I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club reaches out to the industry in search of that special someone, that one person who goes above and beyond, represents the industry behind the scenes, and works tirelessly to promote and ensure the success of our sport. There is no question that our industry has many of those ‘special’ people who do this!

The Fan Club is pleased to announce that Damian MacLellan of Inverness, Nova Scotia has been selected as the 2017 Ambassador of the Year.

The 15-year-old is thrilled to have been chosen, and his mom, Priscilla, along with his older brother, Donald, couldn’t be more proud of him.

“I was really surprised to hear that I was nominated and selected as the 2017 Ambassador,” said Damian. “I am honoured to accept the award.”

Like many others from the Maritimes, Damian lives and breathes harness racing. With a family connection to the racing industry, he couldn’t resist his craving for the horses and has been wrapped up in the sport for as long as he can remember.

He started in the industry washing saddle pads on race days at Inverness Raceway. Since then he has thrown himself into the game full tilt and has owned, groomed, jogged and helped train several horses. In addition to being deeply involved in the care of the horses, Damian has also helped with fundraisers and special events at Inverness, along with overseeing stall assignments.

“I help out in the annual ‘Clean Our Racetrack Day,’ where all horsemen clean up and get the track ready for the upcoming season. On race days, I help horsemen that ship in with their stake horses find their stalls. I help with any fundraiser happening and help keep the track and grounds clean and maintained.”

Damian also has a knack for announcing and has been given the opportunity to announce the qualifiers at Inverness on many occasions. On August 21, 2016, he was asked to fill in and announce the day’s races.

In the fall of 2017, Damian joined Atlantic Post Calls, to write a monthly article that reflects the activities and harness racing events that are taking place at Inverness Raceway and the surrounding area.

“I love writing for the Atlantic Post Calls. I am always looking at results from other racetracks. I love following local horsemen when they race at different locations,” Damian explained.

Despite this unique position at such a young age, Damian is honoured to write for the column and enjoys promoting the sport to the local community and throughout the Maritimes.

The highlight of Damian’s 2017 season was winning a race of the fifth and final leg of the World Driving Championship at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park with his horse Kennairn Fame and driver Dexter Dunn. The minute he heard a leg of the WDC was set for Red Shores he entered his horse.

Kennairn Fame, pictured victorious with Dexter Dunn (Photo courtesy Kyle Burton)

“My brother Donald was there to share the memory. The crowd that came out for the win picture was amazing and it couldn’t have been more special. I don’t think me or my brother will ever forget that win.”

Damian thanks his older brother Donald, and many others for teaching him about the industry and believing in him to succeed.

“I would like to thank my brother Donald MacLellan, Joey Poirier, Madison Poirier, Erland Campbell, Johnny Gillis, Shelby Miller, Andrew MacLean, Ambrose Gillis, Kenny Passerini, and anyone else who has helped or taught me throughout my career so far. Also, my dad John ‘Piper’ MacLellan and Donnie MacDonald were a big part. Without these people, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

In considering his future path, Damian hopes to pursue a career in the industry, and looks forward to getting his driver and trainer’s license – he is eagerly awaiting his 16th birthday so he can do so.

Damian’s commitment to the industry should be an inspiration to others. His work ethic and efforts to represent and promote the harness racing industry is why he has been selected as the Fan Club’s 2017 Ambassador of the Year.

For winning, Damian was offered the choice of a $100 gift certificate to the Canadian harness racetrack of his choice or a $100 donation to a registered charity. Damian has chosen to donate to a registered charity and has selected the Canadian Cancer Society. He will also receive an ILCHR Fan Club prize package and a special presentation will be made in July at Inverness Raceway.

Thank you to the other Fan Club members that submitted stories about the special people in their lives that make harness racing in Canada the incredible industry and community that it is.

An excerpt from Donald MacLellan’s submission appears below.

Damian always tries to encourage his friends to drop by the barn and to get involved with coming to the track on race day. He has mentioned the idea of wanting to be able someday set up a fractional ownership group in the local area for new people to enter the game and own a horse, including more young people. All in all, I have had the honour of watching Damian grow up loving this sport more than anyone I know. Damian has gained so much life skills and maturity by being involved in this great sport. In return Damian tries to give back to the sport by helping fellow horsemen with their stables, promoting the local raceway, and promoting the sport to his friends and every person he interacts with.


Meet Our July Calendar Photographer: Bente Nielsen

Bente Nielsen, of Ottawa, Ont., captured this Racing Under Saddle photo at Rideau Carleton Raceway last year, and is the photographer for July in the 2018 Heart Of Harness Racing Calendar.

Nielsen captured this beautiful image of RUS rider Karoline Nielsen and All Out Henry winning at Rideau Carleton Raceway last summer.

"I arrived early, met the RUS riders and then went to the fence to pick my spot where I wanted to get my photos," Nielsen said. "Karoline is from Denmark and I have a Danish background, so I wanted to get photos of her. It was an extra bonus that she and her horse won first place that evening."

This is the first time that one of her photos has been featured with Standardbred Canada, and she is already getting more photos prepped for next year’s calendar.

"I am hoping to meet up with the RUS women in July for one of their races. It would be great if they were in Ottawa to race again," Nielsen explained. "I am going to attend a fundraiser at Rideau Carleton and hope to get some interesting photos of the drivers and horses there."

Bente currently works as a public relations and events specialist with Karma Creative Solutions in Ottawa.

Bente and her dog Otis before heading off to photograph a 75th anniversary gala in Ottawa

"Since I work from home, I have the flexibility to come out and photograph horses or farm life," continued Nielsen. "Those are opportunities I enjoy the most."

Nielsen has had a passion for photography and horses since an early age, and in the past year her photography has been used on many social media and web pages, including RUS, Karma Creative Solutions, and on her dog's Instagram page @otisthespokespup.

"I have loved horses since I was two and had owned horses for about 30 years," said Nielsen. "Every day I miss my horses and look forward to being invited to farms, racetracks or anywhere there are horses to photograph them. I started photography when I was eight and have taken many courses to further my love of photography."






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