Grand River Track Expansion Nears Completion

Track expansion work at Grand Raceway Raceway, as of March 28, 2024
Published: April 22, 2024 12:40 pm EDT

A new era of harness racing will begin at Grand River Raceway when the 2024 harness racing season launches this June.

An expansion project, which has transformed the former half-mile racing surface to a five-eighths-of-a-mile strip, is on track to be completed for Opening Night on June 5.

The Elora, Ont. raceway’s reconfiguration plans were initially announced in July 2021 and deferred in October 2022, with work eventually beginning in mid-August 2023 during its 20th racing season. The project has included installation of the new track surface, new LED lighting, timer boxes, camera towers, vet hut and fencing around the track.

Doug McCaig, Facilities Manager at Grand River Raceway, shared an update with Trot Insider as the project nears completion. 

According to McCaig, the final layer of the track material was added last week and work will continue with the final grade on the grassed areas followed by hydro seeding of those areas, final electrical connections and testing, and setting the pylons and timer sensors.

McCaig told Trot Insider that the track surface is expected to be completed by mid-week. He noted the rain has made working with the topsoil difficult and that may not be done until early May.

Preparations and testing of the track surface for racing will follow.

“Greg Coon from Coon and Associates has been on site and is offering advice and suggestions for preparing the track surface for racing,” said McCaig of the renowned trackman. “We intend to have training available in early May and based on feedback from that, modifications can be made before opening night.”

The project has created a buzz in the racing industry with many horsepeople and bettors anticipating how the expansion will change racing at the Ontario oval. 

“The new expansion of the track will not drastically change this year’s racing [schedule] as we have the same number of race dates,” noted McCaig. “Like anything new and different, we will have some challenges. It will be wonderful to have horses entered that traditionally have not been comfortable on a half-mile track.”

Grand River Raceway will host 48 race dates from June through the end of September, with racing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. Post time will be 6:30 p.m., except on Monday, Aug. 5 when the track’s signature Industry Day program will begin at 12:30 p.m. For a complete racing schedule, click here.

(Standardbred Canada; Photo provides a look at the Grand River Raceway track as of March 28, 2024)

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.