Standardbreds Debut On New Grand River Track

Standardbreds training over the new five-eighths-mile track at Grand River Raceway
Published: May 13, 2024 12:01 pm EDT

The first Standardbreds stepped onto the newly expanded five-eighths-of-a-mile racetrack ahead of the launch of Grand River Raceway's 2024 harness season next month.

Grand River Raceway, a former a half-mile racetrack, hosted its first training session since the reconfiguration with three sets of trainers taking to the Elora, Ont. oval last Thursday, May 9.

Intial reactions to the new racing surface from the horsepeople and track management were positive.

Norm Dunstan's homebred two-year-old trotting colt Lexus Legacy was the first horse on the track for the Arthur, Ont. husband and wife, driving and training team of Trevor and Shannon Henry. The unraced son of Trixton seemed to handle the outing well and didn't appear to be too phased by the construction trucks moving around the outside of the track completing work.   

"I think it's great," said Trevor Henry, commenting on the new track in a social media video posted by Grand River Raceway. "It's a lot bigger, the turns are certainly bigger than they were before and the surface seems really good. It seems like it's gonna be a great idea and should work great."

"Usually we go to Mohawk to train them down, but you never get anything done at the barns, so coming here is way better for us -- we're only 20 minutes away," added Shannon Henry. "And it's good experience for [the horses] and, you know, we'll bring them here to race because, you know, a bigger track... trotters... it's good for everybody."

"Thursday was an exciting day for us at Grand River Raceway, horses trained on the new track for the first time, and everything went off without a hitch," Jenna MacDonell, Raceway Manager at Grand River Raceway, told Trot Insider. "The plan for the new five-eighths-mile track has been in the works for several years, and it was amazing to witness the first horse enter the track. 

"We have a large harness racing community in this area, so it is incredible for the horsepeople to have this larger track available so close by. With the new track, I expect we will see many more young horses racing here, along with those who previously could not race on a half-mile track. In past years, the team at Grand River has done an amazing job creating a facility where the public can get excited about racing. The new track means we can offer a great product for both visitors on-site and those viewing via simulcast.”

Work on Grand River Raceway's reconfiguration began last August. MacDonell reported that timer boxes are being hooked up this week along with the judge’s PA and emergency light system.

Racing over Grand River's new five-eighths-of-a-mile raceway will begin as scheduled on opening day of the 2024 harness racing season next month on Wednesday, June 5. Grand River 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)



GREAT now what every one needs is a "lot" more race dates, than a puny 48. Hopefully in '25 there can be about 54?? (take us into October. )

I think this was a great idea. I'm really looking forward to opening night. Expecting some fast miles and great racing. AND A WAY THEY GO!

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