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Clinton Gearing Up For 2015 Season

Published: May 7, 2015 5:07 pm ET

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The track celebrates its 46th season of pari-mutuel wagering with facility improvements and 16 cards of Sunday afternoon racing that includes gangbusters, Opening Day, a Drivers Challenge with a twist and the eighth edition of Legends Day.

Clinton Raceway will kick off its 2015 live racing season with a bang on Sunday, May 17 and look to carry that momentum right through its closing Legends Day card on Labour Day Weekend.

The Opening Day card will feature a chance to win a barbecue, plus a 50/50 draw, silent auction, bake sale and $1 programs, $2 t-shirts and a $3 lunch special of a hot dog, drink and chips in support of Central Huron Secondary School’s Challenge Day program that empowers participants through respect, communication and breaking down barriers of separation and isolation.

Apart from a number of facility improvements, also new this year is a twist on the track’s popular Drivers’ Challenge card, an event that will celebrate its 35th anniversary this summer. For the first time in history, the Drivers Challenge will be held at the beginning, rather than at the end of the year. The Drivers’ Challenge, which pits local drivers against top reinsmen from Toronto’s Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit, will be held May 31 in support of the Royal Canadian Legion.

“We’ve got a great cause this year,” said Clinton Raceway general manager Ian Fleming. “We’re supporting the local legion. Legions are having a tough time financially across the province. Every cause is a good one, but we think this will be a nice tie-in for us.”

It’s all part of a 16-card schedule of Sunday afternoon harness racing (excluding June 7) at the picturesque Central Huron oval, where post time is always 1:30 p.m. and Fleming is hoping to build on the momentum of 2014 when wagering was up some 20 per cent over the year before.

Facility improvements for 2015 include paving of the main parking lot, plenty of new landscaping, a new fence in the backstretch and a new speaker system to add to the grandstand bucket seats installed in 2014.

Race fans will also be greeted by a new tote system for 2015 courtesy of Clinton Raceway’s inclusion in the eight-track Ontario Standardbred Alliance. The tote system is the same as that used at WEG and throughout the Alliance and allows patrons to wager and cash tickets at any of the Alliance tracks in the province.

Live racing will end for the year on Sept. 6 when Clinton Raceway plays host to the eighth edition of its popular, biannual Legends Day card featuring a long line of Hall of Fame drivers that are among greatest reinsmen to ever sit in a sulky. Proceeds from Legends Day will support the Clinton Public Hospital.

“Our goal is to have 1,500 people at the barbecue this year. We had 1,000 two years ago,” Fleming said. “It’s all sponsored, so every cent we take in goes to the hospital.”

(Clinton Raceway)

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