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Glamourous Start To Grand River Season

Published: June 3, 2017 12:22 am ET

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Grand River Raceway kicked off its 2017 race season on June 2 with a splash of glitz and glamour.

The track played host to harness racing’s second-ever Drag (Queen) Race to celebrate tri-Pride Weekend in Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge. (The first race was staged at Grand River Raceway in 2011.)

Pro drivers Scott Young, Bob McClure, Travis Henry and Alfie Carroll shared double-seated jog carts with past winners of the Miss Tri-Pride Pageant: Nadia Diamond, Victoria Parks, Jasmine Flowers and Avan Hart.

Avan Hart and Alfie Carroll were the winning pair of the half-mile dash aboard eight-year-old trotter Callie Magoo, owned and trained by John Braid.

Grand River Raceway extends its sincere appreciation to the tri-Pride organizing committee, the Drag Race drivers, horse owners Jackie Panko, John Braid and Rebecca Titus, the OLG Slots at Grand River Raceway, Hands On Horses Program, post parade leader Debi O’Brien Moran and all supporting businesses who donated items to the Penny Auction.

The event raised $750 for tri-Pride.

Pod Stable's Bella Palazzo and driver Scott Coulter pulled off a 37-1 upset from post nine in the Opening Night feature race -- the $11,000 Preferred 2 Handicap Trot -- as they closed from fourth to defeat front-stepper Hldontghttoyurdrms (Alfie Carroll) by one and a half lengths in 1:57.4. Georgies Pockets (Jack Moiseyev) edged out Rainbow Gold (Dennis Duford) for third prize while millionaire Intimidate (Doug Brown) earned the final paycheque in fifth.

Mike Weller trains the six-year-old Tom Ridge-Bellissimo mare, who notched her 25th career win in her Grand River debut. She paid $77.80 for a $2 Win ticket.

Home Stretch Holdings' Ole Jack Magic, also a trailing tier starter, delivered as the favourite in the $7,500 Preferred 3 after advancing first-over from mid-pack to wear down race leader Happy Holidays (Anthony MacDonald) for the one-length win in 1:58.1, with Thor Seelster (Doug Brown) finishing up inside third. Scott Young drove the winning Kadabra-Whitesand Electra gelding, who is trained by Jerry Duford.

"It's a lot of fun to race here," said Grand River's defending driving champion and current Canadian win leader Bob McClure in a CTV Kitchener report, noting that the opening of Grand River marks the unofficial start of summer. "It's outdoorsy, it's summer, you know, it's nice weather. You can sit out real close to the races and watch it and people can yell and cheer.

"Although it's work, it doesn't feel like work. It's such a great place to come out and hang out on a Friday night."

Harness racing continues Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights at 6:35 p.m. at Grand River Raceway.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Grand River Raceway.

(With files from Grand River Raceway)

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