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Western Fair Ready To Kick Off Meet

Published: October 5, 2015 12:47 pm ET

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Trainer Mark Horner of St Marys, Ont. has said that he and other horsepeople are hoping The Raceway at The Western Fair District’s 2015-16 live racing meet can build on momentum achieved last season when overall and per-race wagering were up nearly 20 per cent.

“They’re really pushing the handle and getting the bet in the right place,” Horner said.

Live racing will return to the London, Ont. half-mile raceway on Tuesday night (October 6) and Horner has said that he couldn’t be happier that his home track is re-opening.

“It’s good for horseman in the western end (of Ontario),” Horner said of The Raceway at Western Fair District, which is the signature track that covers that region. “The proximity is good and they treat everyone as fair as they can and the management works really hard… They try. I think they’re really interested in racing horses and that’s first and foremost for us.”

The Raceway at Western Fair District will feature live racing three days a week through 2015, with cards on Mondays and Tuesdays with a 6:15 p.m. first-race post and Fridays with a 7:15 p.m. starting time. The plan currently calls for racing to be held four days a week at The Raceway at Western Fair District in 2016.

Tuesday’s Opening Night card will feature customer appreciation draws, the track’s popular Survivor Handicapping Challenge and the opening of the Annex to preview some of the new food items that will be available for Monday night cards being dubbed ‘Pub Night.’

The Friday, Oct. 9 card will feature the inaugural $50,000 Oktoberfest Classic Invitational Pace for the best local aged pacers and a long list of promotions, including German food offerings at the Top Of The Fair and Homestretch Grill, a special keg-tapping ceremony with selected fans, a Dachshund Dash wiener dog race and 850 ‘scratch and win’ prizes with the purchase of a race program. As well, the ‘First Bet Is On Us’ team will be site and the Wanna Ride team will give fans a chance to tour the oval in a two-seated jog cart.

The Oktoberfest Classic is part of a larger Oktoberfest celebration being held at The Western Fair District for the first time.

Raceway manager Greg Blanchard has said that a new state-of-the-art video board should be placed and operational before the end of October. It’s part of some $1 million in renovation upgrades that will be made at The Raceway at Western Fair District this year.

Horner said The Raceway at Western Fair District made big gains last meet by writing “quality cards and putting the best out there they can. It got the handle going in the right direction.”

The trainer said he likes just about everything about The Raceway at Western Fair District, including the convenience of the paddock and the talent of race caller Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle, who spent the summer calling thoroughbreds at Fort Erie.

“We missed Sugar in the summer,” Horner said. “He has really caught on there as a top-notch race-caller and I think he’s really helping the product. It shows and now people are following the races. It makes you feel good.

Horner said he’s excited about Tuesday’s Opening Night for more reasons than a 30-minute proximity to his farm. “You’re busting around all summer to places that don’t seem to have the same following,” he said, adding there is a positive vibe at The Raceway at Western Fair District these days. “Everything’s working in the right direction, everything’s going well.

To view the harness racing entries for Tuesday at The Raceway at Western Fair District, click the following link: Tuesday Entries – The Raceway at Western Fair District.

(The Raceway at Western Fair District)

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