The stage is set for the July 28th elimination rounds of Grand River Raceway’s signature race, the 17th annual Battle Of Waterloo, and its sister dash, the sixth annual Battle Of The Belles.
The top nine finishers for each of these elimination events for Ontario-sired two-year-old pacers advance to their respective finals during the track’s 24th annual harness racing celebration, Industry Day, on August 4 (post time 1:30 p.m.).
Legendary Hall Of Fame driver John Campbell will make his Grand River Raceway debut, as listed by trainer Robert McIntosh, who has one hopeful in each of the Battle elims. Campbell is harness racing’s all-time leading money-winning driver with over $290 million in career earnings and 10,600 wins. The Ailsa Craig, Ont. native resides in New Jersey and is widely considered to be the best reinsman in the history of the sport.
Grand River Raceway will interview Campbell at the start of the broadcast (6:15 p.m.) on Monday.
Fans can pose questions for Campbell by posting on the contest thread on Grand River Raceway’s Facebook page before Monday at noon.
Vying for a berth in the $217,140 Battle Of Waterloo are 17 colts in two divisions (races five and nine).
Casie Coleman, a five-time winner of the O’Brien Award for Canadian Trainer Of The Year, has four Battle Of Waterloo elimination starters – two in each division. In race five, the Cambridge, Ont. trainer will send out Southwind Indy (with driver Chris Christoforou) from post five and Mikes Powerhouse from post one. Both colts won their last starts over the Elora, Ont. oval in Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) action.
Grand River Raceway’s top driver, Trevor Henry, will pilot Mikes Powerhouse, a full brother to millionaire pacer Michaels Power. The 2012 Horse Of The Year was also campaigned by Coleman for breeder/owner Jeffrey Snyder of New York.
In race seven, Sportskeeper and early favourite Bob Ben And John round our Coleman’s hopefuls. Again, both colts won their most recent starts at Grand River Raceway in OSS divisions. Both colts are sired by Sportswriter — another former millionaire pupil of Coleman’s.
At just 33, Coleman has already won many of harness racing’s biggest races, but is still chasing a victory in the Battle Of Waterloo.
The Battle Of Waterloo has also eluded Hall Of Fame trainer McIntosh. His chestnut homebred hopeful Go Daddy Go was second to Bob Ben And John at Grand River Raceway on July 16. He’ll leave from post five in race five with Campbell.
Carl Jamieson is a five-time winner of the race, including the inaugural edition in 1998. He trains the morning line favourite in race five, Sporting The Look. Purchased as a yearling for $72,000, the colt was an impressive winner in 1:53.2 in his second career outing at Mohawk Racetrack. He led the field, but made a costly break in stride during an OSS Gold event at Grand River on July 16 and finished out of the money. Jody Jamieson will steer him in race five from post eight.
Eliminations for the $138,000 Battle Of The Belles will be contested by 27 fillies in three divisions (races two, four and seven).
Local trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, Ont. won the race last year with Lady Shadow. In the 2014 edition, he has two fillies vying for a starting position in the final.
In the first division, Solar Sister is a regally-bred lass looking for her maiden win. Doug McNair will pilot the Mach Three miss from post seven for David Willmot and Clay Harland Horner. The duo also owned Solar Sister’s dam, Cabrini Hanover — a $350,000 yearling which went on to win $1.4 million and 13 races. She was named Canada’s top freshman filly in 2004.
Betty And The Jets is Gregg McNair’s second shot at the final. Jody Jamieson will steer her from the trailing starting position (post nine) in race four.
In addition to their Battle Of Waterloo starters, Coleman and McIntosh are also stocked with Battle Of The Belles hopefuls. Coleman has one Sportswriter filly in each of three divisions, while McIntosh has a lone homebred, Brilliant Idea, in race two.
Post positions for the finals will be drawn as follows:
• Post Position Draw for the Battle Of The Belles: Drawn live on the Tarmac Show after race eight on July 28. (Top three finishers from each of the three elimination divisions advance to the final on August 4.)
• Post Position Draw for the Battle Of Waterloo: Drawn live on the Tarmac Show after race 10 on July 28. (Top four finishers from each of the two elimination divisions, plus one of the fifth-place finishers — as drawn by lot — advance to the final on August 4.)
Post time for race one on Monday, July 28 is 6:30 p.m.
For complete Industry Day details, visit www.IndustryDayCelebration.com.
(Grand River Raceway)