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Thousands attended Industry Day and saw big upset in $300,000 race

by David Meyer

ELORA - Organizers could not have been more pleased with the way Industry Day at the Grand River Raceway turned out on Aug. 1.

“So far, so good,” said a smiling Raceway General Manager Ted Clarke.

He was kidding, of course. Clarke noted that all the indoor facilities and restaurants were filled, and hundreds more were filtering along the track in the warm sunshine that was balanced by a wonderful breeze that kept everyone from overheating.

And that was just prior to the first race, which was set for 1:30pm. By the time two or three races had been run, thousands were attending the Raceway’s annual showcase.

“Generally, on an afternoon like this, they drift in over three and four races,” said a contented Clarke, who noted, “The first race went off in record time for aged geldings.

Clarke was pleased to note that the previous night’s rain had helped settle the track, and, even more important, helped replenish the storm water management pond, plus the grass. The pond slows runoff, but it also is recycled as workers use it to keep the dust down on the track.

Meanwhile, parents watched over kids getting their faces painted and doing a number of activities set up especially for the younger set, while others studied their racing forms and wondered where they might place a successful bet.

The big race of the day was the annual Battle of Waterloo. In that one, there was plenty of excitement as Machapelo became the 14th victor in the $300,000 race and, at the same time, provided plenty of entertainment and disappointment by creating the biggest upset in the history of the race.

Leaving from post four, driver Scott Zeron scored a three-length victory over Two Guys, driven by his father, Rick Zeron. Meanwhile, heavy favourite Warrawee Needy finished third, with trainer Carl Jamieson driving. It was Warrawee Needy’s first defeat in six career starts.

It was Machapelo’s first win in five starts. He finished fourth in the previous week’s elimination division. Owned by Enviro Stables of South Hampton, New York, he’s trained by Mike Keeling of Cambridge.

For Zeron, 22, this was the largest stakes win of his career. He won the inaugural Battle Of The Belles in 2009 with Fbs Terror. Machapelo returned $56.40 for a $2 bet for the upset.

Local trainer Mark Austin won the $30,000 Battle Of Waterloo Consolation with Jettison, in a mild 5-1 upset ,with driver Paul MacDonell in the bike.

It was the colt’s second win in five starts, in a new career best of 1:57.1.

Later in the meet, driver Stuart Sowerby of Guelph, guided the filly Your Beautiful to victory in the $150,000 Battle Of The Belles. Her 1:56.1 victory was three lengths over the field of two-year-old pacing fillies. Eat Me Up, race favourite Mindsweeper, and Classy Lane Rose rounded out the top four.

Stephen Gillard trains and shares ownership of Your Beautiful with his wife, Marilyn, of Tavistock.

Sauble Claire and driver Trevor Henry of Arthur, wired the field to win the $20,000 Battle Of The Belles consolation race for those horses that failed to qualify for the big event. The filly is owned by breeder Sauble Hill Farms of Tara.

At the track itself, fans wagered $90,000 on the 11-race card. The total wager was $225,000.

In other Industry Day happenings, the eighth annual Drivers’ Edition of the Bouncy Pony Stakes was won by James MacDonald, who held off Aaron Byron, Ryan Holliday, and Scott Young to secure his first title.

Donna Wood won the Battle Of The Belles grand prize draw, and a receives a weekend getaway at the Breadalbane Inn and Spa in Fergus, which includes dinner, one night’s accommodations, breakfast and spa credit.

John McKenna was the big winner in the Battle Of Waterloo grand prize draw. Machapelo’s win secured McKenna two seats in this weekend’s bus trip to the World Driving Championship and Hambletonian, in New York and New Jersey.

Ken Koch won the Industry Day handicapping tournament with a bankroll of $920 from seven dashes.

He won the lion’s share of the $1,000 prize, plus a spot in the $25,000 TROT Canada National Handicapping Championship on Nov. 12 at Western Fair.

 

 

August 5, 2011

 
 

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