The 2022 Fall race season at The Raceway at Western Fair District is set to kick off with the first program slated for Friday, September 30 at 4:50 PM. Live harness racing will take place on the evenings of Monday and Tuesday at 5:50, with Friday start times at 4:50 through to December 30.
London’s return to harness racing will see the Forest City oval card eight $15,000 Prospect Series finals to kickstart the action on Friday’s opening night - where there will be ‘Prospect Series’ blankets presented to each Final winner. Free ‘welcome back’ programs and Raceway pens will be available for the first 200 spectators on track so be sure to come on by early. Racing analysts’ Robert Reid Jr. and Nathan Bain will be on track with commentary for the evening and the always popular Top Of The Fair will be happy to welcome back race fans with a spectacular dining experience.
“We are thrilled to kick off the 2022-23 season with the finals of the Prospect Series,” says Racing Manager Tony Elliott. “It promises to be a great night of racing for fans and horse people!”
The month of October is shaping up to be a dandy with an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event, for three-year-old trotters, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4 - followed up by the Autumn Series beginning with filly trotters on Friday, Oct. 7 and the colt and gelding pacers on Tuesday, Oct. 11. The 17th Annual Harness The Hope Night, this year combining with the OLG Ontario Women’s Driving Championship Final, will be held on Friday, Oct. 14 - you won’t want to miss this opportunity for an unforgettable event. Many are excited for the London Classic Yearling Sale which will take place at the Western Fair District Agriplex, mid-week on October 18-19, with all involved looking forward to the return of an in-person sale.
“I always look forward to my hometown track gearing back up,” says local horseman Lorne House. “We’ve given some of our race horses a rest to be ready for this meet and we also have some green two and three-year-olds that I’m aiming to race this season.”
House mentions top class pacer Pembrook Legacy N will be qualifying opening week and will likely be back in action immediately after. “We hope he can keep up with his winning ways and make a run for Horse of the Year honors for his owner Sam Taylor. He’s raced good horses, with us, over the years and it would be a thrill to get that for him!”
City of London champ Greystone Ian O may make an appearance, as well, following the grassroots finals. “He’s been great all along, but he’ll get a well-deserved rest and be ready for the first of the year again,” says House. “Opening night should be fun as I think I have some great chances, for the McNiven barn, in the Prospect Finals!”
Lindsey Kerr, a top 3 trainer this season in London, will be back in action this Fall. “I’m looking forward to getting back to racing at Western Fair,” she says. “Tuukka Rasp, Mr Mach Jimmy and others are patiently waiting for the return and we’ve been eying up that Autumn Series for my colt, Dows Up, who’s had a great start to his young career. I’m sure it will be a fun year!”
Tyler Borth, who leads all London drivers for wins and purse money earned in 2022, is excited for this brand new meet. “The Raceway is definitely my favourite track to race at and it’s a bonus that it’s only a 20-minute drive for me,“ he says. ”It’s been a long summer of traveling, so to say I’m looking forward to this upcoming meet is an understatement… I’ll have Bucktober in to go and maybe look forward to a seat behind Esquire, in the preferred trots, if trainer Mark Goddard decides to bring him to London.”
There you have it folks - it’s a brand-new season of harness racing starting up and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back… We’ll see you all soon!