Ontario’s Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal was instrumental in resurrecting harness racing at Kawartha Downs last season when it appeared to be finished. A five year deal was brokered and Leal was on hand at the racetrack on closing night of the 2015 season, October 24, to usher out the second season of the agreement.
“I want to thank all of Kawartha Downs’ fans, many of whom have been coming here for years, and the many new fans who have discovered horse racing here over the past two years thanks to the marketing efforts being done,” said Leal after he presented a cooler following the race he sponsored.
“I’ve been at the track several times this year and am so pleased to see the great crowds, the people truly enjoying horse racing and the excellent show being put on the racetrack,” added Leal the MPP for Peterborough.
Attendance on Kawartha’s final evening was hampered somewhat by the rainy weather conditions, but the fans who braved the elements were treated to an exciting Drivers’ Challenge, which featured the top eight drivers at Kawartha over the season. It was won by Tony Kerwood who finished second in each of the five races of the Challenge.
Gord Brown was once again the track’s leading driver and scored a hat trick on closing night. Nick Boyd, one of the up and coming young pilots on the Ontario circuit, visited the winner’s circle twice.
In total Kawartha Downs hosted 21 nights of racing, every Saturday night from the end of May to the end of October with an average handle of approximately $38,000. Highlights of the meet included Gord Brown night on the season opener, an Ontario Sires Stakes event for Grassroots trotters, 43rd anniversary celebrations, the inaugural Goodtimes Invitational, the San Pail Retirement, Family Night, two Memorial nights and more.
The Fraserville, Ontario, facility is anticipating the same approximate schedule for 2016. Stay turned to our Facebook page and website for updates.