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On Wednesday, June 5, Grand River Raceway kicked off its most exciting season of harness racing yet. The inaugural trip around the new five-eighths of a mile oval was won by Forbidden Treasure, with a winning time of 2:00.4.

Driven by Bob McClure, Forbidden Treasure took the fastest way around the new track on the front end, controlling the timer with splits of :29, 1:01 and 1:31.1 en route to a two-length score. The Cantab Hall-Ivory Pearl gelding, trained by Katie Graham and owned by Steve Mihalic, picked up his first career triumph to make it a day for firsts in line with the first win on the first card at the renovated Elora, Ont. oval.

“It was good,” said McClure. “The start was a little funny, but everyone is going to adjust to it. The turns are really nice, they get into them really good. I might be biased because I was on the front, but the stretch isn’t too long.”

Rainstorms rolled into the new Elora circle just before the fifth race, but the new track held up well.

“I was very impressed,” said driver Anthony Haughan. “We had a pretty good rainstorm before I drove late, it held up very well, the surface was good. It seems the turns held up pretty good and you could make up some ground up from the back.”

Grand River boasted a record-breaking, opening day handle, with $404,071.39 wagered on the night.

Grand River Raceway will host 48 Standardbred race nights this season, including 18 Ontario Sire Stakes (OSS) events, from June through September. Racing takes place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday night with a post time of 6:30 p.m. The track addition is the first new track construction since Grand River built the half-mile track back in 2004.

On Wednesday, June 12, Grand River Raceway will be hosting a formal ribbon cutting with dignitaries and specialists who were integral to getting the five-eighth-mile track built. It’ll be a celebration of how far Grand River has come.

Specialty race nights at this summer at Grand River listed below:

  • June 5 – Opening Night
  • July 12 – Wiener Dog Races
  • Aug. 5 – Industry Day, featuring the Battle of Waterloo presented by Winbak Farms, with 12:30 p.m. post time
  • Aug. 30 – Harness the Hope Night – Giant Pink Patio Party on The GrandWay Patio (dress in pink!)
  • Sept. 6 – National Caretaker Appreciation Day, Ontario Sires Stakes 50th Celebration

For tickets and details about these events, visit

Here’s what you can expect this summer at GRR:

  • Free Family Fun! Every race night is free entry for all. Need something for the kids to do? Grand River's ambassador Tom, along with a variety of mutuel tellers, will be handing out Neighbourhood bags full of fun activities for kids every race night.
  • GrandWay Patio Parties: Get a group of 12 or more together and enjoy a VIP experience right next to the track. Groups get an intimate horse racing experience in a reserved seating area on The GrandWay Patio. Limited dates available, excludes Grand River specialty race night dates. Contact for details.
  • Looking for more entertainment this summer? Check out The GrandWay Events Centre (next door to Grand River) for Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Nights, Murder Mystery Dinner Theatres and more throughout the summer and into fall/winter. Visit for more information.

Please be reminded that GRR and The GrandWay Events Centre are designated as smoke-free. Smoking is not permitted in any and on all exterior public racetrack facing areas including the grandstand, tarmac and patio.

The Captain’s Quarters is open for first-come first-serve spectator seating only (with the exception of specialty race night events). There will not be an all-you-can-eat buffet in the tiered dining room this year; however, visitors can bring food from The GrandWay Lounge or the tarmac BBQ to enjoy.