By Diane Daniels
Sixty-three horses are set and ready to hit the track as Truro Raceway prepares to launch the 140th season of harness racing action with a nine-dash card in Bible Hill Sunday afternoon.
Post time is 1:30 p.m. with a qualifying session set for noon.
Fans will be pleasantly surprised to see changes in the Douglas Grandstand. The facility has fresh paint and new furniture, with a plan for more renovations and innovative décor to come.
Grandstand concessions are currently under new management and will be operated by the raceway. As part of a welcome to the 2014 season for both new and regular clientele, coffee and tea will be offered complimentary to all race fans.
With the upgrades and improvements, there will be a brief delay in the re-opening of the popular Turf Room Restaurant. However, the mezzanine canteen, Trackside Lounge and upstairs bar will be open and will also offer complimentary tea and coffee.
Joe Kelly, "the voice" of Truro Raceway, will be returning this weekend from a brief hiatus to his familiar post at the top of the grandstand, providing race calls.
New trainer Kyle Gillis and first time horse owner Penny Wesley will be programmed in their new roles in Sundays race card.
Kyle Gillis, 17, the son of Kevin and Julie Gillis, has been involved with the horses basically his entire life, not only on the backstretch but also as a photographer and part-time race announcer. Penny, longtime harness racing enthusiast as a fan and groom, is looking forward to experiencing the game from the unique perspective of an owner.
Kathy Clark and Ed Harvey are in the process of moving their stable onto the track for the 2014 meet. Connections Chris Covin and Steve Morton have expanded and revamped their camps with fresh stock, which will be carded on tomorrow's program.
Clarence Farm Services Ltd. is on board with sponsorship of the Hot Horse and Cool Driver awards. Gift certificates will be presented trackside to winners of each category upon the completion of the tabulation of the monthly stats.
Simulcast programming continues throughout the week with Truro offering products on Mondays, as well as Thursday through and including Sundays. Today, the show starts at 1:30 p.m. with Freehold harness racing and continues throughout the afternoon and evening with a full compliment of both harness and thoroughbred events, including Woodbine, Pimilico, Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Flamboro and Meadowlands. A detailed schedule along with Raceway updates is available on the raceway website www.truroraceway.ca.
Diane Daniels is race office supervisor at Truro Raceway. Her column appears weekly in the Truro Daily News throughout the harness racing season.