And they’re off

Atlantic Grand Circuit Week brings in new faces on opening day

Ryan Cooke
Published on July 20, 2014

BIBLE HILL – There were plenty of fresh faces around the track on Sunday afternoon at Truro Raceway as Atlantic Grand Circuit Week got off to a strong start.

Hordes of people lined the fence outside the grandstand, while more took shelter from the blistering heat indoors. Spectators checked their programs regularly and rushed to place last minute bets before post times.

For many spectators, it was their first time seeing the action at Truro Raceway.

“I’ve seen a lot of new faces around here today,” said pari-mutuel manager Julie Gillis. “The bets are definitely up today, as we have a lot of old faces around too, mixed in with all the new.”

One of the newbies to the action was Brian Merrill, who took in the races from the beer garden with his friends, Christine Bulk and Terri Kerr.

“We’ve been here in town for two years now, I can’t believe this is only our first time coming here,” he said. “We saw all the advertising around town (for Atlantic Grand Circuit Week), and we decided to make this our day.”

While he was learning a lot about the industry first hand, he was also learning a lot the hard way when it came to betting.

“I’m doing my best trying to pick the best horses here, but I’m not doing so well,” he laughed. “I seem to keep losing money.”

Betting wasn’t a worry for Kerr, however. Her system, while amateur at best, was foolproof through 12 races.

“I just pick the name I like best,” she laughed. “And I’m winning.”

The card also featured amateur driver races and the “Bouncy Pony Stakes,” which saw spectators place bets on participants racing on inflatable horses. Each racing card during the week will feature two heats, with proceeds going towards Maggie’s Place. Special guests will also get involved, including Jonathan Torrens – notorious for playing J-Roc on the Trailer Park Boys, as well as past shows like Street Cents and Jonovision.

It’s all part of an initiative to go bigger and better than last year’s event, Gillis said.

“A year ago we didn’t really know where we were going to be, so everything was much different,” she said. “This year a lot more time and work has gone into it, and it’s showing here today.”

Atlantic Grand Circuit Week events will kick off again Tuesday night with the Atlantic Sires Stakes getting underway with two and three-year-old trotters and two-year-old pacing fillies. There will also be more amateur driving races and two more installments of the Bouncy Pony Stakes. Post time for the evening is 6:30 p.m.