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30th annual Industry Day

Audiences returned to the Grand River Raceway on Monday, though in limited numbers and with strict controls such as temperature checks to avoid the transmission of COVID-19. [Damon Maclean]

Launched in 1990 at the old Elmira Raceway and run on the holiday Monday in August, Industry Day was the marquee event of the year to celebrate the horse racing industry in the region. In 1998 the Battle of Waterloo was added as a focal point contest between Ontario-sired pacing colts and geldings. A female counterpart – the Battle of the Belles – was added in 2009.

Now in its 30th year – 23rd for the Battle of Waterloo and 12th for Battle of the Belles – Industry Day is moving the 10-race card online, allowing everyone to view the festivities from the comfort of their homes.

This year Grand River Raceway will hold the event spectator-free to adhere to provincial guidelines related to COVID-19. While there is disappointment among those who come out for the love of the sport, the raceway is doing everything they can to bring the excitement of race day to people through an online stream.

“The Grand River Raceway is very much about the experience. And we’re doing everything inside of our power to create that experience for people online, and through our Facebook page. But every single one of us is looking forward to the time when is it safe to welcome people directly back to the track,” said Katie Giddy, director of sales, hospitality and marketing with Grand River Raceway. “It’s very difficult to recreate that feeling of being at a live sport event, no matter what that sport is… access to the races, being able to watch in high definition is [the] unfortunate [but] best case scenario that we’ve been able to create and offer.”

Through a Facebook Live stream and the Grand River Raceway website, those who want to take in the action can do so starting at 12:30 p.m. on August 3. Races will commence and run until 4:30 p.m.

The nine-horse field for the Battle of Waterloo and Battle of the Belles rounded out their card on July 27, and will feature many racers from past years. Winners will be awarded $240,000 and $160,000 for Battle of Waterloo and Battle of the Belles respectively.

The horses with the top posts this year are Watch My Beverage, Bettor Sun and Armor Seelster in the Battle of Waterloo. The top three posts racing in the Battle of the Belles are Ring Of Kerry, Turning The Table and Siri Blue Chip.

Betting is also taking place for the races. Those who wish to place a bet on the events can do so by going to hpibet.com.

Giddy says they are hoping to welcome patrons back to the track as soon as possible and hopes that people enjoy the virtual experience this year.

The races and other events taking place throughout the day – including commentary and stories on the contenders – will be available online and through Facebook Live.

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