Rideau Carleton Raceway’s 62nd Season Starts March 24

Events for the whole family, local horses racing for $100K, and the first female announcer in the sport will make for a great season at the Raceway!

 The first call to the post for the Rideau Carleton Raceway’s 62nd season is scheduled for Sunday, March 24, and it promises to be a great season with numerous special events, two local Colts racing for $100,000 at the Ontario Sires Stakes, and the sport’s first full-time female announcer joining the team!

“As the only harness racing facility in Eastern Ontario, and the oldest in the country, we know we can offer a unique experience for families and groups,” said Rideau Carleton Casino, Future Hard Rock President Christine Crump. “We are leaning fully into that experience this year, and will amplify the season for the whole community!”

The preliminary list of fun events, includes:

Sunday, May 19: Homecoming (Celebrate our racing heritage)

Sunday, June 23: Ontario Sires Stakes featuring Ontario’s best 3 year-old pacing colts and fillies, including two local Colts vying for a $100,000 prize

Sunday, June 30: Race for Wishes – fundraiser for Make-a-Wish Canada

Sunday, August 11: Family Fun Day

Sunday, September 1: Coville Cup for amateur racers

Sunday, December 15: Fan Appreciation Night

“After a paddock fire nearly prevented the Raceway from operating in 2023, the season was not only saved thanks to a herculean effort by the team, Ontario Racing and the region’s horse people, but it was one of the most successful in its history!” said Rideau Carleton Raceway Racing Manager Peter Andrusek. “This year, the team is returning stronger than ever, and planning memorable events that will be fun for harness racing fans, and the broader community alike.”

Rideau Carleton Casino, Future Hard Rock is also planning a full weekend of fun activities, including a fireworks display, for Canada Day weekend. Stay tuned to www.rideaucarletoncasino.com for more information on these special events.

Local Colts race Ontario’s best for $100,000 prize at the Ontario Sires Stakes

On June 23rd, the Ontario Sires Stakes will not only feature Ontario’s best 3-year-old pacing colts and fillies racing for the $100,000 prize, but two local Colts will also be lining up for the first time at this event.

TH McMurray, coming off the North American Cup, and McWicked Time were brought up in the same barn. They will be racing each other for the first time.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a track record broken on June 23rd,” said Andrusek. “It’ll be an exciting day for sure.”

Melissa Keith joins as harness racing’s first full-time female race announcer

Rideau Carleton Raceway is proud to welcome Melissa Keith as its new race announcer, replacing long-time announcer John MacMillan, who is stepping down for personal reasons. Ms. Keith is well-known across the country as a guest announcer, handicapper, and harness racing journalist.

“An opportunity like this doesn’t come along very often, so I am thrilled,” says Keith. “I have fond memories of visiting the Rideau Carleton Raceway with my father when I was a university student. Watching and betting on harness racing has always been part of our family, and of my life. Taking on the role of full-time announcer at this racetrack brings it full-circle for me.”

In addition to her announcing duties, race enthusiasts will be happy to know that Keith will continue to provide analysis as Rideau Carleton Raceway handicapper.

“Hard Rock is recognized globally as one of the best employers for women. It’s fitting we now have the honour of being the first raceway in Canada to hire a female full-time announcer,” continued Christine Crump. “We are excited to introduce Melissa to the community and know that she’ll enthusiastically carry on the tradition of exceptional racing insights that our racing fans have come to expect during John’s remarkable tenure!”

The Rideau Carleton Raceway operates Thursdays and Sundays. Sunday races will start on March 24. Thursday races will begin April 25th.

The 2024 racing schedule, which has been approved by Ontario Racing, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, is available at https://www.rideaucarletoncasino.com/racetrack.asp.

 About Rideau Carleton Casino, Future Hard Rock Ottawa

Rideau Carleton Casino officially opened as Rideau Carleton Raceway on September 1st, 1962, as Canada’s first-ever five-eighths mile oval and has been a key part of Ontario’s harness racing community ever since. Since the gaming site was added in February 2000, the City of Ottawa has received approximately $6 million annually and over $100 million in total payments for hosting Rideau Carleton Casino within the National Capital Region. Rideau Carleton Casino also invests in multiple local sponsorships and nonprofits annually, benefiting the community and residents. In May 2017, OLG selected Hard Rock Ottawa as the new casino operator as part of the modernization of gaming in the province. Hard Rock International is investing hundreds of millions of dollars at the property building a new state-of-the-art entertainment facility and hotel. When opened in 2025 the new facility will unveil the iconic Hard Rock brand in Ottawa and enliven the city like never before! The facility is a significant driver of job creation and is expected to employ over 700 local residents once the facility expansion has been completed. Rideau Carleton Casino is operated by Hard Rock International and governed by Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). For more information on Rideau Carleton Casino, visit www.rideaucarletoncasino.com.