Drive a Racehorse at Grand River Raceway

Young guests drive a racehorse at the 2016 Open House. Iron Horse photo.

Back by popular demand, Grand River Raceway will host its ninth annual backstretch Open House on Sunday (May 28). Guests are invited to drop-in any time from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a rare glimpse of horse racing behind the scenes.

A full tour of the Open House’s six main stations will last approximately one hour. The itinerary includes the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse.

Other interactive stations include a tour of the judges’ stand and announcer’s booth high atop the grandstand with track announcer Gary Guy.

Back in the barn, visitors will learn about the basics of breeding, owning, training, driving and caring for racehorses in sessions led by industry experts.

Local reinsman Bob McClure will host a station explaining the role of a racehorse driver and the skills required to communicate with horses during the race and navigate them to victory.

All kids will receive a lucky horseshoe during a blacksmith demonstration graciously sponsored by System Fencing, Stalls & Equipment.

Machinery enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to view and learn about the equipment and techniques required to maintain the racetrack surface. The starting car will also be on display, and open for photo opportunities.

No registration is required for the Open House. The event is suitable for all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The Open House will run rain or shine. Participants are urged to wear closed-toe shoes and casual, comfortable clothing.

Admission is free, but participants are urged to make a $2 donation at the door to support the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. A BBQ lunch and beverages will be available for purchase between 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

The Grand River Raceway Open House is presented in cooperation with the Hands On Horse Program and the Ontario Harness Horse Association. Nearly 2,500 people have attended Grand River Raceway’s Open House event in the past eight years.

For more information, visit or call 519.846.5455, ex. 238 or email

by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway

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