Great Start for Woodbine Racetrack Thoroughbred Season
Ontario’s thoroughbred season recommenced on 12 June, with live horseracing action returning to the Woodbine Racetrack.
Ontario has officially welcomed back horse racing, with last weekend seeing the restart of the highly anticipated Woodbine Racetrack thoroughbred season. The season recommenced without any spectators, in line with the health and safety protocols to curtail the spread of the pandemic. To this end, fans were able to enjoy all the races online via woodbine.com live race stream.
The 2020 season was cut short due to the unprecedented situation resulting from COVID-19 and the lockdown order issued in November 2020. Although the season originally planned to recommence in April, further lockdown restrictions have pushed it to June. The jackpot Hi-5 wager has now carried over CA$117,062 in purses.
Reason for Excitement
Woodbine Entertainment CEO, Jim Lawson, stated that the horseracing industry should now focus on the future after a difficult period for live harness racing. Lawson explained that horse people are not the ones to dwell on the past and what could have been, with most of them excited to return to the ovals.
This season’s sovereign award-winning jockey, Rafael Hernandez, will be defending his Woodbine title after 129 wins last season. He is listed in nine mounts, including the Roger Attfield trained three-year-old filly Speightstown Shirl in the eighth race, representing a CA$123,200 maiden allowance across one mile of turf.
This weekend started off on Saturday with 11 races and 120 entries, and 150 taking place on Sunday with 13 races. Over time, the track will add Friday races at 4h50 pm post time to the schedule, as well as Thursdays with 1h20 pm post time. Horses that appeared at the track for the current season include the 2020 Canadian horse of the year, Mighty Heart, and many others.
During the weekend, Shirl’s Speight, a Charles Fipke homebred, was looking for its breakthrough after three consecutive second places. She faced 13 other horses, such as the debuting Ontario-bred Astrological and Malibu Moon, the half-sibling of 2018 Woodbine Oaks winner, Dixie Moon.