Woodbine Entertainment Revises Thoroughbred Race Calendar
With the commencement of Ontario’s economic restart plan, horseracing venues like Woodbine Entertainment have updated their seasonal thoroughbred calendars.
Ontario’s recently unveiled economic restart plan sparked excitement amongst horseracing venues in the province since it greenlighted the recommencement of live harness events. As a result, Woodbine Entertainment announced that its thoroughbred and standardbred events would commence in the middle of June. Recently, the company also updated its stakes schedule for the thoroughbred season at the Woodbine Racetrack.
As a result of the earlier tightening of pandemic-related restrictions, all live harness events in the province were suspended at the beginning of April, in line with the provincial government’s stay-at-home order. Subsequently, the local horseracing industry was subjected to a two-month suspension of all activities, leading to mounting losses and concerns about long-term sustainability.
New Stakes Announced
The horseracing industry can now finally restart and try to recover from its difficult position. Consequently, Woodbine Entertainment announced its updated thoroughbred stakes calendar for Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. According to the schedule, the new season is set to commence on 18 June, although there is a possibility of an earlier launch, pending the government’s approval of the company’s request.
The 2021 thoroughbred stakes programme includes events with over CA$16.5 million in purses, including two CA$1 million gala events and 39 graded stakes. Due to the late start, the company had to adjust its schedule, although most event dates have remained the same.
The Queen’s Plate is set to keep its original starting date of 22 August, being the 162nd event of this competition. The Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, along with the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re in”, amounting to CA$250,000 Canadian Stakes, will take place on 18 September. The Summer Grade 1 and Natalma Grade 1 will have a bigger purse of CA$400,000, as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series that will take place on 19 September.
The Grade 1 CA$600,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes, as well as the Grade 2 CA$250,000 Nearctic Stakes, are sticking to their original date of 17 October. The races will be held at the well-known mile-and-a-half E.P. Taylor Turf Course. Additionally, the dates for the CA$1 million Queen’s Plate and the Canadian Triple Crown legs remain scheduled for 22 August. The CA$400,000 Prince of Wales tournament at Fort Erie on 14 September and the CA$400,000 Breeders’ Stakes on 3 October remain unchanged.
Most key live harness races have kept their original starting date, except for the CA$500,000 Woodbine Oaks, which has been moved forward by a week from 25 July to 1 August. The CA$150,000 Plate Trial has also been postponed by a week to 1 August. The complete stakes schedule can be found on Woodbine Entertainment’s official website.