Woodbine Entertainment establishes date for $1-million Queen’s Plate

Woodbine Entertainment establishes date for $1-million Queen’s Plate

TORONTO — The $1-million Queen’s Plate will remain North America’s longest, continuously run stakes race.

Woodbine Entertainment CEO Jim Lawson announced Monday the opening leg of Canada’s Triple Crown will be run Sept. 12 at Woodbine Racetrack. The Queen’s Plate dates back to 1860 and is widely regarded as the country’s most popular and recognized horse race.

As well, the $125,000 Plate Trial and $500,000 Woodbine Oaks — two key prep races for the Queen’s Plate — will both be held Aug. 15 at Woodbine. The Oaks is Canada’s premier event for three-year-old fillies and the opening leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara.

“The main part of our thinking was we had to get the prep races in,” Lawson said. “We wanted to have Oaks and Plate Trial as lead-ins again to have the boys-versus-the-girls setup.

“A major thinking was letting the three-year-old fillies get time to run the Oaks and then set it up as a prep race for the Plate.”

The Queen’s Plate will be followed by the $1-million Woodbine Mile, a Grade 1 turf race which will be run Sept. 19 at Woodbine Racetrack. This will mark the first time ever that the Plate and Mile will run on consecutive weekends.

“NBC Sports is coming up for (Woodbine Mile),” Lawson said. ”We didn’t think it was the right thing to run the Plate and the Mile on the same day.

“They’re both big events so keep them separate.”

The 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate, which is run on Woodbine’s Tapeta course, is for three-year-olds foaled in Canada. It was originally scheduled to be run June 27 at Woodbine Racetrack but the race was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Woodbine Entertainment was forced to postpone the April 18 start of its ‘20 thoroughbred card because of the outbreak. Last week, Lawson divulged plans to begin live thoroughbred racing June 6 at the Toronto oval without fans.

On Thursday, the Ontario government included horse racing — again, minus spectators — in the first phase of its reopening of the province’s economy. As a result, horse racing was given the green light to begin as early as Tuesday.

That paved the way for Woodbine to adhere to its plan of resuming harness racing June 5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and kick-starting the thoroughbred campaign June 6.

While thoroughbred racing at Woodbine will be held without fans, the hope is by September restrictions will have been eased to the point where some spectators could be allowed to attend the Plate.

And that’s important to Woodbine Entertainment because the Plate is much more than just a horse race. Woodbine stages a festival around the event that includes outdoor concerts and a variety of social functions.

“We’re going to be subject to city of Toronto and government health guidelines,” Lawson said. “But I think it’s reasonable to think in the fall there might be spectators.”

The Queen’s Plate will be held after the start of the American Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby, which is traditionally run on the first Saturday in May, will now go Sept. 5.

“We didn’t want the Plate on Labour Day weekend, we did not want it on the same day as the Kentucky Derby,” Lawson said. “We wanted it on a Saturday and already had the Woodbine Mile on Sept. 19 … so Sept. 12 was the perfect date for us.”

Lawson said Woodbine Entertainment is also expected to divulge its revised stakes schedule sometime this week.

With the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate starting later than normal, so too will the two remaining legs of Canada’s Triple Crown.

The $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, a 1 3/16-mile dirt race, is expected to be held Sept. 29 at Fort Erie Racetrack. The $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile turf race, will go Oct. 24 at Woodbine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2020.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo)
Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted
Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

file photo
Maskwacis RCMP investigate pedestrian fatality

Collision on Highway 2A causing fatality still under investigation.

Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta’s official Opposition, speaks in Edmonton on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Notley says the government needs to sharply ramp up the number of contact tracers if it wants to get a handle on the rising number of COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Opposition calls for more COVID-19 contact tracers as case numbers rise

Alberta has about 800 tracers, and chief medical health officer Dr. Hinshaw says more are being recruited

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. Hospital and health-care workers who staged a one-day illegal walkout returned to work Tuesday while politicians swapped recriminations and accusations in the house over the dispute. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta health staff return to work, surgeries resume after one-day walkout

AHS estimated 157 non-emergency surgeries, most of them in Edmonton, had to be postponed as a result of the walkout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Most Read