Ontario is set to welcome back live harness racing this week as the province has entered its ‘Roadmap to Reopen’ plan earlier than expected. Local racetracks will be relaunching operations this week, as it will be Woodbine Mohawk Park, after Woodbine Entertainment announced the big news on June 7, 2021.
The horse racing industry has endured an extremely difficult period for the last 15 months, after the occurrence of the unprecedented situation. The live season in Ontario was put on hold at the start of April, and it was allowed to resume just now in June. This is due to the province’s quick vaccine rollout and improvements oh health indicators.
Racing Can Resume
On Monday Woodbine Entertainment announced that its Woodbine Mohawk Park will officially resume its standardbred season this Friday, June 11 with 7 p.m. post times. Races at the track will now continue to their usual five race day weekly, with live Standardbred Racing on Monday, June 14. However, spectators would still not be allowed at the property.
Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment thanked the Government of Ontario for its cooperation, while the industry was in a very tough spot. He also specifically thanked Premier Doug Ford for his understanding of the horse racing industry, which was severely affected by the ongoing lockdown restrictions. He also expressed gratitude towards the sport’s many horse people for the patience and professionalism that they demonstrated in such times.
The track has previously provided more information on its end-of-May set of qualifiers. The oval saw a three-day session of qualifiers with 44 events, and over 377 horses taking part. The first session was set on Thursday, May 27, with 14 exciting qualifiers, then Friday 15, and the last day – Saturday with the rest of the qualifying segments.
Earlier Start Request
At the end of May CEO of the company, Mr. Lawson has revealed that he will be applying for an earlier start of the live racing season. According to him, horse people at the tracks are ready to begin as they have made the needed preparations. Thoroughbred season at Woodbine Racetrack was set to start on June 14 and standardbred at Woodbine Mohawk Park was set to resume on June 18. It is safe to say that the request has been successful.
Several other tracks from the province have also announced their official return to operations. Clinton Raceway will start its 2021 season on June 13. Georgian Downs is also welcoming back harness racing in the Barrie area but on June 15. The schedule will remain similar to last season with post times on Tuesdays and Saturdays set for 7:15 p.m., and Sundays remain with 6 p.m. starts.
Kawartha Downs has also informed about its restart. Races at the track will officially return on Saturday, June 12. Post time for the events will be 4 p.m. and qualifiers will be set for 1:30 p.m. Spectators will not be allowed at the time. Rideau Carleton is also relaunching live races on Sunday, June 13, with a first post time of 6:30 p.m.
Source: “Standardbred Racing to Resume at Woodbine Mohawk Park This Friday”, Woodbine Entertainment, June 7, 2021