Fraserville horse racing enthusiasts had a reason to get excited this last weekend, as the live harness racing has officially returned to the region. Kawartha Downs hosted its first live harness race in months, as the track was allowed to return earlier to operations. Fans are still unable to attend the events at the venue, but they can still watch the races online and place their bets.
Live harness racing in Ontario was suspended at the start of April this year, and after the provincial government’s new orders, tracks are able to reopen. Horse racing venues were on schedule to relaunch operations at a later date, but thanks to the CEO of Woodbine Entertainment and his request for an earlier start, Kawartha Downs reopened a week earlier on June 12.
Off to a Good Start
Starting from the weekend races at Kawartha Downs have a 4 p.m. post time. Currently, live spectators will not be permitted to visit the venue, and all horsepeople must comply with the strict health and safety rules. The previous season was also without fans, however, with the progression of the season a small group of individuals was allowed to watch live and betting was held entirely online.
The first card of the new 2021 season at the Fraserville horse racing facility with a CA$5,000 conditioned pace event. Trainer and driver Mario Baillargeon emerged victorious in the afternoon feature with the best time of 1:52.2 while riding First Glance. Minettasfreefligh was leading the opening quarter with :27.3. Private Scott initially yielded for the pocket but then took the lead with :56.3 at the half.
Mr. Baillargeon led all trainers on the 10-event race card with two wins alongside conditioner Isaac Waxman who jockeyed his two winners. Including Mr. Baillargeon and Mr. Waxman, a total of five drivers doubled down to win all races in the afternoon feature. The other three names being considered favorites – Nick Boyd, Tyler Jones, and Justin Turcotte.
The first race card for the new season that started on June 12, 2021, at Kawartha Downs, managed to accumulate over CA$22,782 in total handle. The race track will be resuming to host races weekly with events on Saturdays to September 25. There will be a total of 18 race dates for the duration of the current season, with a post time of each first event set for 4:00 p.m. EDT.
As already mentioned, at the end of May, Woodbine Entertainment has managed to acquire an earlier starting date for the horse racing industry. CEO of the company Mr. Lawson sent out an official request to the local government for the preliminary start as he explained that due to the previous preparations horsepeople are already at the tracks and eagerly await the beginning of the horse racing season.
One More Reopening
Woodbine Racetrack has also officially returned to racing last weekend. The oval also resumed operations on Saturday, June 12, with an 11-race card at 1:20 p.m. post time. Similarly, in-person spectating is also prohibited but fans could still enjoy the events online on Woodbine’s official website, or via the HPIbet.com or the Dark Horse app.
Source: “First Glance First In Kawartha Feature”, Standardbred Canada, June 12, 2021