Ontario Racing has announced that one of Canada’s and North America’s most exciting stakes programs is set to return this season. The organization revealed that the Ontario Sires Stakes and its accompanying Prospect Series will officially make their return on the Confederation Cup weekend on May 21 and May 22, 2022, at Flamboro Downs.
Once again there will be four of the three-year-old Prospect Series classes which will be hosted during the Saturday, May 21 race card. While the Confederation Cup on Sunday 22, will come with the opening leg of the Grassroots Series for three-year-old pacing colts. The two are expected to attract plenty of interest from horse owners and fans of the sport.
Schedule and Changes
In addition to that, Ontario Racing revealed that the Gold Series at Woodbine Mohawk Park will kick off on May 30, 2022, with the first leg for three-year-old trotting colts. Trainer John Bax is hopeful to see his sophomore trotting gelding Duly Resolved continue the momentum from its two-year-old campaign during which he won three Gold Series divisions. Thus, earning CA$631,000 in 12 starts and an O’Brien Award nomination.
Woodbine Mohawk Park hill host the Grassroots Semi-Finals on September 22 and 23 with the Championships coming only a week later. The OSS season will conclude with the Gold Super Finals on October 15 at the Milton track. Also, trademark stakes events at the track in the province such as Kin Pace Final, Earl Rowe Trot, Industry Day, and others will come with legs of the Gold, Grassroots, and Prospect Series.
Ontario Racing revealed some changes to the OSS program. This year, horses finishing sixth through last in the Gold Super Finals and Grassroots Championships will be awarded 1% of the purse. While in the Gold and Grassroots Series division with 11 starters or several trailers, horses from sixth to last will also grab 1% of the purse.
Last but not least, the Standardbred Improvement Program Committee decided to boost the purse for single Gold Series divisions with 11 horse or multiple trailers to CA$190,000. While other single Gold Series divisions will once again race for CA$150,000. The organization also informed that starting fees for the Prospect Series remain at CA$100, while Grassroots Series starting fees are now CA$400 and Gold Series starting fees increase to CA$900.
Years Starts Off Under Restrictions
In January, the horse racing of Ontario started off the New Year under a new set of health and safety protocols. Due to the provincial orders from January 5, 2022, race tracks across the province are required to operate in a limited capacity. Indoor areas had to remain closed for visitors, as for outdoor areas guests have to make a reservation, and the maximum number of spectators must be 50% of the total.
In the last days of 2021, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario issued its last batch of approved race dates for the 2022 live racing season. For instance, under the new calendar, Woodbine Mohawk Park will host a total of 223 Standardbred racing days in 2022, while Woodbine Racetrack will host 133 days of Thoroughbred racing.
Source: “Ontario Racing 2022 OSS and Prospect Series Schedule”, HarnessLink, February 5, 2022