Over the weekend, Century Downs Racetrack and Casino hosted a Women in Racing weekend event. Its aim was to celebrate the perseverance, determination and endurance of women participating in the horse racing sector. The event started off on Friday, July 21, 2023, with a Leading Ladies Luncheon, with a Q&A on the topic of women in horse racing.
After the luncheon and photo-ops and flower presentation, a tour of barns was held to give guests a behind the scene look at the daily operations of drivers, trainers, and support staff who support the equine racing industry. On top of that, both Friday and Saturday featured action-packed race cards, contested at the track’s oval.
Celebrating Women in Horse Racing
As part of the special event honouring women, Friday featured a nine-race card of live harness racing with a post time of 5:15 p.m. Meanwhile, Saturday’s July 22 card contained a Calgary White Hat ceremony, which was a representation of friendship and welcoming in Calgary. The track also welcomed Casie Coleman, Heather Vitale and Natasha Day as special days for the occasion.
Ms. Coleman is a highly accomplished horse trainer who has received Canada’s Trainer of the Year title five times. She is also the first and only female to win the prestigious O’Brien Award for trainers. Her success extends across Canada and the United States, where she has secured victory in over 2,300 races. She was accompanied by Ms. Vitale who is the host of Post Time and PA Harness Week.
Meanwhile, Ms. Day, a trailblazing horse trainer and driver, received the 2022 Ruth Herbert Horsewoman of The Year award. In 2022, she secured her OLG Ontario Women’s Driving Championship title with an impressive six-race sweep. Originally from Australia, she moved to Canada to pursue her passion and believes in letting her driving skills speak for themselves to gain recognition in the industry.
Ms. Day competed in Saturday’s CA$7,500 Women in Racing Invitational Pace a drive. Also, the fourth race on the 1:15 p.m. program contained horses trained only by women. In addition to that, Saturday’s date also included the Emerald Filly Pace and Norm Kennedy Memorial for two-year-olds as well as a pair of Alberta Sires Stakes finals for the three-year-olds.
Woodbine Entertainment also Honours Female Drivers
Speaking of Ms. Day and races featuring an all-female lineup, in 2022, Woodbine Entertainment hosted an all-women race on March 7, to celebrate International Women’s Day at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Ms. Day and Mach My Kiss took home the top prize in a race for older pacing mares. The duo managed to overcome the opposition and won with a final time of 1:58.
This year was no exception as Woodbine Mohawk Park hosted another special card to mark International Women’s Day. However, this year, the special race was on March 9, 2023, but the harness race event again featured a total of ten female drivers. Some other participants include Anita Ouellette, Debi O’Brien-Moran, Jesse Turenne, Julie Walker, Kayla Chappell, and more.
Source: “Century Downs to Celebrate Women In Racing” Standardbred Canada, July 20, 2023