Toronto, ON – Woodbine’s 2008 Thoroughbred stakes schedule, released today by Woodbine Entertainment Group, features a new incentive that is certain to attract a strong cast of participants.
In addition to offering over $22 million in purses, six of the calendar’s 103 races are part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and feature a lucrative “Win and You’re In” guarantee.
A score in one of the six events, all of which take place over the world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course, earns the victor a berth in the corresponding event at the Breeders’ Cup, set for October 24 & 25 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
The winner of the $1 million Woodbine Mile on Sunday, September 7, for instance, is assured an entry in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile. The two-year-old filly that takes the Sunday, September 14 Natalma Stakes will receive a berth in the new Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
The final four Woodbine events in the Series will anchor a stellar autumn card on Saturday, October 4.
The Toronto oval’s richest event, the $2 million Pattison Canadian International, and the $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes, for fillies and mares, were moved up two weeks for inclusion in the “Win and You’re In” concept.
The Grade 1 turf features are accompanied by the $500,000 Nearctic Stakes, a Grade 2 turf sprint, and the $300,000 Summer Stakes, a Grade 3 grass test for two-year-olds. Both are also part of the Challenge Series.
ESPN, the prominent U.S. TV sports network, will be broadcasting all four International day “Win and You’re In” events live from Woodbine.
This year, the $750,000 Northern Dancer Breeders’ Cup Turf Stakes, which was upgraded to Grade 1, will be contested on Woodbine Mile day and should serve as a natural stepping stone to the Pattison Canadian International. The Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian Stakes, for turf fillies and mares, will also take place on Mile day.
The Queen’s Plate, Canada’s most renowned horse race and North America’s oldest continuously-run stakes event, will have its 149th running on Sunday, June 22. The 1 1/4-mile classic, the first jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown of Racing, is worth $1 million.
The $200,000 Scotts Highlander Stakes and the $150,000 Singspiel Stakes, now a Grade 3 event, will complement the Plate day programme.
The Breeders’ Stakes, third and turf gem of racing’s Triple Crown, is set for Sunday, August 3 at Woodbine. The 1 1/2-mile turf event carries a purse of $500,000. The middle leg of the three-race series, the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, will be run at Fort Erie on Sunday, July 13.
The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, the first leg in the Canada’s Triple Tiara of Racing, is scheduled for Sunday, June 8. Known for the last several years as the Labatt Woodbine Oaks, the race is now sponsored by the company’s Budweiser brand.
The Woodbine meet runs for 167 dates from Saturday, April 5 to Sunday, December 7.
The entire 2008 Woodbine stakes schedule, which is subject to Ontario Racing Commission approval, follows.