Horseracing is Back: The Return of the Ponies to Woodbine
Horse racing is back in Ontario!
Woodbine Racetrack’s opening day of live racing is Friday April 6, with a post time of 1 PM. With 167 race days up coming in 2012, the hype of another year is sure to be a success. A few big race dates to mark on the calendar besides opening day are;
Sunday, June 3 – Woodbine Oaks
Sunday, June 24 – Queen’s Plate
Sunday, August 5 - Breeders Stakes
Sunday, September 16 – Ricoh’s Woodbine Mile and the Northern Dancer Turf
Sunday, October 14 - Pattison Canadian International, E.P. Taylor Stakes, and Nearctic Stakes.
These five events are the richest days of the meet. The winner of these races are bringing home at least $300,000 and up to $900,000 for the winner of the Pattison International.
With a probable visit from the Queen or some or her royalty on June 24th for the Queen’s Plate, the first leg of Canadian’s Triple Crown. Canada’s premiere racetrack is a spot for people of all walks of life, whether you are just looking for a day with the family to enjoy the atmosphere of horse racing or a day with boys looking to gamble and make some cash!
The excitement is in the air, “horse people” have invested their time and money, their horses are fit, ready, training well and now it’s time. It’s Tuesday, entry day for Friday. Trainers have their race picked out, made arrangements with the jockey’s agent and are praying for the race to fill. There’s nothing like it - that feeling you get when the announcements are being made over the loud speaker on the backside of the track. Waiting to hear how many horses are in your race, wondering which races will be used. And the indescribable relief when you find out your horse’s race is on.
With a couple of days to go before the race, some last minute training changes take place to settle down or jack the horse up come in effect. A call to your vet, extra supplements in their feed, last minute check from the blacksmith and a little extra TLC from the groom, and before you know it, it’s race day. Anyone in the industry will tell you the horse knows! You cna almost see the way they carry themselves changes as the race nears beacause they, too, can sense the anticipation. Feeling extra-strong and excited as the bridal goes on,these equine athletes know it’s their job, it’s what they love to do, and it’s time to race!
The trainer, after assuring himself the horse is in peak condition and having found the right race, now has to think of what strategy to employ given the conditions and field. Both the trainer and jockey most likely know the competition, read the racing form and have a good idea of how the race will be run. When in the paddock just before the call for “RIDERS UP!”, last minute suggestions from the trainer to jockey of how to handle the race, but ultimately with a troubled trip, the best horse does not have to win that day.
It’s kind of like any given Sunday, but in the horse world, any given race day your horse can win. As a gambler you’ve got to know this cardinal rule, that the favorite does not always win. In fact the favorite wins less than half the time. The racing form is there as a tool to figure out which horse is coming into the race at the right time to try and decide on the best wager. It’s not easy, but once again, that feeling of winning, making good money, is why we do it.
Good luck to the gamblers, and to all horse people here in Ontario, and around North America and the globe, as 2012 will once again prove why this is The Sport of Kings.
…and that is the last word.