05/02/2014 8:53AM

Assiniboia Downs opens 60-day meet Sunday; Manitoba Derby remains centerpiece


Live racing returns to Assiniboia Downs on Sunday, which is opening day of a 60-day meet that runs through Sept. 21.

Racing at the Winnipeg track is scheduled for Fridays, Saturdays, four Sundays (May 4, May 11, June 15 and Sept. 21) and on the holidays May 19, July 1, Aug. 4 and Sept. 1. Wednesday racing will be added May 28, but will not be conducted after a holiday.

Post time is 1:30 p.m., Central, for Sundays and holidays. Post time for Wednesday, Friday and Saturday racing is 7 p.m.

The $75,000 Manitoba Derby is the centerpiece of the meet. The nine-furlong test for 3-year-olds will be run Aug. 4. The other major stakes are the $50,000 Matron, a nine-furlong route for fillies and mares on Sept. 12; the $50,000 Gold Cup, a nine-furlong event for 3-year-olds and up on Sept. 13; and the $50,000 Assiniboia Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on Aug. 4. The premier 2-year-old stakes on the schedule is the $50,000 Winnipeg Futurity on Sept. 6.

A legal battle between the Manitoba Jockey Club and the Manitoba provincial government has been resolved. A 12-year deal recently was announced which allows the MJC, which operates the track, to keep 140 video lottery terminals there. The track will get less revenue from the VLTs in the long term, but many jobs will be saved, according to Assiniboia’s CEO Darren Dunn.