02/01/2013 5:03PM

Harness Racing: WEG announces 2013 stakes schedule

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Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced its 2013 standardbred stakes schedule, which includes the 30th renewal of the prestigious Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack.

The Pepsi North America Cup, WEG's signature harness race, will offer a guaranteed purse of $1 million on Saturday, June 15. Ten of the continent’s finest three year-old pacers will line up behind the gate, with eliminations scheduled the week prior on June 8.

First staged in 1984, the “Cup” has been captured by such champions as Somebeachsomewhere, Gallo Blue Chip, Rocknroll Hanover, and last year, Thinking Out Loud.

The star-studded program on June 15 will also boast the $400,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, the $380,000 Elegantimage Stakes for three year-old trotting fillies, the $250,000 Goodtimes for sophomore trotting colts, and the $265,000 Armbro Flight for trotting mares.

“Although there are inevitable reductions to purses as a result of operating in a changed environment, Woodbine Entertainment Group remains committed to offering the premier stakes program with the best value for owners in North America,” said Bruce Murray, WEG's Vice President of Standardbred Racing. “We also want to thank all of the owners and trainers for their support of our racing this past year.”

With a reduced payment structure, nominations for all major stakes will close on Friday, March 15. Purses for all stakes finals are estimated except for the Pepsi North America Cup.

Mohawk will play host to several other major events during the campaign.

On July 20, the 61st edition of the $550,000 Maple Leaf Trot will take place as the continent's finest older trotters are showcased. The historic event has been captured in recent years by three-time champion San Pail, Arch Madness and last year’s victor, Mister Herbie.

To complement the Maple Leaf Trot will be the $340,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for pacing mares. Eliminations are scheduled for July 13.

The annual Labour Day weekend extravaganza returns on Saturday, August 31 headlined by the $700,000 Metro Pace for two year-old pacing colts. Co-featured on the card are the $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby older pacers, along with the $430,000 Shes A Great Lady for juvenile pacing fillies.

The Canadian Trotting Classic, for the sport’s best three year-old colt trotters, will take their positions behind the starting gate on Saturday, September 14 for an estimated purse of $700,000. Also that evening, the $365,000 Peaceful Way final for two year-old trotting fillies and the $385,000 William Wellwood Memorial for rookie trotting colts will be apart of the rich card.

To view the 2013 WEG stakes schedule, please click the link below. 

http://www.woodbineentertainment.com/News/Documents/2013%20Standardbed%20Stakes%20Schedule.pdf

(edited release-WEG)