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Northern Dancer gets stakes recognition
ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A stakes race has been named in honor of Canadian idol Northern Dancer, and Bell Canada is taking over as sponsor for the erstwhile Atto Mile. Those are the most noteworthy changes to Woodbine's 2006 stakes schedule released by the Woodbine Entertainment Group on Wednesday. A total of 101 stakes worth almost $21.85 million will be run at the 168-day meeting, which runs from April 1 through Dec. 3.
Woodbine's stakes program also will be undergoing a general overhaul, with handicaps being eliminated, entry-day supplementary nominations available for the vast majority of stakes, and all stakes purses being guaranteed rather than added-money offerings.
The recognition of Northern Dancer, the 1964 Kentucky Derby winner, on the local stakes front will come in the form of the Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf, a 1 1/2-mile turf race that will be run July 23 with Grade 2 status and a $700,000 purse that included $100,000 from the Breeders' Cup Fund.
"He is the key horse in Canadian racing history," said Chris Evans, Woodbine's vice-president, Thoroughbred racing. "We never wanted to use his name on a minor stake - it had to be major."
The Northern Dancer essentially replaces the $300,000 Niagara Handicap, inheriting that race's distance and Breeders' Cup stipend.
The Nijinksy, another newly named stakes over 1 1/2 miles on turf, takes over the Niagara's late-summer slot and offers a purse of $300,000 and Grade 2 status.
Meanwhile, Woodbine's Grade 1, $1 million turf mile feature for 3-year-olds and upward that had been run for the past seven years as the Atto Mile now will be known as the Bell Woodbine Mile.
Bell Canada, a Canadian telecommunications giant with extensive media holdings, has inked a marketing sponsorship program with Woodbine Entertainment.
"The Mile is one of our top priorities, and we are thrilled to have Bell aboard," said Glenn Crouter, Woodbine's vice president of media and community relations and sponsorship.
The Sept. 17 Bell Woodbine Mile will be one four seven-figure races at the meeting.
The $2 million Pattison Canadian International, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, and the $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares, share top billing on the Oct. 22 card.
The $1 million Queen's Plate, the 1 1/4-mile race that is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run June 25.
Handicaps a thing of the past
While 22 of Woodbine's stakes were run as handicaps last year, their transformation into allowance stakes is unlikely to be mourned by many.
"I think the day and age of handicaps is history," said Evans, noting that competition between tracks for stakes horses has led to generous weight assignments and that weight concessions have lost much of their impact, with the riders of lightly weighted horses generally posting overweight.
Eliminating handicaps also facilitates the introduction of supplementary nomination fees for all except early-closing stakes. Weights for handicaps had been issued a week before the race, and having to weight a supplementary entrant on entry day would present logistical problems.
Evans also said Woodbine will be standardizing almost all of its stakes fees, with nomination fees set at one-tenth of a percent, entry fees at 1 percent, and supplementary fees at 2 percent.
The exception will be the early-closing stakes, consisting of the Canadian Triple Crown and the Labatt Woodbine Oaks for 3-year-olds and the Cup and Saucer, Coronation, and Princess Elizabeth for 2-year-olds. The final supplementary nomination stages for those early-closing stakes, which require a series of sustaining payments, fall well before entry days.
But those early-closing stakes also are on their last legs, with the 2-year-old events of 2007 bringing an end to that era. Beginning next year, there will be no stakes nominations closing in any prior calendar year.
Base purses remain intact
While the elimination of added money will have an impact on the purses, there are no actual cuts to the base purses of any stakes.
One existing stakes will benefit from a $50,000 boost, as the Ontario Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, will be worth $200,000.
Changes in conditions involve the Hill 'n' Dale, which previously had been restricted to 3-year-old fillies but now is for fillies and mares, and the Halton, a yearling sales turf stakes that has been shortened from 1 1/8 miles to one mile.
There also are another two sponsorship changes. The Chinese Cultural Centre, formerly sponsor of a 1 3/8-mile turf race run at about the time of the new Northern Dancer, will now lend its name to the 1 1/16-mile Seagram Cup, and the Barbados Department of Tourism will now be allied with the 1 1/16-mile Steady Growth.
2006 stakes schedule
|Sat.,April 15||JACQUES CARTIER||4YO & Up||6 furlongs||$125,000|
|Sun.,April 16||WHIMSICAL (G3)||F&M, 4YO & Up||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sat.,April 22||WOODSTOCK||3YO||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sun.,April 23||STAR SHOOT||3YO F||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sat.,April 29||VIGIL (G3)||4YO & Up||7 furlongs||150,000|
|Sat.,May 6||QUEENSTON||3YO**||7 furlongs||150,000|
|Sun.,May 7||FURY||3YO F**||7 furlongs||150,000|
|Sat.,May 13||NEW PROVIDENCE||3YO & Up||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sun.,May 14||GEORGE C. HENDRIE (G3)||F&M, 4YO & Up||6.5 furlongs||150,000|
|Sat.,May 20||MARINE (G3)||3YO||1 1/16 miles||150,000|
|Sun.,May 21||SELENE (G3)||3YO F||1 1/16 miles||250,000|
|Mon.,May 22||ECLIPSE (G3)||4YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||150,000|
|Sat.,May 27||LADY ANGELA||3YO F||7 furlongs||125,000|
|Sun.,May 28||CONNAUGHT CUP (G3)||4YO & Up||1 1/16 miles (T)||150,000|
|Sat.,June 3||NASSAU (G2)||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles (T)||300,000|
|Sun.,June 4||PLATE TRIAL||3YO*||1 1/8 miles||150,000|
|Wed.,June 7||BALLADE||F&M, 3YO & Up||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sat.,June 10||STEADY GROWTH||3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
|Sun.,June 11||LABATT WOODBINE OAKS||3YO F*||1 1/8 miles||500,000|
|Sun.,June 11||VICTORIA PARK||3YO||1 1/8 miles||125,000|
|Wed.,June 14||BOLD RUCKUS||3YO||6 furlongs (T)||125,000|
|Sat.,June 17||HILL 'N' DALE||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||100,000|
|Sun.,June 18||VICTORIA||2YO||5 furlongs||125,000|
|Sun.,June 25||QUEEN'S PLATE||3YO*||1 1/4 miles||1,000,000|
|Sun.,June 25||SCOTTS HIGHLANDER (G3)||3YO & Up||6 furlongs (T)||200,000|
|Sat.,July 1||DOMINION DAY (G3)||3YO & Up||1 1/4 miles||200,000|
|Sat.,July 1||ACHIEVEMENT||3YO**||6 furlongs||150,000|
|Sun.,July 2||MY DEAR||2YO F||5 Furlongs||125,000|
|Mon.,July 3||KING EDWARD BC (G2)||3YO & Up||1 1/8 miles (T)||300,000|
|Sat., July 8||CLARENDON||2YO**||5 1/2 furlongs||150,000|
|Sun.,July 9||ONTARIO DAMSEL||3YO F**||6 1/2 furlongs (T)||150,000|
|Sat.,July 15||DANCE SMARTLY (G2)||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/8 miles (T)||300,000|
|Sat.,July 15||TORONTO CUP||3YO||1 1/8 miles (T)||150,000|
|Sun.,July 16||SHADY WELL||2YO F**||5 1/2 furlongs||150,000|
|Wed.,July 19||DEPUTY MINISTER||3YO||7 furlongs||125,000|
|Sat.,July 22||BOLD VENTURE||3YO & Up||6 1/2 furlongs||125,000|
|Sat.,July 22||COLIN||2YO||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sun.,July 23||NORTHERN DANCER BC TURF (G2)||3YO & Up||1 1/2 miles (T)||700,000|
|Sat.,July 23||ONTARIO MATRON||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
|Wed.,July 26||PASSING MOOD||3YO F||7 furlongs (T)||125,000|
|Sat.,July 29||WONDER WHERE||3YO F*||1 1/4 miles (T)||250,000|
|Sat.,July 30||CHINESE CULTURAL CENTRE (G3)||3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||150,000|
|Sat.,Aug. 5||NANDI||2YO F||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sun.,Aug. 6||BREEDERS'||3YO*||1 1/2 miles (T)||500,000|
|Sun.,Aug. 6||SHEPPERTON||3YO & Up||6 1/2 furlongs||125,000|
|Mon.,Aug. 7||ROYAL NORTH (G3)||F&M, 3YO & Up||6 furlongs (T)||150,000|
|Sat.,Aug. 12||DUCHESS||3YO F||7 furlongs||150,000|
|Sun.,Aug. 13||VANDAL||2YO**||6 furlongs||150,000|
|Sat.,Aug. 19||ONTARIO DEBUTANTE||2YO F||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sun.,Aug. 20||VICTORIANA||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles (T)||125,000|
|Sat.,Aug. 26||PLAY THE KING (G2)||3YO & Up||7 furlongs (T)||200,000|
|Sun.,Aug. 27||NIJINSKY (G2)||3YO & Up||1 1/2 miles (T)||300,000|
|Wed.,Aug. 30||ETERNAL SEARCH||3YO F||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
|Sat.,Sept. 2||ONTARIO COLLEEN||3YO F||1 mile (T)||125,000|
|Sun.,Sept. 3||VICE REGENT||3YO||1 mile (T)||125,000|
|Mon.,Sept. 4||MUSKOKA||2YO F*||7 furlongs||125,000|
|Mon.,Sept. 4||SIMCOE||C&G,2YO*||7 furlongs||125,000|
|Mon.,Sept. 4||ALGOMA||F&M, 3YO & Up*||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
|Mon.,Sept. 4||ELGIN||C&G, 3YO & Up*||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
|Mon.,Sept. 4||KENORA||3YO & Up*||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Mon.,Sept. 4||HALTON||3YO & Up*||1 mile (T)||125,000|
|Sat.,Sept. 9||SEAWAY (G3)||F&M, 3YO & Up||7 furlongs||150,000|
|Sun.,Sept. 10||NATALMA (G3)||2YO F||1 mile (T)||150,000|
|Sat.,Sept. 16||LA PREVOYANTE||3YO F||1 mile (T)||125,000|
|Sat.,Sept. 16||SWYNFORD||2YO||7 furlongs||125,000|
|Sun.,Sept. 17||BELL WOODBINE MILE (G1)||3YO & Up||1 mile (T)||1,000,000|
|Sun.,Sept. 17||CANADIAN (G2)||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/8 miles (T)||300,000|
|Sun.,Sept. 17||SUMMER (G3)||2YO||1 mile (T)||250,000|
|Wed.,Sept. 20||OVERSKATE||3YO & Up||7 furlongs||125,000|
|Sat.,Sept. 23||LA LORGNETTE||3YO F||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
|Sun.,Sept. 24||SKY CLASSIC (G2)||3YO & Up||1 3/8 miles (T)||300,000|
|Sat.,Sept. 30||MAZARINE BC (G3)||2YO F||1 1/16 miles||250,000|
|Sun.,Oct. 1||ONTARIO DERBY (G3)||3YO||1 1/8 miles||200,000|
|Wed.,Oct. 4||VICTORIAN QUEEN||2YOF||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sat.,Oct. 7||CAROTENE||3YO F**||1 1/8 miles (T)||150,000|
|Mon.,Oct. 9||GREY BC (G3)||2YO||1 1/16 miles||250,000|
|Mon.,Oct. 9||CLASSY 'N SMART||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
|Sat.,Oct. 14||DURHAM CUP (G3)||3YO & Up||1 1/8 miles1||50,000|
|Sat.,Oct. 14||BULL PAGE||C&G, 2YO||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sun.,Oct. 15||CUP AND SAUCER||2YO*||1 1/16 miles (T)||250,000|
|Sat.,Oct. 21||PRINCESS ELIZABETH||2YO F*||1 1/16 miles||250,000|
|Sun.,Oct. 22||PATTISON CANADIAN INT'L (G1)||3YO & Up||1 1/2 miles (T)||2,000,000|
|Sun.,Oct. 22||E.P. TAYLOR (G1)||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/4 miles (T)||1,000,000|
|Sun.,Oct. 22||NEARCTIC (G2)||3YO & Up||6 furlongs (T)||500,000|
|Sat.,Oct. 28||FANFRELUCHE||2YO F**||6 furlongs||150,000|
|Sat.,Oct. 29||BUNTY LAWLESS||3YO & Up||1 mile (T)||125,000|
|Sat.,Nov. 4||ONTARIO FASHION||F&M, 3YO & Up||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sat.,Nov. 5||CORONATION FUTURITY||2YO*||1 1/8 miles||250,000|
|Wed.,Nov. 8||SOUTH OCEAN||2YO F||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
|Sat.,Nov. 11||MAPLE LEAF||F&M, 3YO & Up||1 1/4 miles||175,000|
|Sun.,Nov. 12||JAMMED LOVELY||3YO F**||7 furlongs||150,000|
|Wed.,Nov. 15||FROST KING||2YO||7 furlongs||125,000|
|Sat.,Nov. 18||WOODBINE SLOTS CUP (G3)||3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||150,000|
|Sun.,Nov. 19||KENNEDY ROAD||3YO & Up||6 furlongs||125,000|
|Sun.,Nov. 19||GLORIOUS SONG||2YO F||7 furlongs||125,000|
|Sat.,Nov. 25||DISPLAY||2YO||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
|Sat.,Nov. 26||BESSARABIAN||F&M, 3YO & Up||7 furlongs||150,000|
|Sat.,Dec. 2||ONTARIO LASSIE||2YO F**||1 1/16 miles||150,000|
|Sat.,Dec. 2||KINGARVIE||2YO||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
|Sun.,Dec. 3||VALEDICTORY||3YO & Up||1 3/4 miles||125,000|
|Sun.,Dec. 3||SIR BARTON||C&G, 3YO & Up||1 1/16 miles||125,000|
* Foaled in Canada; ** Foaled in Ontario; Ontario-sired