03/13/2014 3:30PM

Woodbine announces 2014 stakes schedule worth about $20 million

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The 155th running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate headlines a 2014 Woodbine stakes schedule that includes 102 races worth almost $20 million.

The Queen’s Plate will be the featured race on the July 6 card that also includes three graded stakes: the Grade 2 Dance Smartly, Grade 2 Highlander, and Grade 3 Singspiel.

The $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes completes the Canadian Triple Crown at Woodbine on Aug. 17, while the middle jewel, the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, will be run at Fort Erie on July 29.

A pair of Grade 1 stakes, the $1 million Woodbine Mile and the $300,000 Northern Dancer Turf, will be run Sept. 14 and will cap a quality weekend of turf racing. Along with the Woodbine Mile, three other fees-paid berths into the Breeders’ Cup will be awarded that weekend in the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes and the Grade 2 Summer Stakes on Sept. 13 and the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes on Sept. 14. The Woodbine Mile will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1.

The final two Grade 1 races of the meet, the $1 million Canadian International and the $500,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes, will be run Oct. 19. The Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes also will be run that day but will not offer the winner a fees-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup this year.

The stakes schedule is slated to kick off April 13 with the running of the $125,000 Jacques Cartier Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for older males.

Purse amounts for several open listed stakes were reduced from $150,000 to $125,000 for 2014. The Grade 2 Kennedy Road and Grade 2 Bessarabian were the only races to get a purse increase – up to $200,000 from $150,000 in 2013 – while all other graded stakes, along with statebred stakes, saw their purse levels maintained at 2013 levels.

Some minor scheduling changes also were made. Among the minor changes:

◗ The Display Stakes has been moved to Nov. 1 and will be run before the Coronation Futurity, which has been moved to Nov. 29.

◗ The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks and the $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes will be run June 15, three weeks before the Queen’s Plate instead of four weeks before, as it was in 2013.

◗ The Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes has been moved to June 1 to give four weeks between it and the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes on July 1.

◗ The Grade 2 Play the King Stakes has been moved up two weeks to Aug. 10 to give five weeks between it and the Woodbine Mile.

Linda Steer 12 months ago
WOODBINE, my number one track, looking forward to opening day.