02/06/2009 12:00AM

Woodbine turf stakes moved to keep up with Cup


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Woodbine will be shuffling its major turf stakes this year, with an eye toward the Nov. 6-7 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita. In 2008, the Cup was held Oct. 24-25 at Santa Anita.

The major changes involve Canadian International Day, which will be held two weeks later than last year on Oct. 17, and Woodbine Mile Day, which has also been moved back two weeks to Sept. 20.

Woodbine's 2009 schedule includes 103 stakes worth a total of $22.7 million for the 167-day meeting, which runs from April 4 through Dec. 6.

Just as in 2008, six Woodbine Stakes will be part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, which guarantees each winner a berth in a corresponding Breeders' Cup race.

The Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International, Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor, and Grade 2 Nearctic all will be run Oct. 17 and are Win and You're In races.

The Grade 3 Summer, a mile turf race for 2-year-olds that was part of the International Day card here last year, has been moved to Sept. 19.

"The Summer got overshadowed by those other races," said Steve Lym, Woodbine's racing secretary and a director of racing. "It's still a Win and You're In race, but it fits better into our program."

Joining the Summer on the Sept. 19 program will be the Grade 3 Natalma, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies which also is a BC Challenge series race.

The Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile, also a Win and You're In race, will anchor the Sept. 20 program, which also includes the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf and the Grade 2 Canadian.

In other noteworthy changes on the calendar:

* The Grade 2 Sky Classic, a 1 3/8-mile turf race that was run three weeks after the Canadian International last year, will be offered on Aug. 23.

"We had room to put the Sky Classic back to a midsummer race," said Lym.

* The Grade 2 Play the King, which is the major local prep for the Woodbine Mile, will be run on Aug. 29, allowing an extra week between the two races.

* The La Lorgnette and the Selene, both open 1 1/16-mile races for 3-year-old fillies, have switched places on the calendar.

The $150,000 La Lorgnette will be run on May 17 and the Grade 3, $250,000 Selene, which formerly was part of the run-up to the Woodbine Oaks, goes Sept. 26.

"There's a gap in the 3-year-old filly schedule that time of year and the Selene, with its grade and higher purse, may attract a few more nice horses," said Lym.

* There will be a two-week break between the Achievement, a six-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds that kicks off the stakes schedule on April 11, and the Woodstock, an open six-furlong race for 3-year-olds. Last year, the races were run on consecutive weekends.

* The Marine, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds on May 16, has lost its Grade 3 status.

* The bonus money for Ontario-foaled horses running in open races, including stakes, has been upped from 10 percent of the purse to 15 percent.