Michael Burns

Woodbine Announces 2014 Stakes Schedule

The 133-day meet will feature 102 stakes races worth nearly $20 million in purses.

A 133-day Thoroughbred meet at Woodbine in 2014 will feature 102 stakes races worth nearly $20 million in purses.

The Toronto-area meet launches April 12 and concludes Dec. 7.

The Woodbine stakes schedule, unveiled March 13 by the Woodbine Entertainment Group, is highlighted by the 155th running of the Queen's Plate. The 1 1/4-mile Canadian classic, which carries a $1 million purse, is set for July 6.

North America's oldest continuously-run stakes event and first jewel in Canada's Triple Crown of Racing, the Plate will be complemented by three turf stakes events: the $200,000 Highlander Stakes Presented by Pizzaville (Can-IIT), the $200,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT), and the $150,000 Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT).

The Ricoh Woodbine Mile (gr. IT), which will be televised across North America as part of the "Jockey Club Tour on FOX" series, is slated for Sept. 14. The Jockey Club/Fox Tour series of races will feature several of North America's most prestigious races for older horses.

The Woodbine Mile, a $1 million event won in consecutive years by reigning United States Horse of the Year Wise Dan, caps a lucrative weekend Sept. 13-14 on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course. It kicks off Saturday with the $200,000 Natalma Stakes (Can-II) for juvenile fillies and the $200,000 Summer Stakes (Can-II) for 2-year-olds.

In addition to the Woodbine Mile, the Sept. 14 card features the $300,000 Northern Dancer Stakes (Can-I), for 3-year-olds and upwards, and the $300,000 Canadian Stakes (Can-II), for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upwards.

The $1 million Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) is set for Oct. 19. The 1 1/2-mile grass event headlines an outstanding card that includes the $500,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT), for fillies and mares, and the $300,000 Nearctic Stakes (Can-IIT), a six-furlong turf sprint.

Woodbine will again be a part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series which features a lucrative "Win and You're In" incentive. A score in the Natalma, Summer, Woodbine Mile, or Canadian guarantees the victor a berth in the corresponding championship event at the Breeders' Cup Oct. 31-Nov. 1) at Santa Anita Park.

June 15 will be another big day at the Toronto oval. The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, the first leg in Canada's Triple Tiara of Racing, is scheduled for that day. Also slated is the $150,000 Plate Trial, the country's top prep race for the Queen's Plate.

If an exceptional filly once again steps forward as the victor of the Plate Trial and the Oaks, she will have three weeks to prepare for the Queen's Plate.

The Breeders' Stakes, third of Canada's Triple Crown, is set for Aug. 17 at Woodbine. The 1 1/2-mile turf race carries a purse of $500,000.