Woodbine Entertainment has announced its stakes schedule for the 2018 Thoroughbred racing season with 96 stakes highlighted by the 159th running of the $1 million Queen's Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.
In addition to the prestigious Queen's Plate June 30 and Aug. 18 Breeders' Stakes, the third Triple Crown leg, the 2018 Thoroughbred meet will feature four Breeders' Cup 'Win and You're In' stakes.
The $800,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1T), a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" contest for the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T), is set for Sept. 15. The Woodbine Mile was won by eventual Breeders' Cup victor and divisional champion World Approval in 2017 and will be part of a weekend of stakes racing that also includes two other Breeders' Cup Challenge Series races. The Sept. 16 program will include the $250,000 Natalma Stakes (G1T) and Summer Stakes (G1T), which has been upgraded this year and joins the Natalma with a purse increase to $250,000.
Another one of Woodbine's signature races, the $800,000 Pattison Canadian International (G1T), won last year by Bullards Alley, will headline a stakes card set for Oct. 13. The $500,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1T) along with the $250,000 Nearctic Stakes (G2T) and $125,000 Ontario Derby (G3) will be featured on the undercard.
"We are looking forward to presenting another exciting season of Thoroughbred racing at Woodbine for our loyal fans and horsepeople," said Jonathan Zammit, Vice President, Thoroughbred Racing Operations. "With 41 graded races as well as four Breeders' Cup 'Win and You're In' stakes, Woodbine remains one of the premier tracks to compete at in North America."
The 133-day race meet will offer a total of $67.6 million in purses, consistent with 2017 amounts, including $16.6 million allocated towards Woodbine's stakes program.
The Highlander Stakes (G1T), a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" turf sprint to be contested on the Queen's Plate program, has been upgraded to grade 1 status with a purse of $250,000. The Royal North (G2T) and Trillium Stakes (G3) have also been upgraded by The Jockey Club of Canada's Graded Stakes Committee with purses set at $175,000 and $125,000, respectively.
Woodbine Entertainment and the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have spearheaded a new Health and Welfare Committee in cooperation with Fort Erie Racetrack for the 2018 season. The committee has implemented a new policy that will require all horses shipping into both Woodbine and Fort Erie to have current vaccinations for Flu and Rhino in addition to the mandatory Coggins.
To view a detailed stakes schedule for Woodbine's 2018 season, which runs from April 21 to December 16, visit WoodbineRacetrack.com.