Racing returns to Woodbine Race Course in Ontario on Saturday with an 11-race program featuring 123 horses.
Saturday’s start comes after an announcement on Monday that the meet’s beginning would be moved up after Ontario’s COVID reopening plan moved faster than initially expected. The meet had been set to begin June 18.
Originally, Woodbine was scheduled to open in April, but it remained closed due to various COVID issues. The 2021 race meet is now set to run though Dec. 12.
There are no stakes races on the schedule until July 18, when the Connaught Cup (G2) for 4-year-olds and up will go seven furlongs over the Woodbine turf course.
The track is still scheduled for its two Canadian Triple Crown races, with the Queen’s Plate set to run Aug. 22 and the Breeders’ Stakes on Oct. 3. Those races have been pushed back from their tradition date in late June/early July and August, respectively.
Saturday’s slate features an average field size of just over 11 horses. The largest field is found in the eighth race, a one-mile maiden allowance over the turf course, which includes 14 entries, plus one also-eligible. That race is also the richest purse for Saturday’s card, at $123,200.
The sixth race also includes a full field of 14. Saturday’s smallest group comes in the third race, which has six entries.
The 2021 Woodbine meet will run Sunday as well, then June 18-20, before switching to its usual Thursday through Sunday schedule.