Woodbine Entertainment Confirms Queen’s Plate to Be Moved to Late August 202120th January 2021 |
Woodbine Entertainment has announced that its marquee event will have to be postponed until the end of August, 2021, instead of its traditional date at the end of June due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Queen’s Plate is a long-standing tradition and people can rest assured that despite the changes, the CA$1-million horse race is still going to take place this summer.
Constant changes in health and safety recommendations have meant that horse-racing participants and enthusiasts have had to remain flexible in the face of an ever-changing situation. Rumours surrounding the OLG Canadian Triple Crown and its three races had been circulating among the public, and now it has been confirmed that the horse race will happen at Woodbine Racetrack on August 22.
The local horse gaming field had been buzzing with rumours of the postponement for a couple of days since an anonymous source disclosed that one of OLG Canadian Triple Crown’s events was going to be put off until late August. The move was reportedly done to further protect horse people and fans. At the time, Woodbine Entertainment had not issued an official statement so the tipper requested to remain anonymous but assured that the information he was revealing was solid. In fact, Woodbine Entertainment released more information confirming what the anonymous source said soon after.
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Jim Lawson, Chief Executive Officer of Woodbine Entertainment, explained the reasoning behind this decision as being heedful of health experts’ opinion. He is hopeful that the Covid-19 vaccinations roll out will result in people physically attending the ‘21 Queen’s Plate.
“The best advice we have today is there will be a critical mass of the population done by mid-August,” Lawson said. “Hopefully, that would allow us to have some groups of fans there that have been vaccinated.
Woodbine Entertainment cancelled premium horse race in 2020
One can recall that the premium horse race already had to be rescheduled last year. It was originally set to take place on June 27, but had to be pushed back till September 12 because of the then-novel coronavirus. Due to health and safety precautions, no spectators were allowed for the three races of the Triple Crown, including the CA$400,000 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine and the CA$400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie Racetrack. Spectators had to watch all the excitement on TSN, being broadcasted live as it was unfolding. This year, Lawson wants to see people make it to the Queen’s Plate event in person.
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Safety of upmost importance to Woodbine Entertainment
Providing a safe environment for horse-race goers is of great importance to Woodbine Entertainment, so the festival which is usually staged around the Queen’s Plate is still highly likely to be cancelled. Lawson said, “we don’t expect a big festival like we’ve had in other years. We’re comfortable that after a lot of medical input that Aug. 22 is probably a day that we’ll be able to have some sort of event . . . but it won’t be obviously like we’ve seen in prior years because of COVID.”
Another reason confirmed by Lawson for postponing the horse race is to give horse racers more time to prepare for the 1 1/4-mile race distance.
Although the Woodbines 2021 stakes schedule has not been set in stone yet, it is projected that both the CA$150,000 Plate Trial and the CA$500,000 Woodbine Oaks for fillies will take place about three weeks’ before the Queen’s Plate. Lawson sounded hopeful that Woodbine will not see a decrease in bets this year, despite the ongoing pandemic.
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