Standardbred racing is set to return to Woodbine Racetrack Thursday and Grand Circuit action will help launch the proceedings on opening weekend.
The 81-date Woodbine Fall-Winter meet will run from Nov. 12 to April 10 (pending regulatory approval) and feature live racing every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Opening weekend of the meet will be highlighted by the return of the Grand Circuit to the Toronto oval.
Woodbine Racetrack is proud to host the $1.7 million Fall Four Stakes for two-year-olds. The finals of the Fall Four Stakes are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19, with eliminations for two of the four events taking place this Friday.
The Fall Four Stakes consists of the Governor's Cup, Three Diamonds, Valley Victory and Goldsmith Maid.
A strong group of 11 rookie pacing colts and geldings will compete in the $520,000 Governor's Cup final, including Breeders Crown champion Huntsville. The Goldsmith Maid attracted 10 two-year-old trotting fillies and for the $447,000 final.
The Valley Victory (15 entries), headlined by William Wellwood Memorial winner Seven And Seven, and the Three Diamonds (13 entries), featuring Breeders Crown winner Someomensomewhere, will each have two eliminations on Friday's card.
The Fall Four Stakes were last contested at Woodbine in 2014.
The return of Standardbred racing to Woodbine will require the talented WEG driving colony to adjust their strategy to fit the Toronto oval.
"It's a tough track sometimes," said James MacDonald, who currently sits fifth in the WEG drivers' standings. "It's like a really big half mile track, there's not a lot of room down the lane and the last turn is significantly tighter.
"It's definitely a speed track and the front end seems to be the place to be."
Horseplayers will be able to continue playing all the signature wagers they have become accustomed to on WEG Standardbred racing during the Woodbine meet, including the $50,000 Guaranteed Early Pick-4 and the $30,000 Guaranteed Pick-5.
The popular Jackpot Hi-5 wager will begin with a massive carryover of $213,609.40 transferred from Mohawk to Woodbine.
Post time for each card of live racing during the meet is 7:30 p.m. except for a special matinee card on Boxing Day (Dec. 26) at 1 p.m. (WEG)