Woodbine Entertainment is set to launch its 2023 Thoroughbred racing season this Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario.
The 2023 season at Woodbine will consist of 133 race dates, highlighted by the 164th running of The King’s Plate on Sunday, August 20, and runs through Sunday, December 17. By the end of May, the live racing schedule will be up to four-days-a-week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday) for the balance of the meet.
“The opening of a new season is always a fun time of the year with so much optimism for a great meet,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine. “We had a tremendous season in 2022 with record wagering numbers, so it’s only natural that we raise expectations and aim to post another record year.
“We’re excited to have everyone back and get things going on Saturday.”
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Saturday’s opening day card will feature nine-races with post time scheduled for 1:10 p.m. Fans coming out for opening day can pick-up a free Woodbine fanny pack as part of a giveaway on Level 2 of the grandstand.
To view the entries for Saturday, click here.
New Faces to Compete at Woodbine
The new season at Woodbine will see familiar and new faces set to compete. The goals of each participant vary, but all circle back to spending as much time as possible in the winner’s circle.
Veteran jockey Luis Contreras, a winner of 2,442 races, returns to Woodbine aiming for a strong season from start to finish.
“Each year, I want to do better than the year before and to win the big races,” said Contreras, a two-time Queen’s Plate winner. “You always want to start the year out strong and carry that throughout the whole season.”
Apprentice jockey Sofia Vives is returning to Woodbine to race regularly after taking the Toronto track by storm late in 2022. The 21-year-old jockey posted four wins and eight top-three finishes in 16 starts last season at Woodbine.
“If I can win the Sovereign Award, that would be great,” said Vives. “I want to win three in a day as well. I’ve won two in a day, but if I can get three, that would be amazing. I would be the happiest girl in the world.”
Last year’s Queen’s Plate winning jockey Rafael Hernandez led all riders in stakes victories and finished second overall for the season in wins. The accomplished jockey remains focused on Canada’s most prestigious race, which returns to moniker of The King’s Plate for the first time since 1951.
“Now, I want to win the King’s Plate this year. We won the last Queen’s Plate – you never know when the next time it will be named that. It would be so special to win the last Queen’s Plate and first King’s Plate.”
The 164th running of The King’s Plate on Sunday, August 20 is the crown jewel of the 2023 live racing season. Other marquee dates include the Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, on Sunday, July 23, the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Saturday, September 16 and the Grade 1 Canadian International on Sunday, October 8.
To view the entire 2023 stakes schedule, click here.