Turfside Dining Room
Backstretch opens in preparation for racing season at Fort Erie Race Track
With only seven weeks until opening day, the backstretch has opened and horses have started training for the 125th season of live racing at Fort Erie Race Track.
The mood in the backstretch is very positive, with horsepeople happy to be back in Fort Erie and excited for the return of live thoroughbred racing.
“At this time we are planning for a season fully open to all fans, and we’re hoping the public health guidelines allow it to stay that way,” said general manager of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, Drew Cady. “We’ve missed having special events and being fully open to our loyal fans, and we’re looking forward to getting back to normal while still maintaining a safe environment for everyone.”
Julie Mathes, Fort Erie’s leading trainer for the last two seasons, said she’s looking forward to the upcoming meet. “It’s been a long, cold, hard winter and we’re excited to get this year started,” she said. Mathes finished last season with 23 wins for her owners Bruno Schickedanz and Dave Mathes, who she will be training for again this year.
Trainer Gary Chudobiak also expressed optimistic sentiments for the upcoming season. “We’re happy to be back and happy that restrictions are being lifted for the sake of the industry. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and we have a normal season with fans and events so that our industry can thrive.”
Opening day is Tuesday, May 31, with the first race going off at 4:05 p.m. The event will highlight the start of Fort Erie Race Track’s 125th racing season, with a free anniversary t-shirt giveaway with program purchase to the first 2,000 fans. After the races, Jonesy will take to the stage at the Tiki Bar for a free concert.
Live racing will run primarily Mondays and Tuesdays from May 31 to October 18 with some Sundays, including Father’s Day on June 19. This season will see the return of many family-favourite events, including wiener dog races on Sunday, July 17, and basset hound races on Sunday, August 14. The 87th Prince of Wales Stakes, the second jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown and Fort Erie Race Track’s signature event will take place on Tuesday, September 13.
Admission and parking are free, and all ages are welcome to attend our family-friendly venue. More information about the upcoming racing and event schedule can be found at www.FortErieRacing.com.
Photo: Jockey MarkLee Buchanan, by Laurie Langley