Turfway Park, Woodbine Collaborate On All-Weather Winners Challenge Series

by | 12.19.2019 | 2:14pm
Curlin's Voyage was awarded victory in Woodbine's Mazarine Stakes via disqualification

Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., and Woodbine Entertainment in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, have teamed up to create the All-Weather Winners Challenge series, with winners of designated stakes at each track earning automatic entry with nomination and entry fees paid to stakes across the border. The new series begins in 2020, with the first eligible winners coming from Woodbine's 2019 Grey Stakes (G3) and Mazarine Stakes (G3).

Turfway's two key races figure prominently in the arrangement: the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), which awards points toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), and the Bourbonette Oaks (L), which offers points toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

The winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks, set for March 14, will earn entry into the Marine Stakes (G3) at Woodbine May 9, while the winner of the Bourbonette Oaks, also running March 14, will be awarded a spot in Woodbine's Selene Stakes (G3) May 10.

From Woodbine, the winner of the 2019 Grey Stakes on Oct. 27, Chapalu, is guaranteed a spot in Turfway's 2020 Jeff Ruby Steaks, while the winner of the 2019 Mazarine Stakes on Oct. 5, Curlin's Voyage, has earned a spot in the 2020 Bourbonette Oaks.

The All-Weather Winners Challenge is the result of collaboration between Tyler Picklesimer, director of racing at Turfway, and Stuart Slagle, director of Thoroughbred race planning and analysis at Woodbine.

“We look forward to working with Woodbine to drive fresh interest in featured races at both tracks and showcase the value of racing on all-weather surfaces,” said Chip Bach, general manager of Turfway Park. “I appreciate Tyler's and Stu's initiative in making this happen.”

“We are proud of our Tapeta track and look forward to partnering with Turfway on this cross-border initiative that will showcase our synthetic surfaces,” said Jonathan Zammit, vice president of Thoroughbred racing for Woodbine Entertainment. “It will also bring added excitement to the Grey Stakes and Mazarine Stakes and provide added incentives to the winners.”

Turfway Park was the first track in North America to race on an all-weather surface. Its Polytrack, the track's only surface for racing and training, was installed ahead of the 2005 September meet. The surface has been remarkably safe both for horses and riders and with rare exceptions has eliminated the need to cancel racing or training due to track conditions.

Woodbine had Polytrack from 2006 through 2015 and installed its current Tapeta track in 2016. The Tapeta track has proven to be a very reliable and safe surface for both equine and human athletes.

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