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WEG Switches Winter Stakes Format

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Published: November 30, 2010 10:26 am ET

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The Woodbine Entertainment Group's winter stakes schedule kicked off this past weekend with a twist. The Canadian racing giant has revised its traditional multi-leg stakes series format to an elimination/final setup. Trot Insider has spoken with WEG Director of Standardbred Racing / Racing Secretary Scott McKelvie regarding the change.

In all, 17 of WEG's classic winter series have been modified, and two of those events have also been re-branded. All of the stakes had previously been comprised of two legs of preliminary rounds before the final.

"There were many occasions with the series where people had a good idea who the top 10 horses were after the first leg," McKelvie told Trot Insider. "Also, at times it was common to see just one division of the second leg."

McKelvie explained that both the Ontario Boys Pacing Series and the Ontario Girls Pacing Series have been re-branded to the WEGZ Stakes and HorsePlayer Interactive Stakes, respectively. He said that the two series were perennially low-drawing events, and that the WEGZ and HorsePlayer Interactive Stakes have been geared to "draw some mid-level racehorses."

In regard to the Autumn Stakes, McKelvie said that the races have been attractive with horsepeople since their inception. "There are a lot of horses that miss the (early) stakes season, and ever since the 'Autumn' races were put in place they've been very popular," he said. "We've had good numbers again this year."

The closing date for nominations to the 17 winter stakes is Wednesday, December 1. To view the nomination forms and complete breakdown of each of the stakes, click here.

"It's a new look and a different approach to WEG's stakes offerings throughout the winter months. It's sure to freshen things up a little bit."

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