Truro Raceway recently welcomed new general manager Steve Fitzsimmons, who is introducing a new concept to Atlantic Canadian harness racing: a slots race for two-year-old Maritime-sired pacers.
Inspired by the Mohawk Million and regional racing fans on social media, the inaugural Diamond Classic is slated for Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023 at the Bible Hill, N.S. track.
“When you think of high-quality goods, you think of diamonds. We are bringing together some of the finest two-year-olds in the Maritimes, so we wanted a name with that level of excellence,” said Fitzsimmons.
There are two divisions, each for a guaranteed $50,000 purse, with eight slots available for colts/geldings and eight for fillies.
“If we get a corporate sponsor, we will add that money to the purses as well,” he said.
All finishers will receive a portion of the purse. Conditions are subject to change/adjustment.
Individual slots priced at $6,000 are available until April 14, 2023. Payments can be made via Standardbred Canada Stakes Online, or sent by registered mail (retain receipt) to Truro Raceway, 73 Ryland Avenue, PO Box 25025, Truro, NS B2N 7B8. All slots payments are payable to Standardbred Canada.
Unlike regular stakes, the Diamond Classic’s format allows slot owners to declare the horse they wish to enter just before the draw, notifying the track by 10 a.m. (Atlantic) on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023.
“It’s up to those eight individuals who they would like to enter, or whether they would like to sell their slot to the owners of one of the top colts or fillies in the Maritimes,” said the Truro Raceway GM. “There’s certainly some intrigue as to what people might do. I’m kind of suspecting one of the breeding farms might jump in and buy one of the slots, maybe making a deal for their best progeny to guarantee a spot to showcase their stud.”
The Diamond Classic brings an innovative approach to renewing a regional tradition.
“We wanted to do something that supports the breeding industry in the Maritimes,” said Fitzsimmons. “We’re happy to play a role in maybe bolstering the value of Maritime-sired horses. If this becomes a long-term event, I’m happy that we will contribute in that way.”