The 2020 fall race season at The Raceway at Western Fair District is set to kick off on Wednesday, October 7 at 6:15 p.m. Fans will notice some changes to both the schedule and wagering menu when racing resumes. In addition, details around COVID-19 protocols and capacity limits for on-track participants and guests are also available.
The fall schedule will look slightly different, as live harness racing will take place each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:15 p.m. through December 31. The change from the traditional Monday-Tuesday-Friday fall schedule will allow track officials more time to fully clean and disinfect the paddock building between race programs.
The traditional Friday post time of 6:55 p.m. has also been changed to 6:15 p.m. to create more consistency in the schedule and better position 'The Raceway' product on the busy Friday night simulcast market.
The opening weekend of live racing will feature the 'glamour boys' of the Ontario Sires Stakes on Friday, October 9. It will be their final stop of the season prior to the lucrative OSS Super Finals, which will take place on October 17 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
On the wagering front, The Raceway will introduce a new Pick-5 wager starting in the first race each night. It will feature a $2,500 guaranteed pool along with a low 15 per cent takeout. If the wager does not produce a winning ticket, a carryover will be in effect.
The caretakers -- the people who look after the magnificent horses that race night in and night out -- will also be recognized on October 9 as part of the National Caretakers initiative that has been happening at racetracks across the country this season. The Raceway will offer a swag bag for the groom of each winning horse and COSA is offering one $100 HPI card per groom per race to be randomly drawn.
Ontario Racing’s Series will return to The Raceway on Wednesday, October 14. The track will host events for two- and three-year-old trotting fillies and pacing colts, and the $20,000 (added) finals will take place on October 15. The last Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events of the season for three-year-old trotting fillies are slated for October 28 and 30.
The Raceway generally hosts its 'Survivor' contest on Tuesday, however, due to the new racing schedule, Survivor will now be contested on Wednesdays. The same rules will be applied this year and customers can fill out their entries at WesternFairDistrict.com/Raceway.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of measures have been put into place in order to accommodate participants and patrons in a safe environment.
What Customers Can Expect
The Raceway will allow 50 guests in its simulcast location and grandstand as well as 50 guests in its East Annex and outdoor patio. Face masks are mandatory in both locations. Customers will be able to make a reservation online for their desired area.
Wagering and restroom facilities will be made available.
The Top of the Fair restaurant will also be open all three racing days. The restaurant will offer a pub-style menu and will be limited to 150 patrons to ensure physical distancing is in place. Reservations will be required for each race night and face masks are mandatory. Wagering and restroom facilities will be made available. To make reservations for the Top of the Fair, please call 519-438-7203 (Ext. 252) or email [email protected].
What Horsepeople Can Expect
When horsepeople enter the race paddock, they will be subject to a full screening process. This includes temperature checks and a questionnaire.
Trainers are encouraged to allow themselves extra time when commuting to the track. Face masks are mandatory and physical distancing of two metres/six feet must be maintained.
The Raceway will offer a new paddock layout to ensure safety of all participants. Management has repositioned each race accordingly to offer the best experience with social distancing at the half-mile oval. A PDF sitemap of the new layout can be accessed by clicking here.
(The Raceway at Western Fair District)