The standardbred world is coming to Georgian Downs
. And the Innisfil racetrack is ready to put on a show.
On August 15, Standardbred Canada
will host the 2017 World Driving Championship (WDC)
at Georgian Downs, a night that features 11 of the world’s top reinsmen looking to rack up points in pursuit of one of horse racing’s most prestigious honours and top prize of $25,000.
Fans can expect the red carpet treatment for the big evening.
Events include a handicapping contest with the winner taking home $250. There’s also a special opportunity for those in attendance on Tuesday.
“We’ll have a meet-and-greet with all of the WDC drivers, so people will have the chance to speak with them and get their autograph,” said Chad Gates, assistant general manager for both Georgian Downs and Flamboro Downs. “The drivers will also mingle with the crowd. I think it will be great to have the fans get up-close and personal with the drivers. We’re really looking forward to that.
“The anticipation for the WDC is huge,” he continued. “We’re getting everything ready. We’re extremely excited to get to showcase our facility to the rest of the world. For the first time, we’ll have our live races and specifically the World Driving Championship races, broadcast into Australia. We also have groups from Australia and Norway coming in, so we’ll have the chance to show them our facility.”
Georgian will also have the opportunity to introduce the world to a racing surface that consistently receives rave reviews.
“Our racing surface is exceptional,” said Gates. “We have a really good group here that maintains our track. The Ontario Sires Stakes participants really enjoy racing here. The drivers coming in should appreciate how excellent the surface is.”
Gates would love to see those that walk through the gates on August 15 become familiar faces.
A world-class event like the WDC, he noted, is an ideal way to encourage casual and first-time track-goers to become regular visitors.
“Hopefully, the fans will be able to capture the excitement that’s happening, “ said Gates. “And hopefully, it’s a close leaderboard with the drivers. It would be great if we could turn racing fans into long-term racing fans. If we can get some young people out there, too, and turn them into racing fans – that’s something we’d love to do.”
Century Downs in Calgary hosts the first leg on August 12. Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville is home to the second leg on Monday, August 14. The action moves to Quebec on Wednesday, August 16, where Hippodrome 3R will host the fourth leg of the WDC before the drivers head to Prince Edward Island and Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park for the fifth and final leg of the Championship on Friday, August 18.
“Personally, it’s just great to see different racetracks get together to host such a fantastic event, to have the rest of the world coming to your facility to enjoy great racing,” offered Gates. “To have the drivers – the best drivers in the world – coming to Canada, coming to your racetrack, and have every racetrack working together with Standardbred Canada to get this done, it’s just exceptional. It shows what our industry is willing to do to work together to make racing great across the country and in Ontario.”
Something that means the world to Georgian Downs.
Story by: Chris Lomon
, who will have a contest booth for WDC night at Mohawk, will also have one at Georgian for the evening that gets rolling with a 7:15 p.m. first-race post.
People who visit the exhibit have the opportunity to play the Be A Winner
With the purchase of a race program, fans will receive a free Ontario Racing WDC-themed t-shirt (while quantities last).
Fans can also fill out a ballot found in the program and then visit the Ontario Racing booth where they can choose one box from 11 – representing each WDC driver – for a chance to win prizes.
Eleven names will be selected – one from each box – and the winners will receive a t-shirt and a $5 win/place/show wager. They will then be escorted to the winner’s circle to cheer on their respective driver in the designated WDC race.
The winner will receive a $50 betting voucher and a photo with the winning horse/connections to take home.