OLG Offers Additional Triple Crown Prize
Every year, the Canadian Triple Crown is the ultimate goal for anyone associated with horse racing. Fans watch the three key horse races of each summer in the hopes of seeing one star thoroughbred win all three races and claim the Triple Crown.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) decided to up the ante on the races this year. Not only is the OLC the official partner and title sponsor at Woodbine, it is offering an additional CA$500,000 bonus to the winner of the Canadian Triple Crown, should one horse achieve that honour.
What is the Triple Crown?
There is a Triple Crown in America and in Canada. In 1929, Canada put together a trio of races said to be the most challenging. The difference for the Canadian Triple Crown is that the three races are all held on different surfaces, while the American version is not.
The three races are as follows:
- Queen’s Plate: 1 1/4 mile on Tapeta at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario
- Prince of Wales Stakes: 1 3/16 mile on dirt at Fort Erie Racetrack in Fort Erie, Ontario
- Breeders’ Stakes: 1 1/2 mile on turf at E.P. Taylor Turf Course at Woodbine in Toronto, Ontario
All three races are open to geldings, but all must be three-year-old thoroughbreds.
TSN broadcasts all three races. This year, the dates are:
- June 29: $1 million Queen’s Plate
- July 23: $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes
- August 17: $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes
2019 Bonus by OLG
The OLG just announced a $500,000 bonus for the owners of a horse that wins all three races to claim the 2019 OLG Canadian Triple Crown.
OLG Director of Product Development & Marketing Adriana Spatzner subsequently said: “Aas longtime supporters of Ontario’s horse racing industry, OLG knows how strong the competition for this prize will be. We have upped the ante on the OLG Canadian Triple Crown this year and look forward to watching excitement build around this new bonus.”
Woodbine VP of Thoroughbred Racing Operations Jonathan Zammit noted his excitement as well. “The prospect of a Triple Crown champion generates buzz around the sport, and bringing back the incentive of a lucrative bonus will help to fuel that excitement.”
There had been bonuses in the past but not in the past several decades. From 1989 through 1992, a Triple Crown winner would receive a $1 million bonus. It did work to motivate a winning horse, too. Claiming that million dollars was With Approval in 1989, Izvestia in 1990, and Dance Smartly in 1991.
Canadian Triple Crown History
All three races ran for the first time in 1929. In 1959, they then formed an official “triple crown”.
Queen’s Plate began running in 1860, and the Breeders’ Stakes began in 1889. The first year that the Prince of Wales Stakes ran was in 1929, and Queensway was the first to win all three of those races in 1932. It wasn’t considered a “triple crown” victory at that time, though.
That happened several times.
- 1932: Queensway (filly)
- 1939: Archworth
- 1945: Uttermost
- 1955: Ace Marine
- 1956: Canadian Champ
But in 1959, the three races were officially dubbed as the three segments of the Canadian Triple Crown. Since then, there have been numerous horses to have won all three races:
- 1959: New Providence
- 1963: Canebora
- 1989: With Approval
- 1990: Izvestia
- 1991: Dance Smartly (filly)
- 1993: Peteski
- 2003: Wando
No horse has won a Triple Crown since 2003. In 2008, a filly named Wonder Gadot came close by winning the first two races, but a horse named Neepawa won the third race, though.
The lineup of horses to compete in this year’s Queen’s Plate will be determined in the weeks leading up to the June 29 race. Other races to take place that day at Woodbine will also be determined in the next week via four races. The first is the Plate Trial Stakes, followed by the Woodbine Oaks, the William D. Graham Memorial, and the Belmont Stakes.