Turfside Dining Room
Training Begins for the 2015 Season
May 1st, 2015…Winston Churchill once said “there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” That famous quote appears to be the case for many this morning at historic Fort Erie Race Track with training getting underway in preparation for the 2015 season.
Veteran jockey Eldridge Lindsay sat on top of his first horse before dawn eager with anticipation to set foot onto the freshly manicured racecourse. A professional jockey since 1989, Lindsay has seen his fair share of ups and downs. Last season he started off very strong, winning a number of races in the opening weeks of the meet but lightning struck mid-summer when he broke his wrist in the starting gate prior to a race. The winner of well over 400 career races, Lindsay was in high demand all morning with a number of horses to gallop and even some to breeze. “The track is in excellent shape, it’s just beautiful,” he said after his first several laps around the oval. Lindsay worked two different fillies for two different outfits a short distance of 3 furlongs, the faster of the two was Early Battle for trainer Dan Wills who covered the distance in a quick 36.3. “After the horrible winter we had, the track crew did a great job getting the surface ready. It just can’t get any better.”
With the future of horseracing at Fort Erie secure horsepeople were busy over the winter months preparing their animals, buying new stock and reinvesting in the industry. The stability has even brought some new faces to the backstretch including trainer Kerri Chalmers who made the move from Toronto with her 6 horses in tow. “I just love it here,” said the young trainer as she was busy tacking up one of her horses. Chalmers has been a professional trainer for two years but has been actively involved in racing for 10 years. “Once I knew there was a contract in place for a long term deal I decided to make the move.”
Live racing will get underway on Tuesday, June 2nd with the return of the popular twilight 4:15 post time. Opening day will include a free “Alive and Kicking” sunglass giveaway with the purchase of a Fort Erie program and will also feature the return of the entertaining Tiki Bar Summer Concert Series. Vinyl Flux, a band known around the Niagara Region for playing music that people know and love will get the party started with a free concert after the races.
Fort Erie will host 40 race dates from June 2nd until October 20th with racing taking place on Sundays at 1:50pm and Twilight Tuesdays running through to September 1st then switching to a 1:50pm post for the remainder of the meet.
“We are pleased to welcome back our horsepeople and our racing fans,” said Fort Erie’s CEO, Jimmy Thibert. “It’s great to see familiar faces and welcome new people to our facility. We are looking forward to a productive and prosperous season for everyone.”
The track’s events schedule features the return of popular promotions such as the Farmer’s Market, Breakfast Club, Circle the Course, and the 80th running of the Prince of Wales which will be held on Tuesday, July 28th with a special post time of 4:00pm.