A strong card of exciting races drove big crowds to the wagering windows on opening day at the Fort Erie Race Track on Tuesday.

Total wagering for the day topped $1.75 million, which was up 6 per cent over opening day last year, despite having two fewer races than in 2022. The day’s signature race, the Spring into Summer Cup, was a stakes race with a $30,000 purse which attracted plenty of attention from bettors to cap off a busy day at the historic border oval as the final horse crossed the finish line just before sunset.

“It feels good to win any race, but winning a big stakes race feels even better,” said trainer Kevin Buttigieg, who was surprised to see his horse, One More Ring, cross the finish line first and bring home the cup. “He got sick on me recently, but we sent him up to the farm for a couple weeks to recover and he came back strong.”

Winning jockey Chris Husbands said the horse felt good from the gate to the finish line. “He broke sharp,” said Husbands after the race. “There were two in front of me down the stretch but I could tell he was a runner so I just let him go.”

The action didn’t end there, though, as The Figure Four took to the stage as soon as the last horse was back in the stable. The rock band kicked off the first of the track’s seven free summer concerts in style, entertaining the crowd well into the night.

Live racing returns on May 30 at 4:30 p.m. Tragically Hip cover band The Hip are next up on the concert schedule, and will hit the track’s stage on June 27.

But before that, the track will host a special Sunday race card for Father’s Day on June 18 with a noon post time so that dads can spend the day at the races with the family while enjoying food trucks and a farmer’s market.