Fort Erie, October 7th…The results from the 2014 racing season at historic Fort Erie Race Track have proven encouraging, demonstrating once again that thoroughbred horse racing in the Niagara region is “Alive and Kicking.”
The 79th running of the Prince of Wales, Canada’s second jewel in the Triple Crown, was the highlight of the meet with record wagering and attendance. Coltimus Prime, who shipped in to stable and train at Fort Erie with a little over 1 week to go before the event, worked in front of a Twilight Tuesday crowd to simulate the conditions of the actual race, a move which proved to be extremely successful by the colts trainer Justin Nixon. Owned by the Cabernet Stables, Coltimus Prime took the $500,000 race in gate to wire fashion in front of a roaring crowd. For the first time, TSN broadcast the Prince of Wales into homes across Canada showing off the beauty of the facility as well as the perseverance of its people.
Overall, food and beverage figures as well as programs sales indicated an attendance increase of 5%. The total handle per race also increased by 2% over the 2013 figures.
“In light of the uncertainty concerning the 2014 meeting and some unfortunate bad weather conditions, I was very encouraged with the results of this meeting and I look forward to building on this success over the next 4 years,” said Rick Cowan, COO of the FELRC.
The top jockey at the meet for the second year in a row was Kirk Johnson with 42 wins. Kirk was the go-to rider for the meets leading trainer John Simms who tallied 24 wins including 4 victories with the filly Sandy’s Hurricane who took home top honors as the Fort’s Horse of the Year. The leading owner for the meet was Colebrook Farms whose horses are trained by Woodbine based conditioner Ashlee Brnjas for her father John. Colebrook Farms celebrated 12 wins from 33 starters.
Thanks to a positive announcement regarding Fort Erie’s 2015 racing season by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Jeff Leal on September 24th, the FELRC and the horsepeople of Fort Erie are busy making plans for another exciting season of racing in 2015.