On the heels of a record-breaking night of harness racing featuring a spectacular international trotting contest, the Hambletonian Society and Woodbine Entertainment Group today announced the Breeders Crown $6 million year-end championships will return to Canada in 2012, on Saturday, Oct. 27.
“The 2011 Breeders Crown at Woodbine exceeded our expectations for attendance and wagering, and the quality of the racing on the night was outstanding. I was very proud of our Woodbine team for all their efforts in making the night a success,” said Jamie Martin, executive vice-president of racing for Woodbine Entertainment Group. “WEG is honoured and thrilled to have the opportunity to host the Breeders Crown in 2012.”
Woodbine enjoyed their highest pari-mutuel handle of the past six years with $3.6 million (not including foreign wagering) wagered on the Breeders Crown events. The series, first raced in 1984, typically crowns champions in every division for trotters and pacers and has been the deciding factor in Horse of the Year honors. 2011 marked just the second time all events were raced on a single night and the first time all 12 were raced in Canada.
“The recent Breeders Crown night at Woodbine was a success by any measuring stick,” said Tom Charters, president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, which owns and administers the Breeders Crown.
“Handle, attendance, world record performances, international participation, top drivers and horses…and a great host track partner in WEG. They really hit it out of the park,” said Charters. “We are happy to build on a great relationship.”
The 12-race extravaganza was highlighted by Canadian trotter San Pail’s defeat of European invaders Rapide Lebel and Commander Crowe. The victory made San Pail odds-on to win harness racing’s top honors - Horse of the Year - in both countries. Other stand-out moments included 2-year-old male pacer Sweet Lou’s breathtaking seven-length 1:49 world record and Hall of Fame driver John Campbell winning his 45th Crown trophy.
Eliminations, if necessary would be held on Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012.