TORONTO, May 3 – Preparation for Woodbine Entertainment Group’s innovative clockwise turf racing program, to be known as the EuroTurf Series, began on Tuesday morning over the dirt training track.
Up to 40 races will be slated clockwise over the world-famous E.P. Taylor Turf Course throughout the 2016 season. By running races clockwise, more of the turf course will be utilized, allowing for more turf races which attracts larger fields. The clockwise races are being branded as the EuroTurf series.
A number of trainers sent horses over to Woodbine’s dirt training track this morning to prepare for the unique series, the only one in North America that will see horses turn right instead of left.
Robert ‘Bud’ Smith sent maiden filly Got Pump out for a clockwise gallop under exercise rider Kalilla Archer.
"I’ve always been very interested in clockwise racing. I’m a big fan of English racing and the way they do things in England," noted Smith. "I used to clockwise train at the farm with our horses. We’d go counter-clockwise one day and then clockwise the next just to take the pressure off the one side.
"Plus, it’s something different and I think it’s going to draw the fans out," continued Smith. "I’d like to be able to have one ready for the first clockwise race. You never know, some horses may excel at it."
A trial race is scheduled for May 16 while the EuroTurf series itself will kick off proper on June 10.
Justin Nixon watched from the rail as exercise rider Jordan Miller took Unpretentious, a four-year-old Malibu Moon colt, out for a ‘wrong-way’ gallop.
"I have a few I want to try, absolutely. Why wouldn’t we? It’s another opportunity to race and it brings something new to the fans and to the game. Let’s do it," said Nixon.
Nixon, who conditioned 2014 Prince of Wales champ Coltimus Prime, believes horses will take naturally to turning right.
"I might breeze them the wrong way on the turf here once (before a race), but once they’re in the heat of battle they’ll go whichever way. I don’t think you need to over think it too much," said Nixon.
Live racing resumes Friday at Woodbine with a 1 p.m. first post.