Fort Erie Race Track 2024 season begins today

Coming off a successful 2023 race season, track officials are looking forward to 2024. Photo Credit: Facebook/Fort Erie Race Track. 

“They’re at the post, and they’re off.”

It’s seven words horse racing fans have been hearing in and from Fort Erie since 1897.

Yes, the 2024 horse racing season opens Tuesday afternoon at historic Fort Erie Race Track. 

Coming off a successful 2023 race season, track officials are looking forward to 2024.

“From a wagering perspective we had an incredible year,” said Fort Erie Race Track Manager of Marketing and Media Relations James Culic recently on the Niagara Sports Report on Newstalk 610 CKTB. 

“Wagering on the Prince of Wales Stakes, in particular, we set a new record, breaking a million dollars,” Culic continued. “Wagering was up about 40 per cent on the year, so we’re really happy. This year we’ve got some good field sizes; our numbers are looking really good. Our opening day we’ve got nice races and good fields, and I know that will please the bettors.”

Eighty horses are scheduled to race on Tuesday. 

September’s Prince of Wales Stakes, Canada’s second jewel in its triple crown of thoroughbred racing, headlines the racing season ahead, but there’s plenty of other opportunities to take in more than the horses in Fort Erie. 

Culic’s favorite day of the year is the Dachshund (Weiner Dog) Racing Day, this year on Sunday July 21. 

Basset hound races are also on the schedule and a new breed of dogs will take to the track as well this year.

“The dogs have become popular enough, we wanted to add a third breed of dogs,” Culic explained. “So what we did during our off-season is put up a poll on all our social medias, and we said ‘vote, tell us what you want,’ and it was really close, chihuahua’s was very, very close but corgi’s edged them out by about seven votes.”

The corgis will race on the same day as the basset hounds: Sunday, August 18.

And if the horses and dogs weren’t enough, there’s always food and plenty of it. A food fest has been added to the roster in 2024.

“Our Turfside restaurant is really, really good, (but) we’ve (also) got a brand-new event called Fort Foodie Fest on July 7,” said Culic.

“We’re bringing in just a ton of really, really, awesome food trucks,” Culic continued. “Greek food, shawarma, we really want to kind of go crazy with all kinds of different stuff. So you’re going to see all kinds of different stuff – if you’re one of those foodie people you’ll be happy on July 7.”

Race days, 40 in total in 2024, will be Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. 

Weekend and special events days will feature a 12 noon post-time, while weekday’s will be 4:30 pm. 

Admission and parking is free.

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