Jockey Helen Vanek guides Erratic to victory in the first race on day one of the 125th Thoroughbred racing season at Fort Erie Racecourse for owner Colebrook Farm and trainer Nick Mileni Jr.
Great weather combined with a desire to return to in-person events made the opening day of Fort Erie Race Track’s 125th anniversary season a record success.
Over 5,000 people were in attendance for the races and the opening concert with Jonesy. More than $1.65 million was wagered on the ten-race card, a record number for opening day, except for the 2020 season where Fort Erie Race Track was one of the first tracks in North America to begin racing without spectators after COVID-19 closures.
“It was great to see so many of our loyal fans and new customers on our opening day. Everyone was happy to be back at the races and in-person events. It was a great kick off for our 125th anniversary season,” said Drew Cady, general manager of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium.
The first to cross the finish line were Erratique and jockey Helen Vanek. Trained by Nick Mileni Jr. for owner Colebrook Farms, she returned $5.20 to her backers.
“She’s a pretty little filly who gave it her all. She was at Penn National all winter preparing for this season. We appreciate Colebrook Farms owner John Burness supporting our races here in Fort Erie,” Vanek said after the opening. Vanek has called Fort Erie Racecourse home since 1997. “It’s great to be back on the home ring. It’s nice to see the fans again and have fun. It feels good to be back to normal. »
The opening day card was highlighted by the Summer Solstice Cup and the Sprint into Summer Cup, two early $30,000 races. The Summer Solstice Cup was won by Natasha’s Bizniz and jockey Kirk Johnson, trained by Barrington Siddo for owner Radcliffe Racing Stable. She returned $21.70 to her backers.
MV Speed and jockey Pierre Mailhot were the first to cross the Sprint into Summer Cup wire for trainer Richard Davis and Bruno Schickedanz, returning $13.40 to win.
The next race day is Tuesday, June 7 at 4:05 p.m. Races will be held primarily on Mondays and Tuesdays until October 18, with some exceptions for special event Sundays.
For more information on the 2022 racing and special events schedule, visit www.forterieracing.com.