Fort Erie Track to host American race with horses coming across the border and local jockeys

2017-risejim-drblarney-piermarini - Jessica Chapel photo

It's a first for the Fort Erie Race Track as it hosts a Massachusetts-bred Stakes race.

The Rise Jim Stakes will be held Tuesday afternoon, and have six contenders for a $35,000 guaranteed purse.

The race is for four-year-olds and upwards, foaled in Massachusetts and registered with the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association (MTBA).

Dr Blarney, trained by Karl M Grusmark for owner Joseph DiRico is the heavy favourite, with 20 career wins in 28 starts, and $628,000 in career earnings.

The MTBA reached out to Fort Erie in the fall to build a partnership that would allow Fort Erie to host a selection of Massachusetts-bred thoroughbred races throughout the year, after Suffolk Downs race track in Boston shut down at the end of last season.

Due to COVID restrictions, all six horses will be shipped across the border in one van.

Fort Erie’s regular jockeys have been called to ride the stakes race, and local grooms and trainers will be responsible for the horses while they are at Fort Erie.

Only the van driver will be coming across with the horses, and will be required to quarantine while in Canada.

“We were happy to establish this partnership with the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association to help support Mass-bred racing. We need to do what we can to support thoroughbred racing across North America,” said Tom Valiquette, chief operating and financial officer of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium. “With purse money and no where to race, and a track with racing capacity in need of horses, this partnership works well for all parties.”