Usually held in the third week of July at Woodbine, the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes is a $750,000 Grade I race, for 3-year-olds and up. Run at a distance of 1 ½ miles on the EP Taylor Turf course, it was first held in 1953 at Fort Erie racetrack as the Niagara Handicap (at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt), moved to Woodbine in 1985 and was renamed in 2006 to honor Canada’s greatest racehorse.
The Northern Dancer Turf betting odds are currently unavailable. As soon as the odds become available, we’ll be sure to update this page to reflect that. The odds were last updated on May 23, 2022:
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Born on Windfields Farm near Oshawa, Northern Dancer was Canada’s Juvenile Champion in 1963, capturing four stakes victories. In his three-year-old season he won the Florida Derby, the Bluegrass Stakes, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Queen’s Plate. Retired with a foot injury, he went on to become the most successful sire and grandsire in North American racing history. He sired 127 stakes winners, including the winner of the English Triple Crown. He was the first horse to command a $1 million stud fee, and his line has produced more Breeder’s Cup winners than any other horse.
In 2012, the Irish-bred Wigmore Hall successfully defended his Northern Dancer title, joining Canadians Sky Conquerer (2006, 2007) and Desert Waves (1996, 1997), as well as Kentucky-bred Strut the Stage (2003, 2004) as back-to-back winners. Past winners include Chief Bearhart (1998), who the previous year had captured the Breeder’s Cup Turf. The record for the race at its current 1 ½ miles distance (the distance has been altered four times) is Full of Wonder, at 2:26.1. Jockey Todd Kabel has won the race four times.
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In 2009, the race ended in controversy, and the official winner wasn’t declared – and purse money rewarded – until 18 months later. The race was won by Marsh Side and jockey Javier Castellano, but Marsh Side was disqualified and placed fourth, after stewards ruled he had interfered in the stretch with third-place finisher Quijano and fourth-place finisher Champs Elysees. Castellano, facing a three-day suspension, and owner Robert Evens appealed the decision to the racing commission, both appeals were upheld, and Marsh Side was re-instated as the winner.
In turn, Juddmonte Farms, owner of Champs Elysees, and Jonathan Sheppard, the owner and trainer of second-place finisher Just As Well, appealed that decision to the Ontario Court of Justice. After a hearing, those appeals were denied, and after the deadline for further appeals had passed, Marsh Side was officially declared the winner, and received the $450,000 first-place share of the purse. It was perhaps the longest horse racing enquiry in history – certainly a very long time for bettors on the race to “hold all tickets”.
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