BACKGROUNDER - NORTHLANDS PARK 2012 HIGHLIGHTS
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Heavy on Events
The Park will be flying out of the gate, with a flurry of events on Opening Weekend. Live entertainment throughout the grounds and a DJ on the tarmac will keep the energy level high on Friday evening with a 6:00 pm post time. Social media followers, Players Club members and race-goers can enter to win a pair of Apple iPads, Colours Restaurant gift cards, wagering vouchers, Canadian Derby packages to the VIP Party Patio and Van Halen suite tickets.
On Saturday, attention shifts to the Kentucky Derby as Northlands Park brings the sights and sounds of the Bluegrass State to Edmonton. Mint Juleps will be flowing as a stream of interactive games and party beats take hold of the tarmac. The live program gets underway at 1 p.m. and will culminate with the 138th Kentucky Derby live from Churchill Downs at 4:20 p.m. Dozens of lucky guests will win prizes, including a $500 dream wager and a trip for two to visit the World Famous Del Mar Racetrack.
A squad of Northlands Park’s event ambassadors will be roaming the crowd educating guests on racing, wagering and upcoming events over the course of the season. In addition, opening weekend guests will be treated to free live racing programs.
“Our goal this season will be to tear down the clichés of racing one-by-one,” said Chris Roberts, Northlands Park Venue Director. “There’s a great racing tradition in Edmonton and we will always respect that history. But, to grow the business, the experience needs to be fresh and fun. The Northlands family is committed to creating the best sporting entertainment experience in western Canada.”
Beginning on Friday evenings in June, a new Racing-Entertainment experience will take over the track’s tarmac, bringing music, energy and nightlife to Northlands. Park After Dark will become the cornerstone of the summer racing season, cloaking Friday evening racing programs in an air of fun and mystique. Meanwhile, Sundays will take on a “family picnic” theme with events and promotions targeted at families with children of all ages.
Other major event dates include:
- July 21 – Super Saturday at the Ex: A new stakes-rich event taking place in the heart of Edmonton’s Capital Ex. Northlands Park will come to life with the fun of the fair!
- August 25 – Canadian Derby: Always the crown jewel of the Northlands racing season, the 83rd Canadian Derby (and the week-long Derby festival) promise to be the best in decades.
- September 15 – Alberta Breeders’ Fall Classic: With more than $350,000 on the line and a hint of autumn in the air, Fall Classic is an annual favourite at Northlands Park.
Taste the Difference
Also awaiting guests on opening weekend will be an refreshed dining experience. Colours Restaurant, the 679-seat tiered dining room overlooking the racetrack, has undergone a pair of facelifts – one to its physical appearance and another to its menu.
“Every change we’ve made is about elevating the overall experience,” said Kathy Kramer, Northlands Vice President, Business Operations. “A great dining experience is all about the senses – the atmosphere of the room, the sights and smells of the food and, of course, the taste. We took a good look at every item and redesigned our menu with a focus on quality.”
Guests will notice a difference before they even enter the dining room as the reservation desk and restaurant facade have undergone renovations. Uplinks, the main simulcast lounge on the second floor, will also greet fans with an exciting new menu on opening night and undergo a facelift in late May.
New Players Club, New Benefits
Beginning on opening night, the Northlands Players Club will offer more benefits to racing and gaming guests than ever before. Aside from cash and merchandise rewards, Players Club members will now receive discounts on all food, program and apparel purchases at Northlands Park and discounts at a growing list of partner sites throughout Edmonton.
Redesigned Players Club cards will be available to guests on May 4.
New Wagering Highlights
Always a fan-favourite, the $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 will have a new twist added in 2012. Northlands Park will become the first racetrack in Canada to mandate a 100% carry-over for Pick-4 pools where no bettor selects four-of-four.
An overhauled wagering profile will also greet bettors on opening night, with a maximum of one feature pool per race, excluding exactors and triactors.
Busy Backstretch & Familiar Faces
A forgiving winter and conscientious track crew have left Northlands in an excellent position to card competitive programs in the early days of the meet.
“Activity on the backstretch has been brisk, so we’re expecting an excellent number of entries for opening weekend,” said Racing Secretary Jason Teague. “We’re getting nothing but rave reviews about the job our track crew has done. We’ve basically had a race-ready track for a month, which is no small feat in Edmonton.”
Joan Petrowski returns to defend her 2011 training title with a barn full of tested veterans including multiple stakes winners Footprint and Dougs Buddy. Runners-up Robertino Diodoro and Greg Tracy will try to dethrone Petrowski with fresh stables of their own.
“It’s shaping up to be an incredible trainer’s race this year,” said Teague. “Nobody has had more horses working than Joan Petrowski, so I expect she’ll be firing early. Greg Tracy’s two-year-olds are always tough and he’s attracted some new owners in the off-season. And, the Diodoro barn has been the most dangerous on the grounds in recent years. There are some other outfits that will be in the hunt as well.”
As for riders, Rico Walcott simply owned the Northlands winner’s circle last year with 118 victories and will look to carry that momentum over to a fresh season. With Fernando Perez riding in Vancouver this year, Stephan Heiler, Jorge Carreno, Ademar Santos and Eddie Martinez look to move up the Northlands ranks.
- Number of days: 84
- Season: May 4 – October 13
- Post Times: Saturdays/Sundays/Holiday Mondays at 1:00 pm, Wednesdays/Fridays at 6:00 pm
- Physical Address: 7410 Borden Park Road, Edmonton, Alberta
- Admission: Free
- Parking: Free
- Number of Stakes Events: 38
- Value of Stakes: $2.1-million
- Major Stakes Dates: Western Canada (CD Prep)-June 16, Ky Alta (CD Prep)-July 14, Super Saturday at the Ex-July 21, Count Lathum (CD Prep)-August 4, Canadian Derby-August 25, Edmonton Distaff-August 25, Alberta Breeders’ Fall Classic-September 15, Speed To Spare-September 29
- Website: www.northlandspark.ca
- Phone: (780) 471-7379
- Colours Restaurant Reservations: (780) 471-3380
- Group/Suite Bookings: (780) 471-7311