The Queen’s Plate is back this weekend with limited capacity seating for the running of the oldest Thoroughbred horse race in Canada and all the fancy times that come along with this incredible Toronto tradition.
Aug. 22 marks the 162nd running of the historic race, and tickets are selling quickly. You don’t have to be a gambler to enjoy the festivities at the track and take part in the luxury that is race day. Buy a large and lavish hat, find the perfect floral outfit, and get ready to look fabulous trackside!
If you haven’t been to a race before, note that general admission tickets are standing-room-only on the concourse for $20, while grandstand tickets begin at $35. There are also larger dining packages that mean a comfy seat with all-day dining (and drink) options. It is possible to attend the race for a short time (you don’t want to miss the opening day Hats and Horseshoes party) only, but part of race day fun is all-day drinks, food, and a party atmosphere.
Here are the top five suggestions on how to fully immerse yourself in The Queen’s Plate fun.
- Procure a big hat. Large and extravagant hats have always been a part of the race scene, and you can find a unique design that’s perfect for high humidity at Lilliput on College Street or at David Dunkley on Bathurst.
- Dress to impress. The Queen’s Plate is a great excuse to flaunt a frilly and slightly over-the-top summer dress or pinstripe suit and isn’t the kind of entertainment you’d wear jeans or a t-shirt too. If you have summer attire that’s fit for a Queen, this is the event to wear it.
- Dine-in style: there are five restaurant options to choose from at the race track. Race day dining is an all-day event that ranges from upscale small bites to buffet-style seating, but you’ll have to hurry and book now because seats are almost sold out.
- Attend the Hats and Horseshoes party: this red carpet event exists for guests to flaunt extravagant outfits while placing first bets. If you’ve never been to a race before, the crew at The Queen’s Plate will help you place your first bet during this event and to make that first bet even better, and all fees are on the house.
- Watch the Jim Cuddy concert: musician Jim Cuddy will be playing live on August 22nd, and you can watch the show from a few select spots at the track. Even if you can’t snag trackside tickets, you can still hear the music from the general admission section.
And let’s not forget the race! The running of the Queens Plate is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on the 22nd. You don’t want to miss it.
The race is for three-year-old horses, and is one mile and one quarter with a $1 million purse, with $600,000 going to the winner. The course record was set by the horse Izvestia at 2:01.4.
The favourite for this year’s race is Keep Grinding, at 4-1, with jockey Rafael Hernandez. Also in the field is one of the winningest female jockeys in history, Emma Jayne Wilson on Tidal Forces, coming in at 12-1.