The top derby of the season, the 70th Derby of thoroughbred Greek horses was conducted Wednesday 20 July by Horse Races SA of OPAP in Markopoulo, marking the turn of a page and the new era that has begun in 2016 for the Greek hippodrome. More than 2,000 spectators, horseracing fans, businessmen, representatives of bodies and the media, athletes, artists as well as the entire horseracing community flooded the stand and watched a perfect horseracing meeting in terms of organization and racing activity which featured eight horseraces rich in entertainment and excitement. The champion of the 70th Derby was jockey Michalis Xynos riding horse MENTOR, coached by Alekos Giatras.
The Greek Derby was honored by the presence of Deputy Minister for Sport, Mr. Stavros Kontonis who acknowledged the effort being made in horseracing and awarded the owner of the winning horse, Mr. Yannis Mytilineos.
The President of OPAP SA and Horse Races, Mr. Kamil Ziegler, expressed his satisfaction with the event and the attendance of people and said characteristically: "I am impressed by the attendance of the people, the entire horseracing community as well as new horseracing fans who came to enjoy the races and support Greek horseracing. We are trying systematically, with steady and gradual steps, for the revival of horseracing in Greece. Today, I am glad because I can see the first results of our effort. We will continue the full cooperation with all relevant parties and we will see again the horseraces in Greece with the huge respect and huge recognition they had years ago. I also want to thank all jockeys, the Jockey Club, who support us in this effort".
The Chief Executive Officer of OPAP SA, Mr. Damian Cope, noted that "I'd like to say thank you to everybody coming to Markopoulo today for the 70th Greek Derby. It's my first Greek Derby. What I saw today reminded me of the atmosphere and experience of other major international horseracing meetings. But I'm very proud to be part of an organization that is rebuilding the future of horseracing in Greece. I think there is a very bright future ahead and I can guarantee OPAP's commitment to horseracing in Greece".
The first Vice President of OPAP and first Vice President of Horse Races SA, Mr. Spyros Fokas, mentioned, inter alia: "We are especially pleased that after about a decade a lot of people came to the Athens Hippodrome, in Markopoulo, again and in fact so enthusiastically. Today is a great festival for Greek horseracing and the horseracing community. When OPAP took over the hippodrome we set the regeneration and rebirth horseracing as our goal. This is what all of us witness here today. The turning of a page and the return to major successes at the Greek hippodrome".
The Chief Corporate Communication & Public Relations Officer of OPAP and second Vice President of Horse Races SA, Mr. Odysseas Christoforou, said: "I have said many times that the effort being made for Greek horseraces to regain their lost glamour will soon come to fruition. I am very happy with the celebratory atmosphere I see today. The fact that so many horseracing fans, including many families and children, prominent artists, athletes, representatives of the business world, are here with us today makes be firmly believe that this exciting sport will live great moments of glory in coming years".
Throughout the day at Markopoulo, music, entertaining activities, ponies for children and unique surprises were part of the program. At the end of the races, a big gala with the exceptional orchestra of Stavros Romanos, which created a special atmosphere with loved jazz and swing music sounds, completed the impressive night of the 70th Greek Derby.