August 2, 2015

Toronto To Craft Expansion Report

Published: March 25, 2015 -

On Wednesday, March 25, the City of Toronto’s executive committee voted in favour of allowing city manager Joseph P. Pennachetti to assemble a report in regard to a potential gaming expansion at Woodbine Racetrack.

The executive committee voted on the issue Wednesday after a motion had been tabledby Ward 1 Councillor Vincent Crisanti.

Toronto Mayor John Tory stated on Wednesday that he supports Crisanti’s motion asking for Pennachetti to prepare report for council by June 30. The mayor stated that the idea of expansion at Woodbine “is worth looking at” and that “there is obviously no secret plan” regarding expansion at the track. Additionally, city staffers stated on Wednesday that council’s official position on casino expansion at Woodbine would need to be firm by this fall in order for the process to align with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.’s gaming modernization schedule. When it is complete, the city’s report on the potential gaming expansion at Woodbine will be voted on by full council.

It was announced earlier this month that Mayor John Tory was open for renewed discussions regarding casino expansion at Woodbine, but only if the plans involve an entertainment destination. Mayor Tory’s office has made it clear throughout the process that expanded gaming at the Rexdale, Ont. raceway would have to be in conjunction with a much broader vision that would also drive economic development in the area.

The Woodbine Entertainment Group’s outgoing CEO, Nick Eaves, addressed the committee earlier in the day and outlined why it should be supporting an expanded gaming and an entertainment complex at the track.

“With these three points in mind – the motion applies to the Woodbine site only; there’s already significant gaming at Woodbine; and Woodbine is the employment anchor in one of the most economically-challenged areas of the city and is already a major entertainment centre – I ask you to support Woodbine, to support the horse-racing and breeding industry in this province, and to support the economic and employment benefits that Woodbine brings to Toronto,” Eaves said.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has also weighed in on the idea of expanded gaming at Woodbine, stating “The fact of the horse racing at Woodbine means to me that it’s a different situation (than introducing a new casino complex in downtown Toronto). There’s already gaming there. I’m very interested in seeing the integration of gaming including horse racing. I think that it makes some sense for city council to look at it again.”

Premier Wynne went on to reiterate that decisions on the expansion of gaming should be municipal decisions.

“We always maintained that the municipalities were going to make these decisions, that there wasn’t going to be an imposition of a casino,” said Wynne, who later stated, “having said that, I was surprised at the time of the vote around the downtown casino that the Woodbine casino was part of that. I saw them as different cases.”

(With files from the Toronto Star and CTV News)

Possible Woodbine Expansion Profiled

The possibility of casino and entertainment expansion at Woodbine Racetrack has been profiled in a piece by the Toronto Star.

It was announced last week that Toronto Mayor John Tory is open for renewed discussions regarding casino expansion at Woodbine Racetrack if the plans involve an entertainment destination.

In May of 2013, Toronto City Councillors voted 24-20 against gambling expansion at the Rexdale raceway. Last week, the Woodbine Entertainment Group’s outgoing CEO, Nick Eaves, was quoted as saying that WEG believes that “the way the issue was approached back in the spring 2013 was very much about the unpopular prospect of a casino downtown, and the Woodbine question didn’t get considered fully on its own merits.”

The Toronto Star’s profile piece on the possibility of expansion at Woodbine highlights some of the benefits that would come with the undertaking, but it also states that some people do not think that expansion is in the best interest of the area.

(With files from the Toronto Star)

(Standardbred Canada)

March 15 Stakes Payment Notice

SC’s March 15 Stakes Reminder

Standardbred Canada would like to remind owners/trainers that stakes payments are due on March 15, 2014.

Stakes payments can be paid with debit or credit card using SC Stakes Online. A video tutorial is available to help you get started.

Payment information and stake conditions can be viewed on the Online Stakes Guide by clicking here.

A generic stake form can be used to submit payments by mail. It can be located by clicking here.

Aged Sustaining Payments

• Prix d’Ete $1000

Three-Year-Old Sustaining Payments

• Canadian Breeders Championship $200

Two-Year-Old Sustaining Payments

• Atlantic Sires Stakes $100
• Bill Quigg $75
• Island Breeders Series $200
• Joe O’Brien Memorial $100
• Lady Slipper Pace/Trot $100
• Maritime Breeders $300
• Maritimer $125
• Nova Scotia Stake $100
• Williamson Memorial $100

Two-Year-Old Nomination Payments

• Blair Andrew Memorial $100 or $450 (see conditions for nomination fee details)

Horsemen paying the Atlantic Sires Stakes sustaining payment must also pay the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association membership fee of $50 per-owner per-year. If you have not already paid this fee in 2014, please remit it with your March 15 stakes payments.

Please mail and make cheques payable to:

Standardbred Canada – Stakes Department
2150 Meadowvale Blvd.
Mississauga, ON
L5N 6R6

If not paying by Interac (debit) or with a credit card via SC Stakes Online, please mail and make cheques payable to:

Standardbred Canada – Stakes Department
2150 Meadowvale Blvd.
Mississauga, ON
L5N 6R6

Since the due date falls on a weekend, envelopes must be clearly post-marked on or before Monday, March 17 to be accepted, despite inadequacies of the postal system.

For more information, contact Caren Brown-Stockwell, Stakes Coordinator, at 905-858-3060 (Ext. 258)

OSS 2YO Payments Due March 15

Owners of Ontario Sires Stakes-eligible two-year-olds are reminded that March 15 is the deadline for the two-year-old OSS sustaining payment. However, since the 15th falls on a Saturday this year, payments postmarked by Monday, March 17 will be accepted.

Cheques should be made payable and mailed (registered mail is recommended) to:

Ontario Sires Stakes
10 Carlson Court, Suite 400
Toronto, ON
M9W 6L2

Payments can also be made in person at the ORC office at 10 Carlson Court, Suite 14, Toronto, Ont. up until 4 p.m. on Monday, March 17.

Anyone who did not receive the sustaining notice that was mailed mid-February, can download a blank form from the ‘Forms’ section of the OSS website or just print the horse’s name and tattoo number on the front of the cheque.

For more information please contact:

Karen Hauver
OSS Administration Coordinator
519 369-3545


WEG’s March 17 Stakes Payments Approaching

Nominations for Woodbine Entertainment Group’s major stakes events, including the $685,000 (Est.) Metro Pace, $630,000 (Est.) Canadian Pacing Derby and $550,000 (Est.) Maple Leaf Trot close Monday, March 1.

Also, three-year-old Ontario-sired fillies have a sustaining payment for the 2014 WEG SBOA stakes events.

Two-year-olds have sustaining payments due for the 2014 Champlain Open and Champlain Fillies, as well as sustaining payments to be eligible as three-year-olds to the 2015 Simcoe Open, Simcoe Fillies and SBOA.

If sending nominations by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than the said due date or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended.

To view all nomination forms, please click here.

To make an online nomination payment, please click here.


Prix D’Ete Nominations Due March 15

Nominations for the Prix D’Ete, the richest pacing event for four-year-olds in North America this year, are due by March 15.

The Prix D’Ete, sponsored by the Quebec Jockey Club, will be raced September 21 at Hippodrome 3R.

For complete information, click here.

(With files from the QJC)

PASS Payments Due March 15

The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission today reminded standardbred horse owners that 2014 Sire Stakes payments for two-year-old and three-year-old horses are due by March 15.

The first payment of $150 for the Pari Mutuel Division and $25 for the Fair Division is due for two-year-olds. A final payment of $500 for the Pari Mutuel Division is due for three-year-olds.

The Sire Stakes Sustaining Payment form is available at this link or by contacting Gary Heffner

For more information, visit


Changes To Ohio Sire Stakes – Payments Due March 15

After a presentation by program administrator Joe Crugnale during its monthly meeting in Columbus on January 23, the Ohio State Racing Commission approved the Ohio Sire Stakes program for 2014.

Crugnale told the commission it would be a year of change and growth, both in purses and participation. The biggest changes are the movement of the deadline to nominate from February 15 to March 15, and the elimination of the April 15 sustaining payment.

For further information, click here.

OBC, Delaware Open Series Payments Due March 15

The Delaware County Fair has announced a change to the payment schedules for the Ohio Breeders Championships and the Delaware Open series.

The $400,000 est. Ohio Breeders Championships now require a single $300 nomination payment due March 15, 2014 with no further sustaining payments required.

The single $300 payment replaces a pair of $200 payments required in previous years. The starting fee of $750 remains in effect.

The Delaware Open series is also going with the single $150 nominating payment due March 15, 2014. The starting fee for the Delaware Open series is $200.

“The landscape of Ohio racing is changing and we thought we should make some changes to the payment schedules as well,” noted Tom Wright, Director of Racing. “The Ohio owners have been very supportive of our race program and this change is a way to thank them for that support.”

The payment changes are in keeping with the recently announced changes to the Ohio Sires Stakes and the Ohio State Fair Stakes.

For information regarding the OBC or Delaware Open series, please contact Tom Wright, Director of Racing at 614-847-1948 or

(Little Brown Jug)

Northfield Adds Multiple Claiming Series; Payments Due March 15

Northfield Park has announced the dates of six “Hard Rockin’ Claiming Series” set for this spring.

“These new late closers are just part of the increased opportunities offered here at Northfield,” said Dave Bianconi, Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting. “As our purses increase, we would like to fill more straight claiming races. These series will give claimers a real opportunity to race for solid purses in each leg and a big money final.”

Mondays (March 31, April 7 and April 14) will host the Hall Of Fame Series, for $8,000 claiming trotters, and The Legend Series, for $8,000 claiming pacers. Each of the three legs will carry purses of $6,500.

Tuesdays (April 1, April 8 and April 15) will offer the Icon Series for $4,000 claiming pacers. Each leg will be raced for a $4,000 purse.

Wednesdays (April 2, April 9 and April 16) highlight the Juke Box Hero Series, for $4,000 claiming trotters. Each of these legs will also carry a $4,000 purse.

Thursdays (April 3, April 10 and April 17) will feature the Diva Series, for fillies and mares $4,000 claiming pacers, offering purses of $4,000. Also on those nights, The Prima Donna Series, for fillies and mares $8,000 claiming pacers, will offer purses of $6,500.

The finals of all six series will be raced on Friday (April 25) on the undercard of the $100,000 (gtd) Courageous Lady, the first Grand Circuit stakes event of 2014 for three year-old filly pacers. The finals of The Hall of Fame, The Legend and The Prima Donna Series will carry purses of $20,000 (gtd). The Icon, The Juke Box Hero and The Diva Series finals will race for $15,000 (gtd).

A one-time $100 payment will be required of each entrant to be eligible. Payments are due by March 15. Exact conditions for the series are available here.

(Standardbred Canada)

Horseplayer Signup Expedited With HPI Mobile

On Tuesday, July 23 the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) announced that sign-up for HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI), WEG’s online account-wagering platform, is now available through smartphones and other mobile devices.

The sign-up process for new customers is now a simple three-step application which has been specifically designed for mobile platforms. New customers need only touch the ‘Join HPI’ button to get started.

“The response to our mobile HPI service has exceeded our expectations and the usage on it continues to grow, due to mobile devices with fast wireless networks being more available and affordable,” said Kevin Maharaj, WEG’s Senior Manager, HPI & Simulcast Development. “This new sign-up process will enhance the new customer experience on the site and will get them playing faster.”

HPI customers, both online and mobile, already benefit from being able to wager on over 200 tracks around the world, and having access to services such as live video streaming, replays, programs, account funding, results and the HPI Rewards program.

The HPI mobile site is accessible at


The Canadian Sportsman Provides Special Handicapping Section For North America Cup Program

The Canadian Sportsman, in conjunction with the Woodbine Entertainment Group is proud to present this special handicapping section which will be inserted in the race program for Saturday’s Pepsi North America Cup card at Mohawk Racetrack.

A pdf of the section has been posted on Pepsi North America Cup website and is available by clicking here.



Pepsi North America Cup Website Relaunched For 2013

Woodbine Entertainment Group today (May 27) relaunched the official Pepsi North America Cup website.

All the information surrounding the 30th edition of the $1 million classic for the continent’s top three-year-old pacers, set for June 15 at Mohawk will be available at

Feature videos, news and notes, event details, promotions and history plus much more will be included on the website.

Last year’s Breeders Crown winner, Rockin Amadeus has emerged as a top contender for this year’s top prize.

Driven by Yannick Gingras, the son of Rocknroll Hanover scored a convincing win in his first start of the season. The bay got under the wire first in 1:49.4 at The Meadowlands on May 18 in his division of the New Jersey Sires Stakes.

“He was very good Saturday,” Gingras said. “[He was] a little bit lazy once he cleared, but then I kicked the ear plugs and he gave me another gear. He likes to chase horses, there’s no doubt about that, but he won in (1):49.4 and he was just playing out there.”

Trained by Jim Takter for owner/breeder Lothlorien, Rockin Amadeus holds a record of 4-3-1 from 11 career starts and $462,107 in earnings.

Also, the ‘Cup’ will be televised during a one-hour broadcast from 9-10 p.m. on Sportsnet’s The Score.

A joint production between WEG and Sportsnet will make the ‘Cup’ the first ever standardbred race that will be shot and aired live in high-definition (HD) in Canada.

First-race post time on Pepsi North America Cup night is 7:05 p.m.

To view the website and the feature video with Yannick Gingras, follow the link below.

WEG Expresses Shock And Disappointment In Toronto Council Decision Not To Support Expanded Gaming At Woodbine

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) is disappointed with today’s (May 21) vote by Toronto City Council against expanded gaming at Woodbine, which threatens the province’s entire horse racing industry. Now, WEG is looking forward to working with the Premier, her staff, the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel and the new Acting Chair of the OLG to seek a solution.

“We are shocked and disappointed by Toronto City Council’s actions, which have put thousands of jobs at risk. Despite the fact that a majority of Torontonians supported expanded gaming at Woodbine, council rejected an opportunity to protect 7500 existing jobs in Toronto and tens of thousands more throughout the province,” said Nick Eaves, President and CEO of WEG. “Now, with all those jobs in jeopardy, we need to get this right and look forward to continuing the dialogue with Premier Wynne to ensure they are not lost.”

Since the province’s cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks Program and throughout the Toronto casino debate, WEG has consistently warned that without the long-term, sustainable revenue offered by expansion of the existing gaming facility at Woodbine, its horse racing operations – and, by extension, the entire sector – would be at risk.

“Woodbine is vital to the horse racing industry and thousands of people in communities across Ontario whose livelihoods depend on it,” Eaves said. “We are deeply concerned that Council’s decision may open the door for a competing casino in a neighbouring municipality, which could be devastating to our operations, to our core business and to horse racing in Ontario.

“Premier Wynne, who is also the Minister of Agriculture, has indicated that horse racing will be part of Ontario’s new gaming strategy going forward. With this in mind, we want to work with her to ensure that horse racing and the 55,000 jobs it supports across this province have a viable, sustainable future.”


Double Draw Tuesdays For Weekend Cards, Rookie Qualifiers Set For Saturdays In June At Mohawk

With the Mohawk Summer Meet fast approaching, the Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to remind all horsepeople of the changes to the draw schedule starting May 21.

When standardbred racing returns to the Campbellville, Ont. oval on May 23, there will be a double draw held on Tuesdays for Friday and Saturday’s card. The entry box will close at 10:30 a.m. on draw days.

Additionally, Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to announce a change to two-year-old qualifying sessions.

Originally scheduled for Fridays, all freshmen qualifiers will now take place on Saturday mornings during the month of June, beginning at 10 a.m.

The box will close every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.


Nick Eaves Addresses Toronto Star Editorial Board Regarding Casino

WEG’s CEO told The Toronto Star editorial board recently that if the May 21 vote by Toronto Council awards a new casino to any of the stated alternatives to downtown, both Woodbine and horse racing would be jeopardized.

Read the full story here.

Mohawk Qualifiers To Begin Wednesday, May 8

The Woodbine Entertainment Group’s schedule of live harness racing will move to Mohawk Racetrack on May 23, thus prompting changes to the qualifying and training schedule at the Campbellville oval.

Qualifiers will occur one day a week during the Mohawk meet on Wednesdays, beginning on May 8. Post Time will be scheduled for 10:00 a.m.

The final qualifying session at Woodbine will be Thursday, May 2.

Additionally, during the month of June, Mohawk will host two-year-old qualifiers on Fridays, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The track will also be open for training on Tuesdays from 7 a.m. until noon and Wednesdays from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. The oval will be available for training beginning on Tuesday, April 30. Horsemen will also be able to train before the night’s card, except for Fridays in June and major stake nights.

Any horses coming in to train on race nights or qualifying days will be asked to ship into either Barn 5 or Barn 8.