February 25, 2017

Today: OR To Hold Info Session And Release Letter Of Intent

February 6, 2017 – Ontario Racing has issued an invitation for participation in a long-term funding information session. The session will take place this Friday (February 10) and will include the public unveiling of the nonbinding legal document which underpins the proposed long-term funding agreement for horse racing in Ontario.

The contents of the OR release appear below.

Ontario Racing Invites You To Participate In A Long-Term Funding Information Session

As part of Ontario Racing’s long term funding industry consultations, we heard from industry participants that increased transparency and information disclosure was important and needed.

In response to industry requests, Ontario Racing has worked with our partners at Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) and the provincial government to release the nonbinding legal document which underpins the proposed long term funding agreement for horseracing in Ontario.

This Letter of Intent (LOI) will be released publicly on Friday, February 10, 2017, and an overview of this document will be provided via a webinar at 2 p.m. Ontario Racing will facilitate this conversation, and legal counsel from OLG and the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) will be on hand to provide a detailed explanation of this agreement to interested industry participants.

You can register for the webinar here. We look forward to your participation.


What: Long-term funding information session – Letter of Intent
Date: Friday, February 10, 2017
Time: 2 p.m. EST
Registration: via gotowebinar

Qualifiers move to Friday, January 27, 2017

January 25, 2017 – The Mohawk race office would like to inform horsepeople that this week’s qualifying session at Woodbine has been moved to Friday (January 27) at 4 p.m.


Originally scheduled for Thursday, qualifiers were moved to Friday due to potential poor weather conditions.


Qualifiers are scheduled to return to Thursday’s on February 2.




No Woodbine Training This Week

January 23, 2017 – The Mohawk Racetrack race office would like to inform horsepeople that there will be no training available at Woodbine Racetrack this week.

Training is not available on Tuesday morning or prior to the races this week at Woodbine.

Due to mild January temperatures and rain, the decision was made to postpone training for a week and allow the track crew an opportunity to perform maintenance on the racing surface.

Training will be available at Woodbine on Tuesday, January 31 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.



BetShare Wins Horse Racing 3.0

January 18, 2017 – BetShare, a group of Toronto entrepreneurs, won ‘Horse Racing 3.0: Changing the Game’ (HR3). HR3 is a customer centric, open innovation program that challenged Canadian start-ups and entrepreneurs to co-develop disruptive technology with Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) to help transform the horse racing industry.

BetShare developed a next generation handicapping platform that allows customers to follow experienced players through video streaming, explanation and supporting betting statistics (e.g. strike rate, return on investment, hot streak, etc.). Meanwhile, the seasoned bettors earn money through ad revenue and commission on successful bets they’ve facilitated. Leveraging this open-source approach to wagering and handicapping, WEG would benefit by creating more winners and a potential influx of new users.

Team members, Pedro Pessoa, Salah Rawdat, Andrew Chui, Esteban Cardenas and Nehal Rao, received $12,000 in cash, and a six-month enrollment in Ryerson’s iBoost incubation zone in collaboration with WEG where they can further develop their prototype. The potential of this concept provides an opportunity for BetShare to enter into a pilot agreement with WEG to help bring their solution to market. The team also won the kick off ‘Design Jam’ to launch HR3 last September.

“This was a tough decision,” said Sean Pinsonneault, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Wagering, WEG. “All the teams presented smart concepts. Ultimately, BetShare best solved our challenge to engage new fans and generate additional revenue streams. Their approach to simplify betting by using the pros to help novices and others get more confident in their wagering by winning more is a huge opportunity for us to engage a younger demographic. We see a lot of potential here.”

Second and third place teams HRX and Horseplay were awarded $8,000 and $1,000 respectively, and also received a six-month enrollment in iBoost and a chance to enter into a pilot agreement with WEG.

HRX developed a platform that makes becoming a horse owner within reach of the average fan by connecting horse sellers with interested buyers through fractional ownership with a highly simplified process. Horseplay is an application that allows users to place bets on past races and compete in a virtual horse racing community for credits, recognition and rewards, allowing passive engagement that trains customers for real betting on live horse races.

“The innovative product solutions developed by the winning teams truly push the boundaries of technology in our industry and present great opportunities to transform horse racing for future generations,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of WEG. “We are excited to see how these solutions will enable Woodbine to reach and engage younger demographics and look forward to working with these passionate entrepreneurs.”

A joint initiative between WEG, Ryerson University’s Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation and iBoost, HR3 was launched last September. Teams were given three months to develop a prototype of their business solution, including support through workshops and one-on-one sessions with the WEG Innovation Team, industry professionals and business mentors to set and achieve milestones to help teams commercialize their technology. More information about the winners is available at hr3.ca.


HPItv Channels To Shut Down

January 11, 2017 – Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) announced on Wednesday (January 11) that HPItv will shut down its multi-track channel and accompanying odds channel effective Saturday, April 11, 2017.

WEG has operated HPItv, a CRTC licensed digital television channel that broadcasts racing to homes across Canada, and its predecessor, The Racing Network (TRN) since 2001.

“The decision to shut down HPItv was a difficult one as it will affect some customers and a number of our people that have worked diligently to create and sustain its development,” said Sean Pinsonneault, WEG’s Executive Vice-President, Strategy and Wagering. “The HPItv subscriber base continues to trend downward as more of our customers move online while production costs have risen, making it an unsustainable business case to keep the HPItv multi-track channel operating as the media landscape evolves.”

HPItv will broadcast a limited track schedule into April.

Racing fans can watch all tracks offered on HPItv at HPIbet.com, as well as any other track available for wagering on the platform.

“HPIbet.com continues to be the growth platform,” said Pinsonneault. “We will continue to allocate resources towards developing our online channel and expanding the horse racing customer base as more fans turn to the internet and mobile devices.”

HPItv’s Pay-Per-View (PPV) channels, HPItv Canada, HPItv International and HPItv West, will continue to be offered on cable and satellite platforms.

“WEG remains fully committed to the long-term success of the racing industry and will continue to focus on the strategic development of the horse racing, wagering and hospitality aspects of our business,” said Pinsonneault. “This all must be done within the economic realities of the new racing model in Ontario which requires us to focus on the priorities that are most critical to the business and pursue additional growth through innovation and new products.”

The recently redesigned HPIbet.com and mobile offering presents dozens of exciting features for the horseplayer, including a multi-track view of up to four racetracks from across the world at the same time.

(with files from WEG)

WEG Unveils 2017 Stakes Schedule

January 5, 2017 – On Thursday, January 5, the Woodbine Entertainment Group revealed its $10 million-plus Standardbred stakes lineup for 2017.

The 2017 stakes schedule is highlighted by the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old pacers on Saturday, June 17 at Mohawk Racetrack.

Several changes have been made to the stakes calendar for 2017 to allow horsemen the opportunity to maximize opportunities both in sires stakes and Grand Circuit events.

Beginning in 2017, the $700,000 Metro Pace and $500,000 Shes A Great Lady for two-year-old pacers will be moved from their usual position on Labour Day weekend to Saturday, September 23.

The $350,000 William Wellwood and $350,000 Peaceful Way for two-year-old trotters also find new spots on the calendar and will take place on Monday, September 18.

The $550,000 Canadian Pacing Derby remains in the Labour Day weekend slot and will be the feature event on Saturday, September 2, while the $650,000 Canadian Trotting Classic and $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot hold their same spot on the calendar on Saturday, September 16.

Along with adjustments to the stakes calendar, WEG has also altered the stakes payment schedule for 2017.

For many years, nominations have closed in both February and March for different events, but beginning in 2017 all nominations to WEG Stakes will now close on February 15, 2017.

All nomination and sustaining payment details can be found in the 2017 Stakes Booklet, which can be viewed by clicking here.

WEG will continue to distribute purse money to all finishers in major stakes events during the 2017 season.

The winner of the finals will receive the traditional 50 per cent of the total purse, while those finishing sixth through last will take home 1 per cent of the purse. The horses finishing second through fifth will receive 50 per cent, 24 per cent, 16 per cent, 10 per cent of the remaining purse, respectively.

All Alliance stakes events will continue to be administrated by WEG during 2017.

The entire 2017 Stakes Schedule can be viewed by clicking here.

Stakes payments to WEG and Alliance events are payable to the Woodbine Entertainment Group. Payments can be made through the race office, by mail or online.

Stakes payments to these stakes can also be made through SC Stakes Online. Click here for more info on how to get started.



Woodbine Training, Racing Update

January 2, 2016 – The Mohawk Racetrack race office would like to offer horsepeople an update on training and live racing at Woodbine Racetrack.

The racing surface and paddock at Woodbine will not be available for training this Tuesday (January 3), but instead will be open on Wednesday (January 4) from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Live harness racing resumes at Woodbine this Saturday (January 7).

The Mohawk Race Office will reopen on Tuesday morning and the draw for Saturday will be held on Wednesday. Entry box closes at 10:30 a.m.

(with files from WEG)


Woodbine Holiday Draw / Race Schedule

December 15, 2016 – The Mohawk Racetrack race office would like to inform horsepeople of the holiday draw and racing schedule for Woodbine Racetrack.

There will be no live racing on Saturday, December 24 at Woodbine. Live racing will resume on Boxing Day (Monday, December 26) with a matinee card that will begin at 1 p.m.

Following the Boxing Day card, there will be no live racing at Woodbine until Saturday, January 7.

The upcoming draw schedule for Standardbred racing at Woodbine is as follows:

Draw Monday (December 19) for Thursday (December 22)
Draw Tuesday (December 20) for Friday (December 23)
Draw Wednesday (December 21) for Monday (December 26)

The draw for Saturday, January 7 will be held on Wednesday, January 4.

The entry box will close the morning of each draw at 10:30 a.m.

The final qualifying session of 2016 at Woodbine will be held next Thursday (December 22). A pair of qualifying sessions will be held during the first full week of racing in the New Year on Monday, January 9 and Thursday, January 12.

Qualifiers at Woodbine will begin at 4 p.m.

Training is available at Woodbine each Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., except for Tuesday, December 27.

Anyone with questions regarding the upcoming schedule is asked to contact the Mohawk race office.


Niagara, Valedictory Set To Kick Off

December 7, 2016 – A few flurries are expected to be floating through the Toronto air this weekend, which only seems fitting, seeing as though winter series action will begin this Friday (December 9) at Woodbine Racetrack.

The opening leg of the Niagara Series for three-year-old pacing fillies has been carded for Friday evening, while Round 1 of the Valedictory Series for sophomore pacing colts and geldings will head postward on Saturday.

Each series features two preliminary legs and a final. The Niagara and Valedictory Series finals will both take place on the special Boxing Day matinee card (December 26). Non-winners of $60,000 in lifetime purse earnings as of October 31, 2016 were eligible to be nominated to each series.

A group of 16 three-year-old pacing fillies have been split into two $17,000 first-leg divisions of the Niagara Series.

Mike Bishop trainee Hot Spot Hanover is coming into the first Niagara division on a roll, having recorded four wins in her last six starts. The daughter of Well Said has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favourite and will start from the rail with driver Sylvain Filion.

Hot Spot Hanover has won five of 12 starts this season with eight top-three finishes. Of the 16 fillies entered in the Niagara, Hot Spot Hanover has made the fewest number of starts in 2016.

Marvalous Jet is the 7-2 second choice from Post 4 and will be making her second start for new trainer Dean Nixon. A daughter of Delmarvalous, Marvalous Jet spent her summer racing on the Pennsylvania Fair Circuit and is a nine-time winner from 28 starts in 2016.

The Nixon trainee finished second in her debut for new connections last Friday at Woodbine.

The second Niagara division features a pair of fillies that are heading into Friday’s contest off a victory.

Nick Gallucci trainee Docs Sausalito has won two of her last four starts, including a four-length score in a non-winners of three races tilt last Friday. The daughter of Art Colony has won five of 20 this season and is the 5-2 morning line favourite from the rail for driver Randy Waples.

Big Jim filly Jimbelina is the 3-1 second-choice and has put together a strong 2016 campaign. The Rene Bourassa trainee has seven victories and six runner-up finishes in 16 starts.

Jimbelina, who most recently captured a non-winners of two tilt last Friday at Woodbine, will once again have Sylvain Filion at the controls. The duo will start from Post 7.

The Niagara Series divisions have been carded as Races 2 and 8 on Friday’s 10-race card.

Last year’s Niagara was captured by Wanda Bayama, who swept the series for Filion and Stephane Larocque.

The Valedictory Series has attracted 20 three-year-old colts and geldings for Saturday’s opening leg.

The opening 10-horse $17,000 division features Bruce Goit trainee Lyons Sands. The son of Somebeachsomewhere will be making just his second career start on the WEG Circuit, but the sophomore has been red-hot this season on half-mile ovals.

Lyons Sands has won eight of 10 starts this season and is riding a four-race win streak into Saturday’s contest. J Harris has driven the Goit trainee to seven of his eight victories this season and will once again be his driver in the Valedictory.

Another sophomore coming into the Valedictory with plenty of momentum is Awesomeness for trainer Ryan Maxwell. The son of Mach Three didn’t make his career debut until October 4 and has since won four of seven starts, including his last two outings.

Awesomeness recently joined the Maxwell barn and won his debut for his new connections on November 28 at Woodbine. Randy Waples is listed to drive the Mach Three gelding from Post 8.

Ontario Sired Autumn Series winner Think On It headlines the second split. The Bob McIntosh trainee recently had a five-race win streak snapped, but will look to start a new streak from Post 5 Saturday.

The son of Ponder has won five of 13 starts this season and will reunite with Paul MacDonell, who steered Think On It to a sweep of the Autumn Series.

The second division also features four sophomores that will be heading in from south of the border.

Robert Key homebred pacers Artful Bliss (Post 3) and Dragon Strikes (Post 6) are shipping in from the Meadows to race for trainer Rod Boyd, while Mark Ford has sent up pacing colt Breaktime Hanover (Post 7) to Gregg McNair.

The fourth newcomer to the circuit is Keystone Dylan (Post 9), who had been racing at Pocono and will be making his debut for new trainer Marty Fine.

The Valedictory Series divisions have been carded as Races 3 and 4 on Saturday’s 11-race card.

Last year’s Valedictory final was captured by Shades Of Bay in a series-record clocking of 1:50.3 for driver Phil Hudon and trainer Sean Mehlenbacher.

Post time for Friday and Saturday’s cards of racing is 7:30 p.m.

To view the entries for the Friday and Saturday cards, please click the corresponding links that appear below.

Woodbine Racetrack – Friday Entries
Woodbine Racetrack – Saturday Entries



Series Nomination Deadline Looms

November 29, 2016 – The Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) and Alliance would like to remind horsepeople that Winter Series nominations are due Thursday, December 1.

Woodbine Racetrack is pleased to offer the Niagara and Valedictory Series for three-year-old pacers during December and the Blizzard and Snowshoe Series for three and four-year-old pacers during January.

Each series features two preliminary legs and a final. The preliminary leg purses are guaranteed at $17,000, while each final will have $30,000 in added money.

The nomination fee for each series is $200 CAD ($160 USD) and the nomination form can be viewed by clicking here.

Nominations also close Thursday for the Alliance Holiday Claiming Series to be contested at Flamboro Downs and Western Fair.

A total of six claiming series events will be contested over the month of December. The nomination fee for each series is $100 CAD ($75 USD) and the nomination form can be viewed by clicking here.

Nomination fees can be paid for the Woodbine and Alliance series online by clicking here.

If sending nominations by mail, envelopes must be clearly post-marked no later than December 1, 2016 or payment will not be accepted. Registered mail is recommended.