August 27, 2015

Last-Minute Talks Avert Strike At Woodbine Slots

Last minute talks on Sunday night averted a strike by Woodbine Racetrack’s OLG slots parlour workers.

Details are available in The Toronto Star story here.

Globe & Mail Editorial Favours Woodbine For Toronto’s Casino Site

An editorial in The Globe & Mail, Friday, May 3, points to an expansion of gaming at Woodbine Racetrack as the logical choice over a new downtown casino for the city of Toronto.

Red the full article by clicking here.





Standardbred Legends Samuel Johnston And Celias Counsel Join Hall of Fame at Woodbine, Friday, May 24th

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame has announced its 2013 Legend inductees.

Legends are people and horses whose accomplishments occurred a number of decades ago.  They made unique contributions to horse racing in Canada and the Hall recognizes the special roles they played.

Standardbred Legends

 Samuel Johnston a pioneering businessman, contractor and horseman is credited with saving harness racing in Fort Erie, Ontario.  In 1898 at the same time Grand Circuit racing was scheduled to come to Canadian soil for the first time, its future was threatened when harness racing was deemed to be a violation of public morals. Johnston’s opposition and his arguments before town council culminated in ensuring the future of horse racing at Fort Erie.  Without Mr. Johnson’s efforts, Grand Circuit racing would not have continued and grown to the stature it has today.

 Celias Counsel, a foal of 1946, was somewhat of an anomaly as her sire, Chief Counsel, was best known as a producer of pacers.  Campaigned by the Honourable William Earl Rowe, she was one of the most prominent trotters in the early1950s, including a career highlight win in the 1952 Maple Leaf Cup Trot.   She held a record of 2:07 when most trotters were racing in 2:10 or slower. As a broodmare, she produced 9 foals, including Van Counsel who trotted in 2:03 and made over $131,000.  The contributions of Celias Counsel are acknowledged each year with the Celia Counsel Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies.

Thoroughbred Legends

 Hidden Treasure was overshadowed in the early part of his exceptional career because he was foaled in 1957, the same year as one of Canada’s greatest thoroughbreds – Victoria Park. But this does not distract from Hidden Treasure’s overall contributions to Canadian racing. He was a multiple stakes winner at age two, three, four and five and an added money winner at age six. Owned and bred by Hall of Fame builder Bill Beasley of Nobleton, ON and trained by HOF trainer John Passero, Hidden Treasure retired with earnings of $187,734, second in Canada at the time to Victoria Park.

Jack Hood celebrated the romance of horse racing unlike any other owner and breeder ever to appear on the horse racing stage in Canada. Although garrulous and eccentric, he was also one of the more astute, and fortunate men to ever study the bloodlines of thoroughbreds.  Hood’s legacy grew among those who shared the company of this gregarious gentleman from Stratford, Ontario, a man who became a legend to all following his death in 1984 at the age of 71.   Hood’s venture into horse racing began in 1958 with the purchase Round Camera, a yearling filly that proved to be successful as a broodmare.  It was however the purchase of Quillopolly that would elevate his status.  She produced four foals in eight years. Two were stakes winners – Allquillo, winner of the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, and Sharp-Eyed Quillo, who won the Prince of Wales and Quebec Derby. Bonquill and Classy Quillo were the others. Classy Quillo was the dam of No Class who in turn was purchased in 1975 by Sam-Son Farms, and went on to be the grand-dam of Eclipse Award and Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly, the leading money-winning female in Canadian history. No Class is also the dam of four Sovereign Award winners – Sky Classic, Grey Classic, Regal Classic and Classy ‘n Smart, dam of world champion sire Smart Strike and Dance Smartly.  No Class’s daughter is also the grand-dam of Plate winners Dancethruthedawn and Scatter the Gold.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame will celebrate the inductions of these deserving legends at a Wine and Cheese reception ceremony scheduled to take place Friday, May 24 at 5:00 pm in the Hall of Fame at Woodbine Racetrack.  The reception will also feature the official unveiling of the display boards for the 2012 inductees, as well as the introduction of the 2013 inductees.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is a dual hall representing both Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds.   Inductees are added annually to build an ever-growing honour roll in the category of Builders, Drivers/Trainers, Jockeys/Trainers, Communicators, Veterans and Legends.

Additional details are available at: .


“Devastating Impact” on Woodbine If Vaughan Chosen For Casino–Jane Holmes

Jane Holmes, vice president of Corporate Affairs for the Woodbine Entertainment Group, has gone on the record in regard to the City of Vaughan being added to the ‘C1′ gaming zone within the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.’s gaming modernization plan.

Vaughan is located just north of WEG’s Woodbine Racetrack, and Holmes cut right to the point in regard to how a Vaughan casino would affect Woodbine Racetrack’s customer base.

“It’s 10 minutes away from here,” a report by the National Post quoted Holmes as saying regarding Vaughan’s close proximity to Woodbine Racetrack, which is located in Rexdale. “Those are our customers.”

Holmes also commented on the situation in a report by, stating, “We fully expect that there would be serious cannibalization of the gaming operations that are here,” if a Vaughan casino becomes a reality.

“Woodbine and its business activities generate over 10,000 jobs for the City of Toronto. It would have [a] devastating impact.”

It was reported by the mainstream media last week that Vaughan was added to the OLG’s C1 gaming zone, which now contains sections of downtown Toronto, south Mississauga, Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.

Woodbine Racetrack finds itself plotted in the ‘C2′ gaming zone, which includes surrounding areas in northwestern Toronto and northeastern Mississauga.

Vaughan’s addition the C1 gaming zone apparently came as a surprise to the city’s mayor, Maurizio Bevilacqua, who said he learned about Vaughan’s addition to C1 through the media.

(Standardbred Canada) 

Thursday Qualifiers At Woodbine Now Have 4:30pm Post

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) announced that post time for Thursday’s qualifying sessions at Woodbine has changed to 4:30 p.m.

Due to the demand for qualifiers, the new post time will take effect this Thursday, February 14.


WEG Releases 2013 Stakes Schedule

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) has announced its 2013 standardbred stakes schedule, which includes the 30th renewal of the prestigious Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack.

The Pepsi North America Cup, WEG’s signature harness race, will offer a guaranteed purse of $1 million on Saturday, June 15. Ten of the continent’s finest three year-old pacers will line up behind the gate, with eliminations scheduled the week prior on June 8.

First staged in 1984, the “Cup” has been captured by such champions as Somebeachsomewhere, Gallo Blue Chip, Rocknroll Hanover, and last year, Thinking Out Loud.

The star-studded program on June 15 will also boast the $400,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, the $380,000 Elegantimage Stakes for three year-old trotting fillies, the $250,000 Goodtimes for sophomore trotting colts, and the $265,000 Armbro Flight for trotting mares.

“Although there are inevitable reductions to purses as a result of operating in a changed environment, Woodbine Entertainment Group remains committed to offering the premier stakes program with the best value for owners in North America,” said Bruce Murray, WEG’s Vice President of Standardbred Racing. “We also want to thank all of the owners and trainers for their support of our racing this past year.”

With a reduced payment structure, nominations for all major stakes will close on Friday, March 15. Purses for all stakes finals are estimated except for the Pepsi North America Cup.

Mohawk will play host to several other major events during the campaign.

On July 20, the 61st edition of the $550,000 Maple Leaf Trot will take place as the continent’s finest older trotters are showcased. The historic event has been captured in recent years by three-time champion San Pail, Arch Madness and last year’s victor, Mister Herbie.

To complement the Maple Leaf Trot will be the $340,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for pacing mares. Eliminations are scheduled for July 13.

The annual Labour Day weekend extravaganza returns on Saturday, August 31 headlined by the $700,000 Metro Pace for two year-old pacing colts. Co-featured on the card are the $600,000 Canadian Pacing Derby older pacers, along with the $430,000 Shes A Great Lady for juvenile pacing fillies.

The Canadian Trotting Classic, for the sport’s best three year-old colt trotters, will take their positions behind the starting gate on Saturday, September 14 for an estimated purse of $700,000. Also that evening, the $365,000 Peaceful Way final for two year-old trotting fillies and the $385,000 William Wellwood Memorial for rookie trotting colts will be apart of the rich card.

To view the 2013 WEG stakes schedule, please click the link below.

WEG 2013 Stakes Schedule

WEG Requests Public’s Support For Woodbine As Casino Site

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) is urging the public  to show  support for Woodbine Racetrack as a Toronto casino in the upcoming public consultation process undertaken by Toronto City council.

Details of how you can help are are in WEG’s media release below:


A Casino at Woodbine – A Responsible Choice for Toronto

TORONTO, January 7, 2013 – For more than 130 years, Woodbine Entertainment Group has been part of the fabric of life in Toronto. Now, we’re calling upon our thousands of horse racing fans, patrons and community partners to take part in the City of Toronto’s casino consultations – and let city council know that you support the long-term future of Woodbine Racetrack, by supporting it as a casino location in Toronto.

This month, the City is conducting a consultation process to gather the public’s views and opinions on possible locations for a casino in Toronto. Among them is Woodbine Racetrack in northwest Toronto – in the OLG’s C2 gaming zone, which is separate from the C1 zone where any potential downtown casino would be located.

Why Woodbine? For one, it’s an established site for successful gaming; in fact, with its current slots facilities, it’s already home to the largest gaming operation in the province.  One with plenty of room to grow its facilities in northwest Toronto.

But there’s more to Woodbine than a world-class entertainment complex.

It’s also a major creator of jobs – 7,500 in Toronto alone – and a pillar of the Ontario horse racing and breeding industry, which employs more than 55,000 people. Woodbine is a valued partner in the city, one that works closely with law enforcement and Toronto community organizations for decades to ensure safe, responsible gaming. Woodbine gives back to the community – millions of dollars to local charities and causes to help make Toronto a better place to live; millions more to government in revenue sharing and taxes.

Now, Woodbine needs your help. A casino at Woodbine – with expanded gaming facilities including slots and table games – will ensure thousands of Torontonians will have secure and meaningful work for years to come. It will let Woodbine continue to support communities throughout the province, where horse racing and breeding are a vital part of the local economy. And it will preserve and grow one of Toronto’s most dynamic and valued entertainment venues – one that has been contributing to the life of the city from its current location since 1956.

City Consultation Process

The City of Toronto has announced the details of its public Toronto Casino Consultation strategy. For the month of January 2013, the public will be invited to share their views and opinions on a casino in the City.

The consultation process will gather input, including the public’s views and opinions on a casino and possible locations for Council’s consideration when making a decision on this matter.  City staff will write a report on the results of the consultation, which will go back to the Executive Committee in March.

As a customer, as a community partner, as an employee or as a racing fan, you know what Woodbine means to Toronto – and what a casino at Woodbine will mean for Toronto’s future.

The City has scheduled five community open houses which begin this week.

Wednesday,  January 9 • City Hall Rotunda, Toronto City Hall • 100 Queen Street West • 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 12 • North York Memorial Hall • 5110 Yonge Street • 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Monday, January 14 • Etobicoke Olympium Gymnasium • 590 Rathburn Road • 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 17 • Scarborough Civic Centre Rotunda • 150 Borough Drive • 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 19 • BlumaAppel Salon • Reference Library • 789 Yonge Street • 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Attend a public meeting or support a casino at Woodbine through the City’s online feedback form, available by clicking on the ‘Have Your Say ‘ link at before January 25, 2013.

City Council needs to hear from you loud and clear:  A casino at Woodbine is a responsible choice.

Celebration Of The Life of Randy Bennett, Wednesday, Jan. 9, Woodine Racetrack

Ontario racing suffered a tragic loss with the recent passing of long-time owner and breeder Randy Bennett, 52, of Toronto.

Randy passed away at Toronto General Hospital on January 3rd following a brief illness.

Not only was Randy legal counsel for COSA, but he was also a friend and inspiration to countless other horsepeople.

Please join COSA in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the Randy’s family and friends.

A private visitation for family will take place at the Turner & Porter Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor St. W. (at Windermere, just east of the Jane subway), on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 from 1-3 p.m.

A Celebration of Randy Bennett’s Life will be held at Woodbine Racetrack,  on Wednesday evening, January 9, 2013 from 7-9 p.m. All are welcome.

Please go to Post Parade Dining Room, 4th floor, for further information. Parking is on the West Side-Parking Lot A. Come through the West entrance and follow signs to the Post Parade Elevator.

Donations in Randy’s name can be made to the Law Society Foundation Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program.

Online condolences may be made through


Woodbine Racetrack Available For Winter Training Tuesday Mornings and Prior To Race Nights

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) has announced that Woodbine Racetrack will be available for winter standardbred training on Tuesday mornings and on race nights before the live card.

Trainers who wish to condition their horses over Woodbine’s surface are encouraged to inform Paddock Judge Mike Strome, Assistant Paddock Judge Lynn Poore or the Race Office at least one day prior.

Horses training on race nights are required to be off the racetrack by 6:30 p.m.

Should inclement weather arise on a Tuesday, training may be moved to Wednesday morning. Please contact the Race Office to ensure the track will be open.


WEG Stakes Nominations Due Thursday, Nov. 1

The Woodbine Entertainment Group has issued a reminder to all trainers and owners that Thursday, November 1 is the closing date for nominations to the Ontario Sired Autumn Series.

There are divisions for two-year-old colt and filly pacers as well as three-year-old pacers and trotters of both sexes. Ontario Sired Autumn Series will get underway on Monday, November 19 at Woodbine Racetrack.

The nomination fee is $100.

Also, nominations for the Valedictory Series for three-year-old colt pacers and the Niagara Series for three-year-old pacing fillies are also due November 1.

To view the nomination form, click here.

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.

Also, stakes payments can now be paid on the SC website using the new Online Stake Payment Program.

(Standardbred Canada with files from WEG)