Woodbine 2016 live Thoroughbred meet sees 7.1% wagering rise over 2015

TORONTO, December 8 – Woodbine Entertainment Group today announced wagering on Woodbine’s 2016 live Thoroughbred racing season, which concluded Sunday, December 4, rose sharply over the 2015 meet.

The 133-day season produced an "all-sources" handle of $469,452,009, a 7.1% per cent increase over the $438,185,077 figure recorded from 133 dates in 2015.

“We saw tremendous growth in our Thoroughbred racing product,” said Sean Pinsonneault, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Wagering. “We had record handles for all of our signature race days and customers are responding to our blend of entertaining racing and great fan experiences. Unfortunately, even with the growth, the revenue from the wagering is declining in Ontario due to the increased costs of simulcast racing content and mandatory deductions. WEG remains committed to working with government and industry stakeholders to reform the model and secure the future of this industry in the province.”

Wagering was up 4.1% in the Greater Toronto area on Woodbine Thoroughbred racing.

Woodbine posted substantial wagering gains on each of its three biggest days.

The Queen’s Plate, which had its 157th running in 2015, had a record wagering total of $11.8 million for the July 3 card.  The on-track experience was enhanced to present more food trucks, fashion and music, including headlining bands that played well into the evening. 

The Plate, with 37,063 in attendance, was won by Sir Duddly Digges.

Ricoh Woodbine Mile day, on September 17, recorded a handle of $9.6 million, shattering the 2015 mark of $7.1 million, while the Pattison Canadian International card, on October 16, had wagering of $9.2 million, eclipsing 2015 mark of $6.4 million.

Sunday’s final programme also established a mark for a Woodbine meet finale card, with $7.4 million wagered, surpassing the 2015 record of $6.5 million. The card included the second Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout this year with over $1 million up for grabs and a payout of $39,500.65 for a 20-cent ticket.

In April, Woodbine introduced Tapeta as its new main racing surface and it was well received by many racing fans and industry participants.

“In the first year with a new racing surface, we’re quite pleased with how the Tapeta performed especially in the second half of the season after adjustments to our track maintenance protocol were performed,” said Tom Via, Senior Vice President of Operations.

Woodbine also introduced clockwise turf racing in June.  Twenty-two races were conducted at five and 5 ½-furlong distances. The track ran a record 236 grass races in 2016.

“The clockwise turf racing concept added a fresh dimension to our racing program and attracted attention from across the world,” said Via. “We have a great gem of a racecourse in the E.P. Taylor Turf Course and turf racing at Woodbine is thriving. The Tapeta and the turf track will continue to be strong complementary offerings for our horsepeople.”

Purses paid out in 2016 totalled $70.6 million, including a stakes program worth $19.5 million (101 added-money races).  Field size rose to 8.4 horses per race in 2016, up from 8.1 horses per race in 2015.

Opening day for the 2017 Thoroughbred racing season, also set for 133 dates, is scheduled for April 15, 2017.

Standardbred racing continues at Woodbine through the winter, including a special Boxing Day card that features a 1:00 p.m. post-time.