Industry Reports

Woodbine Ent. Projects Horse Racing sans Spectators

Woodbine Entertainment is going through a bit of a rough patch but the summer months are expected to witness it back on track, as Chief Executive Officer Jim Lawson estimates. He shared his thoughts in a recent online conversation with Jason Portuondo. The months June and July could see horse racing events return, but projections are that they would not feature spectators on site.

This week was a special one for the horse people of Ontario, as it witnessed an important conversation directly affecting them. The regular pace of work has been affected by the unprecedented situation across the province, as well as around Canada. Live horse racing events were postponed, as the racing season is about to launch later in the year.

Horse Racing in June

Mr. Lawson has his opinions worth sharing in a frank conversation aiming to cover all the subjects people want to know about. The online interview was hosted by Jason Portuondo, a familiar name to the people involved in the local horse racing industry. Anyone interested can take a look at the entire interview available on Woodbine Entertainment’s official website.

Projections right now are optimistic, as the warmer months could see more action. Mr. Lawson made it clear that the horse racing industry has to express solidarity in these trying times and do everything it takes to support the battle going not only in Canada but around the globe. This means no live horse racing events on Woodbine Racetrack or Woodbine Mohawk Park putting diverse horse racing on pause.

Both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing saw their live seasons postponed. Large events to the likes of Queen’s Plate at the end of June was postponed indefinitely, as the entire live season would have to be reworked and a new schedule would be issued. This would happen once a reevaluation of the situation across the province has been made and only in accordance with health experts.

New Practices Introduced

Projections are that the end of June or the beginning of July might see live horse racing recommence. Mr. Lawson made it clear that the relationship between the horse racing industry and Ontario’s government has been improved over the past couple of years and this is evident by the support guaranteed. Individuals can now file their application and obtain some of the purse money available under the Funding Agreement with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Once approved, Thoroughbred horses meeting all conditions are going to receive CA$1,500 per month. Standardbred horses are going to bag CA$1,000. Some six weeks would be needed for the horses to return to active racing. About 1,100 horses are currently stabled on the backstretch and they are being taken care of on a daily basis, as they have their needs.

There is also light training taking place to keep them in shape, but not breeze. Mr. Lawson further specified that the horse racing leader of Ontario is currently devising new procedures to be implemented down the road, as well as guidelines that should be strictly followed. Woodbine Entertainment would not want to risk people’s lives and well-being, so a medical professional is also part of the decision-making process.