On Monday, June 21, 2022, Ontario’s horse racing leader, Woodbine Entertainment, announced that it has partnered up with the You Can Play Project or also known as YCP. Through this collaboration, the company will try to bolster inclusion for everyone who participates in the horse racing industry, including 2SLGBTQ+ athletes, administrators, horse people, and fans.
YCP is an organization that puts efforts into ensuring safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches, and fans. This year, the organization marks its 10th year of operations, and through the years has provided support, education, and outreach to make sure that the 2SLGBTQ+ community’s athletes are judged purely on their sporting ability.
First of Its Kind for the Sport
The agreement makes Woodbine Entertainment the first horse racing entity in North America to collaborate with the YCP. CEO of the horse racing leader, Jim Lawson, stated that the partnership is a reflection of the organization’s determination and commitment to do more to eliminate obstacles and make the sport more inclusive for everyone and make the company supporter of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
Denis Vachon, Head of Canadian Partnerships for You Can Play, commented that the horse racing organization has made inclusion a top priority across its activities and that it is not just a Pride month effort. Mr. Vachon also added that the company’s commitment to the initiatives has been quite impressive and it is the first of its kind in the horse racing sector.
The agreement between the two sides starts this June and there is numerous scheduled initiative for the course of the next year. This includes inclusivity training for the horse racing leader’s staff, jockeys, drivers, trainers, and other participants. Woodbine Racetrack and Woodbine Mohawk Park will both host YCP-themed races in 2023 to raise awareness and funds for the project.
Ontario’s horse racing leader has always been a supporter of the local provincial communities and horse people as it had organized many programs and initiatives through the years. An example of that is the company’s Woodbine Cares Community Investment Program, which to this day is a major help to the Children’s Book Bank, the Community Association for the Riding Disabled, and more.
Parting Ways with VP of Racing
This week, Woodbine Entertainment has also informed that its Senior Vice President of Standardbred and Thoroughbred Racing Jessica Buckley has resigned from her role, and will be pursuing other opportunities. She was at the position since 2020, and in another statement, Mr. Lawson thanked her for her contribution and wished her success in her future endeavors.
Pebble Beach Emerges as Champion
On the weekend at its Woodbine Mohawk Park, the organization hosted its annual Pepsi North America Cup. This was the 39th running of the renowned Standardbred event and this time it was one by Pebble Beach with an impressive time of 1:50. The horse racing leader also reported that last Saturday’s card set a record night handle of CA$6.3 million.
Source: “Woodbine Partners With You Can Play Project”, BloodHorse, June 21, 2022