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Woodbine Ent.’s CEO Speaks on Future Plans

Just recently, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, President and CEO of Woodbine Entertainment, Jim Lawson, spoke on the company’s future plans. While at the track’s newly launched Stella Artois Terrace Patio the leader commented that the organization is looking into long-term plans of further advancing the horse racing industry and attracting a new generation of fans.

The track’s newly unveiled and opened Stella Artois Terrace Patio is designed to bring in a new younger demographic to the track. Its open-air area comes with comfortable seas, chef-made meals, fresh greenery, and glass partitions which enable a tremendous view for the guests. There is also pop music in the background, which is turned down for every race call.

What’s to Come?

Mr. Lawson that there is definitely a vision for the future of the industry which is for the next 20 or maybe 25 years. The CEO shared that the idea is to bring as many people as possible to the track and introduce them to the sport of horse racing. He said due to its status as a non-profit the organization is not hesitant to start any kind of project.

The official said that it is part of the organization’s duty to grow the future fan and future owners of the track. The property sits on 700 acres of land and he shared that he would like to see a mixed-use campus that would revolve around the current racetrack activities. Due to the past closures, he believes that it is not a time to invest in retail, and considers biotech companies or educational institutions.

One of the projects under consideration is a train station, that Mr. Lawson wants to have at the southeast corner of the property in the next few years. In addition to that, the company has also shared that it will soon launch a 5,000-seat music centre, which would enable the track to host many exciting live entertainment events.

Last but not least, Mr. Lawson is hopeful that the track’s safety records would someday allow it to host another Breeders’ Cup. This is something that racing fans have dreamed of for a while. He is aware that another synthetic race will not be of much attraction. However, he says that the overall better records of artificial surfaces will eventually bring a change to the industry.

Back in March, Ontario’s horse racing leader also shared its plans to build a soccer stadium on the land of its Woodbine Racetrack. The new stadium would come with a training facility and it would abide by all FIFA standards. It will be used by the local soccer teams, and it would be within walking distance of its Thoroughbred track. The project could arrive in 2023.

Last Sunday’s Action

On Sunday, August 21, 2022, Woodbine Racetrack hosted the 163rd running of the prestigious The Queen’s Plate event, which again caught the eye of the industry. The CA$1 million stakes event was won by the crowd’s favourite Moira with Rafael Hernandez as a jockey. The horse set a record for the race with its final time of 2:01.48. Second and third place went to Hall of Dreams and Sir for Sure respectively.

Source: Voss, Natalie “Lawson’s Vision For Woodbine: A Long-Term Project To Bring More Fans To RacingPaulick Report, August 22, 2022