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Woodbine Ent. Seeks to Renovate E.P. Taylor Turf Course

This week, Ontario’s leading Thoroughbred and Standardbred horse racing operator, Woodbine Entertainment, shared an early-stage plan to renovate a portion of its E.P. Taylor Turf Course at Woodbine Racetrack. For the initiative, the group has acquired new Kentucky bluegrass which will be installed over a five-furlong section of the backstretch.

The track’s 1 ½ mile E.P. Taylor Turf Course debuted in 1994 and quickly became one of the top turf courses in the horse racing sector. The course is home to some popular races such as three Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In races – the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, the Grade 1 Summer Stakes, and the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes and many others.

Project Still in Infant Stages

As per schedule, the partial reconstruction project for the widely-popular E.P. Taylor Turf Course will not officially begin until 2025 at the earliest, the horse racing operator is already putting in the work to establish a plan. The initiative will also feature the installation of a new drainage system, allowing the operator to host extended turf seasons in the future.

Bill Ford, Executive Vice President of Racing for the group, said the organization has an unshakable commitment to invest and provide world-class racing to spectators. In his words, the reconstruction will ensure that the turf will remain one of the sport’s safest and top turf courses. He added that the new grass and drainage will deliver long-term benefits to the operator.

In the meantime, the horse racing leader is now reviewing and planning stages of determining the most suitable time to start the renovations at its E.P. Taylor Turf Course project. The idea is to kick off work but provide as minimal disruption to the existing racing product as possible. Also, the group said that the plans will not interrupt its upcoming 2024 live racing season.

Last but not least, the operator wrote that on top of its turf course project, it has recently installed a covering over the ber365 Inner Turf Course. This new asset will now protect all seven furlongs of the Inner Turf during the cold winter months. It will also enable the track to kick off turf racing activities earlier next season, in comparison to previous years.

Reporting Record-Setting King’s Plate Handle

In August 2023, Woodbine Racetrack hosted its 164th edition of the prestigious King’s Plate, which set a new track record. According to the operator, Sunday’s August 20, 2023 card with 13 races generated the largest betting handle in history with a volume of CA$18,127,049.67. Hence, shattering its previous record from 2019, when the race was branded the Queen’s Plate.

A major factor in the increase in betting volume this year was that the horse racing leader launched its pari-mutuel wagering product with bet365. It marked the first time a private-owned operator offered the group’s product online. Prior to that, Woodbine’s HPIbet and Dark Horse Bets were the only legal platforms to offer digital bets on its races.

Source: “Woodbine Announces Early Plans To Rebuild Portion Of E.P. Taylor Turf CoursePaulick Report, November 23, 2023