With Approval, a Canadian Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner as a homebred for the Willmot family's Kinghaven Farm and a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, died June 21.
- By Tom Precious
Empire Racing Associates has added another potent partner, Woodbine Entertainment Group, to its team vying to take over the franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga racetracks.
Woodbine Entertainment Group announced Friday that the Canadian Racetrack Workers Union has voted overwhelmingly to accept a Memorandum of Settlement to ratify their Collective Agreement, thereby ending the 16-day strike.
David Willmot, president and chief executive officer of Woodbine Entertainment Group, prides himself on protecting customers at his racetrack, and in June he implemented a new rule regarding shippers for major races at the Toronto track.
With Approval, for years one of North America's top turf stallions, has been acquired by Kirsten Rausing's Lanwades Stud from a syndicate for stallion duty.
Woodbine Entertainment Group enters a new era in horse racing and entertainment with its announcement today that, in partnership with American-based The Cordish Co., the Toronto track will build a $310 million, 25-acre entertainment district on the track's property.
David Willmot shared his opinions on everything from slot machines to the relationship between purses and handle at Wednesday night's Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club meeting.
Hastings Park is for sale. The Vancouver racetrack that was purchased by Woodbine Entertainment Group in 2002 apparently isn't performing as well as its parent company had hoped, even though attendance and wagering have increased since it changed hands.
Summer Mood, Canada's champion sprinter of 1985 as a homebred for Kinghaven Farms, died in mid-April
The owner/manager of Woodbine Race Course and Mohawk Racetrack has given a five-year contract extension on its pari-mutuel systems to Scientific Games. The contract is worth about $10 million.
Expanded distribution of Woodbine Entertainment Group's Thoroughbred and harness races and larger fields generated by higher purses helped increase the company's total handle for the year by 11.1%. The all sources handle for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing was a record $1.36 billion.
Woodbine Race Course reported a 14% increase in average daily handle driven by a substantial increase in purses and field size.
Churchill Downs executives say they are not advocating slot machines at Kentucky racetracks, but at a meeting Monday track president Alex Waldrop made a strong pitch for alternative gaming. Waldrop said alternative gaming was the best long-term solution to keep the racing industry in Kentucky growing, according to Louisville Courier-Journal.
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