Michael Burns

Woodbine, HBPA in Five-Year Agreement

Contract reached between track owner and horsemen well before current pact expires.

Woodbine Entertainment Group and the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario announced Feb. 18 that they have entered into an agreement ensuring 167 dates of Thoroughbred racing at Woodbine each year for the next five years.

“In an environment of short term contracts and reduced race days, the HBPA is pleased to get this agreement signed with Woodbine,” HBPA president Sue Leslie said in a statement.  “It gives the horsepeople the security of knowing there will be 167 dates of racing at Woodbine for the next five years, and sets in place the framework to allow the industry to grow and prosper. It also allows owners and breeders to develop a longer term plan with some confidence, knowing they can rely on racing opportunities.”

The current agreement was due to expire on March 31.

“We’re delighted to enter into this long term agreement with the HBPA,” said Jamie Martin, WEG’s executive vice president of racing. “The agreement gives us stability on race dates and horsemen’s relations for the next five years, and allows us to focus on building on the successes we’ve realized with our on-track Thoroughbred product.”

The 2011 racing season launches on April 2 and concludes Dec. 4.