Increased US Handle Fuels Gains at Woodbine

A 20 % increase in wagering in the United States on Woodbine's live Thoroughbred racing helped propel the Toronto track to an overall gain of 5.5 % for the 166-day meeting which ended Dec. 1, according to a release from Woodbine.

A total of $363,780,210 was wagered on the 1,560 races that were contested at Woodbine for an average of $233,133 per race. Last year, $344,670,050 was wagered on 1,551 races for an average of $222,224 per race.

The largest gain was in the United States, where wagering jumped to
$146.9 million from $122.4 million a year ago. That gain more than offset slight declines in the Canadian market. Within the Toronto market area, wagering dipped by 1.8 %, to $146 million from $148.7 million last year. In all other Canadian markets, wagering dipped 3.5%, to $71 million from $73.6 million a year ago.

Telephone account wagering continued its strong growth. TAB customers wagered $15.6 million on the Woodbine product, compared to $11.9 million a year ago.

Within the Toronto market area, wagering on all available
products has increased by more than two per cent, to $545 million, with a month left in the year.

Average field size at Woodbine remained at 8.1 horses per race, unchanged from a year ago. Purses paid in 2002 totaled $89,691,130, up from $78,589,173 last year.

Patrick Husbands recorded his third Woodbine riding title, winning 167 races. He also took the 1999 and 2000 meets. He also led the colony in purse earnings with $9,222,378.

Mark Casse won his first Woodbine training title, saddling 69 winners. Roger Attfield was third in the standings with 55 wins, but topped all horsemen with $4,129,143 in purse earnings.

Stronach Stables interrupted Sam-Son Farm's five-year reign atop the Woodbine owner standings, collecting $3,638,926 in purse earnings during the 2002 meet. The stable also had the most wins at Woodbine, 58.