Turf racing at Woodbine

Turf racing at Woodbine

Credit: Michael Burns

Records, Handle Growth for Woodbine in 2015

The Toronto racetrack reported an 11.3% rise in total handle.

Woodbine concluded its annual Thoroughbred meet with a 11.3% increase in all-sources handle, according to statistics released by the Woodbine Entertainment Group.

The 133-day meet produced an all-sources handle of $438,185,077, up from the $393,871,490 wagered for the same number of days in 2014.

"We are very pleased with our 2015 meet," said Sean Pinsonneault, chief operating officer for WEG. "There is plenty of competition for the wagering dollar, so to be able to continue to show gains and appeal to the customer base is really rewarding."

Woodbine recorded significant gains from the United States market and record handles on each of its three biggest days.

The Queen's Plate attracted a record $11.06 million in handle for the July 5 card compared with the previous mark of $9.7 million set in 2013.  The day also established a record handle for any day at Woodbine, except the 1996 Breeders' Cup, which had an all sources handle of $42.5 million.

Ricoh Woodbine Mile day, on Sept. 3, recorded a handle of $7.187 million, edging the 2014 mark of $7.004 million, while the Pattison Canadian International program, on Oct. 18, had a handle of $6.47 million, eclipsing 2011 mark of $6.40 million.

The final day of the 2015 meet Nov. 29, a Sunday, also established a mark for a Woodbine finale card, with $6.5 million wagered, surpassing the 2014 record of $5.4 million.

Purses paid out in 2015 totalled $72.9 million, while field size dropped to 8.1 horses per race in 2015, down from 8.4 horses per race in 2014.

Woodbine is in the middle of replacing its eight-year Polytrack synthetic surface a Tapeta synthetic. If weather cooperates, the new surface should be installed in about a week. Also new to next year's meet will be the introduction of European-style races that are run clockwise around the E.P. Taylor turf course. The track plans on carding one clockwise race, primarily turf sprints, each Saturday from May 24 through November.

Adding clockwise racing brings an exciting dimension to our racing program and we expect to be a thrill for our fans," said Pinsonneault.