Name: Woodbine Entertainment Group
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 156, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5L2
555 Rexdale Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5L2 (click for map)
Telephone: (416) 675-7223
Fax: Main Office: (416) 213-2129; Executive Offices: (416) 213-2126;
Media Relations Office: (416) 213-2122;
Racing Office: (416) 213-2128
Woodbine Entertainment Group, which owns and operates
Woodbine Racetrack and Mohawk Raceway in Ontario, Canada, is respected
throughout North America, Europe and the Far East as one of the most
innovative organizations in racing. As the successor to the Ontario Jockey
Club, Woodbine Entertainment Group inherited the history and tradition of
one of North America’s oldest and largest sports organizations, employing
close to 3,000 people in southern Ontario.
Woodbine became the focus of the racing world on Saturday, October 26, 1996.
For the first time, the Breeders’ Cup was held outside of the U.S. and never
looked better. A record 42,243 racing fans, a worldwide NBC television
audience and a North American-record 875 simulcast and off-track betting
locations witnessed the beauty of Canada’s most famous racetrack. Total
wagering on the seven Breeders’ Cup races was $67,738,890.
Woodbine is home to The Queen’s Plate, the Pattison Canadian International
and the Ricoh Woodbine Mile. Inaugurated in 1860, the Queen’s Plate is North
America’s oldest continuously run stakes race. The Queen’s Plate is the only
race in North America which enjoys the approval and a prize from Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to those premier stakes events, Woodbine
hosts the Breeders’ Stakes, the third and final gem in Canada’s Triple Crown
of Racing. Stronach Stables' Shaman Ghost edged Danish Dynaformer in the
156th edition of the 1¼-mile Queen's Plate in July.
The original Woodbine opened in 1874 on the then far-eastern outskirts of
Toronto, which is now virtually downtown. The name of the original track was
changed to Old Woodbine in 1956 and became Greenwood in the spring of 1963.
Live racing ceased at Greenwood in 1993.
The present Woodbine has undergone several multi-million dollar expansions
and upgrades, including a 56,000 square foot gaming area which accommodates
nearly 3,000 slot machines. An 18,000 square foot addition to the gaming
area was opened in May 2011. The track is situated on 700 acres on the
outskirts of Toronto, just minutes from Lester B. Pearson International
Airport and the “airport strip” of modern hotels.
Secretariat, who raced for the last time at Woodbine in the Canadian
International, started a parade of Eclipse champions who have performed on
the grass here. French champion Dahlia, Snow Knight, who raced in the colors
of Edward P. Taylor’s Windfields Farm, Youth, Mac Diarmida, Singspiel, Chief
Bearhart, and Leroidesanimaux parlayed Woodbine victories into Eclipse
Awards as turf champion. All Along, the first winner of the Prix de l’Arc de
Triomphe to race at Woodbine, did even better in Eclipse Award voting and
also won Horse of the Year. In 2012 and 2013, Wise Dan was the stunning
back-to-back winner of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile en route to consecutive
multiple Eclipse Award titles including Horse of the Year.
The Ontario Jockey Club was licensed on May 5, 1881, to
“revive racing in Toronto under respectable auspices and make a success of
it.” The OJC recognized the need for, and helped develop, the technology for
a pari-mutuel system which is now in use at every major pari-mutuel track.
The OJC also introduced simulcast wagering in North America in 1980, when
live Thoroughbred racing from Fort Erie was beamed back to Woodbine, where
fans watched the races on closed circuit. This led to an off-track betting
system that evolved from one teletheatre named Champions in 1993 to the
current 28 locations and a state-of-the-art, theater-style teletheatre at
the former Greenwood Racetrack location.
In 1994, Woodbine became the “Racetrack of the Future,” when OJC implemented
bold new plans to make Woodbine a track for all seasons for Thoroughbred and
harness horses. Woodbine’s 7-furlong inner turf course was converted to a
7/8-mile harness racing surface and the 1‑mile dirt track was completely
rebuilt, ensuring one of the safest surfaces in all of racing. Woodbine
serves as the only racetrack in North America to conduct races for both
breeds on the same day. In addition, the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, the only
complete 1½-mile grass surface in North America situated immediately in
front of the grandstand, was unveiled in September of that year.
In early 2004, Woodbine announced the launch of HPIBET.com, the first web
site in Canada to legally offer internet wagering to its fans. In late 2004,
Woodbine opened the WEGZ Stadium Bar in Vaughan, north of Toronto. The
facility holds 800 guests and offers a cutting-edge viewing and sound
In place for the start of the 2016 season, Tapeta was installed as
Woodbine's main racing strip replacing Polytrack.
Officers: Jim Lawson, CEO; Sean Pinsonneault,
Executive Vice President, Strategy & Wagering; Jamie Martin, Executive Vice
President, Racing; Bill Ford, Vice President & General Counsel; Joe Aschaiek,
Senior Vice President, Finance; Tania Caza, Senior Vice President, Human
Resources; Garth Essery, Vice President, Property Development; Paul Lawson,
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Director, Racing: Steven Lym
Director, Media Relations: John Siscos
Simulcast Contact: Klaus Ebner, (416) 675-3993, ext. 2422; Fax: (416)
Owner Relations Contact: Julie Bell, (416) 675-3993 ext. 2440
Track Photographer: Michael Burns, (416) 679-9889
Track Announcer: Robert Geller
Caterer: Woodbine Entertainment Group
Location: Highway 27 and Rexdale Boulevard, in Etobicoke (northwest
Nearest Airport: Lester B. Pearson International, 3 kilometers from
Track Data: 1-mile Tapeta with two chutes, ¼ mile and 7/8
mile, 85' wide; homestretch 975'; 1½-mile turf track (sand base);
homestretch 1,440', 100' wide; 7/8-mile
trap rock harness track, 85' wide; 1-mile training track, sandy loam, 80'
wide; 7-furlong turf training track, clay base, 85' wide; ¼-mile sand ring,
Seating Capacity: Grandstand, 11,700; Champions, 450; Dining, 1,200
Minimum Age Admitted: Children under 18 admitted if accompanied by adult
Admission Prices: Free; Champions, free; Finish Line, $5
Parking Facilities: 14,700 cars; parking free; valet, $12