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Woodbine Racetrack

From Academic Kids

Woodbine Racetrack in northwest Toronto, Ontario is the only horseracing track in North America which stages, or is capable of staging, thoroughbred and standardbred horseracing programs on the same day. It is owned by Woodbine Entertainment Group, formerly the Ontario Jockey Club.

The track was opened in 1956. It has been extensively remodelled since 1993, and in 2004 has three racecourses:

  • The outermost, the E. P. Taylor turf course for thoroughbreds, is one and a half miles (2414 m) long with a chute allowing races of a mile and an eighth (1811 m) to be run around one turn. It is irregularly shaped, the clubhouse turn departing from the traditional North American oval, and the backstretch is from 2 ft 6 in to 3 ft (80 cm to 90 cm) higher than the homestretch. The Taylor turf course and the main dirt course at Belmont Park on New York's Long Island are the only mile-and-a-half layouts in Thoroughbred racing.
  • Inside the Taylor course is the main dirt course for thoroughbreds, an oval one mile in circumference with chutes facilitating races at seven furlongs (1408 m) and at a mile and a quarter (2011 m).
  • Inside the dirt course is an oval standardbred racecourse seven-eighths (1408 m) of a mile in circumference, made of crushed limestone

History

The current Woodbine carries the name originally used by a racetrack which operated in east Toronto, at Queen Street East and Kingston Road, from 1874 through 1993. On June 12, 1956 the name was transferred to the new racetrack; the old track was converted to a combined thoroughbred and standardbred track known thereafter as Old Woodbine or, for most of the rest of its history, as Greenwood Raceway (during standardbred meets) and Greenwood Race Track (during thoroughbred meets). The two thoroughbred and two standardbred meets conducted there were transferred to the new Woodbine in 1994; it had been exclusively devoted to thoroughbred racing before then.

The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship was held at Woodbine in 1996.

Races

Important races run at Woodbine include:

  • the Queen's Plate, a grade 1-C stakes for three-year-old Canadian-bred thoroughbreds, first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown
  • the Breeders' Stakes, a grade 1-C stakes for three-year-old Canadian-bred thoroughbreds, third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown
  • the ATTO Mile, a grade I thoroughbred turf stakes
  • the Canadian International, a grade 1 thoroughbred turf stakes
  • the North America Cup, an open stakes for three-year-old pacers; it has the largest purse ($1.5 million Cdn.) of any race at Woodbine
  • the Canadian Pacing Derby, despite its name, an open stakes for aged (four years old and older) pacers; a derby is usually restricted to three-year-olds
  • the Metro Stakes, an open event for two-year-old pacers

The ground floor of the stands houses a slot machine parlour. Some of the income from the slot machines is used to increase the horserace purses.

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