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Woodbine TB Meet Concluded Sunday

Published: November 22, 2020 3:27 pm ET

Last Comment: November 22, 2020 8:32 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

As a result of the Government of Ontario’s announcement on Friday (Nov. 20) that Toronto will be entering the Province’s grey ‘Lockdown’ phase of coronavirus-related restrictions, Woodbine Entertainment announced that Sunday (Nov. 22) was the last day in 2020 of Thoroughbred racing in the province.

“We have been, and continue to be, extremely supportive of the Government’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout our province and appreciate the many difficult decisions they have to make,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. “We have approached the Government to explain the impacts this decision will have on our business and the horse racing industry in Ontario. With a better understanding of our operations, and based on our safety record in operating live racing at our racetracks, we hope that the Government will consider these impacts in the future and assist us in managing the potentially devastating impact to horsepeople and animal welfare this early shutdown will cause.”

The cancelled race cards (12) at Woodbine Racetrack represented a significant opportunity for horsepeople to earn purse money that is critical for their livelihoods and the welfare of their horses as they enter the offseason for Thoroughbred racing in Ontario.

“Our organization’s sole mandate is to sustain the horse racing industry that supports the livelihoods of 20,000 families throughout the province,” mentioned Lawson. “Woodbine Entertainment is the engine of that industry, and this early shutdown further impacts our business.”

Woodbine Entertainment has approximately 1,300 employees either temporarily or permanently laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This shutdown of racing also negatively impacts the approximately 2,000 horsepeople on the Woodbine backstretch, putting many of them out of work.

The recent ‘Lockdown’ restrictions prohibit live racing although do allow for training to continue, however it is expected that training will be wound down this week.

“Since we started racing at Woodbine and Mohawk Park in early June, we have demonstrated that racing without spectators poses no greater health risk to participants than training,” said Lawson. “We have been a leader in health and safety since the beginning of the pandemic, and we are extremely proud of our record and the cooperation of our racing participants in maintaining safe racing environments.”

Woodbine Entertainment will provide further updates on Monday (Nov. 23) regarding the closure of the season at Woodbine Racetrack.

(Woodbine Entertainment)

November 22, 2020 - 8:32 pmTo add insult to injury

Dave Aziz SAID...

To add insult to injury today's "last" card was cancelled after the sixth race, due to weather, and last Sunday's 12 races were cancelled also due to weather.

On the bright side from our point of view, The 2020 mutuel handle will catch up and pass the full year total from 2019 at around 480 Mill. The average per race will hold (I predict) above $50,000 per race -- FIRST time ever!!

November 22, 2020 - 6:00 pmBecause of the negligence of

Diane Lord SAID...

Because of the negligence of some, everybody has to pay. Racing was doing very well without fans attending. Safety measures were in place for the horse people, that were following the safety health rules.

The lockdown that was implemented by the Ontario government is way too extreme. Those that break the rules, should be heavily fined. This lockdown will not make any difference, except putting people out of work.

With all the covid-19 cases in the states, especially in New York, the horse racing industry is still operating on a daily basis.

Thoroughbred racing should continue, if not in the Toronto area, then, have them race in another venue in Ontario, or in another Province.

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