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Report: $1.3 Million (Est.) For Woodbine Alterations

Woodbine Racetrack (From Roof).jpg

Published: December 12, 2008 10:13 am ET

Last Comment: December 18, 2008 9:06 pm ET | 24 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

According to a report in the Toronto Star, moving the poles, finish line, photo finish and altering the press box at Woodbine Racetrack would cost $1.3 million.

"…Woodbine might spend the estimated $1.3 million required to relocate the finish line, set up photo-finish cameras, realign lights and build a new perch for the three blind mice, a.k.a. the judges," Dave Perkins wrote.

Woodbine has been hosting seven-eighths mile races on its Monday cards throughout the month of December. In a Trot Insider exclusive, Jamie Martin, Woodbine Entertainment Group's senior vice president, Racing, said that the shortened races have been carded to gather sufficient data, which will then be analyzed as to whether WEG should go forward with making the costly changes.

Many SC readers voiced their opinions on the seven-eighths racing when Trot Insider contacted a handful of WEG regular drivers for their opinions on the shortened racing.

"The Woodbine track tends to promote single-file racing, with a heavy emphasis on early speed, and gamblers don't particularly like it," Perkins wrote. "Moving the finish line west, which means moving the starting point west the commensurate distance, might make racing generally more attractive to bettors and that, after all, is the name of the game."

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

(With files from the Toronto Star)

December 18, 2008 - 9:06 pmFine the drivers for

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Fine the drivers for blantantly giving holes in the first quarter. It's ridiculous, gentlemen racing. If a driver wants to leave from an outside post to try and get spotted but there was no hole, then they would have to hustle to the front and make more competitive racing. As it is now, only "outsider" drivers don't find any holes appear for them, regulars almost always have a hole given to them.

Between the miracle holes that appear early, and then the "pull half out" move down the backstretch which jams up the whole outside flow destroys the competitive racing and takes the backfield out of contention.

December 18, 2008 - 5:45 pmThe solution is simple as I

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

The solution is simple as I see it. Since you can't expand it, shrink it back to 5/8ths. Let's face it, harness racing was meant to be on a 5/8ths mile track. Apart from the Meadowlands where the racing is great and which really is the exception to the rule, look at all the other tracks taht are either 7/8ths or a mile. Balmoral-BORING. Cal Expo-Boring. Lexington-Boring. Now look at all the 5/8s or 1/2 mile tracks like Freehold, Vernon Downs, the Meadows, Chester, Geeorgian Downs, Kawartha, not to mention he old Greenwood Raceway. These tracks offer some of the most exciting racing around and there is always flow because the drivers cannot sit and get too comfortable. They need o move or they get nothing. Unlike Woodbine or Mohawk there is often a blanket finish at these tracks. The reason being becasue whether they like it or not drivers need to be on the move or they'll get boxed in. Unlike the big tracks where they all wait until the last quarter to move. Personally I miss the old Greenwood track. It was the perfect size and it was easy to get up close and see the horses. While shrinking Woodbine will not solve the problem of seeing the horses and drivers up close it will go a long way to fixing the flow problem and it should be relativley easy to implement because you need less room not more. They can do the same at Mohawk and I guarantee you the racing will be great. And at Mohawk you can even get up close to the horses and drivers. It's a win win solution all around.

December 18, 2008 - 1:00 pmThe 7/8 races on Monday were

Ned (not verified) SAID...

The 7/8 races on Monday were attrocious.

Most serious bettors like myself want the most competetive race as possible and as much information as possible.

I agree the Woodbine should move the finishing line giving a longer stretch . This will effectively give better horses who are slow halved or boxed in a better chance to win.

For Harness, Woodbine needs to do abetter job of showing serious bettors the horses. They do the best job in the World of showing the thoroughbreds. Their showing of proper post parades has collapsed. We need to see the horses gate from a perfect side view. Not much you can rely on a head shot. Woodbine should be innovative and have a continual picture of the stretch/wire view of horses warming up. They could do this picture in picture on their telecast. I and evry other serious bettor wants tothe see the harness horse while warming up. It doesn't matter to the better whether they are running at Mohawk or Woodbine. Give us a world-slass telecast.

December 15, 2008 - 2:09 pmNeed a cost-analysis of

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Need a cost-analysis of which is better: resurfacing (and REMOVING the hub rail) or moving the start/finish. A lot of long-time avid gamblers have always advocated that moving the start/finish is all that would be required to change the flow of the racing -- where are these guys now? (And yes, obviously 1m 70yds or 1 1/16 would be ideal but then we're back to the problems of track records and pedigree records).
I personally give WEG a big thumbs-up though for looking at ways to address what is an obvious problem and I know that this possible solution has been put to them many times.
Permanent year-round racing at Mohawk? Unfortunately just not a great idea: "out of sight, out of mind" and within a couple of years you can forget the small piece of the big-city spotlight we DO have.

December 14, 2008 - 3:39 pmHere in scotland we could

Hughie JNR (not verified) SAID...

Here in scotland we could build a whole track and stand for that amount of money.

December 13, 2008 - 5:13 pmMaybe if the judges would

redwing (not verified) SAID...

Maybe if the judges would fine the drivers for slow second quarters, like they do at other tracks, the horses would not be in single file to the top of the stretch, and there would be more action.

December 13, 2008 - 11:14 amA half mile track is the

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

A half mile track is the answer to get fans to the races. Also, drivers would have to think during the race. Mile tracks and agressive non thinking drivers have sent the fans to other types of entertainment.

December 13, 2008 - 9:42 amI agree, not one person I

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I agree, not one person I know likes going to Woodbine. Most of the Woodbine/Mohawk caliber horses are stabled on or closer to Mohawk anyway. Having Woodbine racing during the winter meet is crazy anyway......the road conditions are extremely dangerous most nights, especially on that stretch of highway. Do a poll like suggested earlier.

December 13, 2008 - 12:49 amThey should change it back

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

They should change it back to the way it was because it was better and easier on the horses.

December 12, 2008 - 5:42 pmIt would be the best idea

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

It would be the best idea but even now there is a bridge over ther track so even though they wont use it until April, if the weather suits them that is, we can't set foot on there track..narrow passage and steep to get to our track..The new paddock was built for them anyway!!! Can't put a bike behind a large horse..Who are we kidding!!!Leave us at MOHAWK !!!

December 12, 2008 - 2:42 pmthey need to figure out a

wm gemmill (not verified) SAID...

they need to figure out a way to get the standardbreds on the main track, then you'll see a proper show, with good flow in the races. The setup now forces fans to watch the monitors to see the races; that or use binoculars.

December 12, 2008 - 1:49 pmWhy is it that you're right

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Why is it that you're right into the first turn at Mohawk and horses come from off the pace but they can't do the same at Woodbine? Is is about the finish line? or something to do with the way the track is configured.

People who draw outside at Mohawk are not always hampered by the bad post even though it seems you are right into the first turn there leaving as well. Any answers?

December 12, 2008 - 1:35 pmUnfortunately, they are not

VHR (not verified) SAID...

Unfortunately, they are not likely to bail on Woodbine anytime soon. Far to many potential dollars to be had there. Shame really as it has to be THE worst place to watch a race from. I'd rather go to the Markham fair than Woodbine. Now Mohawk would be the place but there isn't the big draw for $ that Toronto has. Guess what it really comes down to is, location, location, location. So we are stuck with Woodbine, that's a fact. Best be trying to do what they can to fix it. If that involves moving the start/finish lines, then so be it.

A mile and 70 yards or 1 1/16th mile races might be the answer to the back-end having no shot these days. That might apply across the board as today's horse is able to carry his speed much longer than when the 1 mile standard was first adopted. Food for thought.


December 12, 2008 - 12:49 pmStart enforcing the rules,

Norm (not verified) SAID...

Start enforcing the rules, and issue fines that will matter.
Slow quarters, needlessly opening up a hole, need;essly allowing horses to pass up the inside!
The reality is..There isnt that much different in the "outter flow" @ Mohawk than there is at Woodbine..The tracks arent the problem, its the driving and lack of enforcement of the rules when it comes to WEG regulars the the tracks configuration.

December 12, 2008 - 12:47 pmIN THE TWENTY FOUR 7/8 RACES

DON J (not verified) SAID...



December 12, 2008 - 11:36 amI too read Perkin's article

John Nother--Brampton (not verified) SAID...

I too read Perkin's article and his last comment of how far away the horses are to the fans is right on the money. Yes indeed we are into Dot racing and not very exciting. I would suggest changing the Woodbine harness meet to co-incide with the start/completion of the Throughbreds thereby allowing the surface change of the Mile track.

December 12, 2008 - 11:35 amI am an owner who just drew

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I am an owner who just drew post 9 for a race on Monday the 15th. Needless to say I am very frustated, we have no shot of being competitive from out there. I usally go to the races when my horse is running and more often than not wager a couple of hundred dollars when I am there. WEG will not be getting my $200 donation this Monday thanks to this experiment, which in my opionion has already proven to be a bust.

December 12, 2008 - 11:30 amLeave the track alone. Fine

alan (not verified) SAID...

Leave the track alone. Fine the drivers for slow quarters, its simple.

December 12, 2008 - 11:05 amJust have the drivers race

tim towers (not verified) SAID...

Just have the drivers race their horses instead of sitting like pigeons
most of the race. That is what you get at the Big M- Racing !

December 12, 2008 - 10:59 amThe 17 million spent on that

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

The 17 million spent on that over the top paddock ,could have been put to better use.

December 12, 2008 - 10:53 amMohawk ... mile track ...

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Mohawk ... mile track ... there would be nothing better for the (Standardbred) industry in Canada.

December 12, 2008 - 10:46 amWhy can they change de

jean b (not verified) SAID...

Why can they change de surface of the mile track like they do at the MEADOWLANDS each time the trotters race. They won't have to move anything and the races would be near the public.

Jean B.

December 12, 2008 - 10:31 amThe real answer is to have

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

The real answer is to have standardbred racing at Mohawk all year. Horsemen and public would much prefer that idea. If you don't believe me just poll the public and people involved in the business.

December 12, 2008 - 10:27 amThat would be the best money

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

That would be the best money they spend.

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