Woodbine Poles To Move

Published: April 16, 2009 06:40 pm EDT

The Woodbine Entertainment Group announced today that it is shifting the start/finish lines at Woodbine Racetrack for the last seven programs

of its current standardbred racing meet.

Beginning Friday, April 17, the start and finish points of the race will be situated 235 feet further down the stretch (west from its previous spot).

The change will result in the homestretch extending from 980 feet to 1,215 feet. The distance from the starting line to the first turn will be reduced by the same margin from 1,035 feet to 800 feet.

This trial is a result of the outcome of the seven-eighths-mile race experiment on Mondays in December, 2008.

"Our analysis of those races showed there was enough potential to move forward to this step," said Bruce Murray, WEG's vice president of Standardbred Racing. "The ultimate goal is to improve the flow of racing at Woodbine."

All races will remain at the standard one-mile distance.

WEG has received Ontario Racing Commission approval for the temporary change. "We consulted with the ORC about the change," Murray said. "The specific 235 foot distance of the move was dictated by where the end of the grandstand is situated and the location of the 'upper' and 'lower pan' race cameras."

WEG officials, with the backing of the ORC, will assess the results of this trial period and consider a permanent change to the poles in time for the return of harness racing this fall on October 8.

The final date of the Woodbine Spring meet is Monday, April 27. The first day of the Mohawk Summer meet is Thursday, April 30.




when they get to that level theres a lot of them that go are a lawn mower in 26
but most are not but the last strech should give them guys enoungh chance to squareup
and mow them down if there the best horse.

Jeff Cake

Monday night results.
the split was almost down the middle as the winners were coming from every where.
Up front or from 3rd over.
The average payoff was $9.50 ...not bad. 6 of 11 races were paying 7.50 and up.
There were some good longshots as well as a couple of very well meant winners.
A mix mash for every one.
I also noticed that as soon as they came out of the turn there were several lead changes. Sometimes as many as 4 before they hit the half. Some races there were no lead changes at all due to Trot Breakers.
So after 2 cards it seems changes are happening in drivers habits.
The drivers will figure this out as they have to make a living out of winning races and they cannot just lay back anymore.
It will be intersting to see the the results from fast tracks to sloppy and from cheap claimers to the FFA types how they are driven.
The defenition of insanity is doing nothing and expecting change.
At least WEG is trying to create interest.

John Thomas

For all those nays sayers...give it a rest. There are some adjustments to be made by the drivers. I agree with Dan, creating slower 1st 1/4's will increase 2nd and 3rd quarters plus some stirring finishes.
Give it time.
Let's see what happens on Monday night.
I enjoyed some of the racing on Saturday night. Don't get me wrong. I have been just as bored as you have. I actually watch harness on Monday nights in bed to help me sleep but I did notice some subtle changes. The commentators stated some horses seemed spent or even lost in the stretch. The new start/finish will also cause some horses to reclassify lower or higher as the racing changes.
The horses who have better stretch kicks will be driven a little more agressively to be put in position.
I was weened on harness back from the early 80's so I have seen it all.
I agree that I enjoyed the 5/8s better or the 1 mile.
The original thought of going to 7/8's was to put 10 on the gate and increase betting and revenue.
Personally I would like to see Mohawk expand to 1 mile. We obviously cannot do that at Woodbine due to the Thoroughbred tracks encasing the harness track.
Although it could be an idea to use the 1 mile Thorughbred track, scrape it for a winter meet and use it for harness in the same manner the BIG M does.
Mohawk could become 1 mile for the spring to fall.
There is some serious work to be done.
Pls do not open the pie hole and whine for the sake of nobody else listening.
Give it a chance and when the week is over give some constructive criticism.
Fines on driving habits are also a great way to change the choo choo train they call WEG harness racing.
For all those who just want to whine, well lets just say Kraft makes some pretty good products for you to sample.

John Thomas

When Woodbine has completed this 7 day FIASCO of an experiment with their start and finish lines, they will never consider it again. I just watch the 2nd race on saturday night April 18......the drivers followed the leader around the track like "Indians" thru successive 30 second and third quarters in a $28,000 condition race. Then the horse in the pocket pulled and backed thru the field. I hope the DROP in wagering handle will teach Woodbine a lesson. This current brand of racing is BORING!!!!!!
No one will get fined for not contesting this race.......at the Meadowlands, there would be horses forced to qualify or at least the judges would be busy on the phone. First they have this poor idea of 7/8's mile racing and now this!!! There is more activity at Georgian Downs during a race than here......SAD......only here do we build a 7/8 mile track.

Dave Bowness

I guess that's the problem Dan, when a customer complains they get shot down for doing so. The theory is great but it is just that a THEORY. I have no problem with Woodbine trying to improve the racing but increasing the sretch won't help, Start laying stiff fines and then you will see better racing!!!!

Shannon O'Rourke

Day 1 - Six of the first seven race winners are on top at the half ... three of the last four are won by favorites. Seven of 11 races are won by favorites ... and only one ($20.10) pays more than 9/2. Eight races pay less than $7.40. Should make the big bettors happy - but the bid to make for more movement? It IS only Day 1.

Whoever did the research that recommended moving to 7/8 mile ovals was wrong. Have ANY 7/8 mile tracks been built SINCE WEG switched both ovals from 5/8's?? The mile and 5/8 mile tracks encourage the most movement. Seems like sending good money after bad - trying make a wrong decision right?

But, there's always Day 2 ...

Ralph Sucee

Moving the poles should help tremendously! Well done WEG. The main reason why is because there should be slower first quarters now that more of the first quarter is a turn.

Before, if they went to the 1/4 in :26.0 and you were sitting third, why would you want to pull and move a horse who had just paced a 1/4 in :26.2 to get away 3rd? You wouldn't...you're looking for a bit of a breather. The driver on the front would take advantage of this and back of the pace...by the time someone would pull, the horse on top would accelerate again after getting a breather for 1/4 or 3/8 of a mile. The other reason not to move at the 1/4 on the old track was that it doesn't usually make sense to pull out going into a turn.

Now, after a slower first quarter, drivers will be able to pull (going into a straight-away) and challenge the leader in the second quarter. This should promote more movement in the middle half, especially if the driver on the front tries to back things off.

The other thing that will help closers is the longer home-stretch. Everyone knows that tipping three wide in the last turn at Woodbine is suicide. Now they're able to wait until the straight-away and still have almost a full quarter of a mile to race.

Time will tell, but I give WEG full marks for trying to be pro-active. Maybe people should stop complaining about everything and give credit to those who are making an effort!

They increased the the stretch lengths by 235 feet and the reason given by them was and I quote:

"The specific 235 foot distance of the move was dictated by where the end of the grandstand is situated and the location of the 'upper' and 'lower pan' race cameras."

Can somebody out there explain to me what the situation of the grand stand or the location of the upper and lower pan cameras has to do with the improvement of the flow of races. If the grandstand had been another 100 feet up would they have increased the stretch lengths by another 100 feet.

Lateef Siddiqui

The poles won't help, I stopped betting Woodbine as the racing is boring, the lead horse gets to the front at all costs and then backs the next two quarters down to a crawl just to have a great last quarter and very few drivers challenge them. That is not racing that is follow the leader, start fining these drivers and you will see a good race.

Shannon O'Rourke

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