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Comments On Woodbine's U.S. "Invasion"

Published: April 5, 2010 9:51 am ET

Last Comment: April 5, 2010 8:09 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

"It's kind of a catch-22. If you want to be one of the best tracks in North America, you are going to attract the best horsemen in North America and you will be running against North American type fields."

Those comments in this weekend's Toronto Star come from thoroughbred trainer Ian Black, conditioner for Woodbine Entertainment chairman David Willmot, on the growing number of American trainers coming North as Woodbine kicks off its thoroughbred meet.

As reported in The Star, the reaction from the Canadian contingent is mixed on Woodbine's growing popularity on the thoroughbred side, stating that Woodbine's international profile is "now higher than ever."

"Positively it's harder to win right now," said trainer Reade Baker. `"Especially at this time of year, we can`t work horses a few times in the spring here and beat a horse that has been racing all winter."

On the other hand, Bill Diamant, the vice-president of the Ontario division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, is pleased to see the trainer influx.

"Based on last year, they didn't put a real dent in the standings, it's really more about the horse than the invasion."

Handle for the opening weekend was over $6.1 million, bolstered by more than $2.4 million wagered on the Sunday afternoon card.

April 5, 2010 - 8:09 pmDont worry whether or not it

Dont worry whether or not it is the Quebec horseman in the standardbred business or the Americans in the Thouroughbred and standardbred business this problem will exist as long as we allow the racetracks to write the condition sheets and allocate the purse account.
I am convinced that in the next twenty years racetracks will offer the Ontario government to buy out their obligation to card races due to the lack of interest in horse racing and one of their points will be the lack of puse money that goes to Ontario residents. If you dont believe me look up the Iowa greyhound arricle that was highlighted on this website over one month ago. Horseman beware!

April 5, 2010 - 10:29 amAll that is happening is

Maury Ezra SAID...

All that is happening is that Americans are coming in an taking slot subsidized purses that would be better off going to domestic stables. Handle is pathetic despite the purses (relative to A and B tracks in the USA), so who is Woodbine helping with the current purse structure?: there is a lot less risk bringing in a superior US bred than buying a Canadian yearling and hoping to have a runner that can compete in Ontario special allowance races. In fact, there used to be incentive to claim an Ontario bred but that was taken away. Might as well claim a US bred, no difference, except for possible better quality in the American bred.
Woodbine needs to drop that rule that penalizes an Ontario bred who is claimed from getting full purses, and they should have Ontario bred claiming races as well, so that buyers of Ontario breds have more outs to potentially break even or make money.
And get rid of B allowance races. Every horse has a price, and if they can't compete in A allowance races, let them run for a tag. These races are great for American bred horses too, and they need to go. Plus they usually attract small fields.
I could see that if handle was jumping up by attracting US outfits, but in reality it isn't, and last year, the fact that Woodbine got hooked up with TVG and got into the US DRF, were the main reasons handle increased, not because US outfits were present here.

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