TORONTO, March 3, 2020 – Woodbine Entertainment is pleased to announce purse increases for its overnight and Ontario bonus programs effective for this year’s Thoroughbred season which begins on Saturday, April 18.
The 2020 Woodbine meet features 133 race dates, 87 stakes and total purses of $61 million highlighted by three $1 million races including The Queen’s Plate (Saturday, June 27), Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Saturday, Sept. 19) and Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International (Sunday, Oct. 18).
“Woodbine is committed to attracting and retaining top quality horses in support of a strong racing program,” said Jessica Buckley, Senior Vice President of Thoroughbred and Standardbred Racing for Woodbine Entertainment. “We are pleased to offer enhanced overnight purses for some conditions as well as significant bonus increases for the Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred programs that will benefit the local horse racing industry.”
The overnight increases, as much as 7.7 per cent on base purses, apply to maiden allowance races and select maiden optional claiming races. Woodbine's overnight purses will average approximately $450,000 per race date for 2020.
Ontario remains the leader in the provincial/state Sired and Bred programs across North America with bonuses eclipsing 33 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively, without a cap, and multiple opportunities for restricted Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred stakes with purses of $100,000 and up. Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred bonuses are paid out to the top five finishers in a race.
“The changes and investments we have made in our overnight purse program combined with our stakes program for Ontario bred and sired horses means it pays to breed and race in this province,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. “Overall, the strength of our purses and racing program, combined with the safety record of our Tapeta and two turf courses and world-class training facilities, makes Woodbine a top Thoroughbred racing destination in North America. We are excited to open the season in the coming weeks and look forward to working alongside horsepeople for another year of racing at Woodbine Racetrack.”
- Maiden Allowance races for two-year-olds will run for an all-in purse of nearly $127,000, including both Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred bonuses. The Ontario Sired bonuses will increase from 30 per cent to 33 per cent while Ontario Bred bonuses climb from 20 per cent to 43 per cent.
- Maiden Allowance races for three-year-olds and up will run for an all-in purse of $123,000, including both Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred bonuses. The Ontario Sired bonuses will increase from 30 to 33 per cent while Ontario Bred bonuses climb from 20 to 43 per cent.
- Total purses for the Maiden Optional Claiming $40,000 or Maiden Ontario Sired Allowance condition will be more than $64,000, including both Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred bonuses. The Ontario Sired bonuses will increase from 20 to 33 per cent while Ontario Bred bonuses remain at 20 per cent. New for 2020, the option will be available for horses to run in this condition with or without the claiming tag, and still be eligible for the Ontario Sired bonus of 33 per cent.
- Woodbine is offering a new Maiden Optional Claiming $25,000 or Maiden Ontario Sired Allowance condition with a total purse of $48,000, including bonuses. Horses will be eligible to run protected if they have raced in the Maiden Optional Claiming $40,000 or Maiden Ontario Sired Allowance condition and had three consecutive starts finishing out of the money (sixth through last) in 2019 or 2020.
- Woodbine has increased the Ontario Sired bonus from 20 to 22 per cent on every other condition.
The first condition book is now available under the ‘Horsepeople’ section on Woodbine.com.
The 133-day meet will begin with live racing on Saturday and Sunday afternoons (1 p.m. post time) for the first two weeks, with Friday afternoons (2 p.m. post time) added in May. The racing schedule will expand to four days a week in mid-May with the addition of Wednesday nights (6:45 p.m. post time) or afternoon racing on holiday Mondays (1 p.m. post time) including Victoria Day, Civic Holiday, Labour Day and Thanksgiving. The post times will remain in effect through the end of the meet with the exception of Wednesday, July 1 when the special Canada Day program will begin 1:05 p.m.