TORONTO – December 18, 2019 – Woodbine Entertainment announced today that the 2019 Thoroughbred meet produced an all-sources handle of $516,189,880.80 which is the second largest handle in its history and the third straight year it has exceeded half a billion dollars.
The 131-date (two cancellations) meet included 1,212 races, 45 fewer than last year, which contributed to the all-sources handle being down 3.2 per cent compared to 2018. Average field size per race was also a contributing factor which was 8.2 in 2019 compared to 8.3 last year.
International wagering on Woodbine Thoroughbred racing continues to be strong, generating a handle of $402,370,379.28.
Home Market Area wagering, defined as all wagering in Ontario on live Woodbine Entertainment Thoroughbred racing, was $92,472,151.36.
Average handle per race in 2019 was $425,898.86, compared to $424,239.38 in 2018, a slight increase of 0.4 per cent.
Woodbine’s handle during the test period (October 18 to December 15) for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) rule that limits urging in Thoroughbred racing to underhand use of the crop only was not negatively impacted. In fact, average handle per race during the test period increased.
Other highlights of the 2019 Thoroughbred meet include The Queen’s Plate which generated a record handle of $18,005,973.60, up 23 per cent compared to the 2018 edition.
Woodbine also opened its new inner turf course earlier this year, which combined with the world-famous E.P. Taylor course, to run a record 363 turf races with a total handle of $153,726,252.63. Average field size for turf races was 8.5.
“It was an extremely busy year for Thoroughbred racing at Woodbine and we are very proud of our accomplishments,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. “However, we are experiencing challenges in horse supply and home market area wagering. We look forward to continuing our collaborative approach in working with our stakeholders to focus on addressing those challenges and growing horse racing for a sustainable future for decades to come.”