Woodbine Entertainment Looking Forward to an Earlier Start
With Ontario on the threshold of allowing the recommencement of live harness racing, Woodbine Entertainment hopes to bring the date even closer.
With all live horse racing suspended since early April due to the rising rate of infections, horseracing fans are looking forward to the return of live harness racing in the province. The province has recently announced a new economic recovery plan, under which the Woodbine Mohawk Park will start its season on 14 June, while the Woodbine Racetrack will follow suit on 18 June.
Eyeing Earlier Launch Date
Woodbine Entertainment recently announced its new schedule of live harness races. However, the CEO of Woodbine Entertainment, Jim Lawson, announced in a recent interview that he would be engaging the local authorities about a possible earlier start of the season. He stated that he would be filing an official request since all the horses, trainers, and staff members are already at the tracks and are ready.
Lawson explained that horse people are disappointed since they are fully prepared for the start of live racing but are forced to wait another three weeks. Their dissatisfaction is even greater now that other outdoor sports like tennis and golf have been greenlighted to restart, while live harness races must still wait.
The CEO further added that he intends to have the horseracing industry receive the same treatment as other sporting bodies in the province, such as the AHL and the NHL. Lawson stated that the tracks would impose even stricter health and safety measures, such as testing of jockeys and their valets, and confirmed that 80 per cent of the Woodbine backstretch has already been vaccinated.
Continued Activities During Shutdown
Despite spending two months without any live horseracing events, Woodbine Mohawk Park was still partially operational. The venue was allowed to host training sessions from 6 May. Additionally, even stricter health and safety protocols were established to prevent the spread of the infection.
Last week, Woodbine Racetrack reminded all participants of its 15 May payment deadline for the annual summer two-year-old series. The event has been the staging ground for many future champions. This year’s edition is expected to feature promising participants like Whenuwishuponastar, The Dream Maker, Millard Farms, and Pure Ivory.