April 14, 2024
Horse Racing

Woodbine Racetrack: The Legendary Home of The Queen’s Plate

Woodbine Racetrack

Woodbine Racetrack is a famous racetrack that is renowned for thoroughbred horse racing. It is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Woodbine Racetrack is owned by the Woodbine Entertainment  Group and it holds the most popular horse race in Canada, The Queen’s Plate. The track was opened in 1956 with a one-mile oval earth track and a seven-eights turf course. It has been widely rebuilt since 1993, and since 1994 has had three racecourses. Let’s find out more about this popular racetrack.

Woodbine Racetrack: All You Need to Know 

Woodbine Racetrack: A Brief History

The current Woodbine conveys the name initially utilized by a circuit which worked in east Toronto, at Queen Street East and Kingston Road, from 1874 through 1993. (While the Old Woodbine Race Course was at the south finish of Woodbine Avenue, the current Woodbine is not even close to it.) In 1951, it was worked by the Ontario Jockey Club (OJC) and held the lofty King’s Plate. It had to compete with a few different circuits in Ontario and needed modernization.

During the 1950s, the OJC, under the authority of Canadian industrialist and horse breeder E. P. Taylor started a program of circuit acquisitions that pointed toward turning into the greatest and most beneficial administrator in Ontario horse racing, like Taylor’s previous acquisitions and unions in the Canadian alcohol brewing industry. In 1952, the OJC bought and shut the cash losing Thorncliffe Park, bought and shut the Hamilton Racetrack, and bought the Fort Erie Racetrack for CA$780,000. Renovations started promptly at Fort Erie and at Woodbine, financed by a public contribution of stock for CA$2 million. In 1953, the OJC purchased Stamford Park in Belleville. It was shut and redeveloped. In 1955, Taylor himself bought the contending Orpen-possessed Dufferin Park Racetrack and Long Branch Racetracks for CA$4 million ($37.8 million of every 2018 dollars). The Orpen tracks were shut and redeveloped and the Orpen race sanctions moved to the OJC. The OJC proceeded with the Canadian International and Cup and Saucer stakes races that had been held at the Orpen tracks. The racing sanctions obtained from different tracks empowered the OJC to run a staggering 196 days of horse racing, which was more than twice of the 84 days it was allowed in 1952.

The entirety of the endeavors at course acquisitions and terminations were intended to help develop another “supertrack”. In 1952, the OJC recognized the new area of the circuit at Highway 27 east of the Toronto air terminal and purchased more than 400 sections of land (160 hectares). The designer picked was Earle C. Morgan. In spite of the fact that Morgan had not planned a circuit, he went through the following two years building up the plan related to Arthur Froelich who had planned Hollywood Park Racetrack and Garden State Park Racetrack in the United States. The new track was intended to hold 40,000 observers, have sufficient stopping, three race courses and two preparing tracks. It had stable space for 1,000 thoroughbreds and spaces for 700 representatives. The grandstand of the track was meant to get the maximum number of viewers near the finish line. It had a few fancy eateries as well. Construction on the new supertrack started in 1955. 

The new circuit opened on June 12, 1956. It was constructed at an expense of CA$13 million ($121 million in today’s money). It was at first known as the New Woodbine Racetrack. It dropped the “New” in 1963. The old track was changed over to a joined thoroughbred and standardbred track referred to from there on as Old Woodbine or, for the majority of the remainder of its set of experiences, as Greenwood Raceway (during standardbred meets) and Greenwood Race Track (during thoroughbred meets). The two thoroughbred and two standardbred meets directed at Greenwood were moved to the new Woodbine in 1994, which was up to that point solely dedicated towards the racing of thoroughbreds. On June 30, 1959 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh went to the 100th running of the Queen’s Plate, and Queen Elizabeth II again on July 4, 2010 during a piece of her state visit to Canada, went to the 151st running of The Queen’s Plate Stakes. She also handed out trophies to the winners during the presentation ceremony.

The track was the initial setting for the 1976 Summer Paralympics and a portion of the games were held here. The Breeders’ Cup was held at Woodbine in 1996. The Arlington Million was held at Woodbine in 1988. The Woodbine office is likewise home to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. In 2018, the track started utilizing a GPS-based planning framework. 

Woodbine Racetrack: Technical Specifications

The peripheral E. P. Taylor turf course for thoroughbreds, finished in 1994, is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long with a chute permitting races of 1.125 miles (1.811 km) to be gone around one turn. It features an irregular shape, the clubhouse diverts leaving from the conventional North American oval, and the backstretch is from 2.5 feet (76 cm) to 3 feet (91 cm) higher than the homestretch. The Taylor turf course and the main dirt course at Belmont Park on New York’s Long Island are the lone mile-and-a-half formats in North American thoroughbred competition. In 2016, Woodbine racetrack ended up hosting 40 turf races running clockwise (right-hand turns). These races were billed as the “EuroTurf” races.

Inside the Taylor course is the 1 mile (1.6 km) engineered course for Thoroughbreds. Since April 9, 2016, the surface has been Tapeta; it was Polytrack from August 31, 2006 through 2015, and a characteristic soil surface before that. Two chutes work with races at seven furlongs [.875 miles (1.408 km)] and at 1.25 miles (2.01 km).

The deepest oval was initially a 7/8-mile [.875 miles (1.408 km)] grass oval until the E. P. Taylor turf course opened in 1994. It was then changed over to a squashed limestone dirt course and was utilized for harness racing until April 2018. It was then changed over back to a second turf course for the 2019 season of intense thoroughbred racing. The primary race on the new Inner Turf was run on June 28, 2019 and was won by Bold Rally with Eurico Rosa da Silva aboard.

Parts of the current E. P. Taylor turf course (the backstretch and far turn) initially framed a piece of a long turf chute that got over the dirt course to the internal turf oval at the highest point of the stretch. This was utilized for a few significant races, such as Secretariat’s last race for the 1973 Canadian International, until the whole E. P. Taylor course was finished in 1994. 

Woodbine Race Track Facts and Figures

Main Track         

• Main Track: Oval

• Track Material: Dirt

• Track Length: 1 mile with a 7 furlong and 1 1/4 mile chutes

• Track Width:    85 feet

• Homestretch Length: 975 feet

• Banking on Turns: 6%

• Track Seating Capacity: 12,000

E.P. Taylor Turf Course         

• Track Shape: Other

• Track Material: Turf (Kentucky Bluegrass)

• Track Length: 1-1/2 miles with a 1 1/8 mile chute

• Homestretch Width:    100 feet

• Backstretch Width: 120 feet

• Homestretch Length: 1,440 feet

• Banking on Turns: 4%

Harness Track         

• Track Shape: Oval

• Track Length: Seven Furlongs

• Homestretch Width: 85 feet

• Homestretch Length: 976 Feet

• Speed Rating: v1:563

• Standing Start Positions: 10


Casino Woodbine contains 100+ table games, 3,500+ gaming machines, 220+ electronic table games, and 100+ vendor help arena gaming. Table games incorporate blackjack, roulette and baccarat. It is open 24 hours per day, comes with the facility of valet parking, and also provides a free shuttle bus from the Toronto Pearson International Airport or from the nearby hotels. 

Woodbine Racetrack: Horse racing

Standardbred races

Woodbine has been a standard host for the Breeders Crown. Since the occasion changed to a one-night design in 2010, the office has facilitated multiple times—2011, 2012, and 2015. 

Woodbine was additionally the host of the CA$1,500,000 North America Cup for three-year old pacing colts and geldings from 1994–2006. That race alongside the Elegant Image Stakes for three-year-old filly trotters and the Good Times Stakes for three-year-old foal and gelding trotters, have been moved to Woodbine’s sister track, Woodbine Mohawk Park. 

Beginning in 2018, all standardbred racing has been moved to Woodbine Mohawk, as the 7/8 standardbred track is being changed over into a second turf course.

So that was our brief look at Toronto’s legendary Woodbine Racetrack. The legendary horse racing venue has been hit hard by the lockdowns though. Let’s hope it bounces back well as things start going back to normal.

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