Woodbine Entertainment confirm addition of second turf course

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), a world-wide horse racing and innovation leader, has announced that it will add a second grass course at the Woodbine Racetrack in 2019. 

The second turf track will complement the existing and renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course, home to the Breeders’ Stakes, third jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, the Ricoh Woodbine Mile and the Pattison Canadian International.
Construction will begin in the spring of 2018 when the existing Standardbred racing track will be converted to a seven furlong turf course.
Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment, said:
This is an historic day for Thoroughbred racing at Woodbine. Enhancing our turf program with a second grass course, with its exciting additional racing possibilities and tremendous fan appeal, fits well with Woodbine Entertainment’s core mandate of achieving the highest quality of horse racing.
Earlier this month, Woodbine Entertainment announced plans to invest over US$10m in the company’s Campbellville racetrack, allowing Standardbred horses to compete at Mohawk year-round. Standardbred horses will race at Woodbine for the final time in April 2018, paving the way for a second grass course at the track and dedicated facilities for each breed.
Woodbine Entertainment will also undergo a corporate and racetrack rebrand to be rolled out over the next 18 months. Highlights of the rebrand include a modern logo, bold colours, eye-catching fonts and the tagline, “a new breed of experience.”
Both the Toronto and Campbellville racetracks will be known as Woodbine with the western GTA track retaining its history through the use of a location descriptor, Woodbine at Mohawk Park.
Lawson said:
The Woodbine brand stands for integrity and world-class racing product, for both thoroughbred and standardbred racing. Woodbine Entertainment’s future growth will come from international markets. Our powerful regional brand will seek to become a powerful global brand. This is why we will become one brand, to grow our racing product internationally.
The new branding, dedicated facilities, and second turf course support the company’s property development plans to develop the value of the lands at Woodbine Racetrack to create a sustainable future for horse racing in Ontario.
The catalyst for the development and increased investment in the facilities is the result of expanded gaming being conditionally approved by Toronto city council in 2015. The site’s current gaming operator, the OLG, secured a long-term lease with the racetrack and will announce a new private gaming partner later this summer as part of the OLG’s modernisation plan.
Woodbine Entertainment has developed a master plan to create a city within a city in northwest Toronto. The plan sets out a detailed roadmap that will create thousands of new local jobs in the community, introduce new fans to the sport of horse racing and be a transformative project for the City of Toronto in the years to come.
Images, courtesy: WEG/michael burns photography

Woodbine Entertainment announces US$10m investment in Mohawk Racetrack

Earlier this month, Woodbine Entertainment confirmed it will be making an investment of over US$10m for Mohawk Racetrack.

The venture is intended to upgrade the facility so to be exclusively dedicated to Standardbred horse racing and capable of offering the sport year round. Currently, Mohawk operates from April to October.


The investments will be phased in over the coming years and will include extensive renovations to winterise the facilities for fans and horsepeople.


Lawson said:

The future is very bright for Standardbred racing and entertainment on this site. With the long term gaming lease in place and with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) expected to name a new gaming service provider soon, it’s a very exciting time to be a racing fan and be involved in the sport. Standardbred horsepeople are a significant part of the fabric of this community and will soon be able to race 12 months of the year here.


Construction will begin in the autumn/fall of 2017 and is scheduled to be completed by spring 2018. Once concluded, Standardbred horses will compete exclusively in Milton after racing at Woodbine for the final time through the 2017-18 winter months.


The upgrades include winterisation of the grandstand, race paddock and maintenance facilities, new glass windows across the Terrace Dining Room, VIP suites and further customer amenities. Investment in the Milton track is not limited to the construction projects and plant upgrades.


Woodbine Entertainment also unveiled new corporate branding, including a new look and new name. The company will be unifying its racetracks under one brand, Woodbine. Two breeds, one brand. The new branding will be rolled out across all Woodbine Entertainment properties, beginning with the racetrack sites, throughout 2017 and 2018.  The Woodbine track will retain its name while Mohawk will become Woodbine at Mohawk Park, set to be implemented when harness racing returns to the site full time in May 2018.


Lawson said:

We look forward to welcoming fans to Woodbine at Mohawk Park for world–class harness racing and to experience the new entertainment uses that will become part of the many offerings at Mohawk Park. The fan experience is outstanding, with great sightlines and fan proximity to the racing action, but this investment will take it to an entirely new level.


The property will continue to contribute positively as an entertainment destination within the surrounding Milton community, while looking to expand and diversify its offerings. As such, Woodbine will be looking at other opportunities on the site to incorporate a mix of uses, complementary to horseracing and entertainment, on the idle lands. LiveWorkLearnPlay (LWLP), Woodbine’s lead real estate development partner, has completed a first phase Highest and Best Use Study, which set the vision, programming and development direction for the property.


Woodbine will be working with SWA Group, a leading landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm that has been engaged to create the master plan to guide the long-term vision for the site’s overall development across its 440 acres. SWA previously collaborated with Woodbine Entertainment on the recently completed master plan for the redevelopment of Woodbine Racetrack.


Lawson said:

We are committed to creating an environment that attracts top Standardbred equine athletes and community members from Milton and the surrounding areas. Woodbine Entertainment will continue to lead the way working toward sustainability for horse racing in the region for generations to come.

Sports Venue Business (SVB) will be bringing you an interview with Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment in the near future, so watch this space!




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