The Toronto, Ontario-based Woodbine Racetrack first opened its doors to the betting public on June 12, 1956. It was originally known as New Woodbine Racetrack due to the existence of a nearby course that began offering a plethora of wagering options for bettors of all types in 1874.
Woodbine showcased the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 1996, the only time it has been held outside of the United States.
Among the highlights that year, Jenine Sahadi became the first female trainer to win a Breeders’ Cup race when Lit de Justice took the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. In that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, the headlining event, the future Hall of Famer Cigar failed to defend his title, having won the 1995 running at Belmont Park.
Woodbine annually plays host to several of Canada’s biggest races.
The season’s highlight is the $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes, which serves as the opening leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, restricted to Canadian-foaled 3-year-olds.
Unlike its American counterpart, the Canadian Triple Crown is held over three separate surfaces: the Queen’s Plate over the Tapeta synthetic surface; the Prince of Wales’ Stakes over nearby Fort Erie Racetrack’s dirt course; and the Breeders’ Stakes, competed on the E. P. Taylor turf.
The Track at Woodbine
Woodbine is actually comprised of three tracks, with the main one-mile racing track an artificial surface called Tapeta, rather than the standard dirt surface you find on almost all other North American tracks. In the mid-2000s many tracks in the US converted to artificial surfaces, as various studies have indicated it is a safer footing for both horses and jockeys.
However, for a number of reasons (the cost of maintenence being the main one) almost all of those tracks reverted back to dirt, leaving Woodbine as one of the few artificial surfaces still in use.
This is an important aspect of handicapping at Woodbine, as horses that have become used to successfully racing on the Tapeta often have an advantage over horses that are shipping in for races from elsewhere and are not used to the artificial footing.
Most famously, Woodbine is home to the E.P Taylor Turf course, which along with Belmont Park in New York is the only 1.5 mile turf course in North America. The E.P Taylor is often described as a "European-style" course, as it is not a perfect oval, with a slight straight section on the far turn.
It is also not as perfectly flat as other turf courses at North American race tracks, as the long homestretch on the E.P Taylor turf is slightly elevated as compared to the backstretch, another feature you often find at European turf tracks.
Up until 2018, Woodbine was the only race track in North America that could offer thoroughbred and standardbred racing on the same day, due the fact Woodbine also featured a 7/8 mile standardbred track inside the main artificial track.
However, at that time a decision was made to move all standardbred racing to Woodbine Mohawk Raceway, a "sister" track located in Milton, Ontario, about 30 kilometres away.
With that move, in the summer of 2018 work was undertaken to convert the standardbred track surface at Woodbine into a second 7/8 mile turf course to be used for shorter sprint races of under one mile, or two-turn mile races.
The Best Around
Whether you’re looking for Woodbine horse racing betting odds, best bets, or wagering tips from expert handicappers, you’ve come to the right spot. We can help you determine who to bet, how to bet, and where to bet the biggest races on the Canadian horse racing calendar.
Along with helpful information such as Breeders’ Stakes Odds, we publish free horse racing picks and information for Woodbine staples such as the $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes, the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes, and the E. P. Taylor Stakes.
Woodbine traditionally hosts several Grade 1 events with lucrative purses that attract many of the top horses training in both North America and abroad.
One such Grade 1, the Canadian International Stakes, held its inaugural running in 1938 and was so successful at drawing runners from across the globe that it helped inspire the creation of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
Several of the world’s best jockeys have won major thoroughbred horse races at Woodbine, including Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore, and Flavien Prat. Owners and trainers have used the Toronto, Ontario-based track as a major proving ground for horses who may have dreams of competing in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at year’s end.
The Races at Woodbine
Thanks in part to the all-weather Tapeta surface at Woodbine, the track hosts a fairly long racing season, running from mid-April to early December each year. Live racing is typically held on Wednesdays and then Friday through Sunday, with occasional holiday Monday racing as well.
The simulcast racing facility at Woodbine is open year-round, seven-days-per-week.
As mentioned earlier, the centre-piece event at Woodbine is the 158 year-old Queen's Plate, held every year in late June or early July. In mid-August the track also plays host to the third and final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, that being the Breeders' Stakes which is run on the E.P Taylor Turf.
The second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales Stakes, is held at Fort Erie Racetrack in nearby Fort Erie, Ontario.
The Woodbine Mile and the E.P Taylor Stakes are both 'Win and You're In' qualifying races for the Breeders' Cup Mile and the Breeders' Cup Turf, respectively.
In addition to these races, all of which except for the Nearctic being rated as Grade 1 stakes races, the racing schedule at Woodbine includes another 32 graded-stakes races and 21 ungraded stakes races throughout the season.
Everything You Need, One Convenient Location
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We go beyond the basic and the mundane to provide bettors with the latest horse racing tips, information, and top win selections for the biggest races on the Canadian horse racing calendar.
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The Casino at Woodbine
In addition to the live horse racing at Woodbine, the track is also the location of a year-around casino, offering live table games, slots, e-table games and stadium games.
There are a half-dozen full service restaurants, bars and lounges at Woodbine, and numerous fast-food outlets.