Horse racing has a rich history in Canada and continues to thrive with a wide variety of thoroughbred, quarter horse and harness racing action to choose from. While Woodbine is the veritable epicenter of Canadian racing, there are plenty of other notable tracks spread across the Great White North and ample opportunities for online bettors to make a few bucks while playing the ponies.
Online Horse Betting Sites
Playing horses has many distinct advantages when compared to other gambling ventures. Unlike most casino games for example, horse racing is a game of skill where players can actually enhance their chances of winning by bolstering their racing acumen.
Horse racing also provides more betting value than wagering on sporting events where the standard and obligatory vig of risking $110 to make $100 is not only boring, but makes long-term profitability difficult. Finding the right online racebook also increases a player’s chances of making a few bucks with promos, bonuses, referral and rebate programs aplenty. Here are a few of the top online racebooks for Canadian players to consider.
When selecting an online racebook, horse players should consider a multitude of factors, but none are more important than these three: reliability, profitability, and versatility.
The first, and most obvious point is that players must be able to rely on their chosen racebook for safe deposits, timely payments, and good ethical standing. There are horror stories of fly-by-night operations that either slow-pay or no-pay customers. Some have even been shuttered completely with the players’ money vanishing in thin air. That’s why customers need names they can trust and companies who have proven themselves with years of experience and scores of satisfied players.
An online racebook should also provide the player with a chance to be more profitable while playing the ponies. While there’s nothing like a day spent at the racetrack, bonuses, comps and loyalty programs are non-existent at live racing venues. Conversely, the best online racebooks provide customers with lucrative opportunities to pocket or wager extra cash just for signing up for an account, depositing into their accounts or just playing the races regularly. The next time a racetrack offers to line your pockets just for playing with them will be the first.
Finally, a great online racebook should be versatile. They should offer full betting menus and action from all the major and minor racetracks you wish to play. In addition, features like live streaming and propositional or match-up betting add to the excitement. It’s always a good idea to make sure the racebook doesn’t cap winnings or limit the amount you are able to wager on a race.
Betting On Horse Racing
Canadian horse racing plays a major role in the global thoroughbred and standardbred markets. The country’s most significant track, Woodbine, plays host to both at different times throughout the year and is the only venue outside of the U.S. to have hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championship in 1996. Woodbine is home to the famed Queen’s Plate, the oldest continuously run a thoroughbred race in North America. The Queen’s Plate is part of the Canadian Triple Crown, with Woodbine also hosting the last leg of that event in the form of the Breeders’ Stakes.
Fort Erie is another well-known and popular Canadian track and hosts the middle leg of the Canadian Triple Crown with the Prince of Wales Stakes taking place each July.
While the Canadian Triple Crown wasn’t officially recognized until 1959, 12 horses have accomplished the feat in total, including five before it was formally titled. Wando was the last Canadian Triple Crown winner, sweeping the series in 2003.
Canada is also home to popular harness tracks such as Woodbine Harness, Mohawk Raceway, Western Fair Raceway, and Flamboro Downs. There are many harness tracks spread across the provinces, with a concentration of them in Ontario.
Just 30 minutes west of Toronto, the Woodbine complex is the only venue in North America capable of staging flat and buggy racing action on the same day. Providers of top-notch Off Track Wagering and Casino, betting fans get it all with a visit to Woodbine.
Held every August on Woodbine’s EP Taylor Turf course, the $500,000 Grade I (Can) Breeders’ Stakes is the third jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown for three-year-old Canadian-bred thoroughbreds. As the finale to the series, it also holds the distinction of the winner possibly making history as a Triple Crown champion.
The $1,000,0000 Grade I (Can) Queen’s Plate is the preeminent thoroughbred horse race in Canada, and the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown. For three-year-olds and up, foaled in Canada, the race is run at the classic distance of 1 ¼ miles on the polytrack at Woodbine and is limited to 17 starters.
The Ricoh Woodbine Mile is a $1,000,000 Grade 1 race for three-year-olds and up held each September on the EP Taylor Turf course at Woodbine. The first race was held in 1988 as the Molson Export Challenge run at 1 ¼ miles and was originally restricted to three-year-olds.
The Prince of Wales Stakes, the second jewel in the Canadian Thoroughbred Triple Crown is a $500,000 Grade I (Can) race, going 1 3/16 miles over the dirt course at Fort Erie Racetrack. Although first run in 1929, the race was not run every year, until it became a permanent feature of the Canadian stakes calendar in 1947.
Usually held in the third week of July at Woodbine, the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes is a $750,000 Grade I race, for 3-year-olds and up. Run at a distance of 1 ½ miles on the EP Taylor Turf course, it was first held in 1953 at Fort Erie racetrack as the Niagara Handicap (at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt) before moving to Woodbine.
The EP Taylor Stakes is one of the highlights of the fall racing season at Woodbine. A 1 ¼ mile test for fillies and mares, the EP Taylor is a Grade I event over the turf for a purse of $1,000,000. The race is run on the same day as the $1,500,000 Grade I Canadian International Stakes, making it one of the most significant race days of the season anywhere in the world.
Now into their second century of horse racing, the Fort Erie Race Track & Slots wagering destination is owned and operated by the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium and located in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada. Home to the Prince of Wales Stakes since 1929, one of the three jewels in the Canadian Triple Crown.
The Fort Erie Race Track & Slots wagering destination is located in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada. Home to the Prince of Wales Stakes since 1929, one of the three jewels in the Canadian Triple Crown, this major stakes race is the brainchild of former Fort Erie owner, E. P. Taylor.
Horse Racing Betting Tips
While the Triple Crown is indeed the most famous horse racing event, there are several other significant Canadian races. Woodbine annually draws top international fields for turf races such as the Northern Dancer, Woodbine Mile, E.P. Taylor Stakes, and Canadian International – all grade 1 events. The sweeping, international style turf course at Woodbine is a major draw and provides plenty of space to accommodate the late bursts of acceleration typical among European grass stars.
Longer races such as the Canadian International (12 furlongs) and the E.P. Taylor (10 furlongs) have proven to be ideal for many of the European shippers who have dominated those races in recent years. The Woodbine Mile has been won by some of the greatest North American horses in the last decade, with Wise Dan winning in 2012 and 2013 and superstar filly Tepin taking home the top prize in 2016. Another star American filly, Ventura, won the Woodbine Mile in 2009.
Woodbine Racetrack Betting
Canada’s most popular Thoroughbred racetrack, Woodbine Racetrack has offered top notch equine action since 1956. The only track in North America capable of offering thoroughbred and standardbred races on the same day, its outermost course is a mile and one half oval.
Woodbine offers premium thoroughbred and harness race excitement and draws the bulk of the Canadian wagering handle. It’s weekly racing action attracts full and contentious betting fields and offers great turf and synthetic action.
The track is noted for its original wagering conventions such as the 20-cent Pick 4.
Canadian Triple Crown and Stakes Race Betting
Canada’s version of the Triple Crown is one of the most exciting in all of horse racing, and provides a unique challenge for horses and bettors alike as each race is run over a different surface.
The Queen’s Plate is the first leg and is run at the classic ten furlong (mile and a quarter) distance over the Woodbine Polytrack. This event is followed by the Prince of Wales Stakes, run at a mile and three sixteenths over Fort Erie’s natural dirt surface.
The final leg is the Breeders’ Stakes, run at 12 furlongs (mile and one half) on the Woodbine turf course. Although the series offers more spacing between races than the American Triple Crown, it can be argued that it is even more difficult to win given the considerable challenge that a horse must adapt suitably to all three surfaces.
While perhaps not as widely publicized or hyped as the American Triple Crown, the Canadian version typically offers every bit as much in the way of excitement and wagering value. Our recommended online racebooks provide excellent places to play the Canadian Triple Crown and all top-notch wagering action from Canada and the rest of the racing world.