Jim Lawson

Queen’s Plate Generates Third-Highest Handle in History

Saturday's live program at Woodbine, featuring the coronavirus-delayed Queen's Plate, generated betting turnover of $14,532,678, nearly $3.5 million of that on the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown alone. The handle ranks as the third-highest in the history of the race. "While this year's Queen's Plate might be remembered for not having fans in the stands, I would much rather it be remembered for the collective efforts of so many people that allowed this race to be run and its storied history continued to be written," said Jim Lawson,...

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Woodbine Social Media Accounts to Promote Work with At-Risk Youth

The charitable organization Trust 15 will be taking over Woodbine Entertainment's Twitter and Facebook accounts Wednesday to bring awareness, engagement and action to the work it does supporting at-risk youth  in the Rexdale community. Throughout the day, the organization will share interviews with several of the youth who are enrolled in the program, infographics to educate the public on the work it does, and information on how people can get involved. "Given what's happening in society with inequality, we've committed ourselves to continuously look for opportunities to help eradicate systemic...

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Woodbine, TSN Partner for Weekly Dual-Breed Horse Racing Broadcasts

Woodbine Entertainment and premier Canadian sports broadcasting network TSN are expanding their broadcast partnership to bring Canadians live horse racing every Thursday night throughout the summer with Racing Night Live, the two companies announced jointly Wednesday. The action begins Thursday, June 11 at 6 p.m. ET on TSN and features a mix of live Thoroughbred races from Woodbine in Toronto and Standardbred races from Mohawk in Milton, Ont. "We're thrilled to partner with Woodbine Entertainment to bring Canadians exclusive access to live, weekly horse racing action," said Shawn Redmond, Vice...

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Woodbine Releases Rest of Revised Stakes Schedule

Having already announced that the Queen's Plate would be held Sept. 12, Woodbine Entertainment released the remainder of the Woodbine Racetrack stakes schedule Wednesday. Featuring 75 stakes worth C$13.8 million, highlights include the C$1-million GI Ricoh Woodbine Mile, slated for Saturday, Sept. 19 and a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the GI Breeders' Cup Mile. Due to complications with travel due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the GI Pattison Canadian International has been cancelled for 2020. The meet will open on Saturday, June 6 and end Sunday, Dec. 13....

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Queen’s Plate Scheduled for Sept. 12

The Queen's Plate, originally scheduled for June, has been rescheduled for Sept. 12, Woodbine Entertainment announced Monday. "The history of The Queen's Plate is so rich and the fact that it's been held every year since the inaugural race in 1860 is remarkable," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. "We are honored to be able to continue this rich history in face of adversity by hosting the race for the 161st consecutive year." The $1-million stakes race was postponed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally scheduled...

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Woodbine Seeks June 6 or 13 Start; Overnight Purses Won’t Take a Hit in 2020

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) is planning to seek approval for a June 6 or 13 start for its pandemic-delayed Thoroughbred race meet, and the firm's chief executive officer, Jim Lawson, said in a public video chat Tuesday that he does not expect overnight purses to be adversely affected this year despite mounting losses from the closure of WEG's gaming facilities. Woodbine will also seek to move its signature stakes race, the Queen's Plate, from June 27 to a September date that has yet to be determined. Lawson said one near-term...

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Woodbine Sets Tentative Schedule for Re-Opening

Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson told the Toronto Sun that he anticipates racing will resume at the Ontario track in approximately six weeks. "With the optimism that we all need to share, we anticipate that we are approximately six weeks away from resuming live racing (under the strict conditions being developed with the AGCO) if the Provincial Declaration of Emergency is lifted and parts of the economy are permitted to gradually re-open following government and health officials' guidelines," Lawson told the Sun. "I will continue to provide updates in the coming...

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Casse Calls Canada’s New Clenbuterol Rules a ‘Good Start’

The recent announcement by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) that Clenbuterol can no longer be used within 28 days of a horse racing was something trainer Mark Casse had been waiting a long time to hear. The veteran trainer has been the sport's most outspoken critic of what he saw as the abuse of the drug and the new regulations in Canada will be among the strictest in North American racing. But Casse said that the new rules only go so far in curbing the problem and that the real...

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Woodbine Reiterates Commitment to Stabling Horses

Woodbine issued the following release Tuesday: With the Government of Ontario extending the Declaration of Provincial Emergency and associated emergency measures due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Woodbine Entertainment announced that it remains committed to stabling horses on its backstretch for the purpose of providing them with the essential care they require. Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including stabling, have been deemed essential workplaces by the Province "These horses need a home and our land and facilities were created exactly for the purpose of caring...

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Taking Stock: The Coronavirus Impact

Two weeks ago, the bombshell indictments of trainers Jorge Navarro, Jason Servis, et al., sandwiched between a volatile stock market and the spread of the coronavirus, were the talk of the industry, leading to renewed calls by some for the passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act in Congress. At the time, the doping scandal promised to upend racing's precarious standing, but with hindsight, the plunge of the markets and the rise of the virus may cost the racing and breeding industries greater long-term harm than what's alleged in the indictments....

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Woodbine Postpones Opening of Thoroughbred Meet

Woodbine Entertainment has suspended the opening of its Thoroughbred meeting indefinitely following the announcement that the Government of Ontario is mandating all non-essential businesses closed by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. Woodbine's backstretch will be limited to only essential care for horses and regular training operations will not be permitted. "Considering we will only be allowing for the essential care of the horses on our backstretch, we will not be in a position to open the season as scheduled Apr. 18," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. "As previously communicated, we are...

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Canadian Trainer Laurie Silvera Dies

Woodbine Entertainment and the Canadian horse racing industry are mourning the loss of longtime Thoroughbred trainer Laurie Silvera, who passed away Mar. 2 (click here for obituary). Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Silvera became a licensed Thoroughbred trainer in Canada in 1975. The graded stakes-winning conditioner earned more than 1,000 wins and nearly $26 million in purses throughout his career in North America. "A true gentleman, Laurie was a longtime fixture on the Woodbine backstretch and highly respected among the local racing community for his horsemanship and willingness to help others....

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