Jim Lawson

2021 Woodbine Stakes Schedule Released

Woodbine Entertainment unveiled its stakes schedule for the 2021 Thoroughbred racing season at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario, set to open Apr. 17 (subject to the latest Ontario Government COVID-19 protocols). "Last year was obviously a challenging year for the industry due to COVID-19," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. "While Woodbine Entertainment and the horse racing industry continue to be impacted, we are hopeful that the pandemic in Ontario improves in the coming months, allowing businesses and industries to safely re-open, including our ability to start our 2021 meet...

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All-Sources Handle Down for Abbreviated Woodbine Meet

All-sources handle was down more than $50 million at $462,041,545.76 compared to $516,189,419.44 in 2019 for Woodbine's shortened 2020 Thoroughbred meet, which started late and concluded early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meet ran 96 days with the start being pushed back from Apr. 18 to June 6 and the end date moved up from Dec. 13 to Nov. 22. The abbreviated meet resulted in 35 less race days and 305 less races. "Like many businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted our business and the entire horse racing industry...

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Woodbine Meet Officially Over

While attempts were made to reach an agreement with the Ontario government to continue racing despite a mandatory 28-day lockdown of Toronto and its suburbs, Woodbine Entertainment announced Thursday that the track's 2020 Thoroughbred meet was officially over. "While I am extremely disappointed we are not able to complete the 2020 Thoroughbred meet, what we achieved this year in face of significant adversity is quite remarkable," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. "I have been around horse racing my entire life and I can proudly say that I have never...

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Woodbine Issues Statement on Sports Betting

Woodbine Entertainment issued the following statement Thursday: In response to the Federal Government introducing a Bill that proposes to legalize single event sports wagering in Canada, Woodbine Entertainment would like to congratulate the Government of Canada for considering the potential impacts to the horse racing industry. While the proposed Bill to Amend the Criminal Code would permit single event sports betting on most sports, Woodbine Entertainment is pleased that under the new proposed legislation, fixed odds wagering will not be permitted on horse racing. "On behalf of the entire horse...

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Woodbine CEO Says Sports Betting Bill Could Devastate Canadian Racing Industry

A bill that would legalize single-event sports wagering in Canada and is now being debated by members of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons would have a disastrous impact on racing, warns Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson. The bill does not allow for the racetracks to be part of the sports betting universe and, perhaps even more worrisome, it would allow non-racing betting sites to take fixed-odds bets on racing without having to share any of the revenue with the industry. "This is a real threat to the industry and...

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Woodbine Releases Annual Corporate Responsibility Report

Woodbine Entertainment has released its 2019-20 Corporate Responsibility Report that summarizes the company's recent achievements during the April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 fiscal year. While the report focuses on this period, it also includes information on how Woodbine's operations were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Titled Breaking New Ground, the 2019-20 Woodbine Corporate Responsibility Report focuses on the company's commitment to the communities in which it operates, philanthropy, industry leadership, property development and sustaining the horse racing industry. "While this year has been extremely difficult for so many,...

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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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