Woodbine Reschedules Winter Racing Events
Ontario’s horse racing industry is finally about to catch a break from the trying times that have prevailed ever since the country went into shutdown nearly a year ago. Provincial government recently announced that it will soon begin lifting several of the restrictions, which will enable live harness racing to return to the region.
Woodbine Entertainment, too, recently made a statement of its own. According to the horse racing and entertainment giant, a total of four of its winter series and two series finals, will be bumped up to a later date than the usual annual schedule.
The New Schedule
The rescheduled events include the Family Day Trotting Series and Wine & Roses Trotting Series, both of which have been rescheduled for March 8, 2021. Also delayed are the Blizzard Pacing and Snowshoe Pacing Series, which have been rescheduled to March 11 and March 12, 2021, respectively. Both events will feature two preliminary rounds and will be adding CA$30,000 to the finals’ rewards.
Initially scheduled to be raced on Boxing Day, both the Niagara Pacing Series and the Valedictory Racing Series have been rescheduled for later dates, which have yet to be announced. The finals will be taking place after said events.
Preliminary dates for schoolers and training dates were also recently addressed by Woodbine. Three schoolers have been scheduled for Feb. 22, and training dates have been confirmed as Feb. 23, 26, and 27. All exercises will reportedly be split into two sessions – with 40 spots allocated for each of the two sessions.
Concerns Over Possible Changes
There has furthermore been a lot of talk among horse racing people regarding the proposed changes to the country’s sports betting situation. With single-event sports betting now likely to be legalised, and with the bill gaining more momentum as the days go by, the hope is that the incoming legislation will stop short of having any unintended negative effects on the horse racing industry.
Horse racing industry leaders remain concerned that changes coming to local sports betting legislation may lead to a cannibalization of the field, which would lead to many people working in the horse racing industry losing their jobs.
Though such damage would be completely unintentional, this remains a fear among Ontario’s horseracing people. All initial indications are however that the likely changes will do the industry a lot of good, which is something both Woodbine Entertainment and Ontario Racing remain hopeful of.