Turf Racing a Main Ingredient in this spectacular Woodbine of the future

Tommy Massis relaxing back home at Woodbine

Sandwiched between Pearson International Airport and an industrial area north of Toronto sits Woodbine Racetrack, a 700-acre property of sprawling, green paradise. It is easy for frequent visitors to take the landscape for granted, but Woodbine’s sheer size dwarfs even that of its closest North American rival, Belmont Park.

Source: Turf racing a key ingredient in this spectacular Woodbine of the future

Trainers Who Win Early in the Woodbine Thoroughbred Meet

Which trainers actually had a winner in the first five days of the meet each year for the three years selected? Here is the list…

By Art Parker

It is often hard to gauge trainer effectiveness at the beginning of a long meeting. Some trainers come with runners ready to go and others are more patient to strike. Trying to determine what trainers show up with fit horses and good intentions makes things hard for a horseplayer.


is no different. The long meet at Canada’s premier track starts April 21 and lasts until December 16. The Toronto track doesn’t swing into a full week schedule with four days of racing per week until mid-May.


Wager on WoodbineThe very early part of the meet, which some may view as a workout meet. The first few days offers almost nothing but sprint races, most of which are short at 5 furlongs or 5 ½ furlongs. I suppose there are several reasons for this, but I imagine the track gives trainers a chance to get a work into some of their horses coming off the winter months. Also, several trainers have a reduced amount of stock on hand since they are camped out at Keeneland, Gulfstream or other southern venues.

So the question at Woodbine is who shows up and of those who has the guns loaded?

I examined the first five days of the last three meets (2015, 2016 and 2017). There were some not so surprising revelations but some others that got my attention. The first thing I wanted to find out is consistency. Which trainers actually had a winner in the first five days of the meet each year for the three years selected? Here is the list and total winners including maiden wins (number of maiden wins in parenthesis)

Mike Depaulo – 10 wins (2)

Mark Casse – 8 wins (1)

Nick Gonzalez – 8 wins (5)

Norm McKnight -7 wins (4)

Bob Tiller – 6 wins (4)

John Ross – 4 wins (1)

Roger Attfield – 3 wins (1)

Kevin Attard – 3 wins (2)

These eight trainers are the only ones that meet the specifications. During the time period Woodbine held 140 races. These trainers won 49 races, or 35%. Of the 51 maiden races, this group won 20, or 39%.  Noteworthy stats, to say the least.

Here are the other trainers in the same time period that averaged at least one winner per year but failed to score in all years:

Vito Armata – 4 wins (1)

Josie Carroll – 3 wins (2)

Dave Cotey – 3 wins (2)

Denise McClachrie – 4 wins (3)

Nick Noswenko – 4 wins

William Tharennos – 5 wins (3)

Wesley Ward – 4 wins (2)

Add the two groups together and 15 trainers collectively won 76 races, or 54%. The same two groups won 33 of 51 maiden races, or 65%.

All trainers do some things better than others. That is true with the Woodbine trainers mentioned. Casse, Depaulo, Ross, Armata and Noswenko seem to have greater success with their horses who are winners, where Gonzalez, McKnight, Tiller, McClachrie, Tharennos (and others to a lesser degree) have demonstrated that their maidens are ready for battle.

Horses racing groups unite in race for future

Woodbine via WO FB pageThe idea behind the ORM is to create a more streamlined approach to administration of all facets of the industry on behalf of 15 racetracks that include powerful Woodbine, the extensive group of smaller harness tracks as well as the province’s lone quarter horse facility in Ajax…

Toronto Sun Full coverage

Source: Horses racing groups unite in race for future

Century Casinos to present at Global Chinese Financial Forum Conference in Toronto, Canada

Century Casino logoCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Sept. 25, 2017 /CNW/ — Century Casinos, Inc. (NASDAQ Capital Market®: CNTY) announced today that the company will attend the 18 th Annual Global Chinese Financial Forum Conference in Toronto, Canada on September 30, 2017. Peter Hoetzinger, President & Co CEO, will present the company and hold one-on-one meetings with selected institutional investors.… [Read more…]

For nearly 15 years, Ontario horse racing tracks have been home to two very different types of people. On one side, the casino player wants to pull a handle or spin a wheel and have instant results. Behind the casino walls, horse racing bettors study and decipher an age-old sport, supporting an industry that is of…

OLG to integrate Ontario’s horse racing business by end of August


As It Relates to Horse Racing

Undesirable government and politicians not limited to America


Being a newspaper editor in Alabama provides me with terrific opportunities to see the crookedness and stupidity of politicians and the incompetent practices of government. One of our former Governors shut down a racing facility that had charity electronic bingo, at the point of a gun, after he took campaign money from an Indian Tribe outside our state, an obvious competitor to the Alabama-based business he shut down. The bottom line is that we saw a facility shut down and hundreds of people in one of our poorest counties out of work. Furthermore, it eliminated a tourism draw that brought thousands in from Georgia every year.

That’s the way we do it down here. The tools are dishonesty, stupidity, greed and an inexplicable desire to make many lives miserable by forcing them into unemployment, usually for political reasons.

It looks like some of those tools have migrated north of the border to Canada, specifically the province of Ontario.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that my favorite race track is Woodbine, the gem of thoroughbred racing in Canada. No, I’ve never been there. But like many Americans who play the races via Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) I have the opportunity to play Woodbine frequently, and I love the track.

This year the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) announced the termination of the contract it has with Ontario race tracks for the tracks to house slot machine facilities. The OLG, which is actually an arm of the provincial government of Ontario, wants to dump the tracks and build its own facilities, but most importantly take money away from the tracks. This is after the tracks changed their lives years ago to accommodate the slot machine business and since then have pretty much done all the work and paid to maintain it. This past week the OLG went to Ft. Erie race track and padlocked the machines. This is while the track is still operational. Why? Ft. Erie still has plenty of racing this season and to padlock the machines is like saying you do not want money the machines can generate. Stupid. Of course, Ft. Erie has already announced it will go ahead and close after 115 years of business due to the move of the OLG. More jobs, community pride, history and all other good things down the drain.

This past week Woodbine held one of the oldest and most prestigious races in North America, The Queen’s Plate. For those of you not familiar with it, the race is kind of like our Kentucky Derby.  It’s a fantastic race with a great history. Woodbine announced just a few days before the race that his may be the last Queen’s Plate because of the actions of the OLG. Woodbine leadership also stated clearly that day to day racing could be in danger, and not just the stakes program, because of the OLG.

Since the OLG is actually the governments gaming agency the race tracks are at a double disadvantage. Woodbine’s CEO said it best, “How are we expected to compete when the referee is also our opponent?”

Don’t forget the extensive damage that will be done to the Canadian thoroughbred breeding business after OLG finishes execution of its mandate.

I look at my home state (and others) and I look at what has happened in Ontario and I see the same problems; the ruination of people, businesses and our economy. Just look at the government and the politicians and you see the problem. I’m sure the culprits are dishonesty, stupidity, greed, and yes, somewhere someone wants to hurt someone else.

Too bad this has to happen to racing in a great racing location like Ontario. The only advice I can give to the people of Ontario is to prepare for the next election and run these officials out of Canada. Just don’t send them down here. We already have enough just like them.

Handicapper Art Parker — Art Parker is a frequent contributer to A Game of Skill.com




From earlier this year (February 2012)

HANA made this statement in their [February] newsletter:

Officials in Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario (Canada) have been making noise lately about cutting off slots subsidies to racetracks.  Anyone who has spent any time at racinos knows that in just about all of them, the racing is an afterthought to the big money that is to be made from slots.  And, more and more, it appears the companies that own the racinos are keeping racing alive only because they are mandated to by the state.  If subsidies are cut or eliminated–as seems likely in the near future–expect to see date cuts for the races, and possibly the disappearance of some tracks.  — HANA


“Over the past few decades, an explosion in gambling opportunities and increased competition for leisure dollars have reduced horse racing to a small, cult sport. It would have already faded into oblivion in many small centres, including Fort Erie, if the province had not introduced slot machines at racetracks. A significant percentage of the money that sad sacks chronically lose at the slots goes to subsidize the host track.

Neither the province nor the Drummond report has any problem with sad sacks continuing to lose their shirts by mindlessly depositing tokens in machines. Indeed, the report recommends creating more opportunities for people to gamble away their earnings.

However, the Drummond team does suggest there might be more deserving recipients of the province’s slice of this pie than just the horse racing industry.”



Latest Update: Woodbine States that their Future is in Doubt