Century Mile the horse racing future in Edmonton

Bye, bye Northlands Park. Hello happiness.

For several years, horsemen have been unhappy campers at the century-long home of horse racing in Edmonton. But not now. Not as they get ready for Opening Day of a new era of horse racing.

The first-ever thoroughbred race card at Century Mile goes to the post Sunday afternoon at 1:45 with high hopes of good times ahead for the industry.

“We all saw Northlands deteriorate to the point it was beyond sad,” said trainer Tim Rycroft, a veteran of 30 years on the track including a lengthy spell at Toronto’s Woodbine until returning to his hometown 13 years ago.

“You could tell the writing was on the wall. Nobody seemed to care there toward the end. It was once a really nice thriving place with a proud tradition,” he said of the track that once owned the title of being the per capita betting capital of the horseracing world.

“They were just letting it slide into the abyss,” he said.

“I loved it at Northlands Park. It was a great racetrack. Over the years it just deteriorated and deteriorated and the horsemen were told one B.S. story after another. It became terrible the way the horsemen were treated.

“They let the barn areas go to hell. Instead of fixing bathrooms and stuff their idea was just to slap a piece of plywood on the door and put up a big closed sign.

Hastings Park 2019 Changes On Tap

More Friday Night Live cards and earlier start times on two of the biggest days of the year: these are two major changes to the 2019 live Thoroughbred racing schedule announced by Darren MacDonald, general manager, Hastings Racecourse & Director, BC Racing.

“We’re excited about the adjustments” MacDonald said. “The 2019 season will encompass 52 live racing dates beginning Sunday, April 21, running through to Sunday, October 20.”

The popular Friday Night Live 7:00 p.m. cards have been increased to eight, beginning on July 19 and continuing on consecutive Fridays through August and concluding on September 6.

“It’s a concept that was introduced several years ago to attract a younger demographic and it has worked beyond our expectations,” MacDonald said. “Racing under the lights at Hastings has become a favorite destination on Vancouver’s entertainment scene.”

Historically, the two most popular dates on the local Thoroughbred schedule are BC Cup Day and BC Derby/Oaks Day that stand out as “can’t miss” attractions when Hastings showcases the best of B.C. racing.

Hasting Park logoIn 2019, start times for both will be moved to 12:50 p.m., one hour earlier than in past years. BC Cup Day is set for the Holiday Monday on August 5; BC Derby/Oaks Day goes Saturday, September 7.

Two Monday evening dates – August 19 and August 26 – will be part of the Hastings schedule on dark days during the 2019 PNE Fair.

A month-to-month breakdown of the 2019 race-day season includes three dates in April, eight in May, nine in June, July and August, eight during the month of September and six in October.

MacDonald said the 2019 stakes schedule will be released in January. The regular 2019 racing calendar is available on the Hastings Racecourse website at www.hastingsracecourse.com

Source: Press Release

Fort Erie Race Track took cash offer to keep horse racing running

In the aftermath of the announcement from the province that slot machines would not be returning to Fort Erie Race Track, more details have begun to emerge that paint a clearer picture of what happened.

According to Jim Thibert, CEO of Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium (FELRC), the driving force behind the decision to turn down the slots deal was that, as presented, the deal didn’t secure the long-term viability of horse racing in town. Without that, Thibert said the entire slots deal was moot.

“The Ford government reinforced the No. 1 caveat being: No horse racing, then no slots,” said Thibert, who noted the entire horse racing operation in town would have been in jeopardy of collapsing after …

Fort Erie Race Track took cash offer to keep horse racing running.

StCatharinesStandard.ca Full coverage: Fort Erie Race Track took cash offer to keep horse racing running

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