Most recently, Ontario's Woodbine Entertainment provided a list of nominees for its Breeders' Cup Challenge Series “Win and You're In” races on September 16, 2023, at Woodbine Racetrack. The Saturday card is set to feature the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, the Grade 1 Johnnie Walker Natalma Stakes and the Grade 1 bet365 Summer Stakes contested at E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Owned by Woodbine Entertainment Group, Woodbine Racetrack is one of North America's leading Thoroughbred racing tracks located at 555 Rexdale Boulevard in Toronto, Ontario. It opened back in 1956 and is home to the King's Plate one of the most prestigious races in the industry. Since its thorough remodeling in 1994 the track now offers three racecourses
Plenty of Talent Set to Compete
In its press, Woodbine Entertainment revealed that this year's edition of the CA$1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile, which will be hosted for the 27th time, has attracted 18 nominees. Chad Brown is ahead of all trainers as he touts seven nominations for the race. His group is championed by In Italian who is a four-time Grade 1 winner, Program Trading, and Whitebeam.
Meanwhile, one of the world's largest thoroughbred horseracing and breeding companies Godolphin has nominated multiple stakes-winning five-year-old Master of The Seas. The list of nominees also includes Set Piece who is the winner of this year's Grade 1 Arlington Million. Woodbine-based nominees are Shirl's Speight for trainer Roger Attfield and War Bomber who recently won Grade 2 King Edward.
In addition to that, the Grade 1 Johnnie Walker Natalma Stakes for two-year-old fillies and the Grade 1 bet365 Summer Stakes for two-year-olds will also feature some exciting talent at a mile on the E.P. Taylor Turf. The two events will have 38 two-year-olds nominated who will compete for a purse of CA$500,000. Full lists can be found on the track's official website.
The King's Plate Set New Betting Handle Record
In August, Woodbine Racetrack hosted its annual The King's Plate which as always generated plenty of interest from the industry and its thousands of fans. According to the track, Sunday's August 20, 2023 card of 13 races, which included the race, generated a wagering volume of CA$18,127,049.67. Hence breaking the previous record from the 2019's The Queen's Plate.
The King's Plate itself, delivered CA$4,455,176.26 of the card's betting handle, while also setting a new record Win Pool of CA$1,179,172.71 and having a 17-horse field, which was the largest since 2011. The race was captured by Paramount Prince with help from Patrick Husbands who has now secured his third win in the Plate. The horse got a finish time of 2:01.93.
However, there may be a reason for the improved betting activity during the King's Plate card in August. Just before the race, Woodbine Entertainment announced that it has launched its pari-mutuel wagering with the private sportsbook bet365. This was the first time of a third-party sportsbook was allowed to offer legal bets on the group's races. This excludes Woodbine's Dark Horse App and HPIbet.
Source: “Nominations Released for Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile” Past the Wire, September 1, 2023