Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Woodbine Thoroughbred Betting Remains Steady in 2008

Toronto, December 10 - Woodbine Entertainment Group announced today that betting on Woodbine's 2008 live Thoroughbred meet, which concluded December 7, remained steady over last year.

Handle per race (1,553 races in total) was $217,472 in 2008, compared to $215,489 (1,592 races in total) in 2007, a rise of 0.91 per cent.

The "all-sources" total of $337,734,635 was wagered during the 167-day meet, which began April 5, compared to the $343,059,524 recorded from the 169 dates offered in 2007, a 1.55 per cent overall drop.

Average field size at Woodbine also held steady at 9.0 horses per race this year, the same as 2007.

"In light of the handle dips we've seen during other Thoroughbred meets across the continent this year, we are pleased with the results," said Sean Pinsonneault, Woodbine Entertainment's Vice-President of Wagering Services. "Fans across the continent respect our product and we'll continue to earn that respect by improving the quality and size of our fields in 2009."

Overnight and stakes purses, including supplements and nominations fees, paid out in 2008 totalled $90.6 million versus $88.6 million last year.

The 2009 Woodbine Thoroughbred season is scheduled for 167 dates, beginning Saturday, April 4.

On track in 2008, the dynamic duo of jockey Patrick Husbands and trainer Mark Casse were tops in their respective colonies at Woodbine for the second consecutive season.

Both finalists for year-end Sovereign Awards, Husbands, who won 166 races to take the riding title, and Casse, whose 75 triumphs were 17 wins more than his nearest competitor, connected for 62 wins this year to propel each to their respective championships.

Husbands won his fifth Woodbine riding title. The five-time Sovereign Award-winning jockey, who scored his previous championships in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2007, also took the purse earnings mark with $9,433,918. Jim McAleney was second with 162 wins, while Emma-Jayne Wilson was third with 111 wins.

Casse took his third and second straight Woodbine training title with 75 wins, with purse earnings of $5,648,751. He also won the 2002 and 2007 championship. Sid Attard was second this year with 58 wins, while Reade Baker was third with 48.

Stronach Stables topped the Woodbine's owner standings with purse earnings of $2,297,301 and 32 wins. Tucci Stables was second with $2,095,800. Melnyk Racing Stables, Inc. was third with $1,638,185.

The winner of this year's Grade 1, $2 million Pattison Canadian International, Marsh Side ($61.20), led all horses at the meet with $1,245,000 in earnings.

Three-year-old filly Sugar Bay won six races to lead all runners for most wins.

Jono Jones guided Charles Fipke homebred Not Bourbon ($11.30) to a thrilling head victory in the Queen's Plate over Stronach Stables filly Ginger Brew, who won the Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, by six lengths, returning $3.20.

In the other major stakes events, Ontario-bred Rahy's Attorney ($27.30) scored in the Woodbine Mile, Champs Elysees ($9.20) won the Northern Dancer Turf, and Marlang ($20.20) won the Breeders' Stakes, third jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown Series.

Standardbred racing continues at Woodbine through the winter, including a special Boxing Day card that features a 1:20 p.m. post-time.

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