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MILTON, May 25, 2020 - Woodbine Entertainment today announced new dates for several harness racing stakes to be held this season at Woodbine Mohawk Park.   The stakes rescheduling only impacts events that were originally slated for May or June. All other races remain the same on the 2020 stakes calendar. As previously announced, the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old pacers has been rescheduled to Saturday, August 29. The Fan Hanover (3-Year-Old Filly Pace), Roses Are Red (Mare Pace) and Armbro Flight (Mare Trot) have all been rescheduled to join the Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday, August 29. Eliminations (if necessary) for all four events will take place on Saturday, August 22. The Goodtimes for three-year-old trotting colts has been rescheduled to Saturday, September 5. Eliminations (if necessary) will be held on Friday, August 28. The Somebeachsomewhere for three-year-old pacers has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 12. The final event to be rescheduled is the SBOA Stakes for Ontario sired three-year-old fillies. The SBOA will now take place on Saturday, November 14 with eliminations (if necessary) scheduled for Saturday, November 7. Woodbine Mohawk Park will no longer play host to a leg of The Meadowlands administrated Miss Versatility Series (originally scheduled May 29) or Graduate Series (originally scheduled June 6) in 2020. The Meadowlands has confirmed with Woodbine their intentions to reschedule the Mohawk Park leg of the Miss Versatility for later this season at the New Jersey track, while the Graduate Series leg has been cancelled due to scheduling constraints. Live Racing, without spectators, is scheduled to resume on Friday, June 5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The revised 2020 stakes schedule for Woodbine Mohawk Park. Stake Previous Date New Date SBOA 3FT Elims Saturday, May 9 Saturday, November 7 SBOA 3FP Elims Saturday, May 9 Saturday, November 7 SBOA 3FT Final Saturday, May 16 Saturday, November 14 SBOA 3FP Final Saturday, May 16 Saturday, November 14 North America Cup Elims Saturday, June 13 Saturday, August 22 Armbro Flight Elims Friday, June 12 Saturday, August 22 Fan Hanover Elims Saturday, June 13 Saturday, August 22 Roses Are Red Elims Saturday, June 13 Saturday, August 22 North America Cup Final Saturday, June 20 Saturday, August 29 Armbro Flight Final Saturday, June 20 Saturday, August 29 Fan Hanover Final Saturday, June 20 Saturday, August 29 Roses Are Red Final Saturday, June 20 Saturday, August 29 Goodtimes Elims Friday, June 12 Friday, August 28 Goodtimes Final Saturday, June 20 Saturday, September 5 Somebeachsomewhere Saturday, June 6 Saturday, September 12 Mark McKelvie        

MILTON, ON - May 23, 2020 - Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to notify all harness racing drivers and trainers that when Qualifiers resume on Thursday, May 28, the driver/trainer changes rooms, showers and lounge will be closed until further notice as an important COVID-19 safety precaution and physical distancing protocol. Drivers and trainers are asked to contact Megan Walker at mwalker@woodbine.com or (416)-709-6793 to schedule a time to pick up their suits and other items on Monday, May 25, Tuesday, May 26 or Wednesday, May 27 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Only drivers and trainers who have scheduled a time will be permitted to pick up their suits and other items. Woodbine Mohawk Park will be releasing its qualifying and race night paddock protocols next week in advance of the resumption of Qualifiers on Thursday. Training to commence at Woodbine Mohawk Park with strict physical distancing protocols Training at Woodbine Mohawk Park with strict physical distancing protocols in place will be available from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday (May 27), and Saturday (May 30). Training hours will be allotted by signing up on a first come first serve basis.  Sign-ups will start at 3 p.m. on Monday (May 25).  Trainers are limited to no more than 10 horses per day. A limit of 50 horses are permitted in the paddock during a training time slot. Training time slots will be in 2.5 hour increments (6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., 9:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.).   All paddock COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place for training hours, including the requirement to have all personnel wearing a face mask. Only trainers and essential licensed personnel over the age of 16 will be permitted through the security checkpoint. To sign-up for training which opens at 3 p.m. on Monday, click here. Jamie Dykstra Woodbine Entertainment

All harness racing horses wishing to qualify at Mohawk Thursday May 28 & 29 and June 1 & 2 must enter with the race office before noon Friday, May 22.   Preference for qualifying shall be given to Ontario Sired three-year-olds.   The Race office will produce qualifying entry sheets for those four dates on Monday, May 25.   Horses who currently meet the amended qualifying standards set by the AGCO will not be permitted to qualify during those four dates.   The Race Office recommends all trainers use Standardbred Canada's new and improved online entering system for making their entries going forward.       Jamie Dykstra Director, Communications & Content Woodbine Entertainment jdykstra@woodbine.com 647-400-6235

MILTON, ON - May 19, 2020 - Woodbine Entertainment is excited to announce that the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup for harness racing three-year-old pacers is scheduled for Saturday, August 29 at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Milton, Ontario. The eliminations will be held the week prior on Saturday, August 22. Originally scheduled for June 20, the 37th Pepsi North America Cup was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Woodbine Mohawk Park season was suspended on March 19 and is now set to resume without spectators on Friday, June 5. "Mohawk Park in the fall is always packed full of action and now we are adding our signature event, the Pepsi North America Cup, to the end of the summer schedule which will only add even more excitement heading into the fall stakes season," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. Woodbine Entertainment will continue to follow the most updated direction from Government and public health officials as it relates to spectators attending events. For the latest regarding fan participation with the 37th Pepsi North America Cup, stay tuned to Woodbine.com/mohawk for updates. Jamie Dykstra Woodbine Entertainment

TORONTO, ON - May 14, 2020 - The return of live horse racing in the Province of Ontario just got one step closer. Earlier today, the Ontario government announced a framework to gradually reopen the Province in stages. Stage 1, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 19, allows for horse racing without spectators and physical distancing measures in place. "This is great news for the sport of horse racing and the tens of thousands of people it employs throughout the Province," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. "With this news, our plans to resume Standardbred racing at Mohawk Park on June 5 and Thoroughbred racing on June 6 at Woodbine remain on track. We appreciate the government's recognition that we can operate spectator-free horse racing safely by following strict physical distancing protocols. "I would also like to thank the entire horse racing community for their patience, understanding and commitment in following health guidelines during this time. In doing so, it has put the entire industry in the position to resume live horse racing in the coming weeks." Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, harness racing at Mohawk Park was suspended on March 19, while the opening of Woodbine's Thoroughbred season, originally scheduled for April 18, was postponed. Jamie Dykstra Woodbine Entertainment

Woodbine Entertainment is ready to give its fans the premium live harness racing they have been looking forward to for months now. Chief Executive Officer Jim Lawson recently announced that Woodbine Mohawk Park could commence live racing on June 5 without spectators. Woodbine Racetrack is expected to commence live racing on the following day if everything goes according to plan. Both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing are expected to commence at the beginning of next month, according to a recent statement coming from Woodbine Entertainment. Ontario’s horse racing leader is ready to revive the racing industry and support local horse people that have been through a couple of months of no racing. The recently announced plan would strive to set the tone for the 2020 live racing season. Woodbine Mohawk Park is expected to be the first racetrack in the region to greenlight live racing without spectators and pave the way for a successful live racing season. The live races are expected to continue without live spectators until at least September, depending on the recommendations of the provincial health officer. Regardless of that, horse racing enthusiasts would still have the chance to watch the races online. Woodbine Ent. Postpones Pepsi North America Cup In the comfort of their home, they would enjoy the thrill of live racing of both Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses and this is an opportunity many individuals have been looking forward to. Woodbine Entertainment is serious in its efforts to get back on its feet and support the local horse people relying on the racing purses and more. Being responsible is crucial during these trying times. Woodbine Ent. Projects Horse Racing sans Spectators Mr. Lawson also pointed out that those dates are not set in stone for the time being, and the alternative ones are June 12 for harness racing and June 13 for Thoroughbred live racing. Players should be ready for riveting upcoming weeks ether way, as Woodbine Entertainment confirmed. Right now, the horse racing leader is making the plan for the first weeks of live racing. June 5 and 6 Chief Executive Officer Lawson made it clear that the provincial government and the health authorities have to give their nod to the plan for action and the return of live horse racing without spectators. Mr. Lawson also made it clear that the past few weeks have been hard for the horse racing industry and the horse people relying on the income it provides. Woodbine Queen’s Plate Postponed, Backstretch Continues Work He also made it clear during the online question and answers session that the declaration of emergency extended by the government would be respected at all costs, as the health of horse people is of utmost importance. This includes jockeys, groomers, and trainers of the racehorses. Preparation for the launch of live horse racing on both racetracks includes a frank conversation with the government making it clear that social distancing would continue. Woodbine Entertainment Bids Farewell to April 18 Live Racing May 13 brings more clarity regarding the allowed actions on the backstretch. Horse breezing is once again allowed on the premises of Woodbine Racetrack, as this would keep horses in good shape and prepare them for the live races. Jockeys are advised to avoid contact with the trainers and grooms, as to protect all parties. Horse owners are also not allowed to see their horses yet. Author: Daniel Thompson  Daniel had previously worked as a correpsondent and editor for several local Canadian news websites. He developed true interest in the ways of the gambling industry after several accidental visits to casinos with friends. Reprinted with permission of Casino Reports

Milton, ON — While we navigate through these unprecedented times, you’re invited to take part in an interactive, live, online Stronger Together video session with Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson. The session will take place on Tuesday (May 12) at 2 p.m. (EDT) and is available to be viewed at Woodbine.com/events/Stronger-Together. Hosted by on-air personality Jason Portuondo, Lawson will provide various updates, including the latest on efforts to resume live racing in June, while also answering your questions live. The audience is encouraged to ask questions by submitting them through the chat window next to the video. A recorded version of the session will be available after the broadcast. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to racing at Woodbine and we hope you can join us Tuesday. from Woodbine Communications

MILTON, March 25, 2020 - Due to the suspension of live harness racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Woodbine Entertainment has made the decision to suspend the upcoming April 15, 2020 Standardbred stakes payments. "It's important for us to recognize the challenges facing everyone in the horse business at this time, and we want to help where we can," said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. "We want to thank all of the owners that have staked their horses for 2020." Woodbine will reevaluate all stakes purses and sustaining payments in May. Mark McKelvie

MILTON, March 24, 2020 - In light of the Government of Ontario's decision to mandate all non-essential business be closed by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, Woodbine Entertainment would like to inform all horsepeople that the Bookkeeper's office is open today (Tuesday, March 24) until 5 p.m. to handle request for fund withdrawals. The Bookkeeper's office will be able to handle and process requests for funds either by cheque or by wire transfer that are either called in or e-mailed. All cheque requests will be delivered via regular mail service. Pickup at the Grandstand is not available, as the facility is closed to the public given the COVID-19 pandemic isolation procedures. If requesting a cheque, please ensure that the Bookkeeper's office has your most up to date mailing address. As of 5 p.m today (Tuesday, March 24), the Bookkeeper's office will be closed until further notice and will not be processing any transactions. The Woodbine Standardbred Bookkeeper can be reached at 416-675-3993 x 1 + 4315. Mark McKelvie

MILTON, March 19, 2020 -- Woodbine Entertainment announced today that following tonight's harness racing card it will be temporarily suspending live standardbred racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park effective Friday, March 20, until further notice due to the ongoing efforts in limiting the spread of Covid-19. "We have made the decision to suspend live racing in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of our employees, horsepeople and the larger community," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. "Throughout these uncertain times, we were always prepared to take this step but implemented many precautionary measures to provide horsepeople with the opportunity to race for as long as possible. We will now shift our focus towards working with provincial agencies to provide the standardbred horse community with financial assistance in order to support horsepeople and the essential care needed for their horses while we are not racing at Mohawk Park." Mark McKelvie

Harness racing driver Doug McNair remains eternally grateful to still be working, even if it's under somewhat bizarre circumstances. The Guelph, Ont., resident continues to race at Woodbine Mohawk Park despite all other major sports — and even some racetracks — shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But events at the Campbellville, Ont., track are being conducted without fans in the stands. McNair understands why the measure is in place. But he admits looking into the bare grandstands is surreal and emphatically drives home the point that these are indeed unique times. "It's not terrible, but it's definitely different," he said. "You look over (to grandstand) and everything is dark. People might say there's no crowds there, especially in the winter, but even if there's 50 to 100 people at Mohawk, it's a lot different having none ... and the casino is empty as well." And McNair, Canada's top driver in 2018, said it's something he's reminded of daily. "When you go (to Mohawk), it's funny, you don't see any traffic," he said. "It's absurd, definitely, it's different. "We're really lucky just to be racing, but things change day today, hour to hour. I just hope it continues." Some tracks suspend racing Racetracks across North America have reacted differently to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Kentucky Derby organizers announced Tuesday the first jewel of the U.S. Triple Crown was being shifted from May 2 to Sept. 5 due to COVID-19. But the $1-million Grade 2 Louisiana Derby will run Saturday without spectators in the stands. Among the American tracks to suspend racing are Yonkers, Dover Downs, Freehold Raceway, The Meadowlands, The Downs at Mohegan Sun, and Pocono. Facilities in Europe, Denmark and Italy have followed suit. In Canada, Horse Racing Alberta temporarily suspended racing. But Century Downs, in southern Alberta, is holding events without spectators, as are harness tracks in Ontario. Union representing workers at Casino Woodbine calls for its closure amid COVID-19 outbreak All Ontario casinos to close temporarily amid COVID-19 outbreak "We've spoken to government officials about Mohawk regarding what we're doing," said Jim Lawson, the chief executive officer of Woodbine Entertainment Group. "We're changing post times as of Friday night to spread out the races. "We don't want any more than 50 people in the paddock, probably 40 people. We're going to start to use more of the new portion of the paddock to make sure there's more social distancing. "We're (continuing to race) for horse people more than anything. But we won't hesitate to close down if what I'd call the very strict policies and protocols we have in place aren't working and this thing gets beyond us." Wagering continues Empty stands haven't seemed to dampened fan interest. Wagering at Mohawk on Friday and Saturday was up 10 per cent, while Sunday's handle remained steady despite the absence of spectators. "We have the benefit of a robust and sophisticated system, which is good and it does help bring in some revenue," Lawson said. "The wagering revenue, though, is less than the purse money you pay out to do this. "Our only mandate as a corporation is to support horse racing and that's what we're doing as best we can. We're effectively not-for-profit mandate ... anything we earn goes back into horse racing." McNair and fellow driver Jody Jamieson both gave back last week, each donating a night's earnings to the Red Cross. McNair bequeathed $1,350, while Jamieson chipped in with $1,050. "I figured we were fortunate enough to be racing and what could we do to help a little bit," McNair said. "I definitely think little things like that aren't going to hurt." Paddock, announcer booth disinfected Woodbine Entertainment has also implemented temperature screening for all people entering the paddock at both Mohawk Park and Woodbine Racetrack. Although the thoroughbred season doesn't open until April 18, horses are in barns there and, like at Mohawk, require daily attention and care. At Mohawk Park, both the paddock and announcer's booth are disinfected nightly after racing is completed. "It's fundamental for these people to exist, to continue to have commerce and a livelihood," Lawson said. "We're prepared to do it on the basis of respecting government direction and protocols. "But we're not in the business of risks. We moved first and quicker than anyone to shut down our grandstand, to send our employees home, to shut our bars and restaurants immediately off-site. We're closely monitoring this. We have a very strong board that's involved, we're speaking to government officials and trying to help by creating some commerce." Many living paycheque to paycheque A fact not lost upon driver Bob McClure, who drove 15/1 pick Forbidden Trade to an upset win in last year's US$1-Hambletonian. "The biggest fear I have for this whole thing is there's a large majority of this industry that's still living paycheque to paycheque," said the Rockwood, Ont., resident. "And I don't know how they're going to be able to weather this storm if we have to shut down racing. "I think owners, all of a sudden, are expected to pay the bills without any money coming in. That's more than I'd want asked of me. Trainers having to pay grooms when they're not racing either. The money stops at the top and at some point it's the people at the bottom who need it the most. I really worry about that because there are people who simply can't take weeks off work." McClure said he's barely noticed the empty Woodbine Mohawk Park grandstands because once a race begins, he's focused entirely on driving. Ditto for the tarmac traffic. "If this was summer and this was going on, you'd definitely notice," he said. Racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park is scheduled to resume Thursday night. Both McNair and McClure agree that until told differently, drivers are intent on continuing to work. "Obviously one day at a time," McNair said. "But I'm happy with what Woodbine is doing and hopefully no one gets sick." Added McClure: "I think there's going to be a lot of pressure from Health Canada and the government going forward. But obviously we want to race and track officials want to race so long as it's safe." By Dan Ralph  Reprinted with permission of The Canadian Press

MILTON, March 19, 2020 - As an added precautionary measure being taken to help flatten the COVID-19 curve and maintain live harness racing, Woodbine Entertainment would like to inform all horsepeople that training at Woodbine Mohawk Park has been cancelled until further notice. Qualifiers will continue to be offered each Thursday morning. Live racing continues every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Post time is 6:40 p.m. Mark McKelvie      

As things continue to change hour by hour, I would like to issue all of our announcements from today in one piece. We have a lot of information we need to pass to our harness racing horsepeople and obviously avoiding confusion and getting the messages out is my number one priority.   At the moment, we have no other announcements to make for the day.   Woodbine Mohawk Park updates for horsepeople MILTON, March 18, 2020 - In an effort to avoid confusion, Woodbine Mohawk Park has compiled all notices and procedures that have been issued in the last 24 hours. Horsepeople are urged to review all announcements and adhere to all procedures in order to maintain live racing.   QUALIFIERS FOR THURSDAY, MARCH 18 Woodbine Mohawk Park has adjusted the start time and order of qualifiers to limit traffic in the paddock. Qualifiers will begin at 9:30 a.m. with four qualifying races for trotters contested. A one-hour break will commence following the trot qualifiers. At approximately 11 a.m., qualifiers will resume with six qualifying races for pacers. Trotters will race out of the old paddock, while pacers will race out of the new paddock expansion. Training and Schooling is not available on Thursday morning. Only horses qualifying will be permitted on the property. Horsepeople coming to qualify at Woodbine Mohawk Park are reminded to review all paddock procedures listed below.   INCREASED PADDOCK PROCEDURES In order to maintain live racing and follow the best practices for health and safety, Woodbine Entertainment has issued the following updated paddock procedures for Woodbine Mohawk Park. Effective Friday (March 20) and until further notice, post time for Live Racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park will move to 6:40 p.m. Post time for Thursday evening's card of live racing will remain at 7:10 p.m. The following procedures for the paddock at Woodbine Mohawk Park will be implemented until further notice. All horsepeople will be screened upon arrival, with their temperature taken at the stable gate.All trainers should bring only essential employees for live racing, training or qualifying.Unless tending to their horse, owners will not be permitted in the paddock.No one under the age of 16 will be permitted in the paddock. All horses will enter the paddock through the regular entrance.All horses on Lasix will receive their medication in the Old Paddock and then move to Barn 8 until their retention time in the paddock.Races 1 through 5 will race out of the Old Paddock (standing stalls).Races 6 through 10 will race out of the New Paddock (box stalls).Horsepeople are required to adhere to the paddock retention schedule.Please limit foot traffic between the two paddocks.Do not congregate to socialize.Practice social distancing. Text and call within the paddock, versus face to face.Following each race, horsepeople should bath and load their horses as quickly as possible and exit the paddock within 30 minutes. Woodbine thanks our horsepeople for their cooperation during this period and will continue to issue updates regularly. Mark McKelvie

MILTON, March 18, 2020 - Woodbine Mohawk Park would like to issue a reminder and update to all harness racing horsepeople.   All trainers are reminded to bring only essential employees to the racetrack during live racing, training and qualifying. Only owners tending to their horses will be permitted to the paddock. Anyone under the age of 16 will not receive access to enter the paddock.   In order to reduce the traffic in the paddock area, training and schoolers for Thursday morning (March 19) have been cancelled. Only horses entered to qualify will be permitted and will need to be checked in.   Qualifiers begin at 10 a.m.   Training continues to be offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings from 7 a.m. to Noon. Mark McKelvie      

MILTON, ON - March 14, 2020 - Harness racing driver  Doug McNair, the leading driver at Woodbine Mohawk Park, has informed track officials that he will be donating all his earnings from tonight's (March 14) card of racing to the Canadian Red Cross in support of COVID-19 response efforts. McNair would like to invite other horsepeople racing tonight to join him in helping. Any individuals racing tonight that would like to donate should visit the Mohawk Park Race Office to inform the Bookkeeper. McNair is listed to drive in eight of this evening's 10-races. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

TORONTO - In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and in the interest of the safety of customers, employees, horsepeople and the larger community, Woodbine Entertainment announced today that it will be closing Woodbine Mohawk Park and Woodbine Racetrack to the general public for a minimum of two weeks. Preparations to close both facilities to the general public are well underway and will be closed starting tomorrow, Sunday, March 15. Woodbine Entertainment will continue to monitor the situation closely and stay in contact with public health officials to determine when it is safe to fully reopen its operations and facilities to the public. "We strongly believe that closing our racetracks to the public is the right thing to do for the wellbeing of our employees, customers and horsepeople," said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. "We also recognize that we all have a role to play in slowing down the spread of this virus to protect the larger community. We will continue to work closely with public health officials and make decisions that are consistent with health and safety being our highest priority." The decision to close these facilities follows the recommendation of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams for the suspension of all large events and public gatherings due to Covid-19. Woodbine Entertainment's live harness racing at Mohawk Park will continue as scheduled but without spectators and only essential staff, licensed horsepeople and regulators permitted in the facility. As an additional precaution, Woodbine Entertainment is screening all horsepeople entering the paddock, which will also have highly restricted access for licensed personnel only. Plans to open the Thoroughbred season remain scheduled for Saturday, April 18 but are subject to an ongoing assessment of the situation. Currently, the training facilities at Woodbine Racetrack will remain open with screening for all horsepeople entering the backstretch and restricted access to licensed personnel only. Woodbine Entertainment does not operate the casinos in either of its properties. Currently, Elements Casino at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Casino Woodbine at Woodbine Racetrack remain open and any updates will be provided directly from the operators of the casinos. Mark McKelvie

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