Woodbine Racetrack has been a staple of northwestern Toronto since 1956, and is host to some of the most prestigious competitions in the world of Thoroughbred horseracing. It’s a world of fast-paced athletics and complex relationships, a place where the winners take home truckloads of money and the losers keep playing the odds. Whether you’re a gambler or just love the glamour and excitement of the winner’s circle, a visit to Woodbine is an exciting way to spend a weekend afternoon. Thoroughbred Racing Season starts in early April, and continues every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and some Mondays through late November. Post time (the start of the first race) is at 1pm, and the racing day is generally done between five and six pm. There are some night racing events throughout the season, and special events such as the Queen’s Plate and the Sovereign Awards carry their own agenda. Check here for details on the racing schedule.
With the budding handicapper in mind, here’s a few great tips to help you enjoy a day at the track, and maybe even break even on your wagers:
First, get a group together and call Airlift Limo to take you there. Airlift Limo’s fleet includes luxury sedans and stretch limos that can transport your entire group in high style! It’s just like having your own private driver: call for a pickup anywhere in the Mississauga or Toronto area by using their mobile app – just click here, enter your information and you’re as good as on your way.
While you’re waiting for your ride, make a reservation for the Favorites Dining Room, where you’ll be able to enjoy your afternoon of racing in comfort, and order from their extensive menu while you enjoy the excitement from the comfort of your table. The Dining Room allows you to enjoy racing action in rain or shine, and you’ll be able to bet any track that’s racing, anywhere in North America. While the Favourites Dining Room does accept walk-ins, you will pay a premium over the reservation price, so thinking ahead is highly recommended.
When you arrive at the track, get yourself a racing form and take a look at the stats for each race. If you’re new to racing, take some time to look over the glossary of terms to see what the abbreviations and symbols mean. The racing form will not only tell you the lineup for each race, but will give you in-depth information on each horse’s age, gender, recent and all-time performance, the jockey’s stats, who the trainer is, who owns the horse, and whether it horse has been placed on any medication or not. This is a significant factor, in that when a horse is prescribed a medicine for the first time, it may just run a little bit faster. A quick tip here – look for a capital L with a circle around it. This indicates the horse is on the drug Lasix for the first time. Lasix is a diuretic, or water pill, and when administered for the first time can significantly reduce inflammation and swelling of the horse’s joints and they might just feel like they can fly! Factor this in to other parameters – like the odds, which are subject to change right up to post time – and you might just have a shot at winning your dinner money.
Some handicappers like to place their bets for every race at once, but often it’s a good idea to wait and see how the horses look when they parade, just prior to the race. Plus, anything could happen, right up until the moment the starting gates fly open. Taking it race by race adds to the excitement, assessing the odds as they change, and making determinations based on who looks good to you each time.
Racing and handicapping terminology can be intricate, but the basics are as follows: you can bet to win, place or show. When you bet to ‘Win’ you are betting that your horse will come in first, and will only get paid out if he wins. ‘Place’ means that you will win if your horse comes in first or second, but if the horse you bet to ‘place’ comes in first, your winnings will not be as good as if you had bet him to win. However, if you bet to win, and the horse places, you get nothing. When you bet a horse to ‘Show’ you will collect if the horse comes in first, second or third. Again, the odds are considered a bit safer, so the payout will not be as substantial. An Exacta, or Exactor, is when you choose the horses you think will come in first and second. To increase your odds of winning, you can ‘box’ that bet, so either combination will be a winner. A Triactor, or Trifecta, is when you choose the first, second and third place horse. You can also ‘box’ a Triactor to cover all the combos. If you’re feeling really good about your chances, try a pick four: choose the winners of four consecutive races for a chance to win up to two hundred thousand dollars!
Above all, have fun when you’re at the track. It’s an interesting and eclectic place to spend an afternoon, and you’ll see people from all walks of life. From the old guard to the very well-to-do, from blue collar to the most powerful businessmen and women in the world, you’ll see them all at Woodbine. Whether you prefer to mix and mingle with the upper crust at the private members-only Woodbine Club, or get your hands dirty down at trackside, a day at Woodbine is filled with the sights, sounds, smells and excitement of one of the world’s oldest pastimes. Enjoyed by royals and commoners alike, there’s one thing that everybody agrees on: the horses are truly the stars of the show. Their grace, beauty and power are as timeless as the sport itself. So, get your friends together and plan a day at Woodbine Racetrack, it’s a day trip destination right in your own backyard, and Airlift Limo is standing by, ready to take you there.