March 24, 2020


Good evening,

Considering today’s news that the Government of Ontario is mandating that all non-essential businesses be closed by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th, we are making immediate changes to the Woodbine Backstretch operations effective Tuesday, March 24, at Noon. 

These changes to our backstretch operations (which are described below) also impact our ability to open the 2020 Thoroughbred season on April 18. Until further notice, the start of the 2020 meet will be postponed. Once the Government of Ontario allows non-essential businesses to re-open, training operations at the Woodbine Backstretch will resume and at that time we will determine an appropriate new start date for the 2020 Thoroughbred season.

It goes without saying that these are very uncertain and difficult times. We cannot thank you enough for your support, cooperation and understanding. Please know that we are doing everything we can to be a socially responsible business while also never losing sight of the interests of horsepeople and the entire horse racing industry in the Province.

Please see below for how our backstretch operations will be impacted starting tomorrow.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you and please take care.

Sincerely,  Jim


James J. Lawson

Woodbine Entertainment,

Chief Executive Officer


Updated Woodbine Backstretch Operations (Following consultations with the HBPA)

The essential daily care of the horses will be maintained, as it is on farms throughout Ontario.  The safety and welfare of the horses continues to be of the highest priorities for Woodbine Entertainment and the entire horse person community.

Essential animal care workers will continue to be provided with access to our backstretch under the current screening and safety protocols we have in place today to feed and care for their horses. Essential daily care includes light exercise (jogging and galloping) but does not include workouts.

Training operations, including timed workouts and starting gate operations, will no longer be offered until further notice. The dirt and turf training tracks will be closed.  The Main Track and the Sand Ring will be open daily 5:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

The dormitories will remain open for residents.  The Backstretch Kitchen operations are suspended until further notice.  Essential security personnel will remain on site, along with essential track surface and stall office personnel only.


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