Article published on 12 January 2011

Woodbine Group Seeks to Pay Every Harness Race Entry

All harness racing entries to be paid at Woodbine
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Canada's Woodbine Entertainment Group, which owns and operates Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville and Woodbine Racecourse in Toronto, is seeking to punt harness racing by paying every horse that runs.

Woodbine Entertainment Group has reportedly approached the Ontario Racing Commission for approval regarding a four-month pilot project that will see every horse in a harness race that finishes out of the top five being paid $300.

Traditionally, only the top five finishers in a harness race are paid out - the winner receiving 50 per cent, second place 25 per cent, third place 12 per cent, fourth place eight per cent and fifth place five per cent of the total purse for a race.

According to the Woodbine Entertainment Group, while the $300 payday will not be added to a horse's official earnings, it is designed to attract more owners to take part in harness racing to both bolster the fields and betting interest.

Said Woodbine VP of standardbred racing Bruce Murray, 'There's no stabling at Woodbine for standardbreds. So there's significant costs incurred to horses by shipping them in. We believe it would be an incentive for people to enter.

'The $300 offsets the costs incurred of racing a horse and we certainly hope it helps fill our entry box,' he said. 'But I don't believe anyone's going to ship from London because they know they're going to get $300 to race at Woodbine.'

Current purse levels will not have to be adjusted to accommodate the project thanks to money left over in Woodbine's purse pool from 2010. If green lit, the project will run for the duration of the harness meet at Woodbine Racecourse before resuming at Mohawk Racecourse in the middle of May this year.
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