12/20/2012 12:55PM

Woodbine daily average handle jumps 13 percent as U.S. betting increases

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Woodbine Entertainment Group has reported an all-sources wagering total of $453,865,564 for the 156-day Thoroughbred meeting which ended last Sunday, up 7.2 percent over the $423,209,365 wagered on the 165 dates offered in 2011.

The daily average handle from all sources this year was $2,909,394, a 13.4 percent hike from last year’s $2,564,905.

It is the fourth consecutive year of handle increases on the Thoroughbred season as wagering rose 7.5 percent in 2011 over 2010, 8.9 percent in 2010 over 2009, and 7 percent in 2009 over 2008. All-sources wagering on Woodbine’s Thoroughbred product is up more than 34 percent since 2008.

Wagering in WEG’s home market held relatively steady, slipping 1.6 percent per card. The gains primarily came from international exports, including another significant market share increase from the U.S. outlets.

“We’re seeing legitimate interest in our racing programs in Toronto, across the country and internationally,” said Nick Eaves, WEG’s president and chief executive officer, in a press release.

“We’re proud of the quality of our racing product and the positive momentum that we are experiencing with it. We are very thankful for the support and loyalty from our horse people and our increasing fan base, particularly in these challenging times.”

In February 2012, the Ontario government announced the abrupt cancellation of the slots-at-racetracks program, which has played an important role in the recent success of Woodbine’s racing product and the economic impacts it has generated.

“While we are pleased with the results of our 2012 Thoroughbred racing season, we are extremely concerned about the lack of certainty which exists for 2013,” said Eaves. “The continued success of Woodbine’s live racing program and the significant employment and economic impacts which come with it are dependent on a new partnership between the industry and the Province of Ontario.

“We remain optimistic that such a new arrangement can be achieved. We continue to work with the government toward this end and hope to be able to provide the necessary certainty soon for all stakeholders in the province.”

Contreras and Casse repeat

On the racetrack, Luis Contreras repeated as leading rider in races won with 195 and money-won with $9.3 million.

Patrick Husbands was next with 167 wins and $9.1 million and led in stakes wins with 21. Eurico Rosa da Silva rounded out the top three with 160 wins and $8.1 million. His 17 stakes wins were good for a second-place tie with Contreras.

Mark Casse topped the trainer standings for the sixth straight year with 94 wins, purses of $6.86 million, and a meet-leading 20 stakes.

Reade Baker was the runner-up with 63 wins and $3.6 million, and Bob Tiller ended third with 48 wins and $2.7 million.

John Oxley was the leading owner in money won with $2.5 million and second in races won with 26.

Danny Dion’s Bear Stable three-peated as leading owner in races won with 45 and was second in money won with just under $2 million.

Sam-Son Farm was third in money won with $1.76 million and Chiefswood Stable was third in races won with 24.

Consolidator Joe, Gentleman Jackson, and Hold That Echo each won five races to share top spot in that category.