01/08/2002 1:00AM

Woodbine hits record handle

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TORONTO - Woodbine Entertainment Group has reported a record handle of $1.35 billion in 2001, an increase of 11 percent from 2000, which was the previous record year.

Woodbine Entertainment Group, formerly known as the Ontario Jockey Club, operates Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto and Mohawk Raceway in nearby Campbellville, Ontario. Woodbine hosted 165 days of live Thoroughbred racing plus 100 days of Standardbred racing, while Mohawk hosted 157 days of Standardbred racing in 2001.

"It was an excellent year for horse racing conducted by our company," said David Willmot, Woodbine's president and CEO, in a press release Tuesday.

Woodbine Entertainment reported significant increases in wagering on its products in markets outside the Toronto area.

Wagering in the United States on the company's Standardbred product increased by 54 percent over 2000, to $152 million. U.S. wagering on the company's Thoroughbred product also increased by more than 50 percent, to $122 million.

In total, wagering on Woodbine Entertainment products from outside the Toronto area exceeded $470 million. Average daily wagering from all sources on Woodbine's Thoroughbred racing was just more than $2 million, up 14 percent from 2000. Average daily wagering from all sources on Woodbine-Mohawk's Standardbred racing was $1.65 million, up 15 percent from the previous year.