09/04/2003 11:00PM

Woodbine reduces purses


Woodbine Entertainment Group has announced a 3 percent across-the-board cut in purses for Thoroughbred racing effective Sept. 10.

The decrease means the average purse will be $47,550, down from $49,000. The adjustment does not affect stakes races, which will remain at current levels.

"After a number of years of wagering growth, our Thoroughbred wagering appears to have softened and leveled out in 2003," said Hugh Mitchell, Woodbine's senior vice president of racing, in a press release Friday.

"As a result of this Thoroughbred wagering trend and our slot operations being shut down for eight days because of the hydro blackout, a slight purse cut has become necessary."

Woodbine lost the last two races of its Aug. 14 program and the entire Aug. 15 card because of the blackout that affected much of Ontario and areas as distant as New York City. Woodbine's slots casino was among the government-run operations temporarily shut down after the blackout in an energy-conservation move.