The Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes is Saturday, Sept. 15 at Toronto’s beautiful Woodbine Racetrack. If you’re planning to head to Woodbine’s premier day of racing, here’s what you need to know before you go.
1. The road to the Breeders’ Cup Mile runs directly through Woodbine.
Want to watch this year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile winner? There’s a good chance you’ll see that horse this weekend. World Approval, Wise Dan (twice!), and Court Vision have all run in the Woodbine Mile and won the Breeders’ Cup Mile since 2010. Seriously, this race is a crucial stop on the way to a victory at the World Championships.
2. The field is stacked.
This year’s Woodbine Mile is going to be a doozy: U.S.-based stars Good Samaritan, Delta Prince, Divisidero, and La Sardane headline the field; and they’re facing the likes of local heroes Mr Havercamp and Vanish, as well as international runners Stormy Antarctic and Lord Glitters.
3. There’s a filly taking on the boys.
Speaking of La Sardane, she’s the lone female horse in the race. Don’t let that count against her in your bets, though: she’s a powerhouse, and she’s finished in the money (first, second, or third) in nine of her 12 lifetime races.
4. Woodbine also fosters future stars.
Do you love Wonder Gadot? Me, too! And you may have been among the first to fall in love with her if you watched last year’s Natalma Stakes on Woodbine Mile weekend.
5. Want to bet? Woodbine offers plenty of help.
If you want to bet the Ricoh Woodbine Mile but want some help from pros, there’s a betting seminar at the track just for you! Larry Simpson and his colleagues from 2minutes2post will hold a seminar starting at noon. Feeling confident? Then, consider entering the horseplayers’ tournament with more than $82,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs.
6. Meet the jockeys.
Have you always wanted to meet the human athletes in horse racing? Be sure to go to the jockey meet and greet from 12:15 - 12:45 p.m. ET on the second floor.
7. Get ready to do some star spotting over the weekend.
Want a selfie with the Chris of your choosing? (Hemsworth, Pine, Evans, or Pratt) How about Lady Gaga? All of this is on the table this weekend, because Woodbine Mile overlaps with the Toronto Film Festival. Be sure to budget some time to head downtown over the weekend to see the celeb of your choosing!
8. The food is so, so good at Woodbine.
Oh, Woodbine. I love your food so much. From farm-fresh gourmet selections in the Woodbine Club to the track’s iconic roast beef sandwich, dining at Woodbine is better than pretty much any other sports venue I’ve been to. Come hungry, because there’s not a bad option at the track.
9. Woodbine gives back.
There are a million reasons I love going to Woodbine, but one of my favorite things about the racetrack is how invested it is in the community. For example, did you know that Woodbine has its own garden that provides more than 5,000 pounds of fresh produce to people in need? It’s a wonderful part of Woodbine that I really admire.
10. You need to know Gator Kitten.
If you’re new to Woodbine, the most important social media follow this week is Gator Kitten. The sassy (former) stray kitty is the star of the north, offering sage wisdom to his loyal fans and whips to anyone who crosses him. He’s also a proud horse owner (really!) and even got to meet 2016 Woodbine Mile winner Tepin after her historic win.