There are some races you need to experience at least once in your life; and for me, the Ricoh Woodbine Mile is among them. Woodbine is one of the most fan-friendly racetracks around, the race itself always draws top horses on the road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Toronto is an objectively cool city, and the betting opportunities on WoMile day are fantastic. So if you’re heading to Woodbine for this year’s Mile, we have ten things you need to know before you go.
1. Know who’s running this year.
This year’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile has attracted the attention of some pretty serious horses. While the race doen’t officially have any entries as of this writing – the post position draw is on September 11 – Woodbine’s media office is pretty diligent about sending updates. So far, it looks like the runners are Admiralty, American Guru, Awesometank (GB), El Tormenta, Emmaus (IRE), Got Stormy, Lucullan, Mr Havercamp, Raging Bull (FR), Silent Poet, and Synchrony.
2. This race is a conduit to success in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Want to win the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile? Then you need to run in the Woodbine Mile. In the last ten years, four horses who won the Breeders’ Cup Mile did so after competing in Canada: World Approval (2017), Wise Dan (2012 and 2013), and Court Vision (2011). That’s an incredibly high success rate!
3. There’s a new turf course in town.
If you love grass racing, Woodbine is your paradise. This year, the track added a second turf course to their running surfaces, which means that you get more chances to watch horses compete on the green! That’s a win for turf lovers.
4. Come hungry, because Woodbine’s food is incredible.
Whether you’re eating in a dining room or grabbing a roast beef sandwich in the food court (and, trust me on this: if you eat meat, you’re going to want to grab a roast beef sandwich in the food court. They’re INCREDIBLE!) you’re going to have a good meal at Woodbine. In fact, Woodbine takes their food so seriously that they even have a community garden that provides over 5,000 pounds of fresh produce every year for communities in need. How cool is that?
5. Go exploring in Toronto.
Do it. Toronto is such a beautiful city, and it’s so easy to get from downtown to the track. Take a morning and explore some of the incredible sights on offer in one of Canada’s most iconic locations.
6. Parking and admission at Woodbine are free.
One of the biggest days of racing in Toronto is also one of the most affordable. That’s because Woodbine offers free parking and admission! That means you get to save your pennies for the things that really matter: bets, bites, and booze.
7. The whole weekend of racing is fantastic.
The Woodbine Mile is the crown of the day on Saturday, but it’s not the only big race in Toronto this weekend. Saturday also includes the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes, the Canadian Stakes, and the Bold Venture Stakes. Sunday’s action includes the Summer Stakes and the Natalma Stakes – both of which are Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In events – as well as the Woodbine Cares and the Ontario Racing Stakes.
8. Get a jump on new movies – or just go star-spotting at TIFF.
The Toronto International Film Festival is running through Woodbine Mile weekend, so if you get the chance, go! Here’s the complete schedule of movies that will be showing; but you’re also pretty much guaranteed a celebrity sighting if you’re out and about in downtown Toronto, too!
9. Stop by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame while you’re at Woodbine.
Canada has an incredible legacy of outstanding horses and the people who cared for them; and you can take in that history at Woodbine, since that’s where the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is located. It’s an incredible experience, and it’s located right on the first floor of the building when you walk in. You can take a glance for ten minutes or stay for hours – and it’s free and open to the public. Enjoy.
10. Be a high roller.
Looking for a little extra action once the racing’s over? Then blackjack to slots to table games. It’s also open 24/7, so it’s a great way to end – or extend – your winning day!