Skip to main content

Horse Racing is Back on Track & First Major Sport to Return in Canada

June 1, 2020




Dark Horse Launches as Innovative App to Engage Fans Across Canada

MILTON and TORONTO, ON – June 1, 2020 — Woodbine Entertainment is excited to officially announce that horse racing is back on track at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Woodbine Racetrack starting this weekend, making it the first major sport to return to live competition in Canada. To provide fans with an added way to engage with the sport while it operates without spectators, Woodbine Entertainment also announced it has launched a new innovative app called Dark Horse.

“The horse racing industry supports tens of thousands of jobs throughout our province, making the return of live racing this weekend very meaningful for a lot of people,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment.  “We have spent a significant amount of time and resources developing and implementing physical distancing protocols to protect against the spread of COVID-19. While we take great pride in being the first pro sport back competing in Canada, we also recognize that comes with a big responsibility. We are absolutely committed to operating our live racing with safety as the highest priority.”

Standardbred racing at Mohawk Park in Milton, Ontario resumes on Friday, June 5 at 7 p.m. and run its normal summer schedule with live racing on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.  Mohawk Park’s harness racing season was suspended on March 19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 Thoroughbred meet will open at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario on Saturday, June 6 at 1 p.m. The Thoroughbred schedule will run regularly four days a week, shifting to Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday*. All post times will be 1 p.m. except for Thursdays where post time will be 3:45 p.m. The 2020 Thoroughbred meet was originally scheduled to open on April 18 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both venues will continue to be closed to spectators and media due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government regulations. Woodbine Entertainment has implemented strict physical distancing protocols at both racetracks to reduce the risk associated with the spread of COVID-19. Access to both racetracks is limited to essential personnel only.

Woodbine Entertainment has been safely operating its backstretch at Woodbine Racetrack as an essential service for the care and stabling of upwards of 1,400 racehorses during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also safely ran two nights of Standardbred racing at Mohawk Park with physical distancing protocols in place and without spectators before the Ontario Government closed non-essential businesses.


To complement the return of racing without spectators, Woodbine Entertainment also announced the launch of Dark Horse, an innovative App for horse racing that was built with the sports bettor in mind and is suitable for the first-time bettor or the experienced horse player. Using Artificial Intelligence, Dark Horse provides users with insights and strategies to help make smarter bets straight out of the gate. Dark Horse, the first legal sports betting app in Canada, also allows users to stream the races right in the App for immediate action. Users can play for free or bet with real money.

“Dark Horse is the perfect horse racing betting app for any sports bettor who is looking for some action,” Chris Lush, Senior Vice President, IT, Wagering and Distribution, Woodbine Entertainment. “The app was created with the sports bettor in mind and uses a simplified user experience and artificial intelligence to make it easy for new players to engage with the sport of horse racing.”

Dark Horse is now available in the Apple App Store and can be downloaded on other devices by visiting  Dark Horse is being launched across Canada and is currently available in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Availability in other provinces and territories to follow.

*The Thoroughbred racing in the second week will run Thursday, Saturday and Sunday with the opening of the stakes calendar on the weekend.

Share This: