Canada Horse Racing Tracks

Introduction to Canada Horse Racing Tracks

Horse racing has been a popular sport in Canada for centuries. From its humble beginnings to the thriving industry it is today, horse racing holds a special place in Canadian culture. In this article, we will explore the history of horse racing in Canada, highlight some of the popular horse racing tracks across the country, discuss notable horse races, delve into the horse racing industry’s impact, and touch upon the challenges and future of this beloved sport.

Canada Horse Racing Tracks

a comparisons table Canada Horse Racing Tracks

Woodbine RacetrackFort Erie RacetrackMohawk Racetrack
LocationToronto, OntarioFort Erie, OntarioCampbellville, Ontario
Surface TypePolytrack (All-Weather)DirtStandardbred Track
Racing SeasonApril to DecemberMay to OctoberYear-round
Track Length1 mile (1.6 km)5/8 mile (1 km)7/8 mile (1.4 km)
Major RacesQueen’s Plate, Canadian International StakesPrince of Wales Stakes, Bustling Berry HandicapBreeders Crown, North America Cup
Betting OptionsWin, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, SuperfectaWin, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, SuperfectaWin, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta
AmenitiesRestaurants, Bars, Event Spaces, Simulcast FacilitiesRestaurants, Bars, Picnic AreaRestaurants, Bars, Simulcast Facilities
Notable FeaturesMulti-level Grandstand, E.P. Taylor Turf CourseHistoric Racetrack, Lake Erie view5/8 mile harness racing track, Mohawk Million race
Signature EventQueen’s Plate (first leg of Canadian Triple Crown)Prince of Wales Stakes (second leg of Canadian Triple Crown)Breeders Crown (prestigious harness racing championship)

Note: The information provided is accurate as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021. Please verify the details with the respective racetracks for the most up-to-date information.

History of Horse Racing in Canada

Early Beginnings

The roots of horse racing in Canada can be traced back to the early 19th century when settlers brought their love for horse racing from Europe. The first recorded horse race took place in 1767 in Quebec City, making it one of the oldest sporting events in the country. Over the years, horse racing gained momentum and became a significant part of Canadian society.

Growth and Development

As Canada grew and expanded, so did the horse racing industry. The establishment of dedicated racetracks and the introduction of thoroughbred racing brought more structure to the sport. With the support of passionate enthusiasts, horse racing gained popularity, attracting large crowds to witness the exhilarating races.

Popular Horse Racing Tracks in Canada

Canada Horse Racing Tracks

Woodbine Racetrack

Woodbine Racetrack, located in Toronto, Ontario, is one of the most prominent horse racing tracks in Canada. It is home to the Queen’s Plate, the oldest continuously run horse race in North America. With its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class events, Woodbine Racetrack offers an unparalleled horse racing experience.

Fort Erie Racetrack

Nestled in Fort Erie, Ontario, the Fort Erie Racetrack has a rich history dating back to 1897. This picturesque track provides an idyllic setting for horse racing enthusiasts. Known for its exciting atmosphere and thrilling races, Fort Erie Racetrack is a beloved destination for both locals and visitors.

Hastings Racecourse

Situated in Vancouver, British Columbia, Hastings Racecourse showcases breathtaking views of the North Shore Mountains while offering thrilling horse racing action. With its well-maintained track and passionate racing community, Hastings Racecourse is a must-visit location for horse racing aficionados.

Assiniboia Downs

Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Assiniboia Downs has been a hub for horse racing in Western Canada since 1958. The track’s lively atmosphere, top-quality races, and engaging events make it a favorite among horse racing enthusiasts in the region.

Notable Horse Races in Canada

Queen’s Plate

The Queen’s Plate, held annually at Woodbine Racetrack, is Canada’s most prestigious horse race. Dating back to 1860, it is the oldest continuously run race in North America. This iconic event showcases the finest thoroughbred horses competing for glory and the coveted Queen’s Plate trophy.

Breeders’ Stakes

Part of the Canadian Triple Crown series, the Breeders’ Stakes is a turf race held at Woodbine Racetrack. It tests the stamina and skill of three-year-old thoroughbreds, making it a thrilling event for both spectators and bettors.

Canadian Derby

Taking place at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta, the Canadian Derby is a historic race that attracts top horses from across the country. This high-stakes event draws a large crowd and adds excitement to the Canadian horse racing calendar.

Prince of Wales Stakes

As the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales Stakes unfolds at the Fort Erie Racetrack. This race brings together the best three-year-old Canadian-bred horses, showcasing their speed and talent.

Canada’s Horse Racing Industry

Economic Impact

The horse racing industry contributes significantly to Canada’s economy. It generates revenue through betting, ticket sales, and various ancillary services, supporting local businesses and creating employment opportunities.

Horse Breeding and Training

Canada’s horse racing industry plays a vital role in horse breeding and training. The demand for well-bred horses fuels the growth of breeding farms and training centers, nurturing a sustainable ecosystem for the sport.

Employment Opportunities

Horse racing provides employment opportunities for thousands of people across the country. From jockeys and trainers to grooms and administrative staff, the industry offers a diverse range of jobs.

Challenges and Future of Horse Racing

Canada Horse Racing Tracks

Competition from Online Betting

With the rise of online betting platforms, horse racing faces stiff competition for the attention and wagering dollars of potential bettors. The industry must adapt and embrace technological advancements to stay relevant and attract new audiences.

Aging Infrastructure

Many horse racing tracks in Canada face challenges associated with aging infrastructure. To maintain the quality of racing facilities, investments in renovations and upgrades are crucial to ensure a sustainable future for the sport.

Attracting Younger Audiences

To secure the future of horse racing, it is essential to attract younger audiences. By incorporating innovative marketing strategies and creating engaging experiences, the industry can captivate the interest of the next generation.


  1. Can anyone attend horse races at these tracks?
    • Yes, horse races at these tracks are open to the public, and spectators can enjoy the races by purchasing tickets.
  2. Are there age restrictions for attending horse races?
    • Age restrictions may apply depending on the track’s policies and the type of event. Some races may have a minimum age requirement, usually 18 years or older.
  3. Can I bet on horse races at these tracks?
    • Yes, these tracks offer betting facilities where spectators can place wagers on the races. However, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of betting before participating.
  4. Are there any special events or festivals associated with horse racing in Canada?
    • Yes, horse racing tracks often host special events and festivals that coincide with major races. These events may include live music, food festivals, and family-friendly activities.
  5. Can I visit the stables and meet the horses at these tracks?
    • Access to stables and meeting the horses may vary depending on the track’s policies. Some tracks offer guided tours and behind-the-scenes experiences, providing an opportunity to interact with these majestic animals.


Canada’s horse racing tracks embody a rich history, showcasing the passion and dedication of all those involved in the sport. From the exhilarating races at Woodbine Racetrack to the scenic backdrop of Hastings Racecourse, each track offers a unique experience. As the industry faces challenges, it must embrace change while preserving the legacy and tradition that make horse racing an integral part of Canadian culture.

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