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Greenwood Raceway

File:Greenwood Betting.jpg
Greenwood Off Track Wagering was erected to replace the raceway

Greenwood Raceway is a defunct horse racing facility in Toronto.

Inaugurated in 1874 as Woodbine Race Course at the foot of Woodbine Avenue and Lake Ontario, it was owned and operated by two gentlemen named Pardee and Howell. Within a few years financial problems resulted in the property reverting to Joseph Duggan, the original land owner. In the early 1880s Duggan founded the Ontario Jockey Club (OJC). The facility hosted seasonal harness racing for Standardbred horses and flat racing events for Thoroughbreds.

Harness racing dates were transferred from Thorncliffe Park Raceway to Old Woodbine to fill the gap between the spring and fall thoroughbred meets, and the track was known as Greenwood Raceway during the harness meet. The track was at the junction of Kingston Road and Queen Street East, with only a narrow strip of land between it and Lake Ontario.

Thoroughbred racing continued at Old Woodbine on a shortened six furlong (1,207 m) track. Old Woodbine later was renamed Greenwood Race Track.

Harness races were at first conducted on the thoroughbred track, but serious problems with mud (including the starting gate being immobilized) led to the construction of a five-furlong (1006 m) stone dust harness track inside the thoroughbred track. This track was known for its tight turns and long back and homestretches.

In the early 1950s, the Ontario Jockey Club, led by directors E. P. Taylor, George C. Hendrie and J. E. Frowde Seagram, undertook an acquisition and consolidation program for southern Ontario racing. By 1956, the OJC operated just three facilities consisting of the Fort Erie Racetrack in Fort Erie, Ontario and two facilities in Toronto. The Woodbine Race Course was completely renovated and renamed Greenwood Raceway. It held both harness racing and thoroughbred racing meets until its closure in late 1993. A new facility for Thoroughbred horse races was constructed in Toronto, and given the name Woodbine Racetrack.

Greenwood Raceway was the site of the Canadian Pacing Derby, the North America Cup, the Fan Hanover Stakes, the Maple Leaf Trot, and the Canadian Trotting Classic.

In 1994 both the thoroughbred and harness operations were moved to Woodbine. Greenwood was demolished and replaced by residential and commercial development, including a betting parlour. To commemorate the history of the site, two of the new residential roadways were given names that reflected horse racing themes: Northern Dancer Blvd. (in honour of the famous thoroughbred Northern Dancer) and Winners Circle—a street which, paradoxically, runs in a straight line.

References

Coordinates: 43°39′59″N 79°18′47″W / 43.666270°N 79.313036°W / 43.666270; -79.313036 Steeplechase races were held at Woodbine/Greenwood for a few years; There was a thoroughbred race announcer by the name of Foster "Buck" dryden for several years. A horse by the name of Last Mark, owned by James G. Fair of Cainsville, Ontario won the "Plate" in 1948, setting a new Plate record and only being equalled once, before the track was decommissioned. R.J. Speers' horse, Lord Fairmond came 2nd in that Plate race. Fair had 2 horses in that Plate which never ran in the Plate Trials but worked out between the 2 divisions of the "Trials". Their times were faster than the times of either of the trial divisions.



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