TORONTO — Woodbine Racetrack is adding a second grass course.
Jim Lawson, Woodbine's chief executive officer, made the announcement Wednesday during the draw for the $1-million Queen's Plate. Construction on a seven-furlong turf course is scheduled to begin next year and be ready for racing in 2019.
The second turf track will complement the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, which annually stages the Breeders' Stakes — the third jewel of Canada's Triple Crown — Ricoh Woodbine Mile and Pattison Canadian International at the Toronto oval.
Last month, Lawson unveiled Woodbine's plan to invest $10 million into Mohawk Racetrack to winterize the facility and allow standardbred horses to run there year-round on a full-time basis starting in 2018. Construction is scheduled to begin there this fall.
The Mohawk announcement prompted speculation the harness track at Woodbine would be converted into a second turf course there.
"It's to attract more horses to the site," Lawson said Wednesday. "Our customers like to bet on grass races more than Tapeta (Woodbine's artificial surface).
"It's an exciting time for us (Woodbine) and thoroughbred racing in Ontario."
The Canadian Press