"Miles" of International Fun!
The hustle and bustle around Woodbine Mile day got a little more exciting knowing that for the first time BetAmerica VIPs would be heading international for a day of racing at Woodbine Entertainment!!! Having never been there myself I was nervous and excited for the trip.
We came by plane, train and automobile descending upon Toronto with interest. It’s funny because I assumed that Canada would be similar to the US due to its proximity and my memory from a trip to Whistler about 15 years ago. But from the minute we touched down you could feel you were in another country. It was a very weird feeling for some reason. I guess when I head to Europe and Asia and Australia I always expected a difference and here I wasn’t. But there was a marked difference that was evident in the attitudes, food, drinks, descriptions, people….everything.
So after a long day of travel Our group assembled in the lobby of our hotel for the VERY short ride to Woodbine. I was unaware that Woodbine is pretty much adjacent to the airport! So we piled into our Ubers and made way to the track. Surprisingly for a big day of racing there were no crowds of people, no lines to wait in. Since there is a casino there, there were no ticket takers or anything. We just made our way up from the ground , through the casino to the Woodbine Club. Lucky for us one of the VIPs had been to Woodbine before and he was ble to lead the way!
What we encountered when we stepped off the elevator was a food spread unlike one I have seen in the US. Generally our events end up being buffets set up with salad, meat, fish, a side or two and a dessert. Woodbine rivalled Dubai in the spread they laid out. I have added photos of the tables upon tables of breads, breakfasts, meats, cheeses, sauces, dips, dishes, sides…...it was incredible.
After wiping up our drool, we made our way to our suite which had unobstructed views of the track, right at the wire with not only our tables but an outdoor viewing area as well! We settled in, tucked in and got to handicapping!
After harassing poor JC our waiter, scaring off the “how to bet” helpers and demolishing the buffet we decided to play the All Turf Pick 5 as a group. We had several TVs at our disposal and we were able to play Woodbine, Churchill, Belmont and Los Al all day long which was great.
Since it was a long raceday we broke up the eating and the gambling with a little “sightseeing”. On the ground floor is a bronze statue of Northern Dancer that we went to check out. It was very cool and I love things like that. I couldn’t help but climb on for a photo op! I tried to get some of the guys to get on but they were not accomplished riders and declined. We also got to visit the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame which is located under the grandstands. It covers both flat and harness racing and was very cool. There were some trophies, a buggy, scales, tons of literature, stories and plaques. There were very cool old posters and lots of prints of the Queen!
If you have been on a VIP trip you know we love to do a group ticket. We frequently win but we never seem to make money. I am happy to report that not only did we hit the pick5 BUT WE DOUBLED OUR MONEY! Which was very exciting. Special shout out to Dave who came through with the longshot we needed for the payout to mean anything.
Woodbine is unique in that the turf course is outside of the main track. That gives you the most incredible view of the turfers that we don’t usually get to see. The Woodbine apron area also ends right at the track so you can all but lean over the grass. Very cool and if you are visiting I recommend a walk down to the finish line area.
To finish out the race card, we chucked together a syndicate to play the super high 5. And we CAME SO CLOSE!!!! It was thrilling and we all thought (at least I did...I think Peter did too) we were going to go home with our share of the million plus. We hung around a little longer and then our group trooped down to the casino to cash in our free wager Woodbine gave us. 30 min was more than enough time for all of us to lose and call it a night. From there our group split ways. We had some big harness players in attendance and they wanted to make the jaunt to Mohawk for a big stakes card, some of us were ready for dinner and some to kick off their heels and relax. We bid adieu with smiles on our faces.
Some things we learned about Canada:
- You can’t drink until 11. Even on the flights.
- You can’t wager in US dollars
- Casino employees will not give recommendations for dinner
- Uber drivers are not governed by the rules of common sense
- Its OK to ride statues
- You need to use CNN.com to log onto your BetAmerica account
- The trees you see on TV around Woodbine are backed up by a massive downtown not greenspace
- Its against the law to have more than 3oz of liquor in a drink
Check out Michelle's future trips for VIPs!
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Little Brown Jug
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