Woodbine Entertainment has announced they will host a Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Woodbine Racetrack, which is located in a ‘hot spot’, beginning on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 10 a.m. for the Rexdale Community.

The vaccine clinic, which is supported by the North Etobicoke Community Cluster Partners, will operate for a minimum of three days and is open to individuals 18 years and older in 2021 and living in ‘hot spot’ communities in M9V and M9W.

“We are very proud and grateful to be able to host this much needed pop-up clinic at Woodbine Racetrack for the Rexdale community,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. “We look forward to working with our community partners over the coming days to deliver a positive experience that will benefit people throughout Rexdale.”

The Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic will also be open to frontline essential workers who provide daily care to the horses stabled at Woodbine Racetrack.

“These workers are critical to the wellbeing of more than 1,000 horses and obviously cannot work from home. Many of them live in dormitories on our property and in the surrounding areas,” said Lawson.

Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

Wednesday, May 5 through Friday, May 7
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (or until vaccine supply runs out (2,400 vaccines per day))
Woodbine Racetrack
555 Rexdale Blvd, Etobicoke, ON M9W 5L2
(Rexdale Blvd & Hwy 27) – Gate 10

Free Parking Available

  • Open to adults 18 years of age and older who live in M9V and M9W
  • Essential Frontline Workers who work on the Woodbine Backstretch
  • Drop-in only. No appointments required.
  • Individuals who do not live in the above postal codes will be turned away to ensure there are enough vaccines for local residents.
  • Please bring your health card and proof of address, such as driver’s license or piece of mail. (You do not have to have a health card or OHIP to get vaccinated)
  • All residents and volunteers will be required to wear a face mask and follow all COVID-19 Prevention Protocols while on property.

More than 480 horses had workouts on the main track at Woodbine on May 1 and 2 as horsepeople enter the third month of being at the track awaiting racing to begin. Ontario’s COVID-19 numbers have been off the charts, moreso than ever since the pandemic dropped on the world in March 2020.

Woodbine’s season was scheduled to begin April 17, so some seven cards of racing have been lost from the 2021 meeting.

Monday, May 3, Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver, BC, will quietly open for racing. There will be little media coverage as that track will keep a low profile to start its season.  Some 25-30,000 people in horse racing in Ontario have been well aware that racing is ongoing around the world and at the May 1 Kentucky Derby there were 51,000 fans.

Ontario horse racing people in three breeds – Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter Horse – have been frustrated at not beginning to race since the people training the horses in the morning are the ones taking them over for races.

The majority of Thoroughbreds at Woodbine have not raced since November when the provincial government and health officials imposed a lockdown and forced the track to lost its final 12 days of the season, devastating for thousands of owners, trainers, grooms and jockeys.

Currently, Ontario is in a ‘Stay at Home’ order which is set to end May 20 unless Premier Doug Ford and health officials extend the order. However, as Premier Ford predicted, just about 40% of the province have had their first COVID-19 vaccine.

A recent Covid outbreak at Woodbine appears to have been controlled. This vaccine clinic at Woodbine will help the backstretch people get protected and hopefully help racing to get the green light by or soon after May 20.

With owners paying a day rate on their horses in training and no chance at income from racing, stables have been sending their horses elsewhere to race. Smaller barns where trainers own shares of their own horses are also paying for feed and bedding and staff and cannot keep that up for much longer.