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Published: May 1, 2012 3:02 pm ET

Last Comment: May 3, 2012 5:45 pm ET | 15 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The evening of Monday, April 30, OHRIA and Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) co-sponsored an Industry Information Reception at Queen's Park in Toronto.

Attended by 58 of Ontario's MPPs, plus some staff, the reception provided OHRIA and WEG the opportunity to personally interact with the members. The evening's focus was to educate and inform the MPPs about the business model of the horse racing and breeding industry.

"This open house was an opportunity to have meaningful discussions with several of the MPPs in an environment designed to tell them about the critical contribution horse racing and breeding made to the Provincial economy," said OHRIA President, Sue Leslie, who participated in the event along with other OHRIA Directors and Executives from Woodbine Entertainment Group. "The feedback from the members was very positive and they appreciated receiving accurate data on our industry and how it operates."

Educational posters were used to illustrate how the industry functions and to initiate open dialogue. Members were provided with a full briefing package to take away which also included a DVD to provide visual information on the industry. The high number of MPPs in attendance demonstrates OHRIA's messaging has been effective.

Thank you to all those who participated in the event, as well as a special thanks to Woodbine Entertainment Group for coordinating and facilitating the event.


May 3, 2012 - 5:45 pmTara Benson Employee at

Tara Benson SAID...

Tara Benson
Employee at Windsor 40 years

Our on-site handle for Sunday April 29th was

ON SITE $51,000
INTER-TRACK $343,000.
TOTAL $394,000.

In the Slot Parlour the line-ups did not end all evening and it would be interesting to know what their totals were for that day. I would surmize in the whole of the track and slot area more than a million dollars was handled. That is why I cannot fathom why this has happened at Windsor Raceway. I have heard it was to save Caesars, most of these poeple will not go to Caesars. It was so accessible for older people and the Valet people were so good helping these people into the building. Today the private members bill was voted on. I hope it passed and I want to thank Monte McNaughton.

May 3, 2012 - 9:39 amJamie Higgs I agree with Joe

Jamie Higgs SAID...

Jamie Higgs

I agree with Joe Riga. A one year window does not give the breeders or the industry as a whole to regroup and create a whole new way of doing business for the industry to thrive and survive. The stories that are out there where foals are being destroyed is very concerning and hopefully not true. A 5 year plan would allow enough time for all parties to create a new business plan and allow these foals where their value is preticated on the purse money and stake money to go through their 3 year old stake cycle.

May 2, 2012 - 10:52 pmI have a concern with the

Karen Duck SAID...

I have a concern with the fact that I can't seem to find our 51 Year Old
Ontario Harness Horsemen's Association listed anywhere in the OHRIA LINKS section of the website. As a Third Generation Horsewoman in this game I find that very upsetting. I can remember my Father taking great pride in displaying his membership sticker on his truck windshield with every new membership year, and he was a member from day 1. So just why is it that OHHA is not included in this UNIFIED front?

May 2, 2012 - 4:01 pmI need to clarify my

I need to clarify my statement! I said there was 7-8 MPPs at the reception! I meant 7-8 liberal MPPs. In total there was probably 25-30 MPPs from all the parties! It was the conservatives and ndps who said they supported us. The liberals were quite silent!!! Sorry the confusion!!! JJ

May 2, 2012 - 1:51 pmwere OHHA and perhaps other

Ted Decker SAID...

were OHHA and perhaps other racetrack executives not invited to the presentation.OHRIA and WEG are not the only organizations affected.

May 2, 2012 - 12:01 pmPerhaps Brian Tropea should

Lynne Magee SAID...

Perhaps Brian Tropea should be on this committee with Sue Leslie seeing as he has a pretty good idea on the rural horse racing situation. It's all well and good to have Bill O'Donnell representing WEG but the rest of us need representation at the table as well. How about someone from each of the horse groups?

May 2, 2012 - 11:33 amFirst off let me say that I

Joe Riga SAID...

First off let me say that I have been involved in racing as a fan, bettor and even an owner for the last 35 years or so. I work for a large investment firm downtow but I have a pssion for horse racing. While I have generally lost interest in the harness racing side of things in Ontarion for several reasons (I still love the Meadowlands racing) I still enjoy the thoroughbreds and watch and wager regularly. Yes I do agree that a partnership (admittedly a perhaps legal partnership)existed between racing and the government it does not require a stretch of thought to anticiapte that partnerships often fail, are disolved and discontinued by one or several members of the partnership. In this case the government decided to do that though I will not comment on the legality of it since I do not know the legal details of the arrangement. I am sure the tracks could've chosen to discontinue the partnership had they deemed it to not be in their best interests. The real problem here is that in choosing to no longer continue this arrangement the government is in effect killing an arrangement that sustains many many jobs and unlike Mr Duncan I do believe the number to be closer to 60000 then he does when all the various contributors are counted.Governments are not responsible for creating jobs. They are however responsible for creating environments that allow for legitimate industries to thrive and flourish.The agricultural industry certainly meets this description and why the government would simply kill an industry that a) creates many jobs and b) provides entertainment is beyond reasonable thought. The government through various initiatives would never consider allowing the auto or housing industries to fail yet it does so for agriculture. The reason is painfully obvious. The government would like to collect the same revenues from gaming that it now does but wthout having to give anything back to racing and to hell with the jobs that are lost, lives that are ruined and unfortunately the horses that are reported euthanized. Racing is a fantastic game. As we near the Kentucky Derby and the big summer stakes calender for both breeds I become enthused. I do think racing can survive without depending on the government though I do feel the governmen t owes it to racing to create through various initiatives an environemnt where racing can survive. To simply say they are ending the slots program is being irresponsible and unnaceptable. Racing needs to find ways to bring back the true fans of horse racing. Make the tracks about tha races again not about the slots. I know it is hard and will take much creativity and thought but it can be done and eventually racing will become sustainable through the handles alone. The government needs to work with racing to reach this. Maybe pahse the slots out over a 5 year period while racing adjsuts and reinvents itself. I don't pretend to have all the answers but it is plainfully obvious that putting 60000 people out of work is not the answer. Tha racing/government partnership MUST continue in some format to get racing to where it needs to be. Self sustainable.
I can't imagine a Toronto without Woodbine. It was hard enough getting used to it without Greenwood.

May 2, 2012 - 8:35 amRalph Sucee has the right

Bobbi Morley SAID...

Ralph Sucee has the right idea. We have a much better chance of success by presenting a unified front. OHRIA represents all three breeds, and Sue has taken a calm, reasoned approach. OHHA, and any one else that has something to say should be forwarding their concerns to OHRIA, who can consolidate these ideas.

May 2, 2012 - 1:34 amFurther to the question

Further to the question about the materials being available to the participants in horse racing in Ontario, how about asking if this material is also available to the horse racing communities in New Brunswick and Sasakatchewan.

May 1, 2012 - 8:25 pmGiven that : OHRIA IS THE

Ralph Sucee SAID...
    Given that
      : OHRIA IS THE representative of ALL PARTICIPANTS in HORSE RACING.
        Given that
          : WEG is the largest, richest and most politically-connected RACETRACK in Ontario.

          WE (participants in the Industry) are advised that WEG and OHRIA have collaborated to represent the varied interests of ALL INDIVIDUALS involved in HORSE RACING in ONTARIO. A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION was likely made to MPPs (how many Liberal MPPs). A DVD was provided. And a BRIEFING PACKAGE. And POSTERS.

          Are these materials available to the PARTICIPANTS in HORSE RACING in ONTARIO?

May 1, 2012 - 8:09 pmWhen I attended a

When I attended a lobby/information day,and reception back in March, there was about 7 or 8 mpps who attended the reception, hosted by OHHA, and they seemed generally sympathetic towards our industry. Obviously there wasnt any of them who gave us a solution. Between the NDP, and PCs that were in attendance , they chanted that they wouldnt let our industry die without a fight from them!!!!!

May 1, 2012 - 10:04 pmWas OHHA invited, they

Anita Fritz SAID...

Was OHHA invited, they represent a large number of standardbred members and Brian has done a great job in getting the word out as well as attending many rallys and functions?
All race horse groups need to be involved and work toghether - this is a time for solidarity.
We all have a common goal and that's to save the horse racing industry - Let's work together!!!!


May 1, 2012 - 5:08 pmIt would be interesting to

Lynne Magee SAID...

It would be interesting to know what MPPs attended this meeting. How many of them were from the Liberal party, if any?

May 1, 2012 - 4:58 pmWere any of the Liberal MPPs

Bobbi Morley SAID...

Were any of the Liberal MPPs in attendance,and more specifically, McGuinty or Duncan?

May 1, 2012 - 4:57 pmWould there be a list of

Would there be a list of which politicians attended? and that of everyone else by name? Was the minister of agriculture there for example,the rest of horse racing doesen't need to be kept in the dark regarding everything, and a PUBLIC 'agenda' needs to be made forth comining on a regular basis, People need to make decisions..! there's a lack of information on a daily buisness that needs to be addressed ,good or bad..

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