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Rideau’s Thursday, Sunday Live Cards Cancelled Due To ORC Concern

Published: February 2, 2011 12:18 pm ET

Last Comment: February 12, 2011 4:23 pm ET | 31 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Rideau Carleton Raceway has been forced to cancel its scheduled card of live racing for Thursday, February 3 and will not be conducting a draw for its card of live racing on Sunday, February 6.

The cancellations have come due to health and safety concerns raised by the Ontario Racing Commission with regard to the grandstand gondola (judges stand).

(RCR)

February 12, 2011 - 4:23 pmI am hoping that all

Greg Parke SAID...

I am hoping that all racetracks will be inspecting the "gondolas" at other racetracks now and before the spring and summer racing starts so we don't have a preventable and silly situation like this happen again.
These judges and the racetrack should be fined and found liable to the owners, after all they sit there night after night could you not have spoken up before it came to this or did you? If you were trying to prove a point it was the wrong one, it just shows how foolish the ORC still is.
I am going to guess there are a least a couple of monitors in the "gondola", couldn't these have been moved to another private room at the racetrack for the judges to watch the different camera angles during the races. With the technology we have now it could have been set up in no time instead you get a stoppage in racing?
If you are wondering, one of the judges could actually stand up and walk outside to the horses on parade to see if they are fit to race or actually ride in the starting gate to a good view of the race while the "gondola" was being brought up to standards to ensure nothing was missed during the race, which I personally think should happen anyway.
People talk about a famous spokesperson for this once great sport. Here's an idea from things that have transpired over the last couple years and it may be a little harsh, PUT SOMEONE IN CHARGE WHO ACTUALLY HAS A CLUE AND CARES ABOUT THE SPORT AND THE PEOPLE INVOLVED!!!

February 12, 2011 - 8:25 amI have twice written to ORC

Pat Martin SAID...

I have twice written to ORC about the safety lane (or absence of) at Kawartha Downs. I didn't even get an acknowedgement that they heard my concern or would look into it. What the horsepeople need, not just in Ontario but also in some States is to get together to achieve change (what happened in Egypt recently is an example of hanging in and doing it together). Too bad, horsepeople can brave awful weather conditions and work around thousand pound animals but aren't brave enough to tackle human institutions.

February 12, 2011 - 8:12 amGlad to see a couple of

Pat Martin SAID...

Glad to see a couple of owners taking legal action for the principle of what happened. It has impacted many people including many at Kawartha who could not race because of the overload of horses. The only part of any racetrack that is inviting to the public is the slots areas and their diningrooms. Even Georgian downs with its new paddock has a too small eating area for horsemen and a paddock that is much too small for more than 8 races with mistakes like not enough drains so water runs into stalls, etc. Its the same old thing, take as much from the slots as we can and to heck with the horsemen and horses that have kept us alive for almost a century. The ORC should be putting more pressure on track owners to do things right!!

February 11, 2011 - 9:56 pmmany of race hearings i have

many of race hearings i have been through and never has the view from the gondola used to decided the outcome of any ruleings it is always the t.v. monitors.

February 11, 2011 - 1:35 pmSpot on Mr. Betchel and Mr.

Spot on Mr. Betchel and Mr. Lester and lets us pray that the two courageous owners don't suffer too much "Blowback"!!

February 9, 2011 - 3:46 pmSo now that some in the ORC

Frank Lester SAID...

So now that some in the ORC show they "know nothing about something else" should this be considered a " Frivolous Event". If the horsemen come to the ORC with a frivolous appeal to one of their imperious rulings what happens. I believe there is a fine imposed. Should not the same be in place for all. After all we are trying to display a fair and level playing field as I seem to recall from many of the ORC Rulings.
So step up to the plate ORC You alone where responsible for the loss of income for several horsemen. How about a $10,000.00 fine and two year suspension. Lets pull the rug out from under someone elses feet and let them see what it's like to lose their sole source of income.

Frank Lester
( one of the somewhat disenchanted former racing enthusiasts )

February 7, 2011 - 2:32 pmWhere is the written

Where is the written agreeement between OLG and the Horseman's Assoc. regarding what, if any, type of labour dispute constitutes a shutdown of the slots. If it wasn't "bargained" for back in 2000 when the slots enveloped our racetracks then there is not much that can be done about it now. Good point Greg; if we were unified we would have some stance to take- "divide and conquer" is the oldest battle strategy known to man and the horseman have succumbed to it. PS - no more five year deals please!

February 6, 2011 - 2:13 pmThis is really sad. All of

Greg Parke SAID...

This is really sad. All of the sudden conditions are bad? Could you not see it coming and fix it before it became a problem? I am afraid you will have to get use to this as they are not racetrack owners, they are slot providers for the government, who by the way couldn't care a less if you raced a horse or not.
The reason the slots will never close and the racetracks will is simple. Slots provide too much money to the communities that they are in and too much extra taxes to the government. Horse racing does not provide this on the large scale that slots do, why do you think handles of six thousand dollars are allowed to happen, slots revenue not to keep racing going.
I am afraid it is a bit of a dreamland for horsepeople right now if you think you are going to be rescued. The signs have been around for years that it is going to be very tough to keep it sustainable on it's own which will happen sooner than later unfortunately, there is just too much demand on communities to keep taxes down and resources going so they will need more revenue from governments and I would bet my last dollar that it will come from the slots and reduce even more the revenue to horsepeople.
This is a time for ALL associations we have that say they are fighting for horsepeople to form one strong association instead of the bull@#$% that is going on now.
Greg Parke

February 6, 2011 - 1:31 pmUse technology cameras

Tim Dean SAID...

Use technology cameras covering the track. All other industries have had to make the adjustments...the reviews could be made from one location. With 2 judges. Electronic charting similar to WEG. Technology is here let's use it..I just reviewed the WEG replays from last night saw the entries for next week, and will be able to place a bet on the Superbowl today from pool side..I'm in Cozumel Mexico right now..that's how easy it would be and everyone would be racing

February 6, 2011 - 10:01 amGood morning all. after

Good morning all. after following the developments I would like to make the following
comments. There should be a minimum set of standards that private operators such as
Rideau Carelton maintain to have the priveledge of running a slots and racing venue.
The governing body who licenses the operators "OLG" do regular inspections using a
demerit point system same as used in Hotel chains. Below the minimum would result in them Losing there licence to operate any kind of gaming facility. Problems such as the
gondola what have been a none issue under proper rules and enforcement. As for the fine
to Rideau Carleton it should be the same as it would be for horesman who scratch there horses because of unsafe racing conditions $100.00 per horse per race card missed. Also
as for the card that was drawn and cancelled, the purse money that was available should be evenly split and handed out for each race on that card. Unless the regulators get involved and make the private operators accountable these kind of issues will never end.
Shouldn't all tracks in Ontario have the same set of standards and regulations?

regards, Dave MacDonald Cornwall Ontario

February 5, 2011 - 7:17 pmSlots, slots and more slots.

Josh Menard SAID...

Slots, slots and more slots. The tracks needed live racing in order to gain the slot capability. Shut down the gaming until the gondola is fixed and live racing continues and when the ORC issues Rideau its fine for failing to properly maintian its property causing the horseman/wowmen unwarranted financial loss use it as compensation to those who cant race.

February 5, 2011 - 2:05 pmLeave it to Rideau to keep

ron francis SAID...

Leave it to Rideau to keep supplying business schools with "how not to do it"
case studies. In fairness, should there not have been a 7-15 day window to fix-it
or face the consequences, from the ORC?

February 5, 2011 - 11:53 amWhere's the compromise? I

Where's the compromise?

I agree with Norm Brunet; is the gondola the only place the judges can judge races? It is very apparent that the ORC and Rideau Carleton have made this issue personal and are only interested in winning. If nothing else, this disagreement has shown the horsemen/women that own own association does not have any power in any decisions regarding our future. I believe that the change that needs to happen here is that we are given the "power" we are due to make decisions about our lives.

Mr. Blakney talks about "his people" and Rideau Carleton continues to rake in the money. Poor horsemen/women, we just talk to ourselves.

February 5, 2011 - 8:38 amwhile the track is not being

while the track is not being used how about doing some maintenance on the track and making it horse friendly the surface is like racing on the 401 i know jan.& feb. are tough months to maintain racing surfaces but other tracks seem to be able to do it lets think a little bit about the horses

February 5, 2011 - 2:12 amI am a new owner to this

I am a new owner to this game and invested a lot of my hard earned money. As for Rideau Carleton, I beleive they need a make over at the executive level. There seems to be a total lack of respect for the owners and all of the other horsepeople that are trying to make this industry succesfull and at the same time make a linving. I can't imagine having a business and no money witin the projected budget for track/structure repairs and improvement. The place is starting to look like a dump!

As for the ORC, if the work needs to be done, so be it. But at least they could of had the respect to give notices to the horsepeople so they are alternatives measure taken. Hopefully they will have plan to have more racing days or increase the purses for limited period of time to make up for this nightmare.

February 4, 2011 - 8:24 pmGlenn, Your idea is by

Glenn,

Your idea is by far the best to prompt action. A hefty fine will only find its way into a tax write-off in some shape or form. My point is - "All that glitters isn't gold" A ton of promises where made with nothing to show for the change in Horse People's Representation. Meanwhile, this side show continues to roll on and, the Horse People are prescribed another enema.
NCRHHA officials have no problem commenting to the press on how bad things are. However, I failed to see the comments to the press on the NCRHHA action plan on the Horse People's behalf. The only factual change - is that Purse accounts where raped in the interest of winter racing - in a facility that raced ONLY July 1 to December 1 for the better part of 35 years. AND to further pay an operator for that added bonus has taken the industry back in time some 20 years. You do the math. Slots where introduced to aid the industry, not to fill the coffers of racetrack operators.
While no association is perfect, at the very least, the "other" Horse People's representation was forward thinking with purse accounts that flourished accordingly. The double talk on both sides of the track has to stop and I personally don't believe the ORC has the capacity to successfully govern the change needed. Just my thoughts.

February 4, 2011 - 7:39 pmWhere there is a will there

Norm Brunet SAID...

Where there is a will there is a way.

Very unfortunate that a battle of wills is going on and the horsemen are beeing held hostage. A racetrack operator does not feel that repairs are requiered and an ORC with an engineers report feels they are unsafe conditions for the judges.

But I ask you, do the judges need to be in the gondola to do their job. With the technology we have today could the judges not be doing their work from Toronto or anywhere else but the gondola. What do they do when we have fog or visibility is limited by snow ? All they need to have, is access to the replay of a race and whom cares where they are to see it !!!! WAKE UP AND COME INTO THE 2011 YEAR. It's not a wonder this industry is mired still in the buggy and whip era.

February 4, 2011 - 5:16 pmIt will be interesting to

It will be interesting to see exactly what kind of fine is levied against the track as a result of this. Even though the days should and hopefully will be made up ultimately it is the horsepeople and the track employees responsible for the live product who are most effected and out of pocket. One observation I would like to make regards the actions of the ORC and more specifically John Blakney regarding their employee safety. John I would ask that you direct the same conviction towards the concerns that have been continually expressed by horsepeople regarding facilities that we are forced to work in at some of the tracks in this Province without much being done about them. If you want to talk about structural and/or fire hazards take a walk around some of the paddocks or stable areas here in Ontario. Also, what they call a "Safety lane" at some tracks is the last place any driver would ever take a horse regardless of the hazzards faced on the track. Lanes that are full of snow, full of holes, soft muddy deep material, light standards that need to be dogged...etc etc. I can't think of a better time than the present to address these issues as well.

Darryl MacArthur

February 4, 2011 - 5:14 pmWell said Howard NCRHHA has

Ed Thompson SAID...

Well said Howard NCRHHA has done nothing the get Belleville horsemen back racing.If you want to talk about only racing two nights a week its been four years for us.

February 4, 2011 - 5:14 pmTo quote Glenn Bechtel -"So

Gina Hannah SAID...

To quote Glenn Bechtel -"So the race gondola ia unsafe for judges to sit and watch the races, so the solution is to cancel the races and punish the horsemen until it is fixed. Why don't we close the slots or better yet take the racetrack's portion of the slot revenue and put it in the purse account until the gondola is fixed. It appears to me that this industry has every punishment in the books for horseman who break rules but very little for judges who blow calls or racetracks who don't take care of their properties." "Howard the problem with the condition of the property existed when OHHA represented the horsemen. It is not becoming to use this as a political swipe at the National Capital Horseman Association. This problem is about the disconnect between live racing and the slot revenues and the apparent lack of understanding by the racing commission. If you believe the argument of track management that live racing is a losing venture than the ORC decision is actually a money making event for Rideau Carleton. The next time you punish your kid for not cleaning their room increase their allowance as punishment and see if they get the message."

Glenn, you have hit the nail on the head both occasions. While everyone has the right to safe working conditions, the only way to right this listing ship is to hold the owners accountable. THE ONLY WAY they (track owners) will get the message is to shut down the slots and fine them heavily for the days of lost racing!! When the slot revenue stops coming in, lets see how fast everything is rectified. Instead, the horse people who work tirelessly to keep their horse(s) going through the winter to provide the ongoing entertainment, especially in this eastern part of the province are being punished. Nice. My little 4 year old could run a lemonade stand and do better..... Our industry is in so much trouble on so many levels it isn't funny any more.

February 4, 2011 - 4:53 pmAll I can see is two drivers

All I can see is two drivers coming to the wire in a snow storm with high winds. At the wire, the judge's stand is blown off its moorings.

Who wins the race??

The ORC has it spot on. Get the buildings fixed, or else sell to someone who will follow ORC rules.

Why the fuss here?? The ORC is transparent here and in this case, is protecting the drivers and horses.

February 4, 2011 - 3:22 pmHoward the problem with the

Howard the problem with the condition of the property existed when OHHA represented the horsemen. It is not becoming to use this as a political swipe at the National Capital Horseman Association. This problem is about the disconnect between live racing and the slot revenues and the apparent lack of understanding by the racing commission. If you believe the argument of track management that live racing is a losing venture than the ORC decision is actually a money making event for Rideau Carleton. The next time you punish your kid for not cleaning their room increase their allowance as punishment and see if they get the message.

February 4, 2011 - 9:49 amThe people who suffer from

Susan Roy SAID...

The people who suffer from this are the horsemen, rideau still takes their money for stall rent even though they are unable to race. This is their livelihood for many, and as such Rideau should be fined, and some of that should go to compensate the horsemen for what they dont have any control over.Its hard enough when there are only 2 days of racing now so you dont get in to race each week, now we have to endure this uncertainty.

February 4, 2011 - 9:06 amBrace yourself folks this

Brace yourself folks this could take a while. All this will do is save the track money. Kudos to the ORC for stepping in and dropping the hammer - this isn't the only unsafe/unhealthy racing venue in ON. You can lay blame wherever you like - this is a "WE" problem.

February 4, 2011 - 8:57 amVery well said, Glen

Very well said, Glen Bechtel, you put it all in a nutshell.

February 4, 2011 - 5:36 amI vividly recall one of the

I vividly recall one of the NCRHHA's #1 election mandates in 2005 as being "We are Making RCR a better place to race on all levels" - and then went on and offered this operator a sizable chunk of the Horseman's Purse Pool to guarantee not only winter racing but a "Safer,Cleaner and Better" place to race year round. What is their action in the interest of Horseman now?

February 3, 2011 - 10:17 pmCan you imagine having the

Wayne Martin SAID...

Can you imagine having the management at this place run your business? What a shame.

February 3, 2011 - 6:43 pmThis is the 1st time I

Ronald Hess SAID...

This is the 1st time I didn't check in on Standardbred Canada in the last 2 months.....I was scheduled to race , and went in for nothing.... I guess it is my loss. didn't check the the web site.... BUT... what if I didn't have a computer?????

February 3, 2011 - 1:32 pmUn autre bel exemple que

Un autre bel exemple que Rideau Carleton se foue bien des hommes à chevaux je peux vous assurer que si le problème avait été du coté des SLOTS ça serait déjà réparé
Je me ferai sans doute dire que si je ne suis pas content d'aller courser ailleurs
Plus ça change pire que c'est

February 3, 2011 - 1:19 pmSo the race gondola ia

So the race gondola ia unsafe for judges to sit and watch the races, so the solution is to cancel the races and punish the horsemen until it is fixed. Why don't we close the slots or better yet take the racetrack's portion of the slot revenue and put it in the purse account until the gondola is fixed. It appears to me that this industry has every punishment in the books for horseman who break rules but very little for judges who blow calls or racetracks who don't take care of their properties.

February 2, 2011 - 6:05 pmSo how long will this take

So how long will this take to resolve?


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