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Anthony MacDonald's Blog

 

Flamboro Downs age restrictions policy

Published: August 25, 2019 10:24 pm ET

Last Comment: September 2, 2019 10:22 am ET | 42 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The following is an Open Letter from TheStable.ca concerning Flamboro Downs’ recent announcement re: age restrictions

Many life changing decisions have been made for all of us since the end of the Slots At Racetracks Program in Ontario. Depending on your position in racing, these decisions could be seen as negative, or positive. I want to believe these were at least meant for the betterment of racing. I suppose this makes me an optimist. Or naive.

We know that in order for us to succeed together in the future, we need to attract new clients, expand our borders, and branch out to the general public in a campaign to show everyday people the unmatched affordable entertainment found within our industry.

As we increase participation in the Ontario harness racing industry, we begin to see that growth represented in our overall wagering handle. This will not happen overnight, and the stance of thestable.ca on this is simple: by bolstering participation through affordable ownership, we grow on-track attendance and on-track revenue.

As far as wagering is concerned, look at the money wagered on horses racing under our banner, and it isn't hard to see that this formula is a very workable model. One fractional ownership stable alone cannot change racing, but Rome wasn't built in a day.

Many of our 700 clients and the majority of those who are new to the racing industry want to experience racing in-person, on-track. They attend the track when their horse(s) race.

Many of them include their families in the racing experience and this is good for racing across the board. It fits perfectly with the engagement model of thestable.ca and it accomplishes what the harness racing industry purports is important for sustainability:

Industry research studies deliver the same message time and time again: early exposure to harness racing and Standardbred horse racing is critical in cultivating new generations of horse racing fans and participants.

You can only imagine my surprise when I read the press release last week about Flamboro’s new on-site "age restrictions".

I must say, I couldn't have been more disappointed. How are we to reach the next generations if they aren’t welcome at the racetrack? This is straight out of the ‘70s and does not meet any reasonable standards in racing in 2019.

The idea that your children are welcome on the tarmac, but not indoors is absurd. The bathroom is on the opposite side of the facility and your children must walk around the grandstand, past the smoking areas to access any restroom.

Whom in racing is watching out for our future? Our needs? Our brand? Our legacy?

We can't possibly expect a gaming company to worry about horse racing, so who ensures they do?

I have spoken with Flamboro Downs management and I hope they reconsider their decision.

We are in business together and I hope our best interests, at some point, intertwine and we can begin to actually operate as partners rather than forced bunkmates.

Until then, we need to make our position heard clearly and ensure it is completely understood.

Horse racing needs to be enabled to attract a wide swath of mainstream society. The ability for families to come out to the track is vital moving forward.

One could see this decision by Flamboro as a simple oversight and one that could be corrected quite easily.

Or, it could be a quiet statement of defiance signaling the lack of any interest in supporting racing's future at their facility.

Let's hope Flamboro decides that the original statement was a bit premature and short-sighted, and they are indeed truly committed to racing.

To be abundantly clear, the decision to close the grandstand building to all children under the age of 19 runs contrary to the current and future best interests of harness racing. And it certainly does not reflect the philosophy of thestable.ca. It undermines our efforts and the harness racing experience we provide for our clients.

We operate the fastest-growing fractional ownership stable in North America and the largest harness racing stable in Canada.

In 2020, we will have nearly 200 horses owned by more than 800 people. We cannot and will not support last week’s announcement by Flamboro Downs in what we categorize as a sharp deviation from any positive horse racing partnership.

We will not support racing in this form and NONE of our horses will race at Flamboro Downs if this decision about age restrictions at their facility is not revisited and rectified.

We welcome all horsepeople to do the same.

We cannot wait for the cavalry. If history is any indicator, they are not coming.

This is an issue that Flamboro Downs and our racing stakeholders should be able to resolve together. A day will come when we work together to provide a better experience for all our clients. I want to believe that a resolution can be found and we can continue to build a better industry for all of us.

Anthony MacDonald
TheStable.ca
President, Co-Founder


The views presented in Trot Blogs are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Standardbred Canada.

September 2, 2019 - 10:22 amNot sure that it’s relevant

Terry West SAID...

Not sure that it’s relevant but does the (pari-mutuel) betting age at 18 come into play?

September 2, 2019 - 8:47 amSpoken like a true

Mark Wallace SAID...

Spoken like a true capitalist.

Telling Anthony that working-class people should not have principals - very nice your majesty.

August 31, 2019 - 2:11 pmSpot on again. This time for

Gord Brown SAID...

Spot on again. This time for Howie!

August 30, 2019 - 8:55 pmI don’ t think this was the

Tim Dean SAID...

I don’ t think this was the experience in horse racing owners expected from theStable.ca.

Training fees should also cease for the stable.ca horses that would race at Flamboro.

August 30, 2019 - 8:04 pmAre blackjack players

James Gillis SAID...

Are blackjack players blackjack players because they were exposed to it as children? The industry seems to have forgotten where the purse money SHOULD be coming from - the HANDLE. Times have changed it’s no longer 1985 and never will be again - casinos dominate the gambling landscape and will for the rest of eternity. You want a piece of the pie? Put the casino games in position where they can be played and live races also viewed. When was the last time anyone saw the Flamboro grandstand packed with families in reserved box seats? Or are there 35 oldtimers wandering around in a depressed atmosphere no one wants to be in? Get a band in, some table games and slots in front of live racing with some adult beverages flowing and now you have an entertainment destination. That is the model harness racing requires in 2019.

August 30, 2019 - 2:57 pmOh Good Grief Anthony! I

Oh Good Grief Anthony!

I hate to say this ..but you're as predictable on this issue as you are leaving the gate.
You've spun a successful "Craze" with your TheStable creation and that's exactly where your priorities should be. Your sacrificing the potential earning $$$ of many (your owners and partners) and focusing only on your own personal stance. It's nice that your passionate... but lets avoid satisfying that passion out of someone else's wallet.
I respectfully suggest... that if you want to conduct your "boycott" of the Flamboro box, do so with a horse or horses that you strictly own yourself and bear the cost of your own passion. In the event that your partners wish to follow suit... let them tell you. Just a thought.
Cheers.

August 29, 2019 - 10:21 pmAs someone who 'grew up at

As someone who 'grew up at the track', not ON the track but going to the races with my parents as far back as I can remember, racing of both breeds is firmly and permanently in my blood and the blood of all of my siblings.
I haven't consistently been a bettor/handicapper since those days but have never lost interest and often return. I've also been an owner, a breeder and have a trainer in the family.
Now I work for a racetrack that strongly encourages a family-friendly atmosphere and cannot imagine how many people would not be there at all if they couldn't come as a family. So many more who come out on big days with their parents and grandparents because they remember doing that as children.
To ignore the generational aspect is a grave error. Can you imagine not allowing kids to hockey games, baseball games? Where do you think adult fans come from?

I see many back-and-forths here but I see nothing that is a valid reason to DISALLOW kids. There is nothing to be gained by doing that and much to be lost.

August 29, 2019 - 7:54 pmFirst off boycotting is

marty fine SAID...

First off boycotting is completely the wrong direction. In fact I believe kids at tracks has lost it luster, as said earlier if that was the right model tracks would be full as past generations did exactly that. Kids at tracks where are they now. That being said we should not think exposing youngsters to racing could not lead to something better, it’s where these kids get the exposer. I believe if we work with training farms and horse people to have family days the experience for the kids would be great. Show them racing from the inside out. Let them see how one is harnessed trained/jogged and bathed after. Let the kids see this side of racing can shape minds. Kids at racetracks, hear people saying things like hit him that was a stiff job, and some words I can not say. This to can shape minds and it clearly has.

August 29, 2019 - 5:02 pmJust look at what is stated

Sheldon Rose SAID...

Just look at what is stated on the Ontario Racing site....”A day at the races is fun for the whole family “.

August 29, 2019 - 11:01 amI'm sorry but I have to agree

Joe Riga SAID...

I'm sorry but I have to agree with Mr. Yamakva. I happen to be one of those people who was brought to the track as a child. I was probably 10 when I was first taken to Woodbine and Greenwood. Grew up going to the track several times a week. I am in my mid 50's now and haven't gone to the track in a long long time. I do ocaasionaly wager online but mostly only Woodbine Tbreds and Meadowlands. I'm sorry I just don't like the Canadian Sbred racing. I find it way to boring and no movement but that's an argument Ive been making forever and can be saved for another day.

The bottom line is racing is inherently a betting game. It's that simple. If you don't believe me don't allow wagering and see if any so called "fans" continue to watch much less come out to the track. I call myself a fan because I actually enjoy the sport. I like to see the Niatrosses and Cam fellas of the world as well as the SomebeachSW of closer generations. Having said that I can't tell you how many people I have met at the track who wouldn't know somebeachsomewhere from a 5k claimer, and frankly didn't care. They were there simply to bet and make money. I have met so many people who can't read a program but were there to try there luck and hope to make money. They were doing so because back in my day racing was pretty much the only legal game in town. That has since changed. The casinos and sports betting have taken over. Realistically they provide more bang for your buck. I can bet a game without any info and still have a 50-50 chance of winning.Not so with racing. Racing NEEDS gamblers to survive and is now facing much more competetion from other forms of gambling "entertainment". I am not convinced that allowing kids to come to a racetrack will change much of that. I think Mr. Yamakva is right. the grandstands are empty and the kids are not coming back. They may come back from time to time for a fair time experience but that will hardly sustain racing. I do believe racing is struggling and daresay a dying game. I don't have the answers and don't pretend to.

I applaud what the stable has tried to do but bring in new owners but the cynic in me tells me this concept may not last. Before everyone jumps down my throat let me explain why. This concept is not entirely new. I was a partner in a fractional type partnership back in the 80's called RKW. It allowed us to buy shares of a horse at a much cheaper price. While initially that was exciting at some point the novelty wears off because say what you will it is not your horse that just won a big race. It is a tiny piece of your horse. Problem is that many people who would want to own a much bigger chunk simply don't have the funds to do that and because racing is expensive and the returns are not always great. Say what you will but I am a senior executive at an investment bank and at the end of the day people who want to invest do so to make money and that's tough to do in racing.

Anyways that's my two cents.

August 29, 2019 - 12:31 amIt really hurts reading this

Marty Adler SAID...

It really hurts reading this thread. We have horse people and fans at odds with other horse people and fans.
Divide and conquer comes to mind; and, GCG must be loving it.
I can see what Marty Fine is saying. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
On the other hand Anthony is to be commended for his stance, however, he has shareholders, (many I suggest support him) who look to him to make the right ‘business’ decisions.
My latest experience comes from the battle we had with the bureaucrats in the SARS fiasco of 2012. In 2 words - we lost.
Now this battle with the bureaucrats at GCG have set their policy. A moral change could be a plus marketing-wise, but morality is not in their playbook.
So, once again, racing - at least at Flamboro for now - takes it on the chin, and, with all due respect, boycotting the entry box, only hurts those who stay out.
Yours for integrity, transparency and accountability - Marty Adler.

August 28, 2019 - 9:51 pmAnthony I have to say I am

Anthony

I have to say I am very disappointed on your position on this statement as normally I agree with a lot of what you say.

1. First off racing and slot machines are not in bed together. The slot machines are allowing us a place to rest our heads so don't push away the hand that fees you. We need $$ from slots and not the other way around.

2. As a business owner and director of the Stable.ca who the hell is your loyalty to? The owners who have invested millions of dollars into your business and your business idea. Not your political career and using something like this for popularity votes.

3. So owners who have invested in you will now have to see their owned horses, who they also pay you to train, boycott Flamboro because of a stance you have against that track? That is bullshit and could be you that is facing lawsuits over such remarks and such positions, so be advised that your words are well heard in the industry. Not the gaming industry, but the racing industry. If owners, like me or potential owners start boycotting the stable.ca as you will not let their owned horses race at Flamboro are you willing to change your stance? or the children on the tarmacs is ok then?

How far do you let that position potentially devastate the dream you have proudly and professionally built? Instead of Flamboro Downs changing their position maybe you will consider a retraction on your position before it costs you more than you would like. It is one thing to post your position on the idea but to remove, not your horses, but the stable.ca horses from the track is a huge business decision.

Smarter heads maybe prevail and you see things like a politician and do what is in the best interests of the people you represent.

Sincerely
Trevor Otterson

August 27, 2019 - 2:40 pmOh I agree with you in that

Will Yamakva SAID...

Oh I agree with you in that Flamboro, a winter track at night, would be fine with the no kids thing. That said...... the family thing is nice, but it is clearly not paying the bills. If the tracks that race afternoons in the summer want this kid stuff? Cool. I am all for it. But Flamboro aint one of them tracks. In the summer, while it would be nice if Flam was an afternoon track, that would be VERY silly finacially, as going up head to head with the billion high quality tracks that show runners and get 10 times the handle, would be silly. So in Flams case, this isnt a bad move.

The tracks you mentioned, other than Western fair, might have a ton of kids, but look at the handle. This is not a sustainable business model no matter how you want to slice it. When expenses are more than revenue generated, you have a problem. Yes, it might be good for kids, but right now, that is not a good business model. Money has to be made in other ways. For afternoon racing, the tracks are getting creative and better food to generate revenue and all that, and that is fine and dandy. Flam however, is a winter night track...... so really, any comparison to Kawartha is like comparing cycling to luge.

I do agree its an easy fix, and like you said in the other thread, people just like to complain. This is a logical idea, and the kids really are not getting shut out. Its night racing in the winter for goodness sake.

August 27, 2019 - 1:55 pmMr Yamakva, how do you know

John Hill SAID...

Mr Yamakva, how do you know the "kids" of yesterday are not wagering online? What makes you think that the horsemen have been calling the shots? Do you think they agreed to end the slot program? Do you think they agreed to close the back stretches? Do you think they agreed to banish future fans? Horsemen have zero say in any decisions concerning them by the casinos yet you think the horsemen have been a horrific failure? Maybe the fact you work in the promotion industry is enough for you to think you know all the cures but [email protected] you for expecting us to accept your "expertise" just on your word alone. You are right about one thing, a boycott would work against the horsemens best interest. Have a great day :)

August 27, 2019 - 1:51 pmI wonder how Charles

I wonder how Charles Juravinski feels about this. It would be interesting to know.

I grew up wanting to go to the Fastest Half Mile Track in Canada and the Confederation Cup was always a treat. It was a chance to spend time one on one with my dad.

Times really have changed. Casinos = Money

August 27, 2019 - 11:44 amI "WILL" agree with both

Dave Aziz SAID...

I "WILL" agree with both Murray and Sheldon PLUS every one else who is on Anthony's "team" here.
I noted that for the ten months ended last May, there were 11 Standardbred tracks that announced a purse INCREASE for the fall / winter meet, including Pompano three
times! ( Will: that is NOT the signs of a need for life support!! )

You do not need a good memory to recall that Dwight Duncan, the disgraced former Lib
who determined around 2011 that five or six tracks were plenty for HIS province and we should get another 10- casino's instead! Since then there are only two added.
He admitted he had no idea how many Ontarians were investing / employed here and that only we should have "far fewer " tracks than California and Kentucky.
He quickly resigned from his seat when the opposition / heat became intense!

August 27, 2019 - 10:36 amSpot on Marty!

Gord Brown SAID...

Spot on Marty!

August 27, 2019 - 9:50 amVery interesting comments &

Carolyn Rae SAID...

Very interesting comments & trains of thought.
I especially like Sheldon Rose's suggestion, that tracks who welcome families & provide entertainment, connected to horseracing, to the children, should be rewarded by changing their designation from "Grassroots" to "Signature", & on the reverse, downgrading the tracks who ban children from attending, from "Signature" designation to "Grassroots". It has been suggested by many, that Kawartha Downs could easily be a stand alone venue, if WEG/OR would allow them to have "Simulcasting".
At least give these tracks (venues) who support & encourage participation by ALL family members, a chance to prove themselves!
'MORE RACE DAYS & SIMULCASTING'
Encouraging everyone to voice your opinion, & forward this page to your MPP, as I have. If you are not sure who your MPP is, or how to contact them, contact OHHA & they will be happy to provide you with this info!

August 27, 2019 - 8:55 amSheldon, Kawartha races in

Sheldon, Kawartha races in the summer when school is off...Flamboro runs in winter when kids are in school and should not be attending tracks at night from 7 to 11 at night. If you want to get families to go, have racing in the afternoon on week-ends so families can attend like they used to. Flamboro would easily negotiate kids on week-ends during live racing.

Will you always give you views like ITS the truth. I dont agree with you at all, you should visit Kawartha, Trois Rivieres Western Fair, lots of kids and people in their mid 20s are attending, you missing a good show. Only track that didnt accomodate kids was Woodbine.I was also happy to see how many teens attended Mohawk, at my last visit.

Sometimes you have to choose your battle, and this one is , in my view, easy to fix. Lets get a win-win situation...have racing in the week-end afternoon and allow the kids for that period. everyone will gain from it.

August 27, 2019 - 7:30 amWill...Your premise that the

Sheldon Rose SAID...

Will...Your premise that the sport is struggling in NA is not true. And you say that eliminating some of the current customer base (families) now is a great idea! When was the last time you were at Kawartha? Racing has become family entertainment and it is the parents who gamble now. The grandstand is packed and without families would probably be bare.

August 27, 2019 - 7:12 amThe cynic in me says that

murray brown SAID...

The cynic in me says that this decision by Great Canadian Gaming represents a well calculated plan to rid itself of racing.
They do not want racing to succeed for the simple reason that enhanced casino gaming generates more revenue than does what they view as the albatross called horse racing.
If it were up to them, they likely would shut down racing immediately.
Not being able to do so, they have decided to chip away at its foundation and its future.
When it reaches the state where racing is totally down and out, they will then go to the government and lobby to allow them to rid themselves of this self imposed burden which they will say causes them and government to not make enough money through their primary source of revenue.
Its all about greed and money.

August 26, 2019 - 11:19 pmJack Darlling it’s great

marty fine SAID...

Jack Darlling it’s great meetings are set I’m also hopping level headed people can sit down and figure out how to make this work for all involed. Way to early to be threatening any body

August 26, 2019 - 10:33 pmI completely agree with

I completely agree with Anthony. I have been a fan of harness racing since I was around 8 years old. My family would go to Liberty Bell, Brandywine and Dover Downs. Sometimes I would watch the races and other times I would run around playing with the other kids. Fast forward 40 years, I am now a client of the Stable.ca, On June 20th my horse had his first race a Yonkers Raceway. My wife, my 17 year old son and I went to see him race. This is usually a 2 hour drive but there were torrential downpours and the ride ended up being 3.5 hours. When we arrived at Yonkers, we were all hungry. We were going to get something to eat at the restaurant, just inside the entrance. When we walked inside, we were stopped by security and my son was asked for ID. We told him that we were just going to get something to eat at the restaurant, which wasn’t located in the casino. We were told that he couldn’t enter unless he was 21. Needless to say, I will never return to Yonkers Raceway. I have been to many tracks with my kids Harrah’s Philadelphia, Pocono Downs, Dover Downs and The Meadowlands to name a few. We have always been able to watch the races and go inside to get something to eat and use the bathroom. Every time I have been to one of these tracks there were families with their kids. This was not the case when we went to Yonkers Raceway. There were no kids. The decision of Flamboro Downs to not allow kids inside will only cause them to lose that family. What are the kids that do go to Flamboro Downs going to Remember? How cold, wet and hungry they were. Do you think that a 9 or 10 year old isn’t going to remember their bad experience when they do turn 19. This could not only impact the racing industry but the future of the casino could also be impacted. There is no reason that there couldn’t be an indoor area where families could sit, get something to eat, use the restroom and be warm. I would urge Flamboro Downs to reconsider their decision. The children are the future, don’t push them away.

August 26, 2019 - 10:15 pmMr Lane, if you want to

Will Yamakva SAID...

Mr Lane, if you want to pretend what I am stating is "opinion". Look at the empty grandstands 90% of the time, and answer where all those kids from the 80's and 90s are now? They certainly are not coming to your races.

And just to correct you, arguments are based on facts or based on drawing conclusions from facts.

Fact ---- There was more kids at the racetrack when the grandstands were filled more than they are now.

Fact ---- Those kids have grown up.

Fact ---- Grandstands are empty 90% of the time.

Do you REALLY need me to draw a line from these three facts to come up to the obvious conclusion that kids are not coming back to the races as adults?

August 26, 2019 - 10:11 pmThe fact I work in the field

Will Yamakva SAID...

The fact I work in the field of promotion, is good enough..... the venues that I work for, are still busy, and still pulling in great numbers.

Lol @ you acting like I need to prove myself. I have said for years here, this is what I do for a living.

The simple fact is, everything I have told you here for years, is coming true. And if you want to blame Great Canadian, then you are just looking for someone to blame. The entire sport is struggling in North America, that goes for the runners too. If you want to blame them for it..... that is rather silly. The entire sport is taking a fleecing right now. Right or wrong..... Great Canadian is making an effort. Great Canadian understands that waiting for kids to become gamblers later, isnt going to pay off. There used to be TONS of kids at the track, but they do not come back as an adult, but you want this practice to continue? You need gamblers, and now. Clearly going after a different demographic is needed. But hey..... let's pretend that horse folk have all the answers, and no one else is going to have a clue.

August 26, 2019 - 9:33 pmIf the two Great Canadian

Sheldon Rose SAID...

If the two Great Canadian tracks close, I’m sure that Kawartha would be happy to pick up their dates. Not only does Kawartha support and promote racing, they also have a 5/8 mile track, which produces far better and more competitive racing. Western Fair would accommodate horsemen west of Toronto and Kawartha would accommodate horsemen east of Toronto.

August 26, 2019 - 8:43 pmCongratulations Anthony and

Dave Bryans SAID...

Congratulations Anthony and the stable.ca for taking a stance - hoping many more will follow. We can not condone or support companies that have no commitment to the future of racing while chasing the almighty slot dollar. We support your position and will also seek alternative racing venues going forward. Remember the old saying: ‘two steps back and one step forward and eventually you will be in the hole’.

August 26, 2019 - 8:29 pmWell Anthony , I am sure you

larry lane SAID...

Well Anthony , I am sure you have heard the statement "you can please some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time." I would not change your stance one iota. Firstly, Mr. Yamakva, all of your statements are opinions, not one concrete fact is quoted, most arguments are based and won on factual evidence.
Where and when did input from the sole provider of the participants for this industry occur? I do not recall any input requested on my behalf. I know that I am a very small player in this sport, but still it would be nice to have your voice heard.
FACT. None of my horses will be racing at Flamboro Downs until a mutual agreement has been reached! Also, Anthony, did I say that I commend your stance?

August 26, 2019 - 7:38 pmWill, I don’t know what makes

Sheldon Rose SAID...

Will, I don’t know what makes you an expert. Prove to us that you are an expert in promoting by showing us what you have done in your field. All of us know, for a fact, that allowing Great Canadian to call the shots has been a total failure.

August 26, 2019 - 4:19 pmYou cant be serious. Boycott

Will Yamakva SAID...

You cant be serious. Boycott them then. Clearly the current model is broken, and the "bringing of kids" isn't the same as it was in your day and in the day of the people that have posted here. I'm in my mid 40s, and see the thinking these people are doing.

Reality needs to slap some of you in the face, and realize the current model isn't working. Going after the 19-30 group is the only thing that will save this game now. Kids are not the future anymore. You should have learned that by seeing that in the 80s and 90s when people did bring a lot more kids out, these kids did not return to the sport as bettors, or even got involved.

"Industry research studies deliver the same message time and time again: early exposure to harness racing and Standardbred horse racing is critical in cultivating new generations of horse racing fans and participants."

Who ever did this study, should not be giving advice if this is the advice they gave you. While early exposure is great, it clearly was not enough to sustain the sport and fill the grandstands.

Time to switch the target to those that are of the age that can decide how they want to spend their disposable income.

As someone that works in the industry of promoting entertainment, letting horseman try calling the shots has been a horrific failure. You now have empty stands, and still want things to be status quo?

I hope Flamboro thrives, and does well as it stepped out of the box.

So congrats to the success of your fractional ownership, but on your boycott? This is going to get your track closed even faster

August 26, 2019 - 3:55 pmThank you Anthony. I hope you

bob tutton SAID...

Thank you Anthony. I hope you didn't mind me mentioning The Stable.ca in my response to the article posted online by Flamboro last week. I somehow knew this wouldn't sit well with you. I totally agree that this is a bad decision. I as well ave put them on THE NO PLAY LIST, until they see the light. Hopefully many others will follow.

August 26, 2019 - 1:14 pmThis is definitely an

Jack Darling SAID...

This is definitely an important issue for us Anthony and it is good that you are bringing it to light and commenting here. The thing we have to remember though is that boycotts,strikes etc are not an option for us now. It only hurts us. Flamboro management has made it clear that they dont care about horse racing and would probably prefer not to race at all. We have to find out the details of this new policy and fix it. Its a high priority for horse racing to bring in young people. It is my understanding that meetings are underway in the next 2 days and hopefully this problem will be solved.

August 26, 2019 - 12:15 pmUnfortunately, if you did get

Tim Bates SAID...

Unfortunately, if you did get COSA and OHHA on board and could withhold all entries when they reopen, you would just be feeding their desire to rid themselves of the burden of racing.

It is a publicly traded company.

Buy it's shares and start pressuring from within if you want them to change.

Kind regards.

August 26, 2019 - 8:34 amI hope everyone involved in

I hope everyone involved in racing reads Anthony's blog. It is right on and needs to be supported.

Great idea Sheldon.

August 26, 2019 - 7:29 amGood letter and a gutsy

Good letter and a gutsy decision! I hope the harness industry stands together and many will follow "the stable" in boycotting Flamboro downs until they re-think this age restriction!

August 26, 2019 - 7:28 amI agree Anthony! We must do

I agree Anthony! We must do everything to get this decision reversed. Many members of my family worked at a racetrack and therefore built a strong connection to horse racing. As a fractional owner, I would not want my horses to race at a track with this rule either. Many families with children attend horse racing, so what a kick in the face to them!

August 26, 2019 - 7:26 amLarry Merkley, B.C. Anthony

Larry Merkley, B.C.
Anthony MacDonald is absolutely correct. The operator of Flamboro Downs is the same operator as Fraser Downs in B.C. Warning, do not be complacent, all communication must be in writing. In B.C. they obtained a hard liquor license then designated it to the area where the majority of families with children were located with access to washrooms and outside at track level. Kids are now bannished from that area, resulting in very few families in attendance. I have also witnessed the removal of seating to the point where there is only room for est. 600 plus or minus seats. I was told previous to the change of operators, crowds were as many as 4,000 patrons. Some may ask who allowed this to happen? Simple, we/you did by trusting they will be fair and transparent. Remember, they are in the casino business, thus their focus is on increasing revenue, expansion and stock prices.

August 26, 2019 - 6:37 amagree with you 100%. It just

agree with you 100%. It just seems the casino people are the only ones they're worried about and horseplayers are shutout... and been getting worse yr by yr.

August 26, 2019 - 5:07 amI totally agree with Anthony.

Sheldon Rose SAID...

I totally agree with Anthony. Further, racetracks that encourage on-track attendance such as Clinton, Grand River, and Kawartha should all be made signature tracks and those that don’t should be demoted to grassroot tracks. With higher purses at signature tracks, there will be more competitive racing that is both better for the horsemen as well as the fans.

August 26, 2019 - 12:55 amAll horsemen need to take the

All horsemen need to take the same stance.

August 26, 2019 - 12:38 amI was just as surprised by

I was just as surprised by their decision. My father began taking me to Windsor raceway when I was 4 and now I am 59 and still a huge fan... like people say it gets in your blood and that is true.And yes I can remember going with my father when I was 4 so that is how big of an impact it made on me. I hope they can resolve this to everyones satisfaction.

August 26, 2019 - 12:01 amKudos to you Mr. MacDonald to

Kudos to you Mr. MacDonald to have had the brilliant idea of fractional ownership and to have invested in same.The industry owes you to have brought so many new fans with their family and friends, to our game.

As for the children aspect at Flamboro first we, as an industry, had the great idea not to race in the afternoons which was devastating to families that wanted to attend racing in person. We never did much of anything to attract kids and now we are complaining that Flamboro management has made this decision.

45 years ago, as a kid, I was introduced to racing at Blue Bonnets (Montreal) and Connaught Park (Aylmer) in afternoon racing, not in the middle of the winter on night racing (when Flam is scheduled to race)...kids should not be going to racetracks when they have school the next morning or at night from 7 to midnight... even on weekends (my opinion anyway).

If our industry wants to be pro-active, they should, on weekends race in the afternoon so families can attend and negotiate with the track members for 1 day a week that kids would be allowed. Our industry is scheduling the races to maximize on the handle but we tend to forget that we need to replace the old with a new generation... and we are sadly seeing it at all the racetracks.


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