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"What Is Happening Now Is Scary"

Published: January 5, 2013 8:13 pm ET

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“It has begun to affect us — there is now so much uncertainty in the industry.”

With the March 31 deadline for the end of the Slots-At-Racetracks program approaching and the recent announcements regarding purse reductions, the concern for the future of horse racing in Ontario is without a doubt growing rapidly within the industry.

Speaking with Ann Straatman of Seelster Farms and Jack McNiven of Killean Acres, the London Free Press chronicles the challenges breeders are facing within Ontario in an article published on Friday.

“What is happening now is scary. There is no time for the industry to adjust,” said Straatman, explaining that three stallions will not be returning for duty at the stud farm and she has sold more than 20 broodmares at a loss to ensure they have a home. “The numbers are so drastic, it is impossible for people to have confidence in investing. We do not know what the next few months will look like.

“It could have been handled much better," she added, referring to the Liberal government's announcement last year that they would be cancelling the Slots-At-Racetracks program within one year's time without considering the fact that the racing cycle requires three years to breed and get a horse to the track. "Changes needed to be made, people need to be more accountable and we need benchmarks to measure the industry, but we could have worked together and made it work for everyone."

“We will be in business 59 years this year and we were hoping to celebrate our diamond jubilee, but I think the government may have different ideas,” McNiven was quoted as saying in the article.

To read the London Free Press article in its entirety, click here.


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