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Baker On Possible Race Date Cut

Published: October 1, 2009 5:15 pm ET

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The Ontario Harness Horse Association held meetings over the past two weeks to inform the membership and receive input for direction pertaining to the recent Great Canadian Gaming Corp. race date applications for Flamboro and Georgian Downs.

The members in both District 7 as well as District 5 were understandably upset at the proposal which would see both racetracks reduced to operating only six months per year.

Members voiced their frustration that each year horsepeople seem to be defending the status quo and often end up with race date reductions.

“At a time when slot machines were introduced to the industry to enhance live racing and the company has just been granted an additional 545 slot machines, it is absurd that we would be looking at a cut in race dates,” stated OHHA director Kent Baker.

The members were unanimous in their position at both meetings for OHHA to argue the application and have the racetracks return to their original 2007 baseline for race dates. With the number of horses currently available to race and the difficulty in getting racing opportunities the proposed schedule would only exasperate an already bad situation. Horsepeople need live racing opportunities to earn purse money and meet their financial commitments.

“Live race dates are the lifeblood of this industry and the main driver of the economic impact that horse racing delivers to the province of Ontario,” said Darryl MacArthur, president of OHHA. “We will continue to lobby for the protection of live race dates and our members ability to race”.

The Great Canadian Gaming proposal may be viewed at


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