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Five-Year Plan For Ontario Racing

Published: October 11, 2013 8:30 am ET

Last Comment: November 18, 2013 1:37 pm ET | 57 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Ontario has released a five-year plan for a "sustainable horse racing industry in the province" based on the final Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel report.

The province will provide up to $400 million over five years to sustain a wide range of racing opportunities that are supported by strong business plans, including branding and marketing, responsible gambling, the Horse Improvement Program, animal welfare and business planning.

A new racing entity "Ontario Racing Live" will be the organization responsible for channeling this money to the industry, with splits for the province's three breed divisions as previously recommended: Standardbred Live, Thoroughbred Live and Quarter Horse Live.

"Ontario Racing Live" will also focus on transparency, accountability, customer focus and a positive return to the province's taxpayers. Track operators will be required to submit an approved business plan to Ontario Racing Live and agree to accountability requirements.

While these duties were predominantly performed by the Ontario Racing Commission prior to the report, the ORC will see its role return to racing's regulator. Premier Wynne stated that ORC Chair Rod Seiling has retired and that Elmer Buchanan has been nominated as his replacement. That appointment is subject to Cabinet approval and review by the Standing Committee on Government Agencies.

The eight tracks that will comprise Ontario's circuit will be Clinton Raceway, Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway, Hanover Raceway, Mohawk Racetrack, The Raceway at the Western Fair District and Woodbine Racetrack. The goal for the report was to create a circuit of world-class live harness racing. Ninety per cent of that $400 million in funding will be allotted to these racetracks as well as quarter horse facility Ajax Downs. The other 10 per cent will be for smaller regional racetracks to support 'grassroots' level racing.

“When I became Premier I made this commitment (to bring forth a sustainable framework for the provincial horse racing industry)," Wynne said, while announcing the plan Friday, October 11 at Grand River Raceway. "I recognize the value of this sector. And I recognize that if it is my responsibility – and it is – to create jobs and grow the economy in every part of Ontario, I think that we have to make sure that we support hard-working people in every region of the province. That is why when I say that we are going to invest in people, and we are going to invest in infrastructure, and that we want to support a dynamic and innovative business climate, that includes horse racing.”

To watch video of the announcement at Grand River, click here.

The PDF of the Final report appears embedded below.

Province Launches Five-Year Plan for Horse Racing Industry
Ontario Government Committed to Sustainable Future for Horse Racing

Ontario has released a five-year plan for a sustainable horse racing industry in the province based on the final Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel report.

The plan will strengthen the industry and support future growth by:

  • Providing up to $400 million over five years to sustain a wide range of racing opportunities that are supported by strong business plans, including branding and marketing, responsible gambling, the Horse Improvement Program, animal welfare and business planning.

  • Integrating horse racing with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) modernization plan, which includes researching potential horse-themed lottery products and leveraging the corporation's business, marketing and responsible gambling expertise within the horse racing industry

  • Restructuring the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) into two divisions -- one that will continue its existing regulatory functions and a separate division that will distribute funding and work with the OLG on industry development to grow the racing fan base.

Strengthening and supporting the province's horse racing industry is part of the Ontario government's three-part economic plan to invest in people, invest in infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.

  • Subject to Cabinet approval and review by the Standing Committee on Government Agencies, Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel member Elmer Buchanan will assume the role of chair of the ORC to lead the implementation of the five-year plan. Mr. Buchanan will replace retiring ORC chair Rod Seiling.

  • The $400 million in funding will support world class racing through a wide range of activities and programs, including branding and marketing, responsible gambling, the Horse Improvement Program, animal welfare and business planning.

  • Funding will be tied to accountability and transparency measures and will provide a positive return on the investment of public funds. Racetracks will need to provide business cases to receive funding.

November 18, 2013 - 1:37 pmMs. Wynne may have some good

John Findley SAID...

Ms. Wynne may have some good ideas and certainly they should get the sport out of the quagmire it has been in for the past year or so. But horsemen have to look after their own interests. I would advise the various horsemens' associations (and in my opinion there should only be one) to keep a watchful eye on this plan. The phrases "channeling the money", "provide help to" "invested in", "sustainable" and "subsidy" can easily at a future date be construed to mean "taking funds from schools and hospitals" to support Horse Racing. This could be lethal to the sport. I much prefer the correct term "revenue sharing" which it is and was.
Probably the thoughts of an old retired horseman will not count for much, but I would hate to see the purses and benefits that we fought so hard for in the past go down the drain simply because the horsemen (yes the horse people not the government or the tracks) are asleep at the switch.

John S Findley, D.V.M.

Past President United Harness Horsemens Assoc. of Canada

Past Vice President Ontario Harness Horsemens Assoc.

Past Director of the Canadian Trotting Assoc.

Past Director of The Canadian Standard Bred Horse Society

Past driver, trainer, owner, breeder and presently very interested person.

October 20, 2013 - 12:33 pmWhat happened to Rideau

What happened to Rideau Carleton?

October 17, 2013 - 5:40 pmGary B....great ideas...I

Tim P. SAID...

Gary B....great ideas...I would definitely watch a panel of 3 or 4 discuss the nights racing at tracks around the country or continent. Even a portion of the show be call in would help answer questions maybe and if they talked about past fines or suspensions/rulings, that would be interesting. You hear the NFL talk about crowd noise, weather, wind in certain cities , elevation, west coast teams traveling to east coast for a 1pm game. All that info helps and is interesting. I would like to hear more talk about types of sulkies, types of turns at the different tracks (tighter, wider, sweeping etc.) Track surfaces like Pocono compared to Mohawk and what it means to these surfaces when it rains heavily for example. Staggered starting gate at certain tracks and the breeze (haha) at Harrah's Philly since it seems to be the windiest track out there haha. And yes I am tired of betting $1200 in a few days online but not qualifying for their $1250 limit with a weekly deadline to earn rebates. At least they can rate play over 3 months time and offer weekly rebates based on play. We know they have the ability to do that.

October 17, 2013 - 4:04 pmTed Fenic and Tim p,

John Carter SAID...

Ted Fenic and Tim p,

I am petrified, terrified, horrified, mortified, stupefied and any other fied that you can think of, as to how you believe that raising the takeout by 5% is the solution for solving the industries problems. It would put the final nail in the coffin.

October 17, 2013 - 3:21 pmMr Towers and everyone

Mr Towers and everyone else.

You bring up the RDSP plan, how about this instead?

I posted this a month ago on a blog here and hardly got a response. My guess is because people only like taking and not giving back. Soemtimes drastic measures need to be taken when an industry is on borrowed time and have never learned from their mistakes and better yet their sad lack of vision towards the future. (Please note that I have edited a small portion since)

From last Saturday to this Saturday in Ontario there was approximately 2040 horses that raced.

If the industry charged each horse that raced an entry fee (like New York does) of $10, the Ontario industry would have netted $20,400 in 7 days. Multiply that over a year period ($20,400 x 56 weeks) and you would have a rough estimate of $1,142,000.

Buy why stop there. Since everyone is a part of this industry, implement a driver and trainer fee of $5 for every horse they race in Ontario. That would add another $1,142,000 to the total.

Once implemented, you have $20 for every horse thats raced in Ontario at all tracks, each and every race. That puts approximately $2.3 million dollars into the promotion and betterment of Ontario Racing. The best part is everybody who participates in this industry in Ontario will have a part in building its future.

Stakes races have entry fees, fishing tournaments have entry fees, Nascar has entry fees, poker has entry fees, so why not harness racing?

Heres a few ideas what to do with the money. I am sure that many of you could add to this.

Make it mandatory for all tracks in Ontario to upgrade all video feeds to High-Def - costs split between the track operators and the horsepeople

Have a nightly centralized panel with knowledgeable horse personalities and gamblers, who will offer a nightly insight for all tracks racing. Much like what the NFL does on a set, but have it broadcast via a live webcast, to begin with to cut costs. Broadcast fees and salaries could be paid by the monies generated from the starting fees. A corporate and or corporate sponsors could be brought onboard to help offset costs. Nightly advertisement spots could also be implemented to raise more capital.

Hire a Professional Ad Agency to promote Ontario Harness Racing, via TV and other venues. Launch a huge campaign, unlike any other that this industry has ever witnessed. The money will be there if the starting fees are implemented.

Launch an Ontario Racetrack only ADW and offer attractive rebates to try and attract the larger gamblers. Monies generated through an Ontario only ADW will benefit everyone involved in Ontario racing. Currently the only place that benefits from having an ADW in Ontario is WEG and thats wrong.

This idea would be one of many steps that this industry needs done. There are many other factors that need to be addressed, such as ownership of racetracks, facilities needed to be upgraded, etc ect.

October 17, 2013 - 12:52 pmTo Mr.Towers, I never said

John Carter SAID...

To Mr.Towers, I never said that Jody was or wasn't supportive of the need for the race game to modernize itself. I simply asked him if he recognized the need for it. I also pointed out that if he did recognize the need for it then him and other leading horsemen or woman who realize the status quo is not working need to speak out for change, silence won't change anything. If Jodi was in support of the RDSP plan then good for Jodi.

October 17, 2013 - 11:47 amMr. Carter, I understand your

Dean Towers SAID...

Mr. Carter,

I understand your frustration, but Jody has been very supportive of what you mention. He was one of the original people who put his name out in support of the RDSP, which addressed many of your concerns. He worked hard for it, and its ideals.

One good thing about the plan, in my opinion, is that we will get to see customer-centric initiatives tried, through "Ontario Racing Live". Hopefully what comes out of that are what we all agree the sport and industry needs: More customers.


October 17, 2013 - 9:12 amHow many people work at G M

Ian Dow SAID...

How many people work at G M in Oshawa? Not as many as the horse industry I'll wager yet they got Billions from the governments to stay in business, not$400 million split 3 ways.

October 17, 2013 - 9:00 amMr. Carter; I can't help but

Mr. Carter;

I can't help but wonder where we'd be today had racetracks invested some of their windfall back into live racing. $51M could have gone a long ways in offering incentives to bettors don't ya think??

As far as I know, the Horsemen's 10% went to purses and was transparent.

In hindsight, we should have used some of the money to go towards public relations. How many people realize a % of purse money went to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society for example?

October 17, 2013 - 7:16 amWill according to the OLG

Will according to the OLG their profits go to universities and hospitals and community centers (or don't you watch tv ads). Besides, profits from gambling are just that - once you gamble on anything, that money is no longer yours and is not taxpayers money if they wish to put it in a slot machine.

October 17, 2013 - 7:08 amI have something that i would

John Carter SAID...

I have something that i would like to ask Jody Jamieson. First off i know with all that is taking place in ontario that you horse people have many concerns but do you not recognize the need for the industry to modernize there betting platforms, thru reduced takeout, fixed odds wagering and exchange wagering. If you do see the need for it then why don't leading horse people such as yourself speak up about it. It has to be obvious to anyone in this industry the old way of doing business is not attracting the next generation of gamblers. Who is going to be around in 20 years to wager on the races if this is not addressed. If the gambling base continues to disappear sooner or later the government will say this industry is no longer relevant and pull all support. That is just a matter of time before this happens if changes are not made on both sides of the border.

It is easy for the horse people to sit back and say that is not our concern it is the tracks concern but that would be a very foolish attitude. If you want this industry to be around for the next generation of horse people, your kids, the same way it was for both you and Carl, is it not time for all areas of the industry to start recognizing the obvious, young people are not supporting your product. The status quo is not only not working but failing miserably. The only time some of these issues were addressed was a few years ago when standardbred canada drew up the racing and development sustainability plan
and the industry as a whole rejected it. At what point does this industry and the people involved start to get it.

October 16, 2013 - 9:32 pmMr Young... with only 10k in

Will Yamakva SAID...

Mr Young... with only 10k in purses... but handles over 30k.... they are gonna be around longer than at least 5 tracks where the purses and handles have the same numbers..... but purses being the higher number. Leamington will barely make a dent in that $400 million... and have a decent handle.... without simulcasting.

They will be fine

October 16, 2013 - 9:27 pmTim... My point is that

Will Yamakva SAID...


My point is that ontario folk realize this is the only industry in ontario that exists with the vast majority of the money coming ftom slots. You would like to cut into OLG profits? What.???? Noooooooo. As a taxpayer.... those profits are our money.

You want a 5% raise in take out when you see everyone here talking about lowering the take out because bettors are already leaving.

And as a bettor..... you absolutely have to be kidding me in raising the take out in addition to your lottery proposal. Not only do you want the citizens to not bet on your races but some OLG funded lottery and raise my taxes?

Simply put as a fan.... this is the most disrespect I have seen yet.

Essentially you just said to me......"take more from the citizens and fans of our sport so I can survive".

No thanks

October 16, 2013 - 8:17 pmHey Will...I do not think Mr.

Tim P. SAID...

Hey Will...I do not think Mr. Winning is saying people in Ontario ARE gullible...he just said stop treating the people in Ontario LIKE they are I think he is saying the gov't thinks we are are gullible but we really are not so the gov't needs to stop with all the lies and smoke screens. It sucks with what the Liberals have done and it does not seem fair but now it's done and now it's time to try and make a positive out of a negative somehow. For starters the horsemen (industry) should start working with the government and do a Canada wide or (Ontario, BC, Alberta and Down East) and get a Horse type lottery like the V75 in Sweden which brings in huge money. I know the OLG might not like this cause they would have to share in the profits and it might cut into their other gambling ventures but if they are happy with the profits NASCAR pro picks brings in on a Sunday (maybe a total pool of $6,000 so does that mean before taxes the pool might have been $10,000) for a company like the OLG why have a bet that brings in very little money? Because a little profit is better than NOTHING which is why they need to give a horse racing type lottery bet a chance, they would love the pools they would see for a V75 type horse lottery that could run every Saturday and maybe one day through the week if it takes off. And someone mentioned a 5% raise in takeout...I would be ok with that. People who love the sport and love to gamble are still gonna do so because its all about the love of the game and the rush and excitement. We all know its not a money making job for 99% of the people who bet the horses.

October 16, 2013 - 7:57 pmMr. Yamakva, I would

Randy Young SAID...

Mr. Yamakva, I would certainly hope that the horsemen and other representatives of the horse racing industry have many good ideas with regard to the integration of horse racing with the OLG’s new gaming strategy (as flawed as it is).

If Ms. Wynne would have immediately restructured the McGuinty transition panel to include representation from the industry (Mr Burgess ,for example, would have been an excellent choice .. as well as many others) then perhaps those ideas would now be front and center. It is clear, however, that the OLG has been specifically assigned with the mandate to accomplish this task .. and I fear the horsemen and the industry as a whole will have little input.

With regard to Leamington, this 5 year plan will give them little chance of survival. Rideau will likely survive, only because Ottawa’s Mayor and Council were smart enough to insist that any gaming expansion take place at the race track. I would expect that they will come up with a satisfactory financial agreement with whatever private company gets involved in the expansion (if there is one)

October 16, 2013 - 7:52 pmAs usual Bob Burgess has got

Ian Dow SAID...

As usual Bob Burgess has got it right, to bad he's not a card carrying liberal, they might have listened to him!

October 16, 2013 - 7:46 pmWell said Mr Burgess. How can

Norm Brunet SAID...

Well said Mr Burgess.
How can you cancel a long term contract mid term and then change nothing except take away the rights from one of the participants. Is that legal ?
Strange, 20 months ago when the slots program was a true partnership, the Liberals began calling it a subsidy. Now that it is a subsidy, the Liberals are calling it a partnership.

October 16, 2013 - 7:43 pmIt's amazing to see how the

Sheldon Rose SAID...

It's amazing to see how the comment section has become the sounding board for one person who's mission is to save the industry. I just wish he had some skin in the game so he could feel our pain.

October 16, 2013 - 3:58 pmMr Winning, with the greatest

Will Yamakva SAID...

Mr Winning, with the greatest of respect, I find it insulting that you think the citizens are gullible.

The reality is, that only 1% of ontario is racing for the $400 million that you are being given. Yes, you are giving back in terms of taxes, but if that slot money is bet, and not given to you, the citizens of Ontario.... are still going to get that money anyways.

While this might not be a good solution for you and your livlihood, expecting the flow of money to only 1% of the population, can not be deemed as good.

In fact, Mr Winning, ask yourself this, if you owned any business... regardless what it was, and if things were going bad and the business was not generating enough money on its own, why should the government not save it too?

I am all for horse racing, but you all need to make the general public care. If you read the comments in the articles I linked before, there is little to no support for you. I REALLY think harness needs to look at how to make the people come and bet and you get your cut there, rather than fight for money that the 99% of Ontarians, are not entitled to in any way shape of form.

As a person that has spent THOUSANDS of dollars to which you have gotten a percentage from, its insulting as a bettor that you feel entitled to something, that us the gamblers are not. WE ARE YOUR LIFE BLOOD, but gamblers are treated like after thoughts and no ones, because slot money is more important.

October 16, 2013 - 3:50 pmMr Jamieson.... Simple

Will Yamakva SAID...

Mr Jamieson....

Simple question, if you are worried about further crippling the industry, why is your stance not trying to increase support bythe Ontario people at your races betting on your races and your industry being able to survive on its own, rather than continue in front empty stands night in and night out?

One other quick question Mr Jamieson, as a professional athlete, does it not trouble you the vast majority of your earnings over the past decade are not as a result of fan support of your athletic performance, but people in another room watchinh screens and pushing buttons?

Ive been curious to hear opinions on those questions.

The answers are key to my support staying or leaving harness

October 16, 2013 - 2:41 pm$400 million over 5 years

Ted Fenic SAID...

$400 million over 5 years split amongst the 3 breeds and tracks is not going to work for the standardbred industry.

The only way to survive is to create new racing customers through OLG customers/outlets and raise the takeout by 5%. That would give us $20 million in extra money per year, just for us, the standardbred horsemen. If OLG can create new customers and wagering venues in the province for our product, that number could be come $30-$40 million extra per year just for us.

That increase along with our share of the $400 million should put us in a decent position to survive this mess.

October 16, 2013 - 2:07 pmAs always Mr. Burgess writes

Dave Nicol SAID...

As always Mr. Burgess writes eloquently about our ongoing problems, as we the standardbred horse people of Ontario seem to always end up as the sacrificial lambs in this tragedy! As a small operator I have contributed towards the livelihoods of a lot of hard working people over 40+ years. Was it money well spent? I hope so, and absolutely know so! Having a job is paramount to some kind of pride and satisfaction in this new uncaring economy and our breeders, trainers, grooms and other associated businesses deserve better. My heart goes out to those caught in the cross hairs and end up unemployed through no fault of their own. Our breeders have paid a terrible price! and keep paying without any thought of clearing the hurdles and returning to the best standardbred breeding program in North America. I also noticed in the Kentucky sale most American breds sold for good money while any Ontario breds were significantly under valued. Some of the U. S. breeders declared their Ont. breds RNA (reserve not attained) Instead of being ignored Mr. Burgess should be listened to When he supplies not only facts but suggestions how to fix our problems, and yes his comments are factual, timely and FREE. Will some official pay attention? Probably not! Thanks again Robert.

October 16, 2013 - 12:51 pmMY question is: why did we

MY question is: why did we stop Rallying? Seems, the public sector is unaware, that this it NOT a good deal. We seem to have more time, to rally more than ever. Not many of us are racing right? thanks leo samarillo

October 16, 2013 - 11:57 ami guess now it's time to

i guess now it's time to pretend like it's a really good plan when we all know deep down it's not even close to what we were hoping for and will not get us even half way to where we were, but whatever, i guess if you can't beat them join them, seems to be the way it's heading now, still so many question marks???????????

October 16, 2013 - 10:52 amI believe it is very

I believe it is very important to note that the Ontario racetracks that raced in 2013, have already received over $100,000,000 for rental and racedate reimbursement!! To suggest that any of this new subsidy,$400,000,000 over 5 years, would be paid to the racetracks is tragic, in that, the horsepeople of Ontario, can barely survive on current levels and any split of this new money that wouldn't favour the horsepeople, would further cripple this industry!!

October 16, 2013 - 9:06 amI would like to think that

I would like to think that the liberal government of Ontario are some day going to stop treating the citizens of Ontario like they are really gullible. The farmer I am stabled with and his daughter said it best, "does she really think that this is a good solution"?? The liberals have not a hope on getting elected in the upcoming election. The longer they wait the more informed people will be on the scandals perpetrated by the liberal incompetetance. Even the media that usually take the liberals side are starting to reveal the real truth. Just thinking out loud. Bruce T. Winning

October 15, 2013 - 6:15 pmMr Young..... why does the

Will Yamakva SAID...

Mr Young..... why does the horseman not have a proposal? Why is everyone waiting for the government?

Leamington didnt. Rideau didnt.

October 15, 2013 - 3:05 pm"Wynne, who is also the

Randy Young SAID...

"Wynne, who is also the province’s Minister of Agriculture and Food, stressed how a true partnership with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is critical for the industry to thrive."

"As she has stressed before, Wynne stated that a true partnership between the OLG and the Ontario horse racing industry is pivotal."

That has been the mantra for several months but we have yet to see one concrete proposal as to how that plan will be accomplished.

Putting your faith in the OLG is a "gamble" to say the least.
As an indication of how they operate, the OLG has yet to publicly disclose their 2012 (year ended March 31, 2012) annual report .. you would think that a year and a half (and counting) would be enough.

The Ontario Auditor General's report (reviewing the decision to cancel SARP and the OLG's new gaming strategy) is expected before the end of 2013 ... it will be interesting to read their comments.

October 15, 2013 - 10:38 amThank you Liberal government

Bob Boyd SAID...

Thank you Liberal government for nothing. 90% of the money is in Toronto or west of TO
Did the Liberals forget there are tracks, horses and people to the east?

October 15, 2013 - 10:34 amGeorge you are so right in

George you are so right in all you say. Yes, I saw the prices at Lexington. Can hardly call our sales good. As for the small horse owner who can't afford to send a claimer to the USA,I'm out. Never thought I would say that but had fun and hard work for 35 yrs. Don't need the work anymore and will find something else to do for fun - it sure won't be going to the casinos or slots. They won't get another cent out of me that way.

October 14, 2013 - 10:59 pmWHAT DO THE BREEDERS

Georg Leber SAID...


Two years ago I bought breeding shares in All American Native, Lis Mara, Major in Art and Tell all.

Lis Mara and Tell All both moved down under last year and Major in Art moved down under this year. Today I got an email that All American Native will be standing in Ohio.

I think it speaks volumes. I am willing to bet that we hear several more are moving before the end of the year. We still have some excellent sires in this province but the market adjustment is taking place.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

October 14, 2013 - 5:12 pmYou said it best,

Don Patrick SAID...

You said it best, George.
Owners who still love the game will send more money South. Bettors who still enjoy horse racing will do the same. I will start betting more on Yonkers and Pocono, especially with only 3 days of racing a week at Weg. If I choose to own horses again, I don't see it being in Canada.

I can't help but wonder what might have happened if the Ontario tracks had shown some backbone, and closed down their slot facilities on March 31. Instead, the industry will now fight for the crumbs left behind by OUR elected officials.

October 14, 2013 - 3:14 pmI was under the impression

gord young SAID...

I was under the impression there was going to be some stimulus for OSS yearling sales, that is why the Forest City Sale was moved to Nov. I thought maybe there would be a tax credit or maybe a grant for buying the Ont babies.
What do the breeders think of this proposal?

October 14, 2013 - 12:35 pmSome good news for horse

Tom Kelly SAID...

Some good news for horse racing. John [email protected] Monday , October 14,2013.... Sounds like a broken record. Much like the announcement way back in MARCH 2012 at the press conference led by Godfrey With McGuinty and Duncan in the background.. The olg GODFREY stated : WE WILL MODERNISE GAMING IN ONTARIO ...Well where are they now? They don't lie do they? They expanded Woodbine and Mohawk slots and added casino style card games , put on more bus trips from the seniors homes to the slots.spent millions in advertising , laid off employees and closed the backstretch to grooms and trainers and owners at Mohawk...If this is modernizing standardbred racing in Ontario and a good day for Ontario racehorses as you say Mr.snobelen , then you must have been speaking about the other end of the horses rather than what we feed them up front....

October 14, 2013 - 11:56 amSo very true Georg----all of

Lynne Magee SAID...

So very true Georg----all of your comments. The uncaring public will certainly start to see things differently when their local and provincial economies reflect the lack of spending that the horse industry once generated and the number of jobless are relying on government handouts to survive.

October 14, 2013 - 11:11 amThe panel have offered enough

Ian Howard SAID...

The panel have offered enough that the industry will have no choice but to accept.
What no one can know is whether integration with the Olg will prove beneficial. If it is a meaningful relationship what survives of the industry will have a solid financial foundation.
Unfortunately without a tax structure that allows the breeding industry to regenerate to the point that it can supply the numbers and quality of horses needed to remain competitive in the global wagering market none of it will matter. Kathleen Wynne has put her best offer on the table Now it is up to Jim Flaherty to decide how much of the breeding industry will remain in three years. Racehorse owners can now decide whether to reinvest,leave,or quit. The breeding sector is a much more difficult problem.

October 14, 2013 - 2:00 amHow does the song go blinded

How does the song go blinded by the light? I guess if you are one of the lucky nine you might be jumping for joy, at least for a few more years. I guess they forgot there use to be racing west of London probably just an oversight on their part. I wonder how the Leamington group is feeling right about now? Hope you people in the far west enjoyed your four Sundays of live racing. Unless you plan on driving 2 hours away that will probably be the last time we see live racing in our area. I'm surprised Mr. Hatfield has not responded as of yet. For you Windsor people like myself we still have the glorious Club Alouette to spend our money betting on other track's products. That is of course if you can get your bet in over the loud band playing right next to the betting terminals. Windsor Raceway even in it's pathetic condition still handled more money then just about every track mentioned as the big nine. Lastly, I applaud the Mayor and the people of leamington involved in trying to bring live racing back to us, you have my heart felt thanks and I enjoyed every minute of it. I know I will be one of many who has spent his last penny on horse racing. I wish the big nine lots of luch cause you will need it.

October 13, 2013 - 3:45 pmThe people who comment on

Georg Leber SAID...

The people who comment on this website (including me) are spitting into the wind. Nobody reads this except us and nobody cares except us. The average person reads that we are getting $400 million and is outraged that we are another scandal. Standardbred people are a minority of less than 1/3 of 1% of the population and we get $400 million. Forget that we used to get more from SARP. The people don't see it that way.

The industry will get smaller for sure. Those that have the best of the best will be slightly affected but will still make a good living racing and working at WEG. WEG might even get a Casino for their loyalty to the LIBS. OLG will carry on as if nothing happenned.

Those who can are splitting their operations between WEG and the USA. They won't protest, they will get on with the business of racing and investing more in the USA. Small guys like me have maybe a couple we can send down there and sell the rest at a loss. Breeders will move the best sires and broodmares to the USA. Did you see the prices at Lexington?

There will be bankruptcies and lots of job losses. The economy will take a $1 billion hit but the Liberals will explain it away with help from the NDP. Maybe the PC's will get voted in next election and inherit a real mess that they won't be able to do anything about and the Liberals will sing and dance and mock them.

Unfortunately in the crossfire are the hardworking people of the business. Grooms, trainers etc are going to have life altering changes. Investors lose some money but we wouldnt be in it if we couldnt afford it.

In short we can complain all we want. Nothing is going to change because the USA is still open for business and the smart money is going there.

I enjoy the comments on the board and read them every day.

Georg Leber-ICR Racing

October 13, 2013 - 2:10 pmWhy can't Wynne's group make

Wayne Helmer SAID...

Why can't Wynne's group make the amount 500 million and give the major tracks listed in their proposal the 400 million and give the 100 million left over to the smaller tracks like Sudbury,Leamington,Woodstock, Hiawatha and Dresden? How does Hanover get picked to survive over these tracks and Rideau Carleton,did they use darts on a dartboard to come up with the tracks? The Windsor Chatham-Kent area is already a depressed state and now they want to take more jobs away, these small tracks were the backbone of the racing industry where everything grew from the fairground racing. Nothing is better then to take the whole family on a nice sunny day to a local small town track or a local fair and watch the horses race,it was a cheap form of entertainment and a nice social enviornment.I think we need to have a loophole installed in this plan so that when the present government is ousted we can revisit this ridiculous proposal with the new one.

October 13, 2013 - 11:37 amIf I was the Premier my

If I was the Premier my speech would have been 12 words........."We are going to return to the SARS program with negotiated adjustments".And guess what? The whole province would be happy except some 'hasbeen' politicians who are no longer there.

October 12, 2013 - 8:45 pmLet me figure this out 80

Cy McKenna SAID...

Let me figure this out 80 million a year.Prior to the cancellation of SARP the industry was receiving 345 million.this from the very succesfull program for all parties,including the gov.of Ont.Great plan guys.It's time for an election.

October 12, 2013 - 1:32 pmDave, Wynne was vague when it

norm files SAID...

Dave, Wynne was vague when it came to Fort Erie and did mention Dresden Hiawatha and Woodstock to a degree, but it is clearly written in the plan....They would be considered for a festival racing circuit. Although racing at Woodstock, Sudbury and Dresden should have ceased years ago

October 12, 2013 - 1:27 pmReviewing these comments, and

norm files SAID...

Reviewing these comments, and one just jumps off that page that I have to ask...WHAT RACETRACK DO YOU HAVE IN THUNDER BAY????????????????????

October 12, 2013 - 10:44 amAfter reading the comments of

October 12, 2013 - 8:48 amThe truth of the matter is

John Carter SAID...

The truth of the matter is there is no real plan going forward. The thing that was missing from this panel was gaming experts who understands today's competitive market place. Cutting down the amount of race dates and race tracks will give the remaining tracks in all probability a little boost in handle but nothing that is going to bail the industry out. They needed gaming experts who understand the need to re-build the gambling base thru reduced takeout,
gaming experts who understand to attract the next generation of gamblers, the need for new wagering platforms such as exchange wagering and fixed odds wagering. Instead all that has happened is less tracks, less race dates, less funding combined with the same old broken business model. The panel that came up with this plan has no clue about gaming and sadly neither does the over whelming majority of race tracks and their management teams. With the cut in funding, combined with the same outdated broken business model, it does not bode well for this industry going forward. It is time for industry leaders and the race game as a whole to wake up.

October 12, 2013 - 5:58 amONTAP! Its hard to swallow

jim rigg SAID...

ONTAP! Its hard to swallow this crap! Ontario Taxpayers Appeasement Plan; this is what I call the Liberal's and the OLG's Plan. After hearing the fumbling statements by the Premier condemning the SARP agreement as not accountable nor transparent, She should look at Her own house! Is it any wonder that Rod Seiling quit! All we have now is more bureaucracy another hill to climb to get back to what was a "World Class" Industry.

October 12, 2013 - 2:17 amHorseman... I feel bad people

Will Yamakva SAID...


I feel bad people are going to lose.... but for the industry as a whole, this will make what's left, far stronger.

October 11, 2013 - 8:50 pmRegardless of the political

Regardless of the political "spin" on this it actually remains a poor deal for Ontario racing.

So why all the hype ??

October 11, 2013 - 8:05 pmWhat happened to Sudbury

Ian Dow SAID...

What happened to Sudbury

October 11, 2013 - 5:39 pmi guess there is to be no

dave mcgee SAID...

i guess there is to be no horse racing east of the 400 hwy--thanks to wynne and jeff leal- the m.p.p.-who is supposed to be the assistant minister of agriculture for our area--peterboro and surrounding regions--lots of smoke and mirrors --right jeff--and i will do everyhting in my power to see you are not elected in the next election--but the horse is out of the barn--no use closing it--still the slots go everyday at kawartha downs--who got punished skip or the horsepeople--care to wager a guess ?????

October 11, 2013 - 5:21 pmI wish she had included

dave lewis SAID...

I wish she had included Dresden.Hiawatha and Woodstock as now its a 2 hour drive to go and race and that's if you can get in once a month.

October 11, 2013 - 4:04 pmYay we're saved, we will be

John Hill SAID...

Yay we're saved, we will be racing for about half of todays purses!!! This panel actually believes this. They actually think the industry will grow,they are right, it will grow smaller until it disappears in 5 years when they have their new casinos built.The first step in growth and sustainability is to get the slots out of our facilities and get our customers back. Go into any track and you are hustled into the slots before you can find the racetracks.Just another photo-op to pat themselves on the back.

October 11, 2013 - 1:32 pmYou're going to trust your

You're going to trust your industry to the same people that did the gas plant mess? Of course if the proposed 400 mill. suddenly turns to 1.2 bill I'm sure no one will say anything. What's going to happen to Hiawatha and Dresden??
Is the owner of Hiawatha going to get back some of the money he put into improving his track only to find his race dates cancelled then returned at about 1/2 of expected?. Will he still have an off track parlor or will I have to go to London to wager on the Breeders' races or The Kentucky Derby? Also why is it so difficult to enroll in Horseplayer Interactive,they require so much personal information I just give up. It would be nice to throw a few bucks on The Queen's Plate or Derby without having to leave home. Good luck with your restructuring. I still like Dresden on sunny Sunday afternoons by the outside bar close enough to smell horses. My racing memories.

October 11, 2013 - 1:02 pmWonderful isn't it. We still

Wonderful isn't it. We still don't know how many days at which tracks, purse levels, etc. but at least another friend of the gov't (Elmer Buchanan) lands himself a nice cushy (and probably very profitable) job. Surprised???

October 11, 2013 - 1:01 pmI am sure the question on

I am sure the question on many peoples minds here is what becomes of Hiawatha, Rideau Carleton, Kawartha, Sudbury and Dresden? They made a point of adressing Fort Erie but somehow forgot to mention the 5 standardbred tracks.

October 11, 2013 - 12:13 pmAgain it is blatantly obvious

Again it is blatantly obvious this Ont. Govt doesn't want horse racing.

Obviously interferes with ripping off the public from slots etc !!

Eight tracks all located in a small part of Southern Ontario !!

Obviously Ottawa and Thunder Bay etc don't count.

Not a Wynner IMO !

October 11, 2013 - 8:50 amCan someone tell us how this

John Celii SAID...

Can someone tell us how this $400m over 5 years compares to the amount the standardbred industry received over the last 5 years?

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