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Perkins Calls For Racing Czar

Published: November 2, 2012 4:44 pm ET

Last Comment: November 3, 2012 11:06 am ET | 6 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In his most recent column, which calls for a Racing Czar and a single unified voice for Ontario horse-racing, nationally-respected sports journalist Dave Perkins has again called out the Ontario Liberal Party for its botched handling of the provincial industry, stating, "Racing needed a kick in the ass, no question. But it didn’t need to be guillotined by politicians who should have, but didn’t, know any better."

Perkins' column, as many other industry associations have in the past few days, is essentially a response to the OMAFRA Panel's report on how to transition the Ontario horse-racing industry from the slots-at-racetracks program.

The report, which recommends a disproportionate reduction in race dates and purses for standardbred racing in comparison to the industry's much smaller thoroughbred sector, has elicited widespread criticism in Ontario harness racing.

Perkins writes:

It (the report) features grand examples of a new, previously unknown form of arithmetic. Example: It suggests half as many race days at half as many standardbred racetracks racing for a fraction of existing purses will mean full fields and therefore stability in the mutuels handle. (As if a dollar bet at one track necessarily will relocate to the next.) Or, cutting the Horse Improvement Program/Ontario Sires Stakes from $47 million to $30 million will make Ontario horses more competitive with their U.S. counterparts. (Not likely; the breeding industry already has been assassinated with sales stagnant, breedings cut and foal registrations slashed.)

In addition to calling for an Ontario Racing Czar, Perkins calls for the individual to be trusted completely by both the standardbred and thoroughbred industries, speak on their behalf, and have real representation and sway at a level that means something.

Committees have been formed, associations quite properly wringing their hands over the future of the game and lobbying their local MPPs. There has been plenty of righteous indignation and some clever individual pushback. Alas, it all seems to have added up to a popgun. What there should be is a horse-racing commissioner, someone to speak for everyone, thoroughbred and harness, and trusted by both sides. He (or she) needs a seat on the OLG board, to give racing some representation there, and needs a loud and clear voice in behalf of a historic, vital, contributing industry, one that has fattened Ontario’s public purses by billions of dollars over the years.

To read Perkins' column in its entirety, click here.

(With files from the Toronto Star)

November 3, 2012 - 11:06 amAgreed 100% Dave! Once

Carolyn Rae SAID...

Agreed 100% Dave!

Once again I ask "Why can't regulation of the Horse Racing Industry in Canada be changed from Provincial to Federal? We don't need a racing commission in each and every Province.

The law that controls Gambling is Federal, "The Criminal Code of Canada". We are constantly hearing complaints about different rules and regulations for racing from one Provincial Racing Commission to another. One Governing body under the Federal Government, with representation in each Province, hence " a Racing Czar", (I believe Hec Clouthier would be perfect for the job) over-seeing a Racing Committee with representation from each of the jurisdictions within Horse Racing for each Province, Quarter Horse Racing, Standardbred Racing, Thoroughbred Racing, and of course in the Western Provinces, you would have representation from the Chuckwagon Racing community as well! Our Registry is Federal, so why not the Rules and Regulations that govern the sport? I am sure the Federal Government would be interested in the Billions of dollars from Horse Racing here in Ontario, that the Liberal Government here in Ontario, specifically McGuinty,Duncan, McMeekin and Godfrey, believe they no longer need!

November 3, 2012 - 8:32 amIf we can't all come together

Lynne Magee SAID...

If we can't all come together under these circumstances, what the heck does it take for past differences to be put aside and unity and strength to prevail? This is the fight of our lives in Ontario horse racing. Unite horsepeople and fight these monsters together!

November 3, 2012 - 7:03 amThe ORC monitoring group

Sheldon Rose SAID...

The ORC monitoring group attempted this. Judge the results.

November 3, 2012 - 12:43 amI still want to know why

I still want to know why Perkins who is a frequent visitor to Prime Time Sports, Bob McCowan's radio show on AM590 has not been able to discuss these issues with the host.

Instead, McCowan speaks with Paul Godfrey and Woodbine VP Glen Crouter, neither of whom have presented a true picture of our industry like Perkins has.

What gives????

November 2, 2012 - 7:51 pmIt is so refreshing to read a

Jack Darling SAID...

It is so refreshing to read a column from a journalist who really understands the horse racing business. Dave, I agree with everything you say here. Your recommendation of an Ont. Racing Czar is probably the single most important answer to getting us through our present crisis as well as the future. As has been our history, it will be very difficult to get all or most parties to agree but it can be done. If we cant do it now under these dire circumstances we will never do it.

November 2, 2012 - 7:17 pmThe envy of the world(the

Diane Lord SAID...

The envy of the world(the horse racing industry in Ontario) is being punched and kicked by a couple of bullies. Its time to punch and kick back these bullies right in the kicker.

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