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The End Of An Era

Published: December 15, 2012 2:31 pm ET

Last Comment: December 17, 2012 5:40 pm ET | 12 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

"What kind of industry with a board of directors scraps a hugely successful program worth $1.1 billion annually, and the industry behind it, in order to bolster the arm of the business losing $100 million?"

As Woodbine Racetrack concludes its 2012 thoroughbred meet on Sunday, Dave Perkins penned a story for The Toronto Star outlining the bleak future for horse racing in the province as the industry awaits word on government recommendations.

Perkins minced no words in pointing out the incongruous way that the 20 per cent portion of of the slots-at-racetracks revenue was publicly positioned by the OLG and Liberal government as a “subsidy while "bingo hall operators keep 47 per cent of the take and OLG refers to that as 'commission.'"

Perkins then questions the government's strategy, wondering how "20 per cent that keeps an historic and lucrative industry of 55,000 alive is too much, but 47 per cent going to bingo proprietors is just right."

In a separate Star feature, OHRIA President Sue Leslie noted that her groups and countless others are "24/7" in continuing their work with government, party representatives and the OLG.

“It’s been the worst business experience of my life,” said Leslie. “The government has been very difficult to deal with. Tracks can’t open if they don’t know what kind of income it will have.”

Some of the work now involves rental agreements with the operational slot locations and the OLG. Once tracks finalize those arrangements, Leslie said that it will help determine how much funding is needed to race post-SARP.

“We don’t know how many tracks will need to share what monies the OMAFRA panel will request for tracks to the government. But we want to make sure that it knows the economic worth of our industry.”

Leslie admitted that she receives phone calls everyday from people in horse racing asking if they should move to another jurisdiction with a more viable and solid racing program.

“I don’t have an answer," said Leslie. "But where are these people going to work or live? Most of them live in the dorms at the track and working with racehorses is all they know.”

For 25 years, Dave Wilson has been a groom at Woodbine, leaving a marina job in Sudbury behind when he was bit by the racing bug.

“Thoroughbreds are very important to me," Wilson told The Star. "They have taught me responsibility, it’s like raising your own family when you have to take care of these horses. You are entrusted with an owner’s animal and you learn to pay attention to details and make them happy.”

December 17, 2012 - 5:40 pmOr how about not, I already

Jen Morrison SAID...

Or how about not, I already noted my mistakes in this area. There are regular mistakes made when you are a writer.

December 17, 2012 - 5:36 pmAs a HUGE fan of racing since

As a HUGE fan of racing since 1969, I DO NOT want this to be the End of Racing at Woodbine as we have all come to know it. I LOVE Woodbine and used to work there in 2002 at the little Gift Kiosk they used to have up on the second floor beside the Food Court.

Come on OLG and all those connected, Woodbine HAS to be saved. EP Taylor is rolling in his grave at the thought of there be no more racing here.

December 17, 2012 - 10:19 amIf you notice mistakes in a

If you notice mistakes in a newspaper article - write and tell them you want a correction notice the next day.

December 16, 2012 - 12:19 pmits a shame didnt REALLY STEP

jim cauchon SAID...

its a shame didnt REALLY STEP and CALL OUT MLSE 'sLarry Tannenebaum by name!!!

Tannenbaum's Bingo arm of his empire BOARDWALK is very much in this mix. He and other bingo callers called in early Liberaal Party favours...months back to get in pre -Slots cash slash announcement..

by the way, did i tell you about Larry's intimate ties to Lieral Party of Ontario and Canada.

Mcguinty and Duncan have skulked off into the sunset surrounded by much disgrace...on not just the ponies but on so much more mismangement and paper 'shellgames..

Many within that Liberal Ontario gang should be charged for a variety of offences..but does anyone have time or energy or hope that any investigation would be whitewashed.

a tragedy on so many levels,,and these two and others are going to escape out the back door.

one more question...was it paul godfrey who was beholden to tannenbaum's choice....or had other liberal mandarins already made the hook up with tannebaum.

Again Dave Perkins,,,shocked you dint call out tannenbaum by name....is there a mlse/rogers deal that might have scared off naming names so dave didnt lose sportsnet afternoon radio gig?

jctoronto

December 16, 2012 - 12:10 pmMcGuinty's and Duncan's

McGuinty's and Duncan's legacy will be that they will be considered as the most hated, corrupt, greedy and most incompetent gov't in the history of Ontario. Never has a previous gov't in any jurisdiction been subjected to so many scandals and policy failures as this gov't. I hope that the voters in Ontario see the light. TIME FOR A CHANGE! Thank you Dave Perkins for shedding some light in our plight to save the horse racing industry.

December 16, 2012 - 10:38 amMany years ago I took a horse

Dave Nicol SAID...

Many years ago I took a horse handicapping course moderated by Dave Perkins. To me it was money well spent as this reporter tells it like it is. I consider him one of the best media friends we have! We should all be thankful somebody is spreading the truth. As a horse owner and Ontario taxpayer I offer my sincere thanks for his unwavering support!

December 16, 2012 - 7:24 amSorry Norm, I did make those

Jen Morrison SAID...

Sorry Norm, I did make those 2 errors, I meant annually for sure, got lost in my writing.

December 15, 2012 - 5:56 pmRacing can always count on

ron francis SAID...

Racing can always count on Dave Perkins to tell it like it is. The "bingo deal" is too sleazy.

December 15, 2012 - 4:55 pmWhat kind of an Industry does

Peggy Powell SAID...

What kind of an Industry does such a thing . Well I'll tell you what kind, the misinformed. arrogant,greedy ,corrupt and most of all heartless government of Ontario. ie Liberal (in case you were wondering.)

December 15, 2012 - 3:32 pmIt has been stated many times

Chuck Ibey SAID...

It has been stated many times already that the deals with the Bingo Hall operators and conceivably a larger percentage going to Casino owners smells very bad.
We have only one shot and that is an election. I dont care what each persons' political alliance may be, but it is obvious that this indusrty has one hope and that is with the PCs. We have no shot with the Liberals and the NDP have no plans and if they do they will come very late trying to pry votes.
While I'm at this hopefully everyone will get behind Anthony MacDonald and his run for the Legislature. He needs to raise a lot of money for his campaign. It matters not that he is not representing your riding, but he will represent our industry very well. So we can sit back and bitch; feeling defeated, or we can show that there is still a lot of fight in us and get involved in the next election in some fashion.
We are not done yet!

Chuck Ibey

December 15, 2012 - 3:16 pmIt's unfortunate but the

Norm Brunet SAID...

It's unfortunate but the report from the Star Feature is full of inacuricies.
1) The Drummond report NEVER said to close down SARP and
2) it provides 1.1 billion $ ANNUALLY NOT since it's inception.
Makes you wonder how acurate are other stories you read in the press.

December 15, 2012 - 2:45 pmIf I was in charge of an Auto

Phil Porter SAID...

If I was in charge of an Auto Parts mfg supplying all or one of the Big 3, and I decided to drop that/those customer(s) in favour of increasing my business with the Russian made Lada....... my Board of Directors, the shareholders, my management staff and my employees would be looking for the nearest tree....


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