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Ontario Merger Makes Headlines

Published: December 15, 2017 2:15 pm ET

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Thursday's merger that will combine Ontario Racing and the Ontario Standardbred Alliance into an independent, not-for-profit industry organization made headlines both in and outside horse racing circles.

The announcement, prominently featured on the Standardbred Canada website to reach an international harness racing audience, was also covered both provincially and nationally by mainstream print media. The National Post and the Toronto Sun each devoted space to horse racing and covered the merger.

According to the announcement, the newly-formed entity will "create a more cost-effective and streamlined approach to industry administration and governance, as well as a more collaborative and effective approach to decision-making and strategic planning on behalf of 15 racetracks and racing industry associations across the province."

Hugh Mitchell, Chair of Ontario Racing's Board of Directors, is confident this move will help create a single, unified voice to advocate for horse racing's best interests.

"It is the industry’s desire to have the government funding agreement, of approximately $100 million annually, entrusted to Ontario Racing to establish a more independent self-governing industry," Mitchell was quoted as saying in the Toronto Sun.

That $100 million annual funding amount is still yet to be finalized. The new organization "will work collaboratively with the OLG to negotiate the long-term funding agreement, which will then be distributed to Ontario Racing Management (ORM) to allocate under a fair and transparent formula through a business plan approved by the Board of Directors of the new merged entity."

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