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SSHA Votes To Dissolve

Published: December 16, 2013 10:48 am ET

Last Comment: December 23, 2013 12:31 am ET | 7 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Monday, December 16, Saskatchewan Standardbred Horsemen’s Association President Glenn LeDrew announced that the membership of the SSHA voted to dissolve the association at its recent annual general meeting.

Part of the SSHA release states that when the provincial government granted a Home Market Area license solely to the provincial thoroughbred operator for three years it “sealed the fate of the harness racing industry” in Saskatchewan.

The contents of the SSHA release sent by LeDrew appear below.

December 16th, 2013
For Immediate Release:
SSHA Dissolves

It is with a heavy heart that I report, given the current environment, the membership voted unanimously to wind up and dissolve the SSHA at the recently held Annual General Meeting.

As you are aware, our provincial government cancelled funding grants to this industry (in 2012) that have been in existence for 35 years. We were asking them to re-instate the previous Home Market Area boundaries which allowed both the thoroughbred and standardbred industry to share in off-track wagering revenues. This would have provided self-sustained funding for both industries to continue even without the grants. Instead, they have issued a province-wide Home Market Area license solely to the thoroughbred operator for three years and this has sealed the fate of the harness racing industry here. We only wanted a solution that would be fair to both industries, nothing less. We have exhausted all efforts reaching out to the highest levels of government with no support. One government official stated in one of our meetings, “We knew this would end standardbred racing here.”

With limited funding resources, we had five straight years of increased wagering on harness racing in the province due to the progress at both the Yorkton track and the successful opening of the new track in Regina. In today’s environment, this is no easy feat and one that we should all be proud of. The government’s strategy to cancel the funding systems and cut off all financial support to harness racing seems to be a final knockout punch we may never recover from.

I have dedicated years of my life to this industry and to continuous efforts with hopes of leading it to a brighter future and it is a difficult time to say the least. I know we are not alone in our struggles and wish the best to the industry in Ontario and all other jurisdictions who are working so hard to secure their futures. I want to thank the media for all their support along the way. Thank you to all SSHA members, past and present, and to all those who served on the board through the years. I thank you for your support to this association, and to this industry and wish you every success going forward.

December 23, 2013 - 12:31 amThe remaining board members

The remaining board members dissolved the SSHA, but, I don't think Standardbred racing is dead here in SK. Yorkton went out last year and ran approximately 12 race days with purses that, although weren't great, attracted enough horses to run 5-6 horse fields for 6 or 7 races per day. They attracted some sponsorship monies to make it happen. Will Yorkton want to continue for 2014? Time will tell. A lot needs to happen between now and spring and I hope the desire is there. If you listen to the doomsayers, then our sport will cease to exist in our province from 2014 on. If there are enough people with a positive outlook and that includes Yorkton, the government and Saskatoon Prairieland in no particular order, then maybe we can carry on.

December 20, 2013 - 9:48 amNOT a hobby for thousands Mr.

NOT a hobby for thousands Mr. Robinski. Brave New World? are you kidding me? What you mean is Greedy new World. Those with the bucks run the government and our politicians aren't BRAVE enough to stand up to them.

December 17, 2013 - 11:31 amDoes not seem right that the

Kevin Jones SAID...

Does not seem right that the Tb's can gain from what is bet on harness racing off-track in Sask & the SB industry does not get anything. If anything to make it somewhat fair, they should have divided the funds into what was wagered on each breed and allocate the money that way. Something does not sound right with that deal....who knows what goes on in the back rooms when dealing with politicians?

December 17, 2013 - 9:33 amMr Carter take a look at the

Mr Carter take a look at the earnings of the horses racing at Northfield, London, etc etc and you will find less than one in ten that have won enough to pay their way. It already is what you have termed a "hobby" and money losing for most. Only the government wins, but then again that is our brave New World!!

December 16, 2013 - 4:18 pmMakes me sick that the Sask.

Makes me sick that the Sask. Government would allow this to happen.... Ashamed to say that I supported them when I was there.

December 16, 2013 - 12:26 pmIn 30 to 50 years from now,

John Carter SAID...

In 30 to 50 years from now, harness racing as we know it, in canada and the states may well be a thing of the past. It won't surprise me when that time comes, the only harness racing left will be fair racing, and the only people doing it will be doing it as a hobby, not to make a living.

December 16, 2013 - 11:10 amAnother tough day for

Another tough day for Standardbred racing in Saskatchewan and Western Canada.

I know you and others have volunteered time and money for the best interest of racing and for that we all thank you!!!

Jackson Wittup

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