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Western Fair Announces Purse Decrease

Published: December 28, 2012 2:45 pm ET

Last Comment: January 17, 2013 9:32 am ET | 14 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The Raceway at Western Fair District has announced that a purse decrease will come into effect in January of 2013.

The purse decrease is approximately 12 per cent.

A release from the Western Fair District has stated that the purse decrease is necessary to ensure that a sufficient amount of purse money remains available through to the end of the current meet in May.

“Our industry will face unprecedented funding challenges come April 1, 2013. And although I remain optimistic that the OMAFRA panel will produce a funding framework for racing shortly, it would be fiscally irresponsible of us to treat the first quarter of our year as business as usual,” explained Hugh Mitchell, CEO at Western Fair.

“With the uncertainty regarding any funding arrangements post March 31, 2013 we feel that it is prudent to make adjustments in order to ensure that there will be sufficient money to fund racing purses until the end of the winter meet which ends on May 31, 2013," stated Ontario Harness Horse Association President Ken Hardy. "We will continue to monitor the situation along with Western Fair District management and will make further adjustments as we gain more clarity on future funding arrangements.”

(With files from the Western Fair District)

January 17, 2013 - 9:32 amIF it doesn't support

IF it doesn't support horseracing - DO NOT GO THERE! SOMETIMES you just have to re-invent yourselves - but, by the time this is all settled it will truly be unaffordable and available only in DUBAI!

January 4, 2013 - 11:46 amSorry folks! Purses should be

Diane Lord SAID...

Sorry folks! Purses should be decreased in order to save the horse racing industry of Ontario. The glory days of high purses are gone. Lets not be greedy. 1.5 million dollars for the Pepsi North American cup is a real waste of money.The mutual handle will always be there,but not the purse money.There are soooo many harnais tracks in North America that give out minimal pruses, no one is complaining at these tracks,only the horse people of Ontario are whinning!

January 2, 2013 - 9:52 amJust the start!!

Just the start!!

December 30, 2012 - 5:46 pmThis industry has supposedly

This industry has supposedly (but the truth be told, not really) to be in partnership with the racetracks. Would you not think since it was a partnership that you should be able to access how much money is in the purse accounts at all tracks anytime you wish? last time I checked, Western Fair is a non profit organization so gaining access to this information should be public knowledge I would think.

Maybe Ken Hardy (since his name was mentioned in the press release) can come on here and give us the numbers so people can know exactly what is going on as far as how much money is in the purse account today as well as how much money is expected to be in the purse account March 31 2013. A copy of last years numbers for the period from Jan 1 2012 until March 31 2012 that Western Fair did should be able to give a good prognosis of what exactly will remain when March 31 2013 comes.


December 29, 2012 - 10:31 pmIt is called "down sizing".

It is called "down sizing". The real World has been facing it for years!!

December 29, 2012 - 12:36 pmWith regards to Western,

Jim Singer SAID...

With regards to Western, simply they did not have enough in the purse account to support the same schedule as Q1 2012. They asked for a reduction, ORC denied it leaving them no choice but to cut purses. In my opinion the ORC made a huge mistake. In fact, with only Flamboro getting the reduction, there still is way too much racing for it to be of any interest to the average fan and keeping purse money for the transition. Either way, it’s a slow squeeze on the horepeople now, or a huge one come April 1. A slow approach would make more sense.

Excess purse accounts or ‘stranded money” will be needed to fund purses on April 1 st. With no pari-mutuel, there is no purses. To generate 80 K in purses a track will need, approx. 380 k in live handle compared to the 20 K now on a good day (21% takeout) . there is no solution here.

There is talk about the leases, simply no way is this tied to racing unless the tracks want to take their money and use it to support racing and hope that some of it comes back through transition funds. The tracks will have millions of severance costs on their hands come April 1, with no hope of getting this back. With no tracks, no racing and they will seek some solace in getting some lease money for their troubles.

No incentive for the tracks to run…why bother ?

December 29, 2012 - 12:01 pmMichel, all due respect,

Jim Singer SAID...

Michel, all due respect, Western had to adjust purses due to the ORC denying them a reduction in days. They simply didn't have enough in their purse account to support the same schedule as Q1 2012. Ditto for Flamboro.

New deals with track owners ? there is no deal for the industry.
It's clear that if they intend to operate, they will need to take it from the lease deal with the OLG for the gaming space. Why would anyone take their good money and throw into racing with no chance of ever getting the money back ? Many of these tracks will face severace costs in Q1 terminatiing many good people. Again, no hope in recovery. This is what will casue the tracks to go down.

Transition money ? who knows what it will be and besides this is a short term fix. This is ticking time bomb. This industry will completely collapse and start again. No other way to transition this to something more sellable to the average fan never mind the racing folk.

Gary, stranded purse money is going to be needed in April to fund the industry. Since there is no Parimutel on April 1 st, where do you think the money is coming from.

My opinion, the ORC made a huge mistake in Q1. There should have been a greater reduction of racing as per what the tracks orginally requested. There will be a limited warchest, this will cause a big problem.

December 29, 2012 - 10:39 amIf the Raceway at Western

If the Raceway at Western Fair is reducing their purses, considering their handle which is the second highest in Ontario, I wonder what the reductions will be at RCR, KD and many other tracks???

December 28, 2012 - 9:15 pmAGAIN a stupid decision and

AGAIN a stupid decision and bad timing.. The tracks should not make any adjustment and decision until a new plan is made for the whole Industry. The plan that discusses the following items needs to get out ASAP

1- Tracks which will stay open
2- Adjustments in purses for runners and track A and B.
3- The new model for OSS (to stop the bleeding in the breeding Industry)
4- Possible deal with Revenue Canada for owners investing
5- New deals done with track owners which includes percentage that will be shared to the industry.

We have to STOP giving negative messages every week. You guys are killing the Industry before there is a final decision made by the panel and approved by all stakeholders. Yes that decision will make more money for WF short term but again what a bad decision for the Industry. Not sure which track owners wants the racing anymore, they have shown they want the slots ( Georgian downs was very open with their date request last month dates only slots) now WF that calls for reduction in purses but same income with slots.....

Sad to see the Industry dying when Ontario had the best program going with an Industry every province and countries were trying to match.....

December 28, 2012 - 6:55 pmWhat are the terms of the

What are the terms of the tentative agreement would be my first question

December 28, 2012 - 5:46 pmThere would be hardly a purse

There would be hardly a purse decrease at Western Fair if they cancelled their money losing Friday/Sat and just ran Mon/Tues/Wed.Western Fair takes a financial beating on Fri/Sat.

Western Fair handle on Mon/Tues is 340 thou.The patron who is betting on the Fair's Mon/Tues is probably going to bet it on Wed.Their handle on Fri/Sat is 100 thou.What industry would give up 240 thou more handle!!!A industry that doesn't care if they make money cause they make up the lose with slot money.

All they would have to do is cancel Fri/Sat and add those races to Mon/Tues/Wend cards and they wouldn't have had to decrease purse.

Racing only has it self to blame.

December 28, 2012 - 4:01 pmCan somebody please tell me

Can somebody please tell me why I am not able to see each tracks purse account balance as of today in Ontario? Other then COSSA who supplies WEGS monthly statements, I have been unable to get this information on any tracks website and furthermore cannot access it anywhere on OHRIA'S website or OHHA'S website?

Would it not be in the best interest of horsepeople to ask to see Western Fair's purse account balance as it stands today, as well as their financial statements from the past year to see if they can truly justify a purse decrease?

The reason this needs to be adressed, is will they have excess purse account monies that will be left over when March 31 comes? Remember what happened with these 3 tracks, Windsor, Woodstock and Dresden? Millions of dollars being held from the horsemen by the ORC.

If Western Fair decides not to continue racing after March 31, will they join the list and more money that belongs to the horsemen will be held by the ORC?

December 28, 2012 - 3:44 pmOnly the tracks share nothing

Chuck Ibey SAID...

Only the tracks share nothing for purses obviously! OLG settling with tracks and communities while racing and breeders left out in the cold.

December 28, 2012 - 3:12 pmWhy cuts now after a

Why cuts now after a tentative agreement has been made with OLG? Uncertain funding arrangements post March 31? Does the agreement not add certainty to the funding?

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