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Snobelen On Overnight Purses

Published: February 27, 2013 10:27 am ET

Last Comment: March 3, 2013 10:57 am ET | 18 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In issuing a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne on Tuesday asking her to reinstate the slots-at-racetracks program, Hall of Famer Robert Burgess revealed that Ontario's overnight purse structure outside of Woodbine & Mohawk Racetracks could be "only ten million dollars" for 2013. That number came from Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel member John Snobelen.

According to the London Free Press, Snobelen said on Tuesday that the number was on the low end of a range and hasn't been etched in stone.

“(It’s) a pretty small number versus what has been there, but first of all, that’s a worst-case scenario and secondly there’s a lot of other things that’ll go into purses.”

Burgess' letter, posted and available here, noted that Western Fair alone offered that amount in 2012.

“The remaining tracks, if indeed they’re permitted to apply for racing dates for 2013, will be offering purses insufficient to even cover the gas money spent transporting the horses to the racetrack,” stated Burgess.

While Premier Kathleen Wynne continues to state that the industry will be "sustainable", it appears that the amount of jobs that will be lost in Ontario fails to resonate with a Liberal government that touts a commitment to job creation and frequently flaunts the number of jobs that the OLG modernization strategy will possibly create.

"This whole strategy is based on the premise that they’ll be able to put the casinos where they want, but we don’t know that’s going to happen," John Gallinger, president and chief executive officer of Standardbred Canada told The Free Press. "In the meantime, people’s livelihoods are literally being decimated. From a public policy perspective, how does that make sense?"

Snobelen continued his optimism that the Panel would be setting a course for survival.

“We’re optimistic about live racing in Ontario for the years to come and certainly optimistic about 2013 and 2014.”

The industry cannot share that optimism until concrete numbers are presented.

"Our yearling sales were zilch last year, " said Killean Acres' Jack McNiven . "What we have to sell this year won’t sustain us at all and we can’t wait until November, when we would get them (horses) sold. It would probably be the end for us."

Bill O’Donnell, president of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association, echoes McNiven's sentiments.

"We as horse people bought farms, horses, we have families to feed...all on the premise that we had a long-term deal. Contracts were destroyed with one-year’s notice on a five-year breeding cycle."

March 3, 2013 - 10:57 amRead Snobelen's article in

Read Snobelen's article in Sun. Sun. Be prepared to be ill.

February 28, 2013 - 9:27 amHow are we to become a

How are we to become a longterm sustainable industry with $10 million? That wouldn't even be enough money to market and advertise the sport for one year! Nor will it ever be enough to include aftercare for horses that can no longer race.

How can we get the public to our horse races with $800 purses AND ON TOP OF THAT, pay the employees that are needed to run the day to day operations at these tracks AND incur the added expense of employees needed during race days? And where's all this surplus pool money?

They want to minimize the number of racetracks in Ontario but how do you expect the horseperson that lives in Windsor to travel to Dresden or Clinton for $400--AND THAT'S IF THEY WIN THE RACE! Hay prices have skyrocketed and so has fuel, and that doesn't include ANY other needs of the horse!

The government has a small window of opportunity to either reinstate SARP or a program similar, and if they don't, this industry is done.

February 28, 2013 - 9:07 amPersonally I think, the

Personally I think, the liberals would much rather have everyone in rural Ont out of work. Come next election none of us would have gas to get to the poling stations to vote them out!!

February 28, 2013 - 2:21 amMPP email addreses - please

Norm Walker SAID...

MPP email addreses - please copy and paste this to your letter to all MPP's in a call to action "now" no more stalling - put back the SARP, use every dollar we have left to wake this pack of MPP's up.

[email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected]rg , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , mpr[email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected] , [email protected]

February 27, 2013 - 9:31 pmThe Liberals have "Created a

Al Hudgins SAID...

The Liberals have "Created a Crisis" in the horse industry.
In the legislature the PC's are saying the Liberals "Created A Crisis" with the teachers.
Does anyone else find it ironic that the man most credited with coining the phrase "CREATE A CRISIS" in Ontario is non other the main point man for the Liberals Transitional panel. Former PC Minister Of Education in the Mike Harris cabinet which brought in the SARP program..... John Snobelen.

February 27, 2013 - 8:00 pmI think we better get Mr.

Greg Perry SAID...

I think we better get Mr. Snobelen and the rest of the OMAFRA team to the sales and let them invest some of their money in this industry they are so optimistic about. I would bet that in less than a year they would realize how hard it really is to stay afloat for anyone in this business. Unfortunately by then the damage will be impossible to reverse for thousands of people, horses and businesses. Bob Burgess has touched upon some of the main questions and we deserve some real answers as to why the Government is so quick to get rid of a very profitable partnership in favor of Casinos that are bleeding money. So far the horse people in Ontario are being treated like Mushrooms- kept in the dark and fed a lot of $H!T.

February 27, 2013 - 5:39 pmSnobelen came across on Trot

Norm Walker SAID...

Snobelen came across on Trot Radio as if he was a friend doing everything he could to preserve racing in Ontario. Now we know why he wouldn't speak with real numbers but instead told us to hold on - wait and see the very sustainable number. Just another Liberal Stall tactic. Come on Horvath & Hudak we need you now get up and demand an election more Liberal promises mean more OLG double talk.

February 27, 2013 - 5:24 pmGuess Bob Burgess hit a

Guess Bob Burgess hit a nerve...good going. I'm also curious about Snobelen's comment "“(It’s) a pretty small number versus what has been there, but first of all, that’s a worst-case scenario and secondly there’s a lot of other things that’ll go into purses.”
What might a lot of other things be? I think it's time for stronger action. If everyone chipped in whatever they can, we could do a class action suit against Ont Liberals & OLG. Also, I noticed some fans commented on post with Bob Burgess letter that the Horse Industry is forgetting them. If they feel so strong about the cause, then chip in and help out. There are many with the means that have just sat back hoping it will get resolved. Well it won't, not without some strong action NOW!

February 27, 2013 - 4:48 pmTwelve years ago I asked, how

Twelve years ago I asked, how is the slot deal only 10 years? I stated that the agreement was a death wish to the industry. The deal should have been a lifetime deal for letting slots into the tracks. Contracts are a fact of life and most times one side can't wait for the expiration date to "get out". So thank your short term thinkers from back then for what's going on now for leaving them an out.

February 27, 2013 - 4:22 pmI guess as long as there is

Karry Howard SAID...

I guess as long as there is racing at WEG, Mr. Sno(job)belen can say his optimism about live racing in Ontario was justified. "The low end of a range that hasn't been etched in stone" LOL
Come on OHRIA, OHHA, COSA. Time to actually lead! How much longer are you going to buy in to this Liberal BS?

February 27, 2013 - 3:33 pmIn regards to your poke at

In regards to your poke at builing a new race track with the left over purse money Mr. Jack Saunder's. Will you please enlighten me with what attempt's you have made toward's securing Harness Racing's Future in Southwestern Ontario. Please don't forget if we are successful in our mission, EVERYONE is welcome to enter there horse's, even you Mr. Jack Saunder's. Thank you for your time.

February 27, 2013 - 3:01 pmThe transitional panel are

Al Hudgins SAID...

The transitional panel are fulfilling the mandate given them as stated by Elmer Buchanan here from June last year.
Note his statements are made before any consultations had even started. And now you can see the consultation process did not change anything and I serious doubt they heard anyone say that downsizing the industry was a good idea. Al Hudgins

February 27, 2013 - 2:58 pmPaul, Good question. Quick

Jim Singer SAID...


Good question. Quick math says there is between 20 to 25 million left over as stranded money yet they are saying only 10 million in purses ??.

I know, lets use the left over money and build a

February 27, 2013 - 1:10 pmAfter all is said and done,

Paul Kelly SAID...

After all is said and done, if you race at Woodbine/Mohawk hopefully there will be sufficient money in purse structures to co-exist for the next two years. If your racing at any other tracks it better be your hobby. My simple question is what happened or happens to the money thats been sitting in our purse account and why is this not part of the equation since it was collected prior to all these changes.

February 27, 2013 - 12:03 pmThis panel did us in when

Norm Brunet SAID...

This panel did us in when they branded SARP a subsidy. In one breath, what was the horseman's money became everybody's money and let us down this path of dependence on the not so honest Liberals and OLG. Had they defined SARP for what it really is, revenue sharing, contracts would of been renegotiated.
I guarantee you that if you ask CEO's from the private sector the same question the answer would be much different.
The HIP money was just announced for 2013. How is anybody going to invest in Ontario and make a decision on offsprings that are going to hit the track in 2016?
Absolutely no knowledge of the breeding industry by this government.

February 27, 2013 - 11:28 amThe one thing that I have

The one thing that I have learned during the course of my business life is this....... when you are dealing with Gov't, it is not a question IF you are going to get screwed over..... it just becomes a question of WHEN. $10 million spread over 12 tracks is like throwing a pea at an elephant. We'll be racing at the "B" tracks for $800. purses like we did in the 70's and early 80's and the gov't calls this sustainable. What a joke!!

February 27, 2013 - 11:16 amThe reason the Government was

The reason the Government was able "destroy" contracts with one years notice was because someone negotiating for the tracks/horsemen AGREED to that provision.

The biggest reason horse racing hasn't evolved their game is because a lot of people in the industry believed "we had a long term deal"(why evolve the game when we are getting BILLIONS).

All you have to do is listen to what Nick Eaves said about a future with out the slots,"we will be forced to change".

February 27, 2013 - 11:01 am"It's a pretty small number"

"It's a pretty small number" Gee, do ya think? You could add a zero to that $10 million and it might come close to sustainablility. Any chance of that happening? Throwing $10 million at 14 or so tracks outside of Woodbine/Mohawk is like throwing a glass of water on a house fire. The transition panel spent months speaking with industry participants. You can't tell me they don't know how much it would take to keep even half of the tracks running in Ontario. It's about time more than a handful of the 30,000 plus participants in this industry get off their butts and make themselves heard!

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