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Meeting Attendance Encouraged

Published: February 5, 2016 5:03 pm ET

Last Comment: February 8, 2016 6:03 pm ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Via release, the four horsepeople behind a polarizing proposal for the Ontario horse racing industry have stated that they are cautiously optimistic about upcoming information sessions that have been announced by a new entity that goes by the name of the Ontario Racing Association.

The ORA announced the upcoming sessions earlier this week. The informal information sessions with Standardbred horsepeople will take place at Western Fair District on Tuesday, February 9, and at Mohawk Racetrack on Wednesday, February 10. For complete information, click here.

As an article by the Chatham Daily News explains, the four horsepeople’s recent 12-page proposal for the provincial harness racing industry calls for live racing to cease at Dresden Raceway, the Hiawatha Horse Park and Leamington Raceway, and for those purses monies to then be redistributed in order to bolster purses at other tracks.

The Chatham Daily News article has quoted Ontario Harness Horse Association General Manager Brian Tropea as saying that he does not favour closing the three race tracks.

“I think that it's important to maintain your market share in as broad an area of the province as possible,” Tropea was quoted as saying. “I don't know how you would possibly attract a new fan or new owner or participant to racing if live racing doesn't have a presence in that end of the province.”

To read the Chatham Daily News article in its entirety, click here.

The contents from the joint release from the authors (Mark Beaven, Mark Horner, Scott McNiven and Heather Toll) of the recent proposal for the Ontario horse racing industry appears below.

Racing Proposal Proponents Encouraged By Upcoming Meetings

The recent announcement by Ontario Racing Association (ORA) is being met with cautious optimism by the four authors of a recent report titled ‘2016 – Standardbred Racing Proposal.’

Authors Mark Beaven, Mark Horner, Scott McNiven and Heather Toll are planning on attending the upcoming meetings announced by ORA. The meetings are being held on February 9 at London Raceway, and February 10 at Mohawk Raceway, and the authors encourage all industry participants to attend as well.

According to the group of four, the proposed meetings are seen as a step in the right direction for those in the business that want to work together positively to improve our industry. It will give everyone an opportunity to openly discuss options as the industry tries to bring financial sustainability back to the business of racing. One of the main purposes of the report was to generate discussion, and the two informal sessions are seen as a direct result.

“We have been more then open to hearing other options put on the table that are designed to improve Ontario racing,” states Horner. “The status quo is not working, so having a meeting of this nature will give everyone in the industry an opportunity to voice their own ideas.”

While no formal agenda is set for the meetings, it is anticipated that respectful dialogue will happen, allowing a sharing of ideas. The four authors encourage all horsemen and women to come out to the meetings with the intention of looking forward.

“Whether you favour our proposal, or have your own ideas for improvement, I would like to see as many people out to these sessions,” says Beaven. “By having a large number of industry participants attend, it says to our government partner that we are here and ready to work together.”

February 8, 2016 - 6:03 pmIt is never good when tracks

It is never good when tracks close. Windsor is the 2nd biggest gaming market IN CANADA and the Lakeshore Horsemen's group has worked hard to bring a product back to that market. So far, we are all just a feeder system for WEG, who now controls all the simulcasting. All those horses that aren't "good enough" ? Where do you take a young horse or one coming off a layoff that can't go in 1:51? It used to be different tracks wrote different races so you could take your horse to the track where they were most competitive-now they all write the same classes and most are a half mile.Why should we have to ship a minimum 2 1/2 hrs to race? My sincere hope is that Lakeshore gets a new non-profit based 5/8 track and we can race all year round with simulcasting and a couple off track parlors where the money stays local.

February 6, 2016 - 6:30 pmI have heard no suggestions

I have heard no suggestions for helping east racetracks i.e.Kawartha Downs. Instead of closing tracks, we should find a way to reopen some of the already closed ones and that might mean combining handles from every track (including WEG)and redistributing some of the wealth. London seems to be doing okay so if they want more go to the government that ruined racing for many of us (you all know who I mean). We didn't do enough to stop the Liberal nonsense. We need to get some of the slot money back, period.

February 6, 2016 - 11:25 amThe reason the Meadowlands is

The reason the Meadowlands is so successful right now is because of scheduling(two nights a week) and 90 percent of their purses are below 15 thousand.It forces the horsemen to race their horses.Gamblers see it on the track.

The culprit here(Ontario)isn't the "b" tracks,its Wood/Moh scheduling and purse structure.They don't have enough "A" track quality horses to sustain 4 nights a year.The bulk of Ontario horses run in the 8-16 thou division.They masquerade as 17-30 thousand dollar horses!

There is more movement in two races at the Meadowlands then there is in a entire card at Wood/Moh!

February 5, 2016 - 5:09 pmAs this affects every horse

As this affects every horse person in Ontario, I was hoping someone could answer a couple of questions

Is the government going to uphold the 5 year contract they have with the regional racetracks that are suggested to close in the proposal put forth by the group of Western Fair horsemen? If so what are the future plans for these racetracks and if not how are they planning on breach current contracts?

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