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New Hope For Hiawatha?

Published: April 20, 2013 12:06 pm ET

Last Comment: April 23, 2013 10:16 am ET | 7 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

After stating that his track was left out of the discussion for Ontario's harness racing industry, Hiawatha Horse Park owner Jim Henderson has some renewed optimism.

According to an article published late Friday in the Sarnia Observer, Henderson was contacted by both the Ministry of Finance and the OMAFRA panel about resuming talks with Hiawatha next week.

“They made me an offer about a month ago that I said wouldn’t work,” said Henderson, going on to say that he was contacted on Thursday by the provincial government.

“They said they wanted to work with us.”

Hiawatha was one of two tracks given no race dates when the Ontario Racing Commission issued race dates for the remainder of 2013 - the other being Woodstock Raceway. Henderson noted earlier this week that he was dismayed that his track was seemingly left out of the equation.

"I was basically told we're excluded, they're not (the OMAFRA horse-racing transitional panel is not) going to negotiate with you at this time," Henderson told CTV News earlier this week. "Every time we go to do something it's the same thing, 'Hiawatha, you're excluded, you're not even part of the deal.'"

The Observer reports that Henderson was setting up a meeting with local MPP Bob Bailey and hoped to also include representatives from local fair boards.

“It looks like in other places, ag societies and fair boards are helping to make racing work in their area,” said Henderson. “We’re hoping we’ll have a race season too with everyone working together.”

Henderson told The Observer he's encouraged that it appears Hiawatha could race this season, noting that he still has purse money from last season but needs more clarity on what his expenses will be going forward.

“I’ve always said I wanted to keep racing. We spent the winter redoing the kitchen; we put in a new sound system for the announcer and just finished cleaning up the grounds."

April 23, 2013 - 10:16 amWell said David, "Remember

Well said David, "Remember people when the next election comes." We all work diligently to ensure that not one Liberal candidate gets elected in the province of Ontario. Just thinking. Bruce T. Winning Just try to think of one good thing they have done for the people of Ontario. ??????

April 22, 2013 - 11:18 amLess dates, increases the

Will Yamakva SAID...

Less dates, increases the handle as the cards are not a dime a dozen, and the fans return. As proven by Meadowlands, you can increase the attendance, and handle and not be dependant on slot money.

April 21, 2013 - 9:48 amJust speculating that if he

Just speculating that if he has purse money left over from last season, Kathleen Wynne is looking for some way to get her bankrupt hands on it. Keep your hand on your wallet Mr. Henderson. Just thinking out loud. Do not give in until you have a deal that is fair to all. Bruce T. Winning.

April 20, 2013 - 8:52 pmLet's hope Sarnia get's some

dave lewis SAID...

Let's hope Sarnia get's some date's so we can race on the bigger track

April 20, 2013 - 2:47 pmmr henderson invested a lot

mr henderson invested a lot of money. his buiness plan must have been more long term than this.good luck to you.

April 20, 2013 - 2:46 pmi be so happy for jim if he

donna toole SAID...

i be so happy for jim if he gets his dates he such a nice guy and trys to do everything to please the horsemen thank sc DONNA TOOLE

April 20, 2013 - 1:44 pmLess money and race dates are

Less money and race dates are going to weed out all the small owners and trainers.This will not work,but does the government care,NO.
Remember people when the next election comes.


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