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Battling For Their Livelihood


Published: April 21, 2011 3:13 pm ET

Last Comment: April 26, 2011 11:04 am ET | 6 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Saturday, April 16, roughly a dozen horsepeople and a standardbred named Daves Showboat did their part in protesting what they call the Great Canadian Gaming Corp.'s attempt to downsize the British Columbian harness racing industry.

Horsepeople want more race dates, which would ensure a longer season and give industry participants some stable footing.

“We need it as a viable industry so we can support ourselves. It’s our livelihoods,” Sandra Roberts was quoted as saying in an article by the Cloverdale Reporter. She went on to say, “We don’t accept their downsizing of the industry.”

Brent Hill, who has also been vocal for the bolstering of standardbred racing at Fraser Downs, was at the protest and spoke his mind.

“(The GCGC operated) Fraser Downs is unjust,” he said. “They’re saying they don’t want competition from the standardbreds for the thoroughbred horses, but at the same time they’re the ones who create the competition from online gambling, poker, sports betting, baseball, football, hockey.”

The report also explains that protesters want the public to know Fraser Downs is evicting horses by closing four barns until October.

(With files from the Cloverdale Reporter)

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Support For More Live Racing At Fraser

April 26, 2011 - 11:04 amI find it very interesting

adam albert SAID...

I find it very interesting that it is sandra roberts leading this as she is a very small fish in a big lake in the bc racing industry where are the likes of bill boden, wayne isbister, jim marino, serge masse, etc??? It is very sad to me with such small racing dates for them as i am a huge fan and bettor of the fraser racing scene it is great racing and the horses always seem to run to form unlike many other tracks lets get the racing back!

April 23, 2011 - 7:22 pmIf I understand correctly

Greg Parke SAID...

If I understand correctly way back when slots were introduced that if there was no horse racing there were no slots and the slots were the savoir of the horse industry. Now they have used and abused the horse racing communities to get their slot parlours open, horses are no longer required as the government sees nothing but revenue from slots and losses from horses.

If it is legally possible and if anyone in the ORC or higher has the ..., why don't you grant the GCGC what they want under condition their slot parlours stay open only if there is live racing, no racing no slots, isn't that the way it was to be?

This is so pathetic what is going on at all the tracks in Canada and at The Meadowlands, the first and second floor is there but there was never a foundation. Bottom line was greed and horses were never in the long term equation.

Do they realize how many people are affected by track closures not just track workers but, vets, feed stores, black smiths, OTB workers, concessions providers, program printers, security people, janitorial people, equipment makers and on and on. Is pushing the unemployment rate really the best way to go? There are enough people out of work in Canada, we don't need anymore. Maybe we all should have got together and made this an election issue, there is still time.

Greg Parke

April 22, 2011 - 10:49 pmIf you people want to race

Leonard Doan SAID...

If you people want to race year round, why don't you simply ship your horses to Alberta Downs, where there's a shortage of horses?

April 21, 2011 - 6:28 pmvery cool Sandra to see you

jim cauchon SAID...

very cool Sandra to see you and your steed out on mainstreet......

im only a harness horseplayer....and I can tell you based here in Toronto that Fraser Downs 5/8, and now with the passing lane, and letting me play supers and win 4's for 20 cents, is as good and as 'betting reliable' as any bet in Canadian harness racing.....I have as much confidence betting your track and its consistency of past performances, drivers and trainers, which your show brings week in week out....

And the late evening timeslot fridays 10pm works for me, and my friends here and the 4.15 sat/sun is a refreshing time start too..

Again, your race product is as 'trustworthy' as any in the game, with great respect for equipment and driver changes and shipins from Edmonton and Sacramento and for that so many more need to follow and particpate in it..


Again from a far away and a harness racing biased perspective,,,,there's is no reason that your show shouldnt be continuing on.....Im sure there's room for everyone,,,,and Great Canadian should be ashamed of itself for not extending you people such an invitation.

To GCGC,,,,somehow someway,,,get your stuff together out there and keep this splendid show going......These people put on a terrific show and Fraser is a staple on Eastern Canadian teletheatre menus.......and I can tell you, just so much more interesting and 'betworthy' than 2/3 of what we get night in night out...(sorry, did I say Charlestown, Maywood, Georgian, Meadowlands, Penn National, Chester just to name a few)

Buggyman in Toronto!!!!

April 21, 2011 - 5:41 pmWell done Sandra and Brent

Well done Sandra and Brent The whole of the backstrech is behind you.The recent turndown of the Gateway Casino by the Vancouver City Council is the start of a backlash against more Casinos,Great Canadian is making a big mistake by being hostile to the Harness Industry,it paid big bucks for the track,the casino licence is contingent on continous racing.If the horses go so will the casino.The Surrey council knows that the majority are against casinos,and their is no chance it will let them move the licence from Fraser Downs,even if Howard Blank blows a blood vessel.

April 21, 2011 - 4:50 pmOntario Horsepeople this is

Frank Lester SAID...

Ontario Horsepeople this is like looking into a crystal ball. Expect the same at Flamboro and Georgian. This is not likely a "maybe"this is more likely a"when". Remember these people are Charity Casino Operators and horsepeople are not considered Charity in their eyes but rather a pain in the A--.

I don't know what could be done to assist the B.C. horsepeople. However if someone has an idea why not post it to this venue and maybe we could garner some support.

Remember horsepeople you have to be proactive because when the GCGC coming pleading their case to the ORC you can probably allready guess the outcome. Expecting support would sort of be like cleaning an outhouse from the bottom up you will most likely get pooped on.

And here is another case of where our elected officials lack either the intelligence or the fortitude to do something to stop this runaway train.

Frank Lester.

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