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Frustration After Sudbury Meeting

Published: April 21, 2014 12:38 pm ET

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It has been reported that northern Ontario horsepeople that met with representatives from Sudbury Downs on Saturday (April 19) came out of the talks disappointed.

A report by the Sudbury Star has cited area horseman Stuart MacKenzie as saying that the number of race dates proposed for 2014 would increase to 32, up from 20 in 2013. In comparison to 2012 purse levels, MacKenzie was cited as saying that proposed purse levels for Sudbury’s 2014 season would be at 40 per cent.

The article goes on to cite MacKenzie as saying that the proposed structure for Sudbury’s 2014 season could lead to eight-race programs with five horses in each dash.

The report has quoted MacKenzie extensively. He stated, in part, that it is “absolute nonsense” for a horseman to race his horses for the purse levels which are currently being proposed. “It's absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

“Some horsemen, they are willing to make nothing to keep this going for one year, hoping for a change in government, hope things will be better,” MacKenzie was quoted as saying. “I cannot talk for others, but it isn't good business. I won't do it. I can't take the loss. Last year, I lost money.”

The article has also quoted horseman and former Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez as speculating after the meeting that Sudbury Downs’ operators are willing to conduct live racing at the track in 2014 at a loss, but probably not beyond that. “The operator of the racetrack is prepared to keep the track going as long as he can,” Rodriguez was quoted as saying. “He isn't looking for a profit. I can only guarantee that for one year. He has costs. He will lose money. So, what's the point of us or anybody going out and keeping a horse, if it's only going to be a one-year operation?”

Earlier this month, the officials with Sudbury Downs proposed 32 days of racing for Sudbury. The schedule presented by Sudbury pitched opening on Saturday, May 24 and running through to October 11 with Wednesday night cards slated from June 18 through to the end of August.

(With files from the Sudbury Star)

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