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Windsor To Cease All Operations August 31


Published: May 4, 2012 10:27 am ET

Last Comment: May 14, 2012 6:42 pm ET | 11 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Friday, May 4, officials from Windsor Raceway announced via release that they are expecting for all operations at the track to cease August 31, 2012.

A report by the CBC earlier in the day stated that members from the local horse racing industry are meeting today (Friday, May 4) with Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza. The meeting is supposed to address how the government can help maintain the horse racing industry around Windsor.

The CBC has reported that Ontario Harness Horse Association General Manager Brian Tropea, who was originally not going to attend the meeting, will be in attendance.

“We’re not interested in transitioning to other jobs," the report quoted Tropea as saying. "We’re interested in saving the investment we have in horse racing."

The contents of the Windsor Raceway release appear below.

Windsor Raceway Expected to Continue Through August 31, 2012 - Horse Racing Remains In Jeopardy

Windsor Raceway confirms the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has commenced and is proceeding with decommissioning of the slots at Windsor Raceway effective May 1, 2012.

"April 30th was a sad day at Windsor Raceway. It was difficult to say good bye to the many loyal Windsor Raceway patrons who expressed admiration for the program and employees who served them at Windsor Raceway," said Patrick Soulliere, president of Windsor Raceway.

Despite OLG reports, at this time no arrangement is in place to facilitate any continued horse racing operations at the Windsor Raceway and particularly not through March 31, 2013. Without such arrangements Windsor Raceway expects all operations at Windsor Raceway will cease August 31, 2012.

To facilitate removal of the slot machines and the decommissioning of the site the OLG has entered into an interim access agreement with Windsor Raceway that continues to provide some funding to Windsor Raceway until August 31, 2012. As part of the terms of the interim access agreement the OLG has agreed to make payments to Windsor Raceway during the access period that will be equally split between Windsor Raceway and its horsepeople. "We are fortunate the OLG requires access to remove assets from our facility through until August 31, 2012. This has provided funding for a short period of time," said Soulliere.

"The OLG must end its attempts to enhance the Caesars Windsor property at the expense of Windsor Raceway and horse racing in Essex County," said Soulliere. "This conduct is already having an impact on horse racing operations and places horse racing and the thousands of jobs tied to it in our region in great jeopardy," continued Soulliere.

To facilitate an arrangement beyond August 31, Windsor Raceway has advised the OLG it wishes to submit all outstanding issues, including the conditions the OLG insists upon to provide any continued funding for horse racing, to mediation but the OLG has refused.

"Windsor Raceway hopes the OLG will meet to meaningfully discuss all outstanding concerns in a timely manner so arrangements can be made to protect the long and distinguished Windsor Raceway horse racing history," said Soulliere.

(Photo courtesy

May 14, 2012 - 6:42 pmWhether it be an owner or a

Ted Decker SAID...

Whether it be an owner or a board of directors all tracks are not in business to loose money.
I don't know what track Jessica Carnochan is referring to but they will have every oppertunity to show how deeply they care about the business by remaining viable once the slot money ends.

May 12, 2012 - 8:24 pmJessica Carnochan, I just

Adam Mauntah SAID...

Jessica Carnochan, I just noticed your comment now. I wrote to Premier McGuinty, as well as the MPP in my riding (Yasir Naqvi, Liberal MPP for Ottawa Centre) and Andrea Horvath just before the Budget. In my letter to Premier McGuinty, I addressed the reference to "wealthy racetrack owners" in Liberal Party ads and explained that several racetracks are owned by not-for-profit entities, just like you stated. The e-mail I received from the Premier's Office (in response to the letter I had hand-delivered in hard copy to his office) gave me the standard lines about the supposed benefits that will arise from the "modernization" of the OLG, without addressing the specific concerns I set out in the letter.

On another note, the Toronto Star has just released an article about the impact the crisis in our industry is having on breeders, as foals are being born that may never have a chance to race. Now would be a good time for people in the industry across Ontario to write to the Star in response to this article. Here is the article:

May 8, 2012 - 5:40 pmI would just like to make

I would just like to make mention that not every track has an "owner". We need to make the Government, the public, and the media aware that there are a number of tracks in Ontario that are Not for Profit Organizations, run by a volunteer board of directors who put every cent back into the industry through wages, promotion, marketing, fundraising, donations and infrastructure. We are in it for way more than "slot money" and yes, we care, we care deeply about the current state of the industry.

May 7, 2012 - 10:24 pmWE JUST KEEP ROLLING OVER.

Ralph Sucee SAID...


May 6, 2012 - 9:46 pmWhat's really mind-boggling

What's really mind-boggling is the sudden re-surfacing of Canadian racing on the weekend television, radio & print news after I'll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby. The lead story on the CTV National news last night was about the Derby win by the horse with a formerly BC-based Mexican jockey & an owner who was born in Windsor & lived there a while--even though both now live in the US.

Why this makes headlines as the real Canadian racing scene (like Windsor Raceway) gets hammered by poor gov't decisions is beyond comprehension. I guess with every Canadian NHL team gone from the Stanley Cup playoffs now, the mass media's Canadianization of I'll Have Another's win is patriotic?

May 6, 2012 - 7:46 pmThere isn't a track in

Ted Decker SAID...

There isn't a track in Ontario that would boot the slots out of there own free will. Every track owner in Ontario wants to be in the slot business. Can't say the same about the race track business. Why have almost all of the racetrack owners who still have slots been hush hush over this whole situation.

May 5, 2012 - 2:52 pmReally not being up on the

Greg Parke SAID...

Really not being up on the language of the original partnership but don't the track owners have the right to boot out slots if their track closes or any time? If the track portion closes does it have to go to referendum as it is now basically a stand alone casino to run the slots?
Greg Parke

May 4, 2012 - 7:03 pmNeed to make room for mega

Need to make room for mega hospital

May 4, 2012 - 4:10 pmIt is still inconceivable to

John Hill SAID...

It is still inconceivable to me that without any warning or consultation a political party could or would put 60,000 jobs at risk to line the pockets of a few already rich americans. What does this say about our political system. This sounds like treason to me,we must have some legal recourse, and thats where OHRIA and WEG need to concentrate because the liberals won't change their minds on their own, they won't vote as they feel even if they did. Politicians no longer represent the people.

May 4, 2012 - 12:48 pmYou don't have to be a

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that the net revenue to the OLG will be less when Windsor closes.Its time all horsemen realised the real culprits are the bureaucrats at the OLG who no doubt convinced Duncan and McGuinty that by cancelling the slots at racetracks program they could would make more money with standalone casinos.To have a whole industry destroyed by a false promise is unbelievable.

May 4, 2012 - 12:29 pmLets see, Orangeville,

Tim Bates SAID...

Lets see, Orangeville, developed for houses. Elmira, developed for houses. Greenwood, developed for housing.

I wonder what will become of Windsor Raceway!

Also, does this mean the transfer payments from Woodstock and Dresden will cease?

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