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Update On Transition Panel Report

Published: June 25, 2013 8:17 am ET

Last Comment: June 26, 2013 11:07 am ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

This past Friday, the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel met with select industry representatives and Ontario government officials for a preview of the Plan for Horse Racing in Ontario.

The meeting welcomed representatives from Ontario's quarter horse, thoroughbred and harness racing industries as well as individuals from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of Finance and Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation including President & CEO Rod Phillips.

"We had for the first time a very collective government presence in the room," Panel member John Snobelen told Trot Insider. "In the past, we hadn't had that."

Snobelen noted that the presentation involved a "40,000-foot look" at where the draft will be taking the industry, with special emphasis on the areas that would be of greatest interest to that group and for feedback on how they would best consult on the industry on these issues.

"One of things we spoke about on Friday and that will be in our report is we think the governance structure needs to focus more on the three breeds independently than as a collective," stated Snobelen. "In other words, there are very unique issues to the standardbred industry that really don't touch on the thoroughbred industry and those need to be dealt with by people in the standardbred industry."

While Snobelen said that there wasn't a lot of feedback on the specifics presented, the industry did provide the Panel with input on two key areas.

"What we got back was, I think, two things. One. There's an urgency to getting this thing right for 2014. People know that we've been through a messy transition year in 2013 and they really want their industry to be on more solid ground heading into 2014 and beyond so there are some things that the industry can count on.

"The second message was that people were really pleased that OLG was in the room. To try to decide a future for an industry that's dependent on gaming is difficult to do if you have the OLG outside the conversation so they were really glad to see them in. "

With Premier Wynne asking Snobelen, Elmer Buchanan and John Wilkinson to have the draft report completed this month, Ontario horse racing should know the contents by the end of this week.

"Our report is now sitting in draft form making its way through the various ministries," Snobelen told Trot Insider. "We'll put whatever finishing touches we need to put on it and it will be ready for release, we hope, by the end of this week."

According to OMAFRA, the draft plan in both French and English will be available on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food website by June 30, 2013 but Snobelen anticipates the report will be released by Friday, June 28.

"We haven't hit as many difficulties as we had in earlier reports so things are sailing fairly well at this juncture," noted Snobelen. "I think there's no reason why we can't meet that."

Once the draft is released, the Panel will be holding public consultation to gather feedback from the industry. Thus far, four sessions have been set with more to come according to Snobelen.

"The second week of July we're going to do four public meetings across Ontario, from London through to Ottawa, and those are intended to be information sessions, gather-back sessions with the public. Anyone's welcome and can come."

Public meetings are open to all interested parties and will take place as follows:

Monday, July 8, 2013
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Western Fair District Raceway
900 King Street
Carousel Room
London, Ont.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Woodbine Racetrack
555 Rexdale Boulevard
Toronto, Ont.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Ajax Downs
50 Alexander's Crossing
Ajax, Ont.

Thursday, July 11, 2013*
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Rideau Carleton Raceway
4837 Albion Road
Ottawa, Ont.
*Services for this meeting will be provided in English and French.

To register for a session or to sign up for web-ex or teleconference, please:

Snobelen noted that once the public consultations have concluded, the Panel will conduct "some very targeted and specific consultation" with track owners, horsemens' groups to ensure that the Panel understands "the impacts of what we've recommended and what the alternatives are."

June 26, 2013 - 11:07 amI'm surprised, actually

gord young SAID...

I'm surprised, actually shocked that there is no mention of Bill C-290 that has been stalled in government bureaucracy for 15 months. Passing this bill will mean millions for the purse structure for all breeds. We need the transition panel to lean on these irresponsible fools that comprise the senate.

June 25, 2013 - 6:02 pmLooking forward to getting

Lynne Magee SAID...

Looking forward to getting some detailed clarification on where we stand and where we are going to. We have been waiting far too long and lost too many good people and horses from the industry over the past 16 months. Let's hope that the news is positive for all of us who have survived the slaughter. I hope people will get to the meetings or catch them on web-ex or teleconference. What a great idea that is!

June 25, 2013 - 10:23 amTHE GAME IS DYING...even if

THE GAME IS DYING...even if the government accepts the recommendations from the panel, this game will die.

The first thing on the agenda should be to double the purses in B tracks and get the owners back in the game. Without the owners who will be buying the yearling- horses, how will the breeding industry survive, how will the trainers get paid, how will they pay all the other stakeholders (vets shoes, food ect....)To have strong industry we need a strong base, the industry can not have a professional leagues (woodbine or Mohawk), without a good American league or a good triple A league(B tracks).

The problem is everybody is looking out for themselves and not looking at the big picture and the structure of our game. I visited Rideau Carleton this week. Lots of people attended, the handle was good. Went for a visit in the paddock area and you could not see any owners without being a trainer.....the game will not survive this way. The money being made, by the owner-trainer is not being re-invested but used for living expenses....what does that mean long term....look at a program at B tracks will find the owners is approx. 70% trainers ...and that's is 1 year after the liberal killed the game....imagine in 2 years from now.

The Future is in the structure, then we can get creative with ways to improve our sports, but we can work on advertising without having owners....

The Liberals, and they had a specific agenda to shut down our sports and Snobelen is doing just that!!! but on longer timeframes so it does not cause too much complaints and frustration..... GOD JOB JOHN!!!

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