Reports: Deals For Hiawatha, KD

Published: June 26, 2014 11:21 am EDT

Although there has yet to be official announcement from the Ontario Government, key players surrounding live Standardbred racing at Sarnia’s Hiawatha Horse Park and Kawartha Downs in the Peterborough area have stated that live horse racing will be staying at the respective tracks for at least the next five years.

Hiawatha Horse Park operator Jim Henderson has been cited as saying that he has reached a five-year agreement with the Ontario Government.

Henderson has told Blackburn News that after Hiawatha concludes its live meet in September, officials will sit down and analyze the season to determine if any changes need to be made.

“It’s a lot better feeling for everybody and I think that horsepeople are beginning to come back to Ontario,” Henderson told Blackburn News. “Quite a few of the poor guys left. They’ve gone to Ohio. They’ve gone to Michigan. They’ve gone to different places. They’ve moved up north and gotten right out of the business. But it will be good for everybody if they get this going again – it’ll really help the industry back.”

Hiawatha’s 21-date meet will kick off this Saturday (June 28) and will run through until September 6. To view Hiawatha’s 2014 race date calendar, click here. To view the harness racing entries for Hiawatha’s Saturday program, click here.

A report by the Peterborough Examiner has quoted Greg Walling, of The Sullivan Group, as saying that government has pledged five years worth of funding to Kawartha Downs, located in Fraserville, Ont.

The article explains that Walling entered the fray when negotiations between Kawartha Downs owner Harvey ‘Skip’ Ambrose hit a snag. According to the report, Walling has brokered a deal between the two sides and has been tasked with setting up a not-for-profit group to operate the track. The article also says that Ambrose renewed his licence to operate Kawartha for 2014 because the new group was not set up in time.

“Mr. Ambrose stepped forward and will hold the licence for this year. That doesn't mean the commitment of the government is a year, it's a five-year commitment. We're here and we're not going anywhere,” Walling was quoted as saying.

In regard to the official ‘ranking’ of Kawartha Downs, Walling stated that the raceway is currently considered a ‘grassroots’ track – categorically lower than ‘Signature’ and ‘Premium’ tracks in the province – but that status could change in the future. “We've been told by the government if we do a good job here we have an opportunity to grow to a Signature,” Walling was quoted as saying. “That means bigger purses and more races.”

Kawartha Downs kicked off its 18-date season of live racing last Saturday. The track will offer live Standardbred racing virtually every Saturday until October 25.

To view a list of upcoming race dates at Kawartha Downs, click here. To view the entries for Kawartha’s Saturday, June 28 program of live racing, click here.

(With files from Blackburn News and the Peterborough Examiner)



Now if this gov´t would look even closer they will notice
and hopefully wake up to the fact that SARP was and is also
very good for the industry and gov´t.
Does this gov´t really want to add another billion dollar
loss to their resume for 2014 like they have done in the past
2 years?

way to go liberals
Finally figured out they have lost billions. This is not even close to the gas plant scandal. Loss of HST, gaming revenues and business income much larger but difficult for media to asses.

This is great news for both tracks. It is quite apparent that the Prov. gov't has come to realize the extent that racing contributes to the rural and local economies. Also gov't has finally acknowledged how much the horse racing industry contributes to the it's coffers in terms of taxes and revenue. Too bad that the gov't lost over $2 billion over the past two yrs. that can never be recovered. Someone in gov't has definitely crunched the numbers and said we better get this back on track. (no pun intended)

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