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OHHA Vows To Fight OR Decision

Published: February 4, 2019 3:20 pm ET

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Ontario horsepeople are in the fight of their lives after Ontario Racing unilaterally issued a ‘direction’ giving OHHA 60 days’ notice of their refusal to continue working with the horsepeople’s group that represents the vast majority of Standardbred horsepeople in Ontario.

Executives at Woodbine Entertainment Group communicated their plans to handpick the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA), which only represents horsepeople at the Woodbine Mohawk Park, to replace OHHA in representing Standardbred horsepeople across the province.

The decision, if not reversed, will effectively end the most effective, passionate advocacy organization for Standardbred horsepeople in Ontario.

“OHHA represents the interests of Standardbred horsepeople across Ontario and has a long history of successfully administering health and insurance benefits and a retirement savings program for horsepeople, without controversy or issue,” said Brian Tropea, General Manager of OHHA. “Standardbred horsepeople will not take this lying down. Our members are ready to fight Ontario Racing and Woodbine Entertainment Group’s decision to end our association.”

Ontario Racing’s decision to attempt to destroy OHHA and to prop up their friends at COSA is likely to cause the greatest display of disunity the industry has experienced and highlights some of the broader problems with the previous government’s vision for industry self governance.

“If our members felt that they would be better represented by COSA, they certainly could have joined that association and sought to have it administer benefits, and insurance at their tracks, and represent their interests,” said Jim Whelan, President of OHHA. “Horsepeople know that OHHA is the most effective voice in fighting for the interests of Standardbred racing and the best association to provide support to horsepeople in need, and to manage their financial interests as well. In 1962, OHHA was established by horsepeople out of necessity to fight for the interests of Standardbred racing in Ontario, at all levels of government. We aren’t prepared to let Ontario Racing take that right away from us,” Whelan added.

OHHA is calling on COSA, Woodbine and Ontario Racing to do the right thing and pull back their decision so that Standardbred horsepeople and the Government of Ontario can be part of the conversation to determine whether these changes that benefit Woodbine’s friends have any actual benefit to horse racing in Ontario.

OHHA will also be calling on the Provincial Government to review the governance of Ontario Racing to address the disproportionate control a single, unaccountable, racetrack operator has over the rest of the industry.

(OHHA)


Standardbred Canada will provide further details regarding developments as they progress.


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