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OHHA On Ontario Changes

Published: April 11, 2019 2:05 pm ET

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On Wednesday, April 10, the Ontario Harness Horse Association issued a press release in regard to developments that have recently taken place in the provincial racing industry.

Trot Insider reached out to the organizations that were referred to in the OHHA release – the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA), Ontario Racing (OR) and Woodbine Entertainment – for comment. Ontario Racing opted to offer a statement in response to the OHHA announcement, while COSA and Woodbine Entertainment officials respectfully declined.

The contents of the OHHA release appear below, followed by OR’s response.


OHHA PRESS RELEASE

As you are aware, Ontario Racing decided effective April 1, 2019, without consultation with OHHA, to withhold the financial support necessary for our organization to continue to provide a range of benefits and representation to members of our industry. Traditionally, these funds have come from a deduction of the horse persons’ purse accounts. The Ontario Racing board has decided to redirect the funding to COSA, the horse people’s group for Woodbine Mohawk Park.

We are continuing to work with the Province of Ontario and Ontario Racing to develop a long-term solution to this situation and believe we are making progress.

The Ontario Harness Horse Association continues to advocate on behalf of Standardbred horse people throughout the province. We remain the only Standardbred horse person’s group that provides representation to our industry throughout the Province. We continue to believe in a single, unified voice for Standardbred horsepeople, that is democratically elected by its members.

We do support a vision of horse racing in Ontario where the industry is self-governing, horsepeople have the opportunity to earn an honest living, and we can continue to contribute to and grow the rural agricultural economy that we are so much apart of.

OHHA has always believed there are challenges with the Ontario Racing model and the long term funding agreement and have been working with the Government to seek resolutions to some of these matters, but have declined to join at least until progress is made.

We want to see a horse racing industry that is accountable to the people who make horse racing in Ontario what it is: the horsepeople. While we think racetrack owners and industry associations can contribute to that future, for us, we know that it is the horsepeople in this province that will make the difference and that’s why we’re continuing to advocate for you.

This phase of our work to improve Ontario Racing and expand on the vision of a self-governing horse racing industry requires that we work cooperatively with government and try to find some common ground with Ontario Racing.

We will continue to keep you updated in the coming days and weeks as things progress and we get a better understanding of what is to come.

For now, I’d like you to rest assured that the Ontario Harness Horse Association remains strong and will continue to responsibly represent the interests of Standardbred horsepeople in Ontario, as we have done for more than five decades.

We are grateful for your continued support.


ONTARIO RACING RESPONSE

At Ontario Racing, we have regular discussions with all our member racetracks and horsepeople associations on the direction of the horse racing and breeding industry in Ontario. We are proud of the progress we’ve made across all sectors, but understand challenges remain. We continue to welcome dialogue with those organizations, including the Ontario Harness Horse Association.



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