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ORC: "Positive Signs" For ORP

Published: September 27, 2011 4:46 pm ET

Last Comment: October 2, 2011 5:35 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

According to a release from the Ontario Racing Commission, harness racing in Ontario is showing some positive signs despite negative trends within the industry.

Pointing out that horses are averaging roughly the same earnings per start from 2010 and that wagering on WEG's standardbred product is up year-to-date from 2010.

The text from the ORC release is as follows:


Ontario Standardbred horse racing is showing positive signs

The Ontario Racing Program is a direct outcome of the racing community’s demand that changes were needed in Ontario horse racing: the number of race days were in drastic decline, wagering on Standardbreds was faltering at the Premier level and the future of the industry and the people who work in horse racing were at risk. This provincial approach to horse racing evolved from extensive collaboration and consultation with the racing community over 18 months. Considered a transition year, 2011 is the first year of the Program.

  • On average, Standardbred horsepeople in Ontario are earning the same amount of purse per start in 2011 as they did in 2010.

    - 2011 average earnings per start is currently $1,232, including overnight and added money races, compared to $1,234 per start this time last year. Over the same timeframe, starts per horse has increased slightly.

  • Wagering from all sources on Ontario’s Premier Standardbred product increased by 3% over 2010, despite fewer race dates.

    - Wagering per card on the WEG Standardbred product increased 17% and wagering per race increased 12%.

    - Ontario is doing better at selling their product at this level, but wagering by Ontario residents on foreign product is down, which will impact both racetrack and purse account revenue streams going forward.

(ORC)

October 2, 2011 - 5:35 pmI would like the ORC to

I would like the ORC to address a serious mistake with the ORP schedule: the closing of Flamboro Downs for the month of October. The boxes are overflowing with entries already: especially Grand River, the next closest half-mile track for a lot of regulars at Flamboro Downs.

The reality of the Flamboro Downs' closure shown in actual numbers at Grand River: 257 horses entered for Monday the 3rd; 211 horses entered for Wednesday the 5th: only 116 and 118 horses actually get to race though...less than half the horses entered!!! A great time for a month's vacation if any horseperson can actually afford it.

Honestly, Flamboro Downs has raced 12 months of the year for many, many years for a reason, right? It is the most central half-mile track, and many horsepeople rely on it for an income! Why change a system that has worked for years, and force us to travel IF we can actually get a horse in the box?

There is actually another, more pressing issue with
Flamboro Downs now closed for a month: where do we have to go to qualify a horse? Mohawk does not accept just any horse for qualifiers. Unless, the ORC is going to insist that qualifiers from the Flamboro Downs' area are going to be allowed to qualify at Mohawk, at least for this month. Some horsepeople have already been forced to travel to Grand River, and even Georgian Downs for qualifiers!?! This is an unacceptable consequence of the closure of Flamboro Downs.

While I wait for the ORC to explain why the closing of Flamboro Downs is good for the horse, the horsepeople, and the betting public who will miss live racing this month; I will try to carry on with the business of horse racing by finding somewhere to qualify and race horses like everyone else is.

There must be a reason why Flamboro Downs isn't racing this month, yet the slots remain open? I thought horse-racing and slots worked hand-in-hand...? If one is closed, why isn't the other then?

Congratulations on increasing the wagering per card on the WEG Standardbred product by 17%!

How is the wagering per card handle doing at the other tracks that the horsepeople race at: Rideau Carleton? Georgian Downs? Flamboro Downs? Western Fair? Windsor? Hiawatha? Grand River? Dresden? Clinton? Sudbury? Woodstock?

We've already lost racing at the fair level. I'd hate to see us lose the Grassroots level next... Remember, many horsepeople don't race at the Premier level track. We'd love to hear how much better we're doing at the other levels too? Are our purses increasing soon too?


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