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Post Time with Dan Gall

Post Time

Well, welcome back to one and all.

Not even sure where to begin outside of wishing and hoping that everyone is doing well and your return to racing has been safe and successful.

To say the pandemic has been a game changer would be an understatement. Every walk of life, both personally and professionally has been altered, and with these challenges we have also had to look for new ways to do business and em-brace (as best we can) change, which is often the most confusing and uncomfortable aspect in life.

Through the pandemic, we have seen leadership when we have needed it the most, whether it is from government, es-sential services, neighbourhoods or the business community.

Our industry saw the countless hours and energy that our industry leaders, horse associations, racetracks, regulators and horse people have had to endure to save and protect the industry during a national closure of the sport.

It’s truly difficult to single people out as it has been a collective effort for the most part, in trying to understand how best to manage through this pandemic. But it is when we are faced with adversity we do see what true leadership really means and is.

I have said this often, that Woodbine’s CEO Jim Lawson’s stock has increased substantially during this pandemic. Jim has provided leadership right from the onset. As some groups were asking that harness racing comes to an abrupt halt, Jim and his team did everything to keep racing going safely, for as long as it possibly could. It is very easy to say and decide to “stop racing” but it is a lot more difficult to decide, after you have closed, when to start racing again.

Jim worked tirelessly with government and Ontario Racing to discuss how to return to racing as soon as possible, and he was available by video conferencing, webinars, and media interviews, and provided the Ontario industry with con-stant updates and ideas of how to move forward. This has included landing national coverage for the sport on TSN on Thursday nights and releasing the Dark Horse app to coincide with the national coverage.

The pandemic has served all of us a bowl of prime and ripe sour lemons, and we have all had to do our best to make lemonade with the lemons we have been served.

The past several months has been and is about facing adversity and doing one’s best to overcome the many obstacles we have all been facing, while keeping the focus on the sport and on our livelihoods.

We recognize it is far from over as we wait for the curve to flatten across the country and for science to develop a ther-apeutic solution or vaccine.

The pandemic has made us take some extraordinary measures including; how to get back to racing without fans, how to keep business going with offices closed, how to stop printing TROT Magazine and provide a digital solution to offer news about the industry, how to move our business from in-person to online, and even how to provide racing jurisdic-tions a blueprint to assist them with the Return to Standardbred Racing in Canada for those who wanted one.

Everyone has been impacted by this pandemic and will continue to be, but it has been the collective will of this indus-try that has made us come together, work together, communicate together, and lead together like it has never done before.

My hope is that this cooperation will remain part of the “new normal” as we reckon what our industry looks like once we come through all of this.

Here’s a final comment, if I may. The pandemic has taken the lives of many, and our hearts and prayers are with all the people and families that have had to deal with the painstaking loss of loved ones over the last several months because of it.

No matter if you agree or disagree with what has been written above, this pandemic simply is beyond words.

Be well.

Dan Gall, President & CEO, Standardbred Canada
[email protected]

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