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Post Time with Dan Gall

Post Time

What was an incredibly busy summer with the hopes that it would be a lighter and less busy autumn is now turning into a jam-packed next few months.

September concluded with the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Finals, and in October, we’ll gear up for the OSS Super Finals. The London Selected Yearling Sale takes place this month, and we also reported on some refreshing news; Century Downs posted a 12 per cent increase in their wagering over last year. The World Driving Championship smashed previous records for betting internationally, with four of the five Canadian racetracks simulcasting outside of North America for the first time. We had a successful Prix d’Ete, and the Gold Cup and Saucer got a wonderful lift in awareness due to the World Trotting Conference and World Driving Championship that Standardbred Canada hosted. We also witnessed a return to harness racing at Ohsweken on Six Nations Reserve (a small but certainly not insignificant victory).

We are now busying ourselves with some heavy lifting at Standardbred Canada with the recently announced Rules of Racing Committee and a continued focus on delivering on our strategic plan.

Some of the projects that we are working on include; tapping into our industry media experts to discuss ways of how we can better and more effectively market our sport both inside and outside of the industry. One of the ways in which we will do this is by organizing an Industry Media Task Force (MTF) that will tackle how to promote our sport more effectively and with larger impact.

The goal of the MTF will be to build a roadmap that industry media can follow that will create and promote a star system for our horses, drivers and racetracks, across the country and identify ways in which our industry can highlight and promote the incredible racing events that are already firmly established, with a more global intensity and commitment.

A simple example of this is to package each major jurisdictional race and highlight the event with the same level of coverage and awareness in each province, to assist in building these established events as “marquee” events of the sport, while firmly establishing the horses, drivers and racetracks as stars of the industry. The Prix d’Ete, Gold Cup and Saucer, North America Cup and other like events should be getting national exposure and coverage, and our task force will discuss the process and commitment it needs so our industry media can collectively support and rally around the events that are making stories (or should be making stories) on a national level. If we can’t agree on what those events are and what kind of national coverage they deserve as an industry, how can we expect mainstream media to figure it out?

Another exciting project Standardbred Canada is undertaking is setting up a format that enables our association to meet regularly with provincial associations on a scheduled basis. This facilitative project will enable associations across the country to participate in a teleconference and /or webinar to learn from their colleagues, and share best practices along with identifying similar challenges that we are facing. The concept, although not revolutionary, creates dialogue and awareness of opportunities that will help reframe where our efforts should be focussed as a national association and industry. This was inspired by our Board of Directors, who this past year began tabling time on the Board meeting’s agenda, a “round table”, so that all 15 Directors have an opportunity to provide a report on what is happening within their regions, so that as a board we are fully aware of the hard work, accomplishments and concerns that each jurisdiction is managing.

This autumn, we are also conducting a Board Governance review, we will be discussing and developing a Government Relations strategy for our association, and preparing for our strategic plan for next year, which I will report back to our members once completed and approved.

So, unfortunately as fast as summer went, so too will autumn, and we will soon all be saying “Winter is coming” (had to throw in a Game of Thrones reference – couldn’t resist!).

But on a positive note, and if any consolation… I love Christmas!

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

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