On Monday, March 31, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) issued a news release which states that the Province’s five-year plan will provide up to $500 million in support to Ontario’s world-class horse racing industry.
The Horse Racing Partnership Plan comes into effect April 1.
“This plan is the result of a true partnership. Everyone involved — government, industry, owners, breeders and track operators — have worked to put in place a shared vision,” said Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food. “I’m confident this plan will not only create a sustainable racing industry in Ontario, but will create jobs and provide more opportunities for success. Ontario is now the most innovative jurisdiction in North America for horse racing.”
On Monday, the Ontario Racing Commission also released a pdf file of 2014 race dates that tracks across the province have applied for. To view the pdf file, click here.
The contents of the OMAF release appear directly below. The release is followed by OMAF’s ‘backgrounder’ note regarding the Horse Racing Partnership Plan
Horse Racing Partnership Plan Out of the Gate
Government Commitment Delivering Results
Ontario is delivering on its commitment to implement the Horse Racing Partnership Plan, which comes into effect April 1.
The province’s enhanced five-year plan will provide up to $500 million to support its world-class horse racing industry and includes:
- Increasing purses and race dates across the province
- Enhancing support for the province’s racehorse breeders
- Integrating horse racing into the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s modernization plan
- Encouraging the creation of an alliance of innovative, leading standardbred tracks
- Increasing operational support for regional tracks
The plan is providing the horse racing industry with the tools to develop new sources of revenue and to build business relationships that will support a sustainable industry in Ontario.
Strengthening and supporting the province's horse racing industry is part of the Ontario government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.
“This plan is the result of a true partnership. Everyone involved — government, industry, owners, breeders and track operators — have worked to put in place a shared vision. I’m confident this plan will not only create a sustainable racing industry in Ontario, but will create jobs and provide more opportunities for success. Ontario is now the most innovative jurisdiction in North America for horse racing.”
— Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food
“OHRIA is relieved that funding is in place to begin stabilizing the industry. I’d like to thank Premier Wynne for her direct involvement in making this happen. The thousands of jobs associated with the horseracing industry continue to be an important part of the social fabric of Ontario.”
—Sue Leslie, President, Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association
“Rideau Carleton Raceway is delighted that the Premier has fulfilled the promise to sustain racing across the province. The commitment to regional racetracks will ensure the continuance of the industry and competitive racing in Ottawa.”
—Alex Lawryk, Spokesperson, Rideau Carleton
“As a breeder I am extremely excited about the future of racing in Ontario and thankful for the enhanced support that will allow us to build upon the rich history of Ontario-bred horses.”
—Scott Minshall, Minshall Farms, Hillsburgh, Ontario
- Ontario is one of the few places in Canada that offers thoroughbred, standardbred, and quarter horse racing. There are 16 racetracks operating in the province for the 2014 racing season.
- Woodbine offers both thoroughbred and standardbred racing, Fort Erie offers thoroughbred racing, and Ajax offers quarter horse racing. The remaining 13 tracks offer standardbred racing.
- Horse racing is a year-round sport in Ontario, with both live racing and simulcast racing brought in from other jurisdictions.
The following are the contents of OMAF’s ‘backgrounder’ on the Horse Racing Partnership Plan.
The Horse Racing Partnership Plan
March 31, 2014
A successful and sustainable horse racing industry continues to have an important role to play in the economic and social life of this province, especially in rural Ontario.
The Horse Racing Partnership Plan, which comes into effect April 1, 2014, is the government’s five-year plan to invest up to $500 million to support a world-class horse racing industry in the province. The plan reflects the hard work and genuine willingness of many in the horse racing industry to work together and build a new partnership with government.
Standardbred Alliance of Tracks
Critical to the success of the plan is the formation of an innovative, world-leading alliance of standardbred tracks including Woodbine, Mohawk, Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Western Fair, Clinton, Hanover and Grand River.
The alliance represents an unparalleled level of partnership and provides a solid foundation for Ontario Standardbred owners, breeders and horsepersons. The tracks will work together to implement operational efficiencies, co-ordinate a year-round racing calendar, develop a program of racing that is attractive to foreign and domestic customers, and establish consistent purses.
Additional Support for Regional Tracks
The plan provides the appropriate public support to maintain a foundation for racing, but, more importantly, it provides the industry with opportunities for growth. By increasing funding for purses and operational support for regional tracks — Fort Erie, Ajax, Rideau-Carleton, Kawartha Downs, Sudbury Downs, Hiawatha, Dresden and Leamington — the government is giving operators the tools to develop new sources of revenue and build business relationships that will support a sustainable horse racing industry in Ontario.
Integration of Horse Racing into the Province’s Gaming Strategy
The government’s ongoing support of the horse racing industry is based on accountability, transparency and providing each sector of the industry — owners, breeders and racetrack operators — with the potential to be profitable.
Integrating horse racing into the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's (OLG) modernization plan will help achieve those goals.
Integration will include opportunities to develop new gaming products in partnership with OLG as well as consideration of horse racing in the land-based gaming modernization process.
Supporting Ontario Racehorse Breeders
The heart of the industry is the racehorse and Ontario has a proud history of breeding some of the world’s greatest.
The enhanced Horse Improvement Program will provide incentives to recognize excellence for Ontario Bred and Sired horses racing in their home province. By continuing to support Ontario’s racehorse breeding sector, the plan will maximize the economic impact of racing in Ontario.
The plan has taken measures to ensure that racehorses are treated humanely both while they are racing and after retirement. Funding provided to Equine Guelph will assist with development of programs to address health and welfare issues of retired horses and overall horse and herd health concerns of the industry in Ontario.
2014 Race Dates
Ontario has a rich history of horse racing — a history that will continue this season and for many years to come. The Ontario Racing Commission has the most up-to-date information on 2014 race dates.
From the Ontario Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ontario Racing Commission