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Campbellville, ON - Dec. 27, 2019 -- The Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) has announced a new marketing initiative aimed at promoting the harness racing industry and participants across the province. COSA TV is a dedicated YouTube channel which will feature fresh, new video content each week, beginning this January. It will offer a wide variety of content including industry features, sit down interviews, commentaries, ‘how to’ videos and vignettes as well as the ability to produce live shows. COSA has partnered with O’Brien Award nominated CUJO Entertainment of Guelph on the project which coincides with a pair of new projects recently announced by the association. Beginning January 1, COSA will also begin providing coverage against damages to race bikes during a pari-mutuel or qualifying race at Ontario Racetracks, up to a maximum of $2,500. In addition, they have also introduced a program which will cover the cost of promotional horse trailer wraps for horse people – essentially creating dozens of travelling billboards across the province. “We have been exploring unique and impactful uses of the Standardbred Revenue Allocation (SRA) monies to promote the industry in Ontario and are excited to offer these new projects,” said COSA President Bill O’Donnell. “We think it’s important to get the message out there about the tremendous impact our industry has in the province and the people and horses involved.” Horse people and fans can follow COSA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to find out more about the new initiative and submit suggestions for topics or story ideas. More information is also available at From the Central Ontario Standardbred Association      

The following press release is from COSA; Bill O’Donnell, (President, COSA), Jack Darling (Director, COSA) John Hayes, (Chair, Ontario Racing) and Chad Gates, (General Manager, Ontario Racing Operations, Great Canadian Gaming) met today at Flamboro Downs to discuss Great Canadian Gaming’s (GCG) recent press release banning children under the age of 19 in the Flamboro grandstand. COSA, OR and GCG have agreed to work together to accommodate anyone under the age of 19 from having to remain outside on the tarmac while attending the races. Anyone under the age of 19 will not be allowed in any casino areas in the grandstand except for having access to the washroom facilities located inside the main entrance. This is based on Ontario law. COSA has received a commitment from GCG to build a structure at the edge of the tarmac, overlooking the racetrack at the south end of the grandstand. This structure will have a snack bar with tables and seating where anyone including those under the age of 19 are welcome. This project will begin as soon as possible. OR will provide substantial capital improvement funds towards this project to ensure that it is a quality facility. More information will follow when available. Bill O’Donnell, President COSA

The Central Ontario Standardbred Association has issued a statement in response to Great Canadian Gaming's announcement to implement an age restriction on racegoers at Flamboro Downs, effective Tuesday (Sept. 3). The statement follows. COSA is deeply concerned with Great Canadian Gaming’s announcement last week to eliminate children under the age of 19 from entering their grandstand, which has now become all casino under AGCO rules. It is very disturbing that they have signed a long-term funding agreement that in part was to hold horse racing with the goal of achieving self-sustainability. It is a well known fact that many fans, owners, trainers, drivers, breeders and caretakers who become involved in the industry are exposed to racing at a young age. By welcoming young people to attend their races and stand outside on the tarmac between September and May isn’t anyone’s version of promoting the business. COSA strongly advises all horsepeople to contact Donna Skelly, MPP for the Flamboro area by email at or by calling 905-679-3770 to express your disappointment in Great Canadian Gaming’s decision in this matter. John Hayes, (Chair, Ontario Racing) and I have a scheduled meeting with Chad Gates, (General Manager, Ontario Racing Operations, Great Canadian Gaming) on Friday (Sept. 6) to discuss their recent announcement. More information will become available following that meeting. Bill O’Donnell President, COSA (COSA)

MILTON, May 31, 2019 - Woodbine Entertainment and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) have announced their support for the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario's (AGCO) revision and enhanced enforcement of the urging rule for Standardbred Racing. The revised urging rules will take effect beginning Monday, June 3 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and will be gradually phased in to all Standardbred tracks across the province. The revisions to the urging rule align with the commitment of Woodbine Entertainment and COSA to protect the health and safety of the equine athletes and integrity of racing. "Woodbine Entertainment fully supports the AGCO's revisions to the urging rule after requests were made to review in the best interests of our horses and sport," said Jessica Buckley, President of Woodbine Mohawk Park. "We are committed to upholding the highest standards and practices for the integrity of racing to best position our industry for a stable future." "We recognize the need for our industry to evolve and are pleased by the efficient progress made by the AGCO to revise the urging rule," said Bill O'Donnell, President of COSA. "Placing the welfare of our animals first will always be the top priority and our drivers understand that moving to wrist action only urging is best for the integrity of our sport." Woodbine Mohawk Park offers a world class Standardbred racing product with the best horses and drivers competing regularly. The enforcement of the revised rules at Woodbine Mohawk Park and during the upcoming $1 million Pepsi North America Cup will provide an example to racetracks and jurisdictions across the continent for the need to be proactive and progress with best practices for the safety of equine athletes. Mark McKelvie        

London, May 9 -- The Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) is pleased to announce sponsorship of an exciting three-race series of Facebook Live broadcasts this season which will include the $200,000 (Est) Confederation Cup, $150,000 Camluck Classic and $250,000 (Est) Battle Of Waterloo. The award-winning Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) broadcast team produced the 1-1/2 hour Camluck Classic show in 2018 which was distributed via the Raceway and Woodbine Entertainment Group's Facebook pages as well as Standardbred Canada's website. CUJO Entertainment will produce this season's shows at the three host tracks which include The Raceway, Flamboro Downs and Grand River Raceway. "The COSA board is pleased to support this new series of shows," said President Bill O'Donnell. "We host some of North America's biggest races and feel it's important to help showcase the best of our product to a world wide audience. It's something we hope we can expand on next season." The Confederation Cup will kick off the Facebook Live series on Sunday, May 19th. The race, which is restricted to four-year-old pacers has attracted one of the most impressive crops including a quartet of the leading money-winning three-year-olds from 2018 - Jimmy Freight, Dorsoduro Hanover, Lather Up and Courtly Choice. The Camluck Classic (formerly the Molson Pace), sponsored by Seelster Farms, is back for its second season on Friday, May 31st. Some of the expected starters for this year's race include this year's runner-up in the Levy Series, Rodeo Rock, along with Southwind Amazon, himself a son of Camluck, and millionaire Sintra who holds the track record for three-year-old pacing colts at The Raceway. The Battle Of Waterloo returns in its traditional time slot on Monday, August 5th, which is the Civic holiday. The race features many of the best Ontario-sired two-year-old pacers and has been a starting point for several future champions including the great Somebeachsomewhere. "It is exciting and tremendously positive to see the expansion of this type of initiative through the partnership of these various organizations," said The Raceway's Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. "This is a relatively cost effective way to reach a new, younger audience while putting the spotlight on our biggest races." The three shows will all be available for viewing at each of the track's Facebook pages as well as Standardbred Canada's website.   Greg Blanchard

MILTON, January 11, 2019 - Woodbine Entertainment and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) jointly announced today the agreement in principle of a new five-year harness racing deal that includes an investment in capital upgrades and an increase in purses, further solidifying Woodbine Mohawk Park as one of the leaders in total purses paid for Standardbred racetracks in North America. "The future is bright for Standardbred racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park. We are thrilled to come to terms on a new agreement with COSA representing Woodbine's continued partnership with horse people in the Province," said Jessica Buckley, President, Woodbine Mohawk Park. "We value our partnership with COSA and have successfully collaborated on multiple projects this year, including this new agreement." The new deal is highlighted by $15 million in additional purse money to be distributed over the course of the contract. Woodbine Entertainment has also committed to $1 million in capital upgrades to Woodbine Mohawk Park annually over the five-year period, a further demonstration of its commitment to the Standardbred horse racing industry in Ontario. "This new five-year deal is part of our commitment to Standardbred Racing, and the vision to grow year-round racing at our World Class facility in Milton," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. "This long term deal gives Standardbred breeders and owners the opportunity to plan and invest with confidence." "COSA is pleased to come to terms on a new five-year deal with Woodbine, providing purse growth each year for the next five years for our members," said Bill O'Donnell, President of COSA. "We have developed a strong working relationship with Woodbine and will continue to work closely with them to reach goals for both sides during this new contract." Woodbine Mohawk Park reopened for the 2019 racing season on January 5. A total of 221 live race dates are scheduled for the upcoming season, highlighted by the Pepsi North America Cup and the 2019 Breeders' Crown. Mark McKelvie

On Monday, April 23, 2018 the Central Ontario Standardbred Association’s auditing firm, KPMG, revealed the 2018 election results. COSA would like to thank all of the nominees that put their names forward and would like to welcome the following new Directors who will serve a three-year term on the Board: Bill Manes –Bill grew up in the racing industry and has been an owner for the past 40 years as well as a breeder since 1990. Since 2007, Bill has owned and operated the Manestreet Training Centre in Rockwood, ON. Tony O’Sullivan – Tony is a native of New Zealand. In 2004 Tony opened his own public stable in Ontario and has established himself among the top trainers in North America. Paul MacDonell – Paul started his driving career in 1981. Since then he has established himself as one of the leading drivers in Ontario and well as on the Grand Circuit. Paul is one of the original Directors of COSA which was formed in 2009. Bill O’Donnell – Bill grew up in the horse racing industry and has established himself as one of the premier drivers in the sport. Bill is also one of the original Directors of COSA and has served as the President for the past eight years. COSA would like to thank the outgoing Directors, Ben Wallace and Jim Wellwood for their time and commitment to the membership over the past eight years.  

Campbellville, ON -- After receiving 1,950 donations totaling over $710,000 (Cdn) to aid those impacted by the Jan. 4 barn fire at Classy Lane Stables in Puslinch, ON, the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) has concluded its GoFundMe campaign. COSA president Bill O'Donnell said he has been overwhelmed by the generosity and can't begin to properly thank everyone who donated to the fund. "The whole thing has been astonishing," O'Donnell said. "In the beginning, when we first put it up, we were hoping to get $80,000 and set $100,000 as a goal hoping just to help people replace equipment. It hit $112,000 in about 10 hours. It was wild." Trainers Ben Wallace, Roger Mayotte, Chantal Mitchell, Kris Di Cenzo, Dan Lagace and Floyd Amos lost virtually every horse they train and most of their equipment in the blaze, throwing them and their staff out of work. COSA's GoFundMe campaign was so successful O'Donnell said every person connected to the tragedy that gutted Barn 1 and killed all 43 horses received financial reimbursement thanks to the generosity of people from around the world, but particularly the horse racing community far and wide. "I was flabbergasted how many people came to everybody's rescue," O'Donnell said, adding there were a number of heartwarming donations. "We had a group of preschoolers in Belleville, from Little Rascals Child Care, who sent in a check with a note that said, 'our children have been doing fundraisers, bake sales, pizza and workshop sale items to give donations to an organization of their choice. When they read and talked about the fire it was a unanimous decision.'" Wallace, who lost all 17 horses he had in Barn 1 at Classy Lane, said he and all those affected are tremendously grateful to everyone who donated to help them and to COSA for organizing the fundraiser. "Not one of my caretakers -- or anybody's caretaker, for that matter -- was financially challenged due to the fire. They got paid right through," Wallace said. "There isn't one caretaker that could say that they were left out of the mix. I feel very, very good about that." COSA established a seven-member committee to decide how best to allocate the money. Joining O'Donnell on the committee was Woodbine Entertainment Group executive vice-president Jamie Martin, Clinton Raceway general manager Ian Fleming, Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association president Sue Leslie, Karen Breen owner of Tackmaster and horsemen Jim Wellwood and Dave Drew. Breen was on a committee that helped determine how best to allocate money after a fire in 1992 at Mohawk that killed 69 horses and destroyed Barn 3. Leslie sat on a similar committee after a fire in 2002 at Woodbine that killed 31 thoroughbreds. "The group was more than helpful with their guidance about how to distribute the money in a fair way," O'Donnell said, adding, "the committee recommended that we start by getting professional appraisals" O'Donnell contacted Bob Boni, David Reid and Brian Webster about the value of the horses lost at Classy Lane. "You couldn't get three better guys to do it," O'Donnell said. "We took the three appraisals, added them all up and divided by three to get an average per horse." The owners of the three ponies killed in the blaze were compensated, as were the owners of the 35 standardbreds that were not insured. "The money is all gone. It's been distributed between grooms, trainers and owners," O'Donnell said, "with the exception of the funds that will be collected next year from the stallion auction that raised approximately $75,000 on live foals." O'Donnell gave thanks to the media for covering the story and made special mention of Standardbred Canada for keeping the GoFundMe campaign near the top of its website news items for weeks. "They did a great job of leaving that story up at the top. It could have slid down to the bottom of the page and people would never have seen it," O'Donnell said. From the Central Ontario Standarbred Association      

Although they may be newcomers to Chicago harness racing fans driver Simon Allard and brother-trainer Rene Allard are clearly in the hearts and minds of the local brethren after joining forces with Hawthorne Race Course to spearhead a fundraising drive to help those whose lives were devastated by the tragic barn fire at Classy Lane Farm in Canada on January 4th. Simon, who had a driving double along with several other in the money finishes donated his driving earnings from Saturday's Hawthorne card to the fund which has been set up by Central Ontario Standardbred Association. Rene, who sent out six starters at Hawthorne on Saturday night as well as several others at Yonkers also pitched in by donating his training percentage to help his fellow horsemen. With a great deal of help from horsemen Nicole Agosti and Angie Coleman along with a group of "high energy" youngsters donations were also collected from fans and horsemen throughout the track during the night. Hawthorne President & General Manager Tim Carey also stepped up in a big way to help the fund, promising to match the donations while setting up an account with the horsemen's bookkeeper at Hawthorne for those who still wish to donate to the fund. The account will remain open until Friday, January 22. On-line donations can also be made by using the official Go Fund Me page set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association or by calling (905) 854-2672. Checks can also be made payable to "Classy Lane Barn Fire", Central Ontario Standardbred Association, PO Box 297, Campbellville, ON LOP 180, Canada. Tom Kelley

TORONTO, January 7 - Woodbine Entertainment Group dedicated Thursday evening's card of harness racing to the equine lives lost in Monday night's barn fire at Classy Lane Stables.   Horsepeople gathered in the Standardbred paddock to watch a tribute video created by the Woodbine Broadcasting Department and pay their respects.   A moment of silence was also held in honour of the horses lost in Monday's fire.   Donations can be made to help those affected by the fire through the Central Ontario Standardbred Association GoFundMe page‚Äč.   A video tribute to the equine lives lost in the fire at Classy Lane Stables.        

Columbus, OH --- The U.S. Trotting Association announced Wednesday that it will make a $5,000 contribution to the official fund set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association to assist all of those affected by the tragic barn fire at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch, Ontario on Monday evening. "One of the saddest things to happen in the world of horses is a tragic barn fire that kills horses," said USTA President Phil Langley in making the announcement. "It is something we all fear and many have experienced. "My first experiences were in the 1960s when a fire at Maywood Park took the lives of several horses owned by Billy Johnston and trained by my father, then, not too long after, another fire at Washington Park that wiped out Bobby Williams' stable. "The sadness is never forgotten but it is heartening to see that in those cases and now, the industry draws closer to help some of its own with monetary donations and encouragement that will hopefully help everyone affected through a long recovery process." In that spirit, the USTA encourages everyone in the industry and racing fans everywhere to consider making a donation via an official GoFundMe page that has been set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association. For more on the COSA initiative, or to contact COSA, click here. Donations, with checks made payable to "Classy Lane Barn Fire," can also be mailed to: Central Ontario Standardbred Association, P.O. Box 297, Campbellville, ON L0P 1B0. A barn fire at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch, Ontario started at approximately 11 p.m. on Monday (Jan. 4) and claimed the lives of more than 40 Standardbred racehorses. Firefighters, who responded to the blaze from five departments -- including Hamilton, Guelph and Cambridge -- have not determined the cause of the fire that destroyed the barn that housed horses trained by Ben Wallace, Roger Mayotte, Chantal Mitchell, Kris Di Cenzo, Dan Lagace and Floyd Amos. The preliminary cost of the damage has been estimated to be between $4 and $6 million. Ken Weingartner

June 25, 2015 - Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), in harmony with Horses Offering People Encouragement (HOPE), the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS), the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA), and Halton Police’s COMMANDE (Community, Mobilization and Engagement) program, are pleased to announce the launch of a spring session of HOPE at Windrush Stable in Moffat, Ontario. “We are thrilled to see the HOPE program expand into Halton Region,” says Jamie Martin, Executive Vice-President, Racing, WEG, of the event that launched this May. “WEG remains committed to supporting and assisting racehorse adoption and placement programs that work tirelessly to ensure these horses are provided with the welfare, safety and dignity they so deeply deserve in their retirement. HOPE is a shining example of how retired racehorses can continue to have a positive influence on people after their racing careers are over.” A therapeutic horsemanship program, HOPE unites retired racehorses with the community’s most vulnerable citizens. “COSA is very pleased to support the effort to bring the HOPE program to Halton Region,” says, Bill O’Donnell, President, COSA. Participants receive hands on training in basic horsemanship skills like grooming, haltering, tacking, herd dynamics and horse anatomy from experienced horse caretakers. OSAS is thrilled at the opportunity to have HOPE participants enjoy their program’s horses. “We are very excited and proud to work closely with HOPE and our other partners,” says Joanne Colville, Events Coordinator, OSAS. “Not only will people have the chance to be face-to-face with these wonderful horses, they will also get a better sense of farm life through tending to gardens and learning and interacting with other farm animals.” It’s a sentiment echoed by Lesley Ridout-Gauer, General Manager, Windrush. “Windrush is honoured to open its’ doors to HOPE,” says Lesley. “We look forward to uniting people with these horses, creating a truly memorable experience for everyone involved in the program.” Last October, a five-week pilot was launched in partnership with COMMANDE, LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society and WEG. It was hosted at Emerald Lane Farm, a longtime LongRun foster farm, located in Thornton, Ontario. About WEG: WEG is the largest horse racing operator in Canada offering world class horse racing at both Woodbine (Toronto) and Mohawk (Milton) racetracks. WEG also operates off-track wagering through its Champions teletheatre network, which includes WEGZ Stadium Bar in Vaughan, Turf Lounge in the heart of Toronto's financial district and Greenwood in the Beach area of Toronto. WEG also operates Horse Player Interactive; Canada's premier online and telephone wagering service and HPItv, a digital broadcast channel dedicated to horse racing. A “Caring Company” since 1997, Woodbine Entertainment Group is a member of Imagine Canada @imaginecanada, a national program that promotes public and corporate giving, volunteerism and support to the community. For more information about WEG’s CSR agenda and its performance outcomes, visit Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS) The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS) is an approved charitable organization, founded in 1996 to assist the adoption and relocation of retired and non-racing Standardbred horses within Ontario. OSAS matches the desires and abilities of each adoptive family to the temperament and capabilities of the horse. Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) COSA was formed in the spring of 2009 to provide a united voice for harness horsepeople racing at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks and currently representing over 1,500 members. Windrush Stable Therapeutic Riding Centre Windrush Stable T.R.C. is a non-profit charitable organization which helps people achieve personal growth and accomplishment through programs that encourage a special partnership with horses while allowing a chance to be successful at a unique activity with educational and therapeutic benefits. COMMANDE (Community Mobilization and Engagement) has been operating since the fall of 2013, and its success to date has convinced the Halton Regional Police Service to expand it to Burlington and Oakville, possibly by late summer 2015. It is a policing initiative involving multiple agencies focusing on a co-ordinated response to community safety and public health issues. The partnership brings together representatives from a variety of sectors — health, addiction treatment, youth, emergency services, non-profit social services, housing and municipalities; to provide real-time, co-ordinated responses to “acutely elevated risk” situations involving individuals, groups and places. One of the objectives of Commande is to encourage and support community involvement and social development in order to have a sustainable effect on community safety, security and wellbeing through non traditional programs such as HOPE. The Halton Regional Police Service and Commande are honoured to be partnering with WEG, OSAS, Windrush Stable and COSA. For more information about WEG contact John Siscos at For more information about OSAS contact Joanne Colville at For more information about COSA contact Bill O’Donnell at For more information about Windrush contact Lesley Ridout-Gauer at For more information about COMMANDE contact Maureen Andrew at Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred

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