In accordance with Section 25 of the Racing Commission Act, 2000, the Director of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has conditionally cancelled Sudbury Downs' ORC licence effective June 30, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. There are certain financial terms and conditions that Sudbury Downs must meet before the licence is cancelled. For more information, please review the Notice posted on the ORC website by clicking here. Ontario Racing Commission
As one of the conditions set by the Director regarding the cancellation of Sudbury Downs' ORC licence, the Director has ordered that all Sudbury purse monies be forwarded to the ORC to be held in trust for the Standardbred Horsepeople. For more information, please review the Notice posted on the ORC website by clicking here. From the Ontario Racing Commission
Toronto, ON – From London, Ontario to London, England, from the Thoroughbred Melbourne Cup to the Standardbred North American Cup - horse racing is truly an international sport -- and one of the most regulated sports in the world. Equine athletes are tested more than most human athletes. While Ontario has rigid standards locally, illegitimate operators have crossed jurisdictional borders easily through the internet and negatively impacted the fairness of the sport. That will change significantly starting next month and it’s the same internet that will make it even tougher to ply their illegal trade. Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. The International Racing Information and Intelligence Service (IRIIS) will officially launch July 1st, and its origins started right here in Ontario. IRIIS is a secure internet platform that will allow international racing jurisdictions to share intelligence information, collaborate and capitalize on the industry’s expertise and best practices. The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) and Harness Racing Australia, the key organizers of IRIIS, have collaborated with racing regulators and strategic partners from Canada, the United States, Belgium, Great Britain, South Africa, and Sweden. It is anticipated other racing jurisdictions will join and contribute to the platform. ORC Deputy Director Rob McKinney said that IRIIS is an innovative system where members – industry regulators, law enforcement agencies and industry organizations -- will have access to and share intelligence information on a wide range of topics, such as performance and image enhancing drugs like EPO, race fixing, and organized crime. “We need to be proactive and one step ahead of illegal activity, so that we can prepare risk and threat assessments on a jurisdictional, regional and/or international level.” Here’s a recent example of actionable intelligence which demonstrates how IRIIS works: Ontario shared the intelligence it had gathered with respect to a particular drug and its alleged performance enhancing benefit. The ORC information included recommendations on how to collect a sample and analyze the results. The data prompted another international racing jurisdiction to conduct post-race tests for the same drug. The result: a positive test which led to regulatory action against the participant. From Rob McKinney, Deputy Director ORC
Racing Under Saddle is an innovative new concept in harness racing in Canada, and the schedule for the racing under saddle season has been finalized and will be an exciting season for riders, horses, the bettor, and the general public at large. The Ontario Racing Commission has approved wagering with Standardbred Canada setting the standards for equipment and riders. There will be ten scheduled races at seven tracks from July 1 at Mohawk Racetrack to October 1 at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The first race will be held at Mohawk Racetrack on July 1 and the invitational trot will be carded as “Trot For The Cure” in conjunction with a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. After a stop in Clinton for a Sunday afternoon tilt on July 13, which will be the first RUS event that bettors will be able to wager on, comes the first signature event of the RUS season. On July 26 there will be the first half of Norway versus Canada as part the eliminations of the Balanced Image at Hanover Raceway with the second half being held at Grand River Raceway on August 1. Three days later, as part of the Battle Of Waterloo, RUS Ontario will hold an international race featuring riders from Norway, Sweden, Finland, the United States and host Canada. This event will strive to be an annual event in Canada growing with world popularity. On July 19, Georgian Downs will play host to RUS, and on August 29 Mohawk will play host to a second RUS invitational trot, as a prelude to the Canadian Trotting Classic card on September 13. The last invitational trot will be hosted at Mohawk Racetrack. Flamboro Downs will play host to RUS on September 20 and The Raceway at Western Fair District will close out the season with a race on its opening night card on October 1. RUS would like to thank the management at all Ontario tracks for the support and cooperation shown to racing under saddle for this inaugural season as an entity of the Ontario racing scene. Please come out and support racing under saddle and enjoy the excitement of Ontario racing. For further information on sponsorships of races or riders, please contact Julie Walker at (519) 379-7244 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For the website click here. From RUS Ontario
LEXINGTON, KY - Lexington, KY - RCI President Ed Martin called the news that the United States Trotting Association (USTA) will fund research into cobalt and help the New York drug testing program gain access to equipment currently in use elsewhere by racing's leading testing labs a "positive, proactive development that underscores the ongoing efforts of the racing industry and its regulator labs to counter efforts to cheat". A number of racing states have already been testing for cobalt, both in and out of competition, using advanced ICP-MS instrumentation. (ICP-MS is the acronym for Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer). Such instrumentation is commonly found in toxicology and veterinary diagnostic laboratories to detect metal poisoning in livestock (e.g., lead in cattle). Recent concerns about possible attempts to administer cobalt to affect performance have prompted several regulatory jurisdictions to quietly commence efforts in this area. Commissions have been collecting samples for months. A research project being conducted by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium is scheduled for completion this summer to determine an appropriate threshold for cobalt. Cobalt is a naturally occurring substance in the bodies of all mammals as well as being found in the environment. "The challenge is to determine what is an appropriate and normal level and the point in which it can be proven that cobalt levels had been deliberately manipulated in an attempt to affect performance," said Martin. Martin noted that deliberate administrations of cobalt could potentially harm a horse, if used in excess. In 2009, the Ontario Racing Commission issued the following notice: "The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) advises horsepeople to be very cautious with the administration of the substance cobalt sulphate to their horses. This mineral element is a water-soluble cobalt salt with a variety of industrial and agricultural uses, including being used as an ingredient in feed and mineral supplements. "Used in safe and appropriate formulations, the substance is known to have certain blood building qualities. However, speculation about 'performance enhancing' qualities are doubtful." The ORC's then Veterinarian Supervisor, Dr. Bruce Duncan, noted that "when administered in appropriate quantities, there is likely very little performance benefit. And when used in excess, this element can be toxic to horses." Cobalt is a constituent of vitamin B-12, and as a result, there is no recommended dietary allowance for it. Cobalt is one of the microminerals important for blood cell formation. The microbes in a horse's digestive system, particularly the large intestine, use the cobalt from a normal diet to incorporate it into Vitamin B-12. This vitamin is then used in conjunction with iron and copper in the formation and maintenance of blood cells. Although the USTA funded Maylin-McKeever-Malinowski research project may appear redundant to the effort currently underway by the RMTC, RCI's Martin said that "the more data is developed, our efforts to analyze the science and develop sound policies is enhanced." by Steve May for RCI
Renowned harness racing driver Jody Jamieson had a positive test for the presences of cocaine and is currently serving an immediate suspension for 15 days. The suspension comes at the worst of times as Jamieson was scheduled to drive the 2013 Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year, He’s Watching, on Saturday in the $1 million North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway in Campbellsville, Ontario, which Jamieson has won twice in the past. Tim Tetrick is now listed to drive the horse. Jamieson, age 38, last drove on Saturday, June 7 at Mohawk Raceway. He was taken off all his drives on Monday and Tuesday at Mohawk Raceway and is not listed to drive anywhere else henceforth. An Ontario Racing Commission official Tuesday afternoon confirmed the suspension but said they would not comment on any details pertaining to Jody Jamieson’s suspension pending a final investigation. According to Standardbred Canada, Jody Jamieson has 6,871 career wins and purse earnings by the horses he has driven are at just over $100 million. Despite repeated tries, Jody Jamieson was unavailable for comment. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
The Ontario Racing Commission has released a Notice to the Industry announcing the decision to approve the schedule of 2014 race dates for Kawartha Downs and Dresden Raceway. This announcement brings the total of 2014 approved race dates to 939 across Quarter-Horse, Thoroughbred and Standardbred breeds. In addition the Director approved September 1 as a make-up date for Rideau Carleton Raceway (RCR). During the 2013-2014 period, RCR cancelled two race dates: January 14 and March 20, where no races were run due to unsafe track conditions. The Transfer Payment Agreement with government allows for one cancellation during the period of the contract, leaving one cancelled race date that RCR had to make-up. To read the rest of this story and view the race calendars click here.
Announcements were made Monday afternoon that signified good news for horsemen awaiting race dates in the Sarnia area and a bombshell of disappointment for Northern Ontario's harness racing season. On Monday, May 26, the Ontario Racing Commission announced that it has approved 21 race dates for Hiawatha Horse Park’s 2014 season of live harness racing. Hiawatha Horse Park, located in Sarnia, will hold its first live date on Saturday, June 28. From there, the track will host programs of live racing every Thursday and Saturday until September 6. First-race post time for Hiawatha’s programs will be 6:30 p.m. To view a race date calendar for the 2014 season at Hiawatha, click here. Shortly thereafter, a press release was received from Sudbury Downs indicating that the track could not reach a deal with the province and thus will not hold live harness racing in 2014. The official release from Sudbury Downs follows. We have today advised the Ontario Racing Commission that, because of the lack of a commitment from the Province to provide adequate funding, there will be no live racing at Sudbury Downs in 2014. Race dates scheduled for June have been cancelled and further cancellations will be implemented as required. After cancelling the highly successful Slots At Racetracks partnership in 2013 that generated substantial revenue for the provincial horse racing industry, the Province of Ontario has dedicated $500 million of public funding over the next five years to support the provincial horse racing industry. These funds will be allocated to various parts of the horse racing industry by the provincial regulator, the Ontario Racing Commission. Despite extensive efforts over the last six months, Sudbury Downs has been unable to secure an agreement with the Province to allocate a reasonable share of the committed provincial funding, to the horse racing industry in northern Ontario. While the Province has offered to provide some funding for northern racing for the next five years, the level of support proposed is grossly inadequate and represents approximately 1% of the funding provided to the whole industry. Sudbury Downs has provided its detailed operating costs and revenues to the provincial regulator and has offered to conduct its racing operations on a “Not For Profit” basis that would be subject to provincial monitoring and audit. We are not prepared to incur substantial operating losses for the next five years. Our offer has not been accepted by the provincial regulator. The province, through the Ontario Racing Commission, has failed to recognize the unique circumstances and challenges faced by the horse racing industry in northern Ontario. As the only racetrack in northern Ontario, Sudbury Downs is isolated from the bulk of the horse racing industry in southern Ontario, and is truly a regional racetrack that must singularly provide for the needs of the northern industry. Similarly, northern horsepeople do not have the same flexibility or options as their southern Ontario counterparts. A funding model for horse racing in the southern part of the province where there are 15 racetracks in relatively close proximity, is not necessarily appropriate for northern Ontario. The Ontario Racing Commission has also taken away, without compensation, Sudbury Downs’ off-track betting rights in northern Ontario. Off-track betting across the north provided significant income to help offset track operating costs and to provide purse funds for the horsepeople. The Ontario Racing Commission has now ordered that these revenues from northern Ontario wagering go directly to the racetracks in southern Ontario. Sudbury Downs sincerely regrets that, after 40 years of operating live horseracing, we must now terminate this part of our business. The loss of approximately 100 full time equivalent jobs in the local horse racing industry will have negative consequences for our local economy today and into the future. We thank all our dedicated horsepeople, racing employees and fans for their participation over the last 40 years. From Ontario Racing Commission and Sudbury Downs
In November 2013, the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) and the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) launched a pilot project allowing for the collection of Official (blood) samples at the same time as TCO2 samples. The pilot has been operating at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The combined testing pilot will be completed on May 19, 2014. Here is the notice that was sent out. In November 2013, the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) and the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) launched a pilot project allowing for the collection of Official (blood) samples at the same time as TCO2 samples. The pilot has been operating at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The combined testing pilot will be completed on May 19, 2014. For the remainder of the race dates at the Raceway at Western Fair District, a number of additional efficiencies will be made to the testing programs. During this time, your horse may be required to produce a pre-race or post-race Official sample. Racing Forensics staff will be distributing brief surveys to participants during the remaining race dates. The responses to the survey questions will assist in the evaluation of the pilot. The ORC, CPMA and Racing Forensics would like to thank all participants for their cooperation throughout the pilot project period. For any inquiries please contact ORC Judge Rob McKay (905) 379-7341 (ORC) or Dr. Adam Chambers (289) 339-3836 (CPMA). From Rob McKinney, for Ontario Racing Commission
In Ontario harness racing as with every sport, there are people who are responsible for ensuring fair play and sound judgment. Most sports refer to these folks as referees however in horse racing, the dedicated individuals responsible for vital decision making are known as Judges. The Judges work for the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC), which governs horse racing industry throughout the province, which includes all three breeds of race horses; Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses. Having the opportunity to speak with the Judges brought a lot of insight into the steps taken each and every race night to ensure the public and horsemen are all treated with respect, integrity and fairness. At Woodbine Racetrack, (Toronto, ON) there are 3 judges located in the grandstand for harness racing, as well as an official located in the paddock. The Judges arrive at the tracks' back office two and half hours prior to post time and this is standard for all race tracks including Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses. The three Judges that were kind enough to take time out to go over their routine were Craig Walker (11 years with the ORC) who is the Senior Judge or Presiding judge on site, Tom Miller (19 years with the ORC) and David Stewart Jr. (6 years with the ORC). All three judges have history as horsemen, from driving, training and owning or from past experience such as working in race offices. Their experience and insight is what enables them to know what to anticipate in every situation. The Judges of the ORC rotate from track to track and the teams are constantly changing to keep things fresh. Also the judges switch from Standardbreds to Thoroughbreds to Quarter horses routinely so their knowledge of rules and regulations for each breed stays up to speed. "Our first order of business is to go over the program, the changes, driver changes, scratches and any other pertinent information such as equipment changes" explains Craig. "We go through all of the horses' lines to ensure everything is okay in terms of eligibility." Prior to the start of the first race, there are times where the Judges may call in a driver if there is an infraction to be discussed from a previous date. If a horseman is called in due to a horses' positive test result, the horseman is entitled to bring in legal representation to discuss the matter. The Judges base their decisions on as much information possible; this way everyone has their fair chance to explain their circumstance prior to any fines or suspension being issued. "They have a right to appeal any decision made by the Judges." explains Craig. "Their right is to appeal that decision to the Ontario Racing Commission itself and in that case we would be witnesses for the administration." Were you aware Judges are not allowed to have any ownership in a race horse? Nor can their spouse and if by chance a Judge knows someone who does own a race horse, that Judge must excuse themselves from taking any part in a race that horse is involved in. By the Judge excusing him or herself from being an active participant in such a race, this negates any potential bias and maintains that each and every race is ruled free of prejudice. The same judge must fill out a conflict of interest form in advance of the race to create transparency and openness. These forms are kept on file with the ORC. An ORC Judge or their spouse cannot bet on any races in Ontario, regardless if it is at another race track. They cannot bet on any race simulcast into the province, it doesn't matter if that race is in another province, country or continent. The job can be stressful at times, considering that decisions made can have an impact on purse winnings and countless people. Can you imagine having to make a decision involving a half million dollar race such as the Breeders Crown? What if the winning driver of the Breeders Crown made an infraction causing an inquiry and it was a decision you had to make to place the winning driver second or third based on that infraction? That's a quarter million dollar decision affecting the connections involved not to mention the betting public. That is why the Judges always stick to the rule book and do not allow emotions to cloud their judgment. "You have nights where everything goes smoothly, there are no inquiries and some nights can be what you call stressful" says David. Such nights do happen but the Judges do enjoy their jobs, like watching competitive races. "It doesn't have to be a Stake race, we had a race here last night where there were five or six horses right across the wire and we all made a comment 'what a good race' that was." Tom says. "There were a couple last night" Dave adds. "It's a good finish and it is good for the crowd. We can hear people outside yelling, screaming and cheering their horse on. That's always a good thing." Once the race commences, each Judge has a separate task up in the grandstand. One Judge is in communication with the starter and one Judge is focused on the mutuals ensuring the finishing order posted is correct on the tote board. The third Judge is communication with the paddock in the event the Judges need to speak with a driver. In the Judges' room in the grandstand, there is a massive screen which has the feeds from five different camera angles. In the event of an inquiry or objection, the Judges can rewind and look at the race from these feeds to determine the outcome. As the starting car pulls away from the field and the horses charge forward, the Judges are intensely watching the race, calling out a horse's number when they see a horse break stride. As the field comes down the stretch each Judge is also writing down the order of finish, confirming with one another to ensure they are all on the same page. "We all write down the numbers as we think they crossed the finish line." Craig says. "If it's really tight, the only way we are going to verify is with the photo finish (screen). It's instantaneous and as they cross it's recorded and we see it here on screen." There are two employees in a separate room who oversee the video feeds and the photo finish. The employee in charge of the video communicates via phone and the employee who mans the photo finish communicates via intercom. "If there is a malfunction with the feeds, our decision is final." Craig says. This is according to the ORC rule book. "After the race if there is no inquiry, the routine is always the same. We comeback and we are going to watch replays of the stretch numerous times." Craig continues, "We are making sure everyone is staying in a straight line or trying to stay in a straight line. Another thing we are looking for is the use of the whip, making sure everyone is complying with the rules of the whip. (The driver's) feet must be in the stirrups." Once the finishing order is confirmed, the Judge in charge of mutuals informs an official in another room of the top four and that official then calls to have those numbers posted on the tote board. The same Judge in charge of mutuals calls the tote department to confirm the order of finish and the tote department then posts the payouts. (The same official who is in charge of calling in the numbers to be posted on the tote board is also in charge of calling to have the inquiry sign posted if the Judges determine an inquiry is needed). "After the race is official, then we do the official run down of the order of finish." Craig says. In this case, the Judges are confirming the order one through ten. If a horse broke stride at any point, this is noted in the race line by one of the Judges and this is what you will see in the program the next time the same horse races. You will see where the Judges noted with an 'X' where the horse broke stride in the race. If a horse broke stride in two consecutive races, the Judges will inform the connections for that horse that they will need to put that horse in a qualifying race to show the horse is able to race at full stride. Only then will that horse be able to race competitively again. While all of this is going on, one of the Judges is calling down to have two horses tested. Usually it is the winner and one other horse, for example it could be a horse that either did way better than anticipated or didn't compete as well as expected. Especially if it is a 1-5 favorite who finished sluggishly, which means there was a lot of public backing and the officials want to maintain nothing out of the ordinary is going on. "The rules don't say we have to test the winner" explains Tom. "I feel the patrons would want to know the integrity of that winner, we tested that winner and the integrity of that mile is there. We know the horse didn't have any drugs in its system." The two biggest takeaways I have is that communication is vital for the Judges and following the routine is what ensures transparency. If a horse is required to be at the paddock by a certain time and it is a minute late, it's scratched. Sure the Judges can understand traffic can be an issue, but if one rule is not enforced at any point, the result will be a can of worms being opened. Everyone gets treated the same, no ifs ands or buts. It's tough, but sound. "We do not take any pride or pleasure is scratching horses" states Tom. "The more the merrier but sometimes with situations of being a few minutes late, it's tough to do our job but we have to be consistent with everybody. The horsemen want to know we are always going to do it the same so they know what to expect. This way when the same situation happens they are aware of what the result will be." Roderick Balgobin's column will appear weekly on Harnesslink. You can contact him at rod.balgobin @supernovasportsclub.com or Twitter: ScSupernova
The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) notes that the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission has issued a release confirming a case of neurological Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) at Assiniboia Downs, a racetrack located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The ORC is closely monitoring the situation. While the quarantine at Assiniboia is in effect, trainers of horses that have been on the grounds of this track since April 15, and considering shipping horses to Woodbine or Fort Erie, must first contact the Official Vet at Woodbine or Ft. Erie. Dr. Adam Chambers, Manager of Veterinary Services
ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway's live harness racing season will consist of 48 dates in 2014. The recent announcement from the Ontario Racing Commission confirmed approved race dates for nine Standardbred tracks in the province. During its 11th season, the Elora, ON oval will race Monday and Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. from June 2 through September 29. The track's signature Fun & Frivolity Friday Race Nights are featured from June 6 through September 5 at 6:30 p.m. There are two exceptions to the aforementioned schedule: no racing on Friday, August 22; and post time is 1:30 on Monday, August 4. (Full schedule: http://grandriverraceway.com/live-racing-schedule ) Grand River Raceway is one of eight racetracks in the Standardbred Alliance - a newly formed structure within the Horse Racing Partnership Plan announced by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The Alliance members represent a three-tier racing hierarchy, 'Grass Roots' (Clinton, Hanover), 'Signature' (Flamboro, Georgian, Grand River and Western Fair) and 'Premier' (Mohawk and Woodbine). OPEN HOUSE The week prior to Opening Night of the live horse racing season, Grand River Raceway will host its sixth annual backstretch Open House. On Sunday, May 25, guests are invited to drop-in any time from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for a rare glimpse of horse racing behind-the-scenes and the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse. Admission is free. OPENING NIGHT Opening Night on June 2 marks the fifth annual Local Biz Night, presented in cooperation with the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce. The event hosts more than 150 local businesspeople paired with a horse in the Local Biz Night Race. Prior to the dash, guests are treated to a cocktail reception hosted by the OLG Slots At Grand River Raceway, followed by dinner and a trip to the paddock to meet their horse. TAKEOUT RATES In 2013, Grand River Raceway made major reductions (totaling 23 percent) to its takeout rates. Those rates remain intact for this season, giving the half-miler one of the most attractive take-out structures in North America. FUN & FRIVOLITY FRIDAY NIGHTS The crew from 107.5 DAVE FM returns to broadcast live from the tarmac every Friday night all summer long. Kids will enjoy the NEIGHbourhood, an interactive horse education program held under the Tarmac Tent from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. INDUSTRY DAY CELEBRATION Grand River Raceway features its 24th annual Industry Day Celebration on Monday, August 4 at 1:30 p.m. The popular afternoon card features the 17th annual Battle Of Waterloo and the sixth annual Battle Of The Belles. RACE NIGHT BUFFET A newly formatted $16.99 buffet will be featured every race night in the Captain's Quarters tiered dining room overlooking the racetrack. Several dates in June are already filling quickly with group bookings; reservations are always highly recommended by calling (519) 846-5455 ext. 247. Post time for the season-opener on June 2 is 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.GrandRiverRaceway.com. by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway
It was no April Fools' Day prank as today the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) announced its decision in regard to the race-date applications for the nine Standardbred racetracks in the province. The ORC has announced the approved race dates for Woodbine Racetrack, Mohawk Racetrack, The Raceway at Western Fair District, Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway, Rideau Carleton Raceway, Clinton Raceway and Hanover Raceway. On Monday, March 31, the ORC released the proposed race dates for the period: April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, for almost all of the province’s racetracks. To view a list of the proposed race dates, click here. The ORC's release regarding approved dates explains that the live race date schedules for other racetracks will be announced as their agreements are finalized. The ORC release appears below. ORC approves Ontario Race Dates for 2014 and beyond Notice of Director’s decision regarding 2014 Race Dates The Director of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) today announced the decision regarding the schedule of live race dates for 2014 for certain racetracks. Following the successful conclusion of agreements, the following racetracks were in a position to commit to their race date schedule for the remainder of 2014: Woodbine Mohawk Western Fair Flamboro Downs Georgian Downs Grand River Rideau Carleton Clinton Hanover The live race date schedules for other racetracks will be announced as their agreements are finalized. Agreements were possible due to government’s commitment to provide funds to horse racing to support the industry`s efforts to grow its business. This five-year commitment has allowed for the negotiation of long term agreements which secure this schedule of race dates for each of the next five years. The Director confirms and approves the schedule of race dates for the 2014 as follows: APPLICANT – 1st quarter (prior approved) – Remaining dates – Total dates Woodbine Racetrack Standardbred (Premier) – 37 – 71 – 108 Thoroughbred (Premier) – 0 – 133 – 133 Mohawk Racetrack Standardbred (Premier) – 0 – 102 – 102 Western Fair Standardbred (Signature) – 38 – 87 – 125 Flamboro Downs Standardbred (Signature) – 52 – 94 – 146 Georgian Downs Standardbred (Signature) - 0 – 40 – 40 Grand River Raceway Standardbred (Signature) - 0 – 48 – 48 Rideau Carleton Raceway Standardbred (Signature) - 14 – 78 – 92 Clinton Raceway Standardbred (Grassroots) - 0 – 15 – 15 Hanover Raceway Standardbred (Grassroots) - 0 – 16 – 16 In accordance with Policy Directive 3-2007, all other race date calendars are approved, but are subject to change where a racetrack operator or other interested party makes an application to vary the approved dates, which will be considered based on the strengths of the business plans submitted and the industry funding available. The Director has been moving forward to implement the components of the five-year Horse Racing Partnership Plan (HRPP), as approved by the Ontario government. Announcements have been made awarding Woodbine Entertainment Group as the single teletheatre operator under a procurement process that is now complete. Revenue earned from the teletheatre network will be used for the benefit of the Centralized Racetracks, which include Woodbine, Mohawk, Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Western Fair, Grand River, Clinton, Hanover and Ajax Downs. Additionally announcements have been made designating WEG as the single telephone account betting operator, where revenue earned will be used for the benefit of the Centralized Racetracks. Operation of regional racetracks and the related purses will be funded through a mix of on-track wagering and Horse Racing Partnership Funding Program funds. Please be advised that you or any other aggrieved party have the right to appeal the Director’s decision to the Commission. From Steve Lehman, Executive Director for the Ontario Racing Commission
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. QUOTES “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 QUICK FACTS 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. Equine Health 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
Dr. Adam Chambers of the Ontario Racing Commission has announced that the training time restrictions placed on horses stabled in Woodbine's Barn 10 are now removed, effective March 27, 2014. Horses from Barn 10 are now free to train during regular training hours. Horses temperatures should continue to be taken twice daily and monitored closely for clinical signs consistent with EHV-1 infection. Restrictions on the use of ponies remain. Increased biosecurity measures should still be in place at least until April 10. The infectious and serious nature of this disease prompted these measures and reinforced the need to protect Ontario's equine athletes. As a standard practice, participants are reminded of the importance of establishing appropriate biosecurity measures. From Dr. Adam Chambers, Manager of Veterinary Services
The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) announced that there has been a report of EHV-1 in a Thoroughbred that is residing in Barn 10 at Woodbine Racetrack, but that Standardbred racing is not affected by the situation. Today (March 18) ) the ORC issued the announcement on behalf of Dr. Adam Chambers, who is manager of Veterinary Services at the ORC. The contents of the release appear below. EQUINE HERPES CASE Restrictions in place. Training at Woodbine to continue; Standardbred racing not affected. There has been a report of EHV-1 in a five-year-old thoroughbred filly residing in Barn 10 at Woodbine Racetrack. The horse showed neurological signs on Thursday, March 13 but did not have a fever. The horse was removed from Woodbine to isolation on Saturday, March 15. The horse’s condition is stable. Results from tests available today showed non-neurotropic EHV-1 in blood but not nasal secretions. This is an unusual testing result and the horse has been retested. The risk of transmission to other horses may be low, as the infection is spread by nasal secretions. There have been no reports of any other sick horses in barn 10. Sporadic incidents of infection occur not infrequently and can be isolated incidents. The non-neurotropic form of EHV-1 identified from this horse differs from the neurotropic form identified from thoroughbreds at Woodbine in June of last year. Although the both types of EHV-1 can cause neurological disease the non-neurotropic strain is thought to be less likely to do so. EHV-1 has an incubation period of approximately 3 to 8 days, and may in some cases be as long as 14 days. Given these facts, the following measures will be in place, effective immediately: All horses must have their temperatures taken twice daily. Trainers with horses that have clinical signs consistent with EHV-1 infection (including fever (101.5 F/38.5 C or above), respiratory signs (cough, nasal discharge and/or neurological signs) must report these findings to their veterinarian immediately; Horses from Barn 10 will be allowed to train at the end of training hours; Only ponies housed in Barn 10 will be allowed to pony horses in Barn 10; Horsepeople are reminded to remain vigilant and institute appropriate biosecurity measures and should consult their veterinarians for advice. Standardbred horses are not stabled at Woodbine Racetrack. As well, the standardbred racing meet at Woodbine will not be impacted by these measures. To ensure best practices are in place to contain the disease, the ORC received input from experts from the University of Guelph and University of California at Davis, the office of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF). The ORC will also continue to work closely with Woodbine management, veterinarians and horse people. The ORC will monitor the situation and any further developments will be reported.