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On Monday, September 15, the Ontario Horse Racing Commission announced that Flamboro Downs and The Raceway at Western Fair District – with the support of the Standardbred Alliance – are requesting approval for a race-date variance for the 2014/15 race date schedule of each racetrack. The ORC announced via release that it is circulating the applications for an amendment to the approved race date schedule and will receive comments on the applications from interested industry participants before making its decision on the application. Copies of the applications and business cases to support these changes are accessible via the links which appear below. • Request for Race Date Variance for Flamboro Downs • Request for Race Date Variance for Western Fair • Request for Race Date Variance for The Alliance • Western Fair request to revise Race Date Calendar • Flamboro request to revise Race Date Calendar The application from Western Fair is as follows: WESTERN FAIR – REVISED DATES Delete Wednesday, October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Wednesday, November 5, 12, 19, 26 Wednesday, December 3, 10, 17 (Total – 12 dates) Add Friday, January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 Friday, February 6, 13, 20, 27 Friday, March 6, 13, 20, 27 (Total – 13 dates) Post time – 7:05 p.m. The application from Flamboro is as follows: FLAMBORO DOWNS – REVISED DATES Delete Wednesday, October 1 Wednesday, January 7, 14, 21, 28 Wednesday, February 4, 11, 18, 25 Wednesday, March 4, 11, 18, 25 (Total – 13 dates) Add Friday, December 12, 19 Thursday, January 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Thursday, February 5, 12, 19, 26 Thursday, March 5, 12, 19, 26 (Total – 15 dates) Post time – 6:00 p.m. Input, comments or concerns must be received by September 23, 014 o be considered and can be forwarded to the Ontario Racing Commission as follows: Fax 416-13-7827 Email From the Ontario Racing Commission

Ontario Horse Racing (OHR) is pleased to announce that in the 2015 harness racing calendar year, Ontario Sired Standardbred two-year-olds racing in Ontario will receive a projected $700,000 in new purse bonuses distributed as a 20% bonus on overnight races plus a 5% purse bonus on Ontario Sires Stakes earnings. The proposal, which was brought forward by the Standardbred Advisory Group, was approved by the ORC Board this week. Elmer Buchanan, ORC Chair, said “It is encouraging to see innovative ideas brought forward by the industry, especially those ideas that demonstrate a strong commitment to the breeding sector." OHR wishes to thank the Standardbred Advisory Group for their leadership in developing the incentive designed to benefit Ontario owners and breeders. “Ontario Sired” is defined as a foal sired by a stallion that is recognized as an Ontario Sire by the Standardbred Improvement Program in the year of conception. Year after year Ontario breeders produce leading performers, trotters and pacers. Most recent successes are trotting mare Bee A Magician and pacing horse Somebeachsomewhere, who absolutely dominated in their Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) races as well as the elite Grand Circuit races. Virtually all of the sport’s most coveted races have been won by an Ontario-sired performer. For further information on this new incentive, contact:  Karen Hauver  OSS Administrative Coordinator 519-369-3545 Ontario Horse Racing (OHR) is a division of the Ontario Racing Commission and, as the Program Administrator for Ontario’s Horse Improvement Program, is responsible for the development and implementation of all Program elements, designed to recognize excellence for Ontario Bred and Ontario Sired horses racing in their home province.

Ontario Horse Racing (OHR) is pleased to announce that in the 2015 calendar year, Ontario Sired Standardbred two-year-olds racing in Ontario will receive a projected $700,000 in new purse bonuses distributed as a 20% bonus on overnight races plus a 5% purse bonus on Ontario Sires Stakes earnings.   The proposal, which was brought forward by the Standardbred Advisory Group, was approved by the  ORC Board this week. Elmer Buchanan, ORC Chair, said “It is encouraging to see innovative ideas  brought forward by the industry, especially those ideas that demonstrate a strong commitment to the  breeding sector”.   OHR wishes to thank the Standardbred Advisory Group for their leadership in developing the incentive designed to benefit Ontario owners and breeders.   “Ontario Sired” is defined as a foal sired by a stallion that is recognized as an Ontario Sire by the Standardbred Improvement Program in the year of conception.    Year after year Ontario breeders produce leading performers, trotters and pacers. Most recent successes are trotting mare Bee A Magician and pacing horse Somebeachsomewhere, who absolutely dominated in their Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) races as well as the elite Grand Circuit races. Virtually all of the sport’s most coveted races have been won by an Ontario Sired performer.   by Karen Hauver, for the Ontario Sire Stakes      

Grand River Raceway was forced to cancel the remainder of its September 10 card after race one due to unsafe track conditions caused by heavy rain.   The four Grassroots divisions of Ontario Sires Stakes three-year-old pacing fillies slated for September 10 have been rescheduled as non-wagering races for Friday, September 12 at Grand River Raceway. Post time is 2:00 p.m. All regular Ontario Racing Commission Rules Of Racing apply to these events, including Lasix times.   by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

The director of the Ontario Racing Commission has approved applications from the Lakeshore Horse Racing Association and The Raceway at Western Fair District. Lakeshore requested approval for an extended meet at Leamington Raceway for a total of 13 race days. Western Fair requested to change the post time from October through December 2014. According to a release from the ORC, the director has approved the following: LAKESHORE (DATES) September 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28, 2014 – Post Time 1:30 p.m. WESTERN FAIR (POST TIME) Mondays and Tuesdays, from October 6, 2014 to December 30, 2014 – Change from 4:05 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. (With files from the ORC)

In response to the Ontario Racing Commission’s (ORC) statement of Thursday, September 4 with their reasoning or rules behind the September 1, 9th race incident at Mohawk Raceway, we felt it best at Harnesslink to just publish for you some of the hundreds of responses that have been seen on different social media venues. These opinions are from racing fans, owners, breeders, trainers, drivers, grooms and bettors not only from North America but throughout the racing world. Of the thousands of people that have viewed the video of the race we were able to find only one person who stated via social media that they thought the ORC Judge’s ruling make sense. We even have comments from people who actually won money yet felt the race should have been declared a “no contest.” Video of the race is with this story. Harnesslink has repeatedly tried to contact any spokesperson at the ORC via numerous phone calls, messages on answering machines and via email, but have yet to hear back from anyone at the ORC office. Thus we decided to print some of the responses from different venues since the ORC seems to be refusing to comment “live” on this incident. Here is what the people who make up our industry had to say. Many of these comments were repeated numerous times by other people. Unfair to people who wagered the race, race should have been declared "no contest" Why didn't the starting gate judge call for a recall and put up his lights when his starting gate was in distress before the start of the race? If the 9th race was OK for three of seven horses then why was the remaining three races on program cancelled due to unsafe conditions? Seems quite obvious there was unsafe conditions for the start of the ninth race. The Judge's did not properly consider all ramifications of not calling the race a "no contest" How can you declare a race as "official" when more than half the field was hindered at the start of the race? Without hurling flaming darts at me - I think their explanation makes some sense. By late scratching four of the seven horses in the race you already returned more than 80% of the money wagered on the race. Why create such dismay by not declaring the race a No Contest? Sometimes you have to throw out the rule book and use common sense but that did not happen here. I am a licensed judge and this was one of the worst calls ever. Should have been an instant no contest ruling. What kind of poor precedent is being set here when the #1 horse, who finished dead last in seventh place, beaten by the four horses that were interfered with at the start, ends up being placed third? The Triactor paid LESS than both the win price and the Exactor! Is this how the judges are protecting the betting public? I have been a horse owner, breeder, and fan for over 40 years. This race I found as self-serving and very selfish for the Judges not to call it a no contest. It was quite clear that there was interference at the start of the race this should have been an automatic recall. This is the worst decision they've ever made. Couldn’t be much worse. I was there...I won something on it ...and I’m still bitching about it.....I had a $3 super 1-2-3-4 and didn’t even get a consolation payoff on that... As a former judge there is no question that the starting gate judge was in error and should have called for a late recall and flash his lights. Situations like this happen and but in this instance the judge’s decision not to declare this race no contest was very wrong. The ORC is supposed to make rulings that are in the best interest of the betting public and the integrity of the game. I had $800 worth of win four wagers all keyed onto #8 in the 9th race... My race 9 key was wiped out by the starting gate before the start and the judges decided that it was in my best interest to give 25% of my money to WEG and the other 75% to players whose horse was not wiped out! Thank you mister ORC for protecting me! How about this idea as a rule of thumb... when more than half the field is interfered with before the start, hit the recall button or rule the race a no-contest! Somebody owes me $800... and an apology wouldn't be out of order. no recall, the starting gate arms where still engaged, fine the starter and give out free programs or betting vouchers as a goodwill gesture, as more bettors head to the slot machines where no human factor is involved just random luck Where is the Ontario Harness Horsemen’s Association or COSA in all of this? Are the three horses getting to split up all the purse money and the other four that were “scratched” getting screwed with none of the purse money? Hopefully we will one day hear back from the ORC about the problems surrounding this race and be able to report back to you. By Steve Wolf, for

Late this afternoon the Ontario Race Commission issued a statement in regard to the Judge’s decision on the 9th race at Mohawk Raceway on Monday, September 1, 2014. This was the race where the starting gate was sliding and could not gain traction due to muddy conditions and the outside four horses were hindered right at the start of the race. The Judge’s then declared the race official after “scratching” the four outside horses from the race, leaving just three horses for payoffs. Within minutes the remaining three races on the program were cancelled due to unsafe track conditions. The statement, from the ORC's Manager of Racing Brent Stone, appears below: Thank you for your inquiry regarding the 9th race at Mohawk, September 1, 2014. Please reference the Rules of Standardbred Racing 2012 – Sections 22.32, 22.32.01 and 22.33 Here is a link on the ORC web site. Rules of Standardbred Racing 2012 In their opinion, the ORC Judges at Mohawk determined that the outside horses (4, 5, 7, 8) were prevented from having a fair chance (to quote the rule: “...prevented from having a fair chance to contest a race due to exceptional circumstances, and it is deemed in the public interest to do so, such horse shall be declared a non-contestant...”) However, the Judges also determined that horses 1, 2, 3 were not affected and were able to properly contest this race. That is the lynchpin of their decision – these horses were entitled to contest. Mohawk Racetrack is required to refund bets made on horses that have been declared by ORC officials to be “non-contestants”, as per the Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations made pursuant to the Criminal Code. These regulations are administered by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), the federal agency responsible for the supervision of betting. As ORC Racing Officials, the Judges are called upon to apply their considerable experience and knowledge of the Rules of Racing to make decisions that adhere to those Rules. From time to time, some members of the public may disagree with some calls. The public can be assured that the mandate of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) is to protect the public interest, maintain the fairness of horse racing and officiate races according to the Rules of Racing. By Steve Wolf, for

On Labor Day Monday at Mohawk Raceway the ninth race had a starting gate malfunction at the beginning of the race and the decision made by the Judges has quite a few harness racing and wagering fans shaking their heads in disbelief? It seems that at the start of the race the starting gate began to slip sideways on the muddy track, then as the starter gave the word “Go” the starting gate did not accelerate. It had no traction on the sloppy surface and hesitated before moving forward. The wings closed but the starting gate could not get out of the path of the four outside horses. Those drivers had to take back and wait until the starting gate regained traction and pulled out of the way. Upon watching the video replay you can clearly see the far outside horse, Romance In Camelot, was trying to leave but driver Doug McNair had to restrain him from running into the starting gate and as a result got away in sixth place. The other three drivers pulled back as well and headed the only place they could, down to the rail. To watch the video click here. As the field reached the quarter pole the inquiry light was already illuminated on the video screen and the track announcer confirmed the inquiry due to the confusion at the start. The race continued without any more problems, at least until the Judges hastily thought it over and came to their decision. The race was surprisingly NOT declared a “no contest” and to add fuel to the fire, the Judges scratched the four outside horses 4, 5, 7, & 8 (the 6 horse was an early vet scratch) declaring them “non-starters” and ordered refunds on all wagers involving them, including those on #7 who had rallied to finish third, but was subsequently scratched. The race including the one, two order of finish plus the horse moved up to third (who had actually finished last) was then declared official. Why was the race not declared a “no contest” when clearly more than half the field was hindered due to the issues with starting gate? Why was there no show wagering on the race yet they paid off on a trifecta? Attempts via email and calls to the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) have gone unanswered as of press time for this article. We were told on one of the calls to the ORC that a statement or findings on the race would be issued to the public after due diligence was completed. We are still waiting for this notice to be sent out. It is wrong to come to any conclusions before hearing what the ORC has to say about the Judges call in this race.  But it is more unfair to the betting fans to be subject to such confusion on this race and loss of wagers made on a race that should be been declared a “No Contest.” The fact that it occurred in Ontario; a tightly regulated jurisdiction that often refunds wagers on horses who were deemed to have not been given a fair start; coupled with the fact that the race took place at its flagship Standardbred only racing facility that is known for giving the average bettor more information night in and night out about nearly every aspect of the horses and horsemen in each race than anywhere else in North America, makes the Judge’s ruling that much more questionable. The decision not only affected the betting in that specific race, but everyone who had a live Pick 3 wager (1st, 2nd, or last leg) as well as the Pick 4 (1st & 2nd leg) which we doubt was considered when the decision to declare the four horses that were impeded by the starting gate "non-starters", thereby making them post-race scratches. This then created an incredibly confusing scenario as to which bets were winners in that race (i.e., the aforementioned  #7 horse that finished third, but was later scratched because he was one of the four impeded by the starting gate) along with what constituted a live pick 3 or pick 4 wager (3-5 favorite was one of the post-race scratches) going into the remainder of the races which were subsequently cancelled due to unsafe track conditions. Then why was there no show wagering on the ninth race? And more and more and more….Whew…. As Ricky Ricardo would say to Lucy…..”I tink you got some splaining to do!” By Steve Wolf, for 

On August 27, 2014, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) released a Memorandum to the Canadian racing industry and to Provincial Regulatory bodies advising that this drug has been added to Schedule of Prohibited Drugs. The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) issues this Notice as a service. ORC licensees are expected to know the Rules of Racing, closely review all memos from the CPMA, and keep up to date on the Schedule of Prohibited Drugs. ORC Notice to the Industry - CPMA Schedule of Prohibited Drugs From the Ontario Racing Commission  

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 1 - Due to unsafe track conditions harness racing was cancelled Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack following the evening's ninth race. A heavy downpour of rain midway through the 12-race card caused the track surface, which started the night listed as 'Fast', to be downgraded to 'Sloppy'. Following the ninth race, the Ontario Racing Commission judges and officials from the Woodbine Entertainment Group ruled the track to be unsafe to continue racing action and cancelled the remaining three races. The final Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots division for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings, which was carded as Race 10, will take place tomorrow evening (Tuesday, September 2) at 7 p.m. and will be contested as a non-wagering race. Following the non-wagering event, an 11-race card will take place with a regular post time of 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Coral Springs, FL – It has been revealed to that the Isle Casino and Racing at Pompano Park has hired Brett Revington as the new Director of Racing. Revington hails from Prince Edward Island in Canada where he was the former Racing Manager for Red Shores, which runs both Charlottetown Driving Park and Summerside Raceway. His duties there also included being the cage and count manager and overseeing the facility and maintenance. Prior to working at Red Shores, Revington was the Assistant Race Manager at Western Fair Raceway and for six years was the Stakes Manager at Woodbine Entertainment Group. He is also a licensed Associate Judge and worked for the Ontario Racing Commission where he was responsible for rule enforcement and hearing adjudication. Revington was voted as a Director of the Atlantic Region to the Standardbred Canada Board, serving for four years. A 1997 graduate of the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Revington also attended Fanshawe College with accreditation in their Canadian Securities Course. Before working full time in the Standardbred industry after graduation, Revington traveled overseas to manage a Domino’s Pizza chain in Dublin, Ireland. Revington will begin his new duties immediately. By Steve Wolf, for

The family of Wendy Hoogeveen has advised the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) that there will be a private family-only ceremony. They went on to say that, at an appropriate time, friends might gather in celebration of her life. The ORC will remain in touch with her family and will share these details as they unfold. This has clearly been a difficult time for Wendy’s family.  Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers. The last few days also have been difficult for all those who worked with Wendy.  If industry members are comfortable doing so, please take the time to share your fond memories of Wendy. The ORC has opened a special email address. All comments will be shared privately with Wendy's family who no doubt will enjoy hearing the stories and memories that we have all experienced over our years.   Steven Lehman Executive Director  

It is with profound sadness that the Ontario Racing Commission announces that Wendy Hoogeveen passed away on Monday, August 4, 2014. Wendy worked for the Ontario Racing Commission for over 30 years ultimately holding the position of Director of Industry Development & Support. Her commitment and dedication to the horse racing industry were unparalleled and we are grateful for her contributions. She was one of the most passionate supporters of horse racing in addition to being one of the most knowledgeable. She will be greatly missed by both ORC staff and industry participants. At this time, information regarding the arrangements is not available however the ORC will share them as they become available. For the official Notice, please click on the following link: From the Ontartio Racing Commission

DEL MAR, CA - North American racing regulators have decided to consider the results of two scientific research studies that have been commissioned to help detect the deliberate administration of cobalt in racehorses before making a formal recommendation of a regulatory testing limit to commission testing. At the RCI Model Rules Committee meeting last week, a proposed threshold was presented and later withdrawn by representatives of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) pending further discussion by the RMTC Board of Directors. That threshold, which is based on an analysis of an RMTC-coordinated project that is funded by the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council and conducted by Dr. Heather Knych, an Assistant Professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, was advanced with the support of 8 of the 14 members of the RMTC Scientific Advisory Committee. A second research project, funded by the United States Trotting Association (USTA), is near completion according to remarks made at the meeting by Ivan Axelrod, Chairman of the USTA. That project is being conducted by George Maylin, DVM, PhD, at the New York Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College in New York. He is assisted by Karyn Malinowski, PhD, and Kenneth McKeever, MS, PhD, FACSM, the Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Racing regulators are concerned that cobalt treatments may be given to racehorses with an intent to affect performance by inducing red blood cell production similar to the prohibited use of erythropoietin (EPO). All horses have some degree of cobalt in their system as a result of diet and environmental factors. Excessive amounts may indicate a deliberate administration, above and beyond what would be considered appropriate or normal for vitamin or mineral supplements. Concerns have been raised about horses with extremely elevated levels of cobalt and regulators are eager to better understand if an equine welfare threat exists. In 2009, the Ontario Racing Commission issued a notice from then-Veterinary Supervisor, Dr. Bruce Duncan, who 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." The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has issued the following notice to horsemen and veterinarians: "Cobalt toxicity has been associated with myocardial (heart muscle) and other organ pathology in humans and other animals. High cobalt levels have been associated with the parenteral or oral administration of cobalt salts. While there is no documented evidence of cobalt toxicity in racehorses, the CHRB considers the administration of cobalt salts a potential equine health and safety issue." But the New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station at Rutgers University indicates on their website the following: "High blood cobalt probably would indicate high doses of B-12 being given (the trace mineral is easier to test than the actual vitamin). The calming effect would be undesirable in a racehorse. It is virtually non-toxic and rapidly excreted through the kidneys if given in large doses, so there is no negative consequence other than possibly a quieter horse. It is recommended to give B-12 to stressed horses at around 30 microgram/kg of feed. There are no requirements for cobalt established for horses so it is uncertain what normal or excessive blood concentrations of cobalt would be. The National Research Council (2007) has set the maximum tolerable intake for cobalt to be 25 mg/kg (ppm) in the total ration but admits they base that decision on data from other species. There is no indication that horses on normal rations need supplemental cobalt." In addition, Dr. Dionne Benson, Executive Director of the RMTC, reiterated statements at last week's meeting that she has previously made to the press indicating that it is unclear at what point cobalt can become toxic to a horse. The RCI Board of Directors discussed whether to handle findings of excessive levels of cobalt indicating a deliberate administration of cobalt absent a documented deficiency and veterinarian prescribed treatment as "horse tampering". "It's one thing for a horse to be treated for a condition by its veterinarian, but quite another to be tampered with prior to a race," RCI President Ed Martin said. "Tampering is bad enough, but if we find that the tampering endangers the horse, then it's time to throw the book at someone." Although the RMTC-proposed threshold was withdrawn, a number of regulators had lingering questions as to the extent that data from Standardbred horses was included in their recommendation. Duncan Patterson, Chairman of RCI's Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee, recommended that the association consider the two studies before adopting a formal recommendation to commissions and laboratories. by Steve May for the Association of Racing Commissioners International  

The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) is pleased to announce the approval of the revised allocations of the Pari-Mutuel Tax Reduction (PMTR) to support and encourage the horse racing industry in Ontario. This is in keeping with the ORC's mandate to implement the components of the 5-year Horse Racing Partnership Plan (HRPP), as approved by the Ontario government. To view the report click here. From the Ontario Racing Commission    

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  

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