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The Director of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has approved applications to amend 2015 race date calendars. In accordance with Policy Directive 3 - 2007, the racetracks submitted applications to vary their pre-approved 2015 race date calendar as part of the 2015 racetrack licensing process. To view all the race dates click here. From the Ontario Racing Commission

On Friday, December 5, the Ontario Racing Commission sent out a notice to the industry in regard to the 2015 schedule of race dates. The ORC has stated that in accordance of Policy Directive 3-2007, the following racetracks have approved 2015 race date calendars, pre-approved based on their 2014 race date calendar. The director issues the 2015 race date schedule as follows: Standardbred • Clinton Raceway – 15 days • Flamboro Downs – 134 days • Georgian Downs – 40 days • Grand River Raceway – 48 days • Hanover Raceway – 16 days • Rideau Carleton Raceway – 90 days • The Raceway at Western Fair District – 125 days The approved calendars are attached to this notice (see Appendix A) (PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS THE CORRECT LINK TO THE APPROVED 2015 RACE DATE CALENDARS). Woodbine Entertainment Group has applied for amendment to the pre-approved 2015 race date calendars at Woodbine Racetrack and Mohawk Racetrack. Copies of the applications and business cases to support these changes are included with this notice (see Appendix B). A meeting was held on December 3, 2014 with the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC), Ontario Horse Racing, Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) and representatives of Dresden Raceway, Hiawatha Horse Park and Entertainment Centre and Leamington Raceway (Lakeshore Horse Racing Association). As a result, a coordinated 2015 race date calendar was agreed upon between the parties. Copies of the proposed calendars are included with this notice (see Appendix C). The ORC is circulating these applications for variance and/or amendment to the race date calendars and will receive comments on the application from interested industry participants before making its decision on the application. Input, comments or concerns must be received by December 12, 2014 to be considered and can be forwarded to the Ontario Racing Commission as follows: Facsimile: 416-213-7827 Email: inquiry@ontarioracingcommission.ca Mail: ORC, Suite 400, 10 Carlson Court, Toronto, ON M9W 6L2 Kawartha Downs and Sudbury Downs have been given extensions of submission deadlines by the Director and do not have approved 2015 race date calendars at this time. Please be advised that any aggrieved party has the right to appeal the director’s decision to the commission. From the Ontario Racing Commission

On Friday, December 5, the Ontario Racing Commission sent out a notice to the industry in regard to the 2015 schedule of harness racing dates. The ORC has stated that in accordance of Policy Directive 3-2007, the following racetracks have approved 2015 race date calendars, pre-approved based on their 2014 race date calendar. The director issues the 2015 race date schedule as follows: Standardbred • Clinton Raceway – 15 days • Flamboro Downs – 134 days • Georgian Downs – 40 days • Grand River Raceway – 48 days • Hanover Raceway – 16 days • Rideau Carleton Raceway – 90 days • The Raceway at Western Fair District – 125 days The approved calendars are attached to this notice (see Appendix A). Woodbine Entertainment Group has applied for amendment to the pre-approved 2015 race date calendars at Woodbine Racetrack and Mohawk Racetrack. Copies of the applications and business cases to support these changes are included with this notice (see Appendix B). A meeting was held on December 3, 2014 with the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC), Ontario Horse Racing, Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) and representatives of Dresden Raceway, Hiawatha Horse Park and Entertainment Centre and Leamington Raceway (Lakeshore Horse Racing Association). As a result, a coordinated 2015 race date calendar was agreed upon between the parties. Copies of the proposed calendars are included with this notice (see Appendix C). The ORC is circulating these applications for variance and/or amendment to the race date calendars and will receive comments on the application from interested industry participants before making its decision on the application. Input, comments or concerns must be received by December 12, 2014 to be considered and can be forwarded to the Ontario Racing Commission as follows: Facsimile: 416-213-7827 Email: inquiry@ontarioracingcommission.ca Mail: ORC, Suite 400, 10 Carlson Court, Toronto, ON M9W 6L2 Kawartha Downs and Sudbury Downs have been given extensions of submission deadlines by the Director and do not have approved 2015 race date calendars at this time. Please be advised that any aggrieved party has the right to appeal the director’s decision to the commission. From the Ontario Racing Commission

On Tuesday, December 2, the Ontario Racing Commission sent out a release regarding forms and deadlines for the 2015 Standardbred Improvement Program. Forms and information on the Standardbred Improvement Program may be accessed by clicking here or by contacting the Program Administrator at 416-213-1800. The contents of the release appear below. 2015 Program Forms The following forms are now available online for the 2015 Standardbred Improvement Program: 2015 Ontario Resident Mare Program – Mare Enrolment Form 2015 Ontario Resident Mare Program – Embryo Transfer Donor Mare Enrolment Form 2015 Ontario Resident Mare Program – Transfer of Ontario Bred Awards 2015 Stallion Conditions 2015 Stallion Registration Form Ontario Resident Mare Program Enrollment Reminder Registration forms and enrollment fees must be submitted prior to foaling in Ontario. To qualify as an Ontario Resident Mare, the mare must be enrolled with the Program each year and meet all eligibility requirements as outlined in the Program Criteria booklet. There is an annual enrollment fee of $50 per mare. By enrolling in the Program, foals out of registered Ontario Resident Mares are considered Ontario Bred Foals and as such are eligible for Ontario Bred Rewards in their two and three-year-old seasons. Ontario Bred Rewards are payable to and intended to directly reward the breeder or mare owner who made the decision to participate by enrolling the mare in the Ontario Resident Mare Program. For more information, please contact Robin McClure at ontariomare@standardbredcanada.ca or by telephone at 905-858-3060 (Ext. 247). Ontario Sires Stakes Program Deadlines Reminder Stallion Registration – January 15, 2015 Three-Year-Old Sustaining Payments – February 15, 2015 Two-Year-Old Sustaining Payments – March 15, 2015 Yearling Nominations – May 15, 2015 For more information on the Ontario Sires Stakes program, please contact Karen Hauver at 519-369-3545 orkaren.hauver@ontarioracingcommission.ca. From the Ontario Racing Commission

Ontario Racing Commission Chair Elmer Buchanan has announced that John W. Macdonald, Q.C. of Toronto, Ont. has been reappointed by the Government of Ontario as a member of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) for a period of two (2) years, effective December 1, 2014. The ORC’s release on the reappointment states that Macdonald is a lawyer with experience in general practice, primarily of a corporate and commercial nature including clients that race, breed and sell horses. Macdonald was first appointed in 2009. “John has first-hand knowledge of horse racing,” Buchanan was quoted as saying in the commission’s release. “I am pleased to have someone with his experience continue in service to racing and the people of Ontario.” From the Ontario Racing Commission              

The Ontario Racing Commission has released rulings regarding horsemen Dan Creighton and James Ritchie. In its ruling regarding Creighton, the ORC panel granted an application for a proposed order against the horseman. He has been suspended for nine months and five days. The suspension is a full suspension. The suspension includes the time already served under suspension since June 27, 2014, the start date of the Order of Immediate Suspension. The suspension will end March 31, 2015. He is eligible to apply for reinstatement on or after April 1, 2015. To view a copy of the ORC’s Notice of Decision, click here. In its ruling regarding Ritchie, the ORC panel adjourned the November 6 appeal hearing until November 17 and imposed a fine of $300 for failure to appear. To read the ORC’s reasons for decision, click here. The Ontario Racing Commission has also announced that officials with the Western Fair Association have requested approval for a race date variance for the race date schedule at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) is circulating this application for an amendment to the approved race date schedule and will receive comments on the application from interested industry participants before making its decision on the application. Copies of the application and business case to support these ch From the Ontario Racing Commission

Elmer Buchanan has been reappointed by the Government of Ontario as Chair of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) for a term of two (2) years, effective November 6, 2014. “I am grateful for this opportunity,” said Buchanan. “The challenge ahead remains significant: to continue our collective efforts to grow an industry that is sustainable, attracts a global audience and increases wagering revenue. “I want to assure the industry that the ORC is committed to this challenge and will work collaboratively with its representatives.” Buchanan added that the reappointment of Commissioners and the addition of a new member will provide much needed continuity and good stewardship. He pointed out that Vice Chair Anthony Williams was reappointed for a two (2) year term effective November 6, 2014. “His background in law -- as well as his experience representing the Administration in hearings and other proceedings -- has served the integrity of horse racing. We look forward to the continuation of his excellent adjudicative contributions.” The Government of Ontario also appointed Justin R. Fogarty, of Alliston, Ontario to a two (2) year term effective October 22, 2014. Before opening his own litigation, governance and regulatory firm in 2012, he was a partner in four of Canada’s premier law firms. Mr. Fogarty is also a dedicated volunteer for a number of charities, and is an active supporter of the men and woman in the Canadian Armed Forces. As past Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 33 Signals Regiment in Ottawa, he founded the regiment’s foundation where he continues as chair emeritus. He has also pursued his love of horses, serving as president of Polo Canada, and as an owner of the Upper Canada Polo Fields. In September of this year, Dr. Anne Walker of Beamsville, Ontario was reappointed by the Government of Ontario as a member of the ORC for a period of two (2) years. “Protecting our equine athletes is critical to the future of racing,” said Buchanan. “That is why equine health is referenced in the government’s Five-Year $500-million Horse Racing Partnership Plan. As a lawyer and veterinarian who has owned, bred and raced Thoroughbreds, Dr. Walker will be a valued asset to these efforts.” From the Ontario Racing Commission

The Windsor Star in Windsor, Ontario today reported that a Tecumseh-based harness racing trainer caught injecting performance-enhancing drugs into a horse in 2010 has been convicted of fraud by the Ontario Court of Appeal. Derek Riesberry is the first person in Canada to go before the criminal courts for horse doping. After a lengthy trial that began in 2012, Riesberry was acquitted last year by Superior Court Justice Steven Rogin. Despite finding that Riesberry was a cheat, Rogin found him not guilty of two counts of fraud, saying the Crown had not proven that the betting public had been deprived of anything. In a decision released this week after a Crown appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal found Rogin had erred in his decision. The appellate court set aside the acquittals and substituted guilty verdicts. The court has referred the case back to Rogin for sentencing. “The betting public was deprived of information about the race that they were entitled to know; they were deprived of an honest race run in accordance with the rules,” the court of appeal found. The court has also ordered a new trial on two counts of cheating at play. On Sept. 28, 2010, Riesberry was videotaped by hidden camera injecting something into the neck of a horse at Windsor Raceway. The horse raced about an hour later, placing sixth. A few weeks later, on Nov. 7, 2010, Riesberry was arrested as he entered the racetrack. A syringe filled with performance-enhancing drugs – epinephrine and clenbuterol – was found in his truck. Reisberry was charged with fraud, attempted fraud, cheating at play and attempting to cheat at play. In the past, such breaches would be dealt with as licence infractions at regulatory tribunals. But in a crackdown by the Ontario Racing Commission, Riesberry and fellow trainer Chris Haskell were charged criminally. Haskell’s trial had been adjourned, awaiting the outcome of Riesberry’s trial and appeal. Both Riesberry and Haskell hired the same lawyer to represent them. He could not be reached for comment, nor could the head of the Ontario Racing Commission to whom calls were referred. In acquitting Riesberry, Rogin had delved into the legal meanings of the word “game.” He concluded horse racing is not a game because it relies on skill rather than chance. “In our view, the trial judge erred in his interpretation of a game,” the court of appeal ruled. “The trial judge erred in law by applying the wrong legal test to determine whether horse racing was a game of mixed chance and skill.” On appeal, the Crown cited starting post positions — drawn by lot or by a computerized random post position generator — as an example of chance. “Certain post positions are more advantageous than others in that the advantageous positions provide shorter distances to travel,” the court of appeal said. “Accordingly, in relation to the cheating while playing a game charges, we set aside the acquittals and order a new trial.” Riesberry and Haskell’s cases will be spoken to in Superior Court in November to set dates. by Sarah Sacheli for the Windsor Star

A letter issued by the Ontario Racing Commission today states that the province's Standardbred racing industry is about to get a substantial infusion to its program The letter -- penned by the ORC's Executive Director Steve Lehman and addressed to Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Jeff Leal -- states that discussions are ongoing with the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA) to design an "enhanced Horse Improvement Program for Ontario Standardbreds not to exceed $12 million in total funding." Discussions are ongoing and are set to resume in mid-November. This was first released on Tuesday by Standardbredcanada.com.  October 28, 2014 The Honourable Jeff Leal Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Government of Ontario Dear Minister, Further to the correspondence from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of October 6, 2014 instructing ORC to further engage the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA) in discussions about the design of a five-year enhanced Horse Improvement Program for Ontario Standardbreds not to exceed $12 million in total funding, I am pleased to update you on progress achieved to date. Over the last few weeks, we have exchanged correspondence with Walter Parkinson, President of the SBOA. I am pleased to report that, earlier this week, the SBOA has confirmed their willingness to work with the ORC in the design of a program for Standardbred and will provide designate names and potential meeting dates in the near future. Unfortunately, due to other commitments, the SBOA representatives likely cannot meet with us prior to November 10, 2014. As you know, the ORC has successfully completed agreements to enhance support for Ontario bred and sired Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. These enhancements have contributed to an increase in demand for Ontario horses as reflected in the value at sale of Ontario yearlings. It is the expectation that a similar program for Standardbreds would also result in improved prices at upcoming yearling sales. We understand the urgency of completing this work well in advance of the 2015 breeding season and commit to report to you again, hopefully with the design of a Standardbred program, no later than November 14, 2014. Thank you for your guidance, leadership and support for this important component of the Ontario Horse Racing Partnership Plan. Steven Lehman Executive Director

As a result of a mishap at Flamboro Downs which resulted in a head-on collision of two horses after an accident, the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has ordered all tracks to have installed by January 1, 2015 a system using warning lights and a siren to be used in the event of an emergency which requires drivers to proceed with caution or to stop the race.  The rule takes effect once the equipment is installed. While this rule only effects the Ontario racetracks, it should become the standard throughout Canada and the United States. For American tracks, it should only require the installation of a siren as they are required to have warning lights around the track already which are to go on whenever there is an accident or a horse gets loose on the track.  We know tracks hate to refund wagers on a wholesale basis and horsemen hate to lose the opportunity to earn purse money, but that should not trump the health and safety of racing participants, both drivers and horses.  If that is not incentive enough, the last thing you want is coverage of another head-on collision; something which would give ammunition to those opposed to horse racing. Horsemen associations can negotiate in their next contract a provision which calls for purse money to be split evenly among all horses which were still competitive when the race was stopped if the loss of purse money is an issue.   We can consider adopting the rule used in some European countries which calls for the remaining horses to return later on the card to contest the race if less than half the race was contested when it was stopped; that should satisfy those worried about refunding wagers for a race declared 'no contest'.  Of course, the question is will racing commissions become proactive in the other provinces and states to adopt either the ORC rule or a modified version which allows for a race to be restarted?  That remains to be seen.  But it shouldn't have to depend on commissions being proactive; horsemen and/or tracks should petition their commissions to enact some version of this rule and enact it using their emergency rule making powers instead of having to go through 6 months or more of review before they can approve it.   It took a relatively high-profile accident to get Ontario to act.  It shouldn't require another such incident to happen before the rest of the industry follows their lead.  Now is the time to make this an industry-wide standard on both sides of the border. by Allan Schott bajno1@optimum.net

The board of the Ontario Racing Commission has announced that it has approved revisions and new rules directing all Standardbred racetracks to upgrade their emergency warning light systems to now include a siren. The changes/upgrades must be implemented by January 1, 2015. The ORC explained that the rule change was a recommendation following an investigation and report by the ORC’s Equine Accident Specialist into an incident which occurred at Flamboro Downs. The ORC held a meeting to review enhanced race protocols with a number of racetrack operators, drivers, veterinarians and horsepeople, as well as a number of ORC judges and investigators. The recommendations discussed ways to stop the race when, in the opinion of the judges, the situation warranted such action. The new and revised rules will provide the judges with the authority and ability to turn on warning lights when they view a situation that could negatively affect the health and safety of the participants. The lights indicate to drivers that they should proceed with caution. Under the new and revised rules, when a more serious emergency situation occurs, the judges will have the authority and ability to stop the race and communicate this to the Drivers through the use of both the warning lights and the siren. The ORC stated that racetracks have until January 1, 2015, to install an enhanced emergency warning system, approved by the ORC. Failure to comply may result in fines or suspensions or both. To view the ORC’s notice on the issue, click here. To view the ORC’s Standardbred Directive #3 – 2014, which includes new rules and revised rules, click here. From the Ontario Racing Commission  

As the Program Administrator of the Horse Improvement Program, Ontario Horse Racing is seeking volunteers to participate in a Working Group. The mandate of this group is to develop a number of ideas and scenarios to address the declining horse supply for the 2017 Standardbred Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Program. The Working Group should be representative of all sectors within the industry including breeders, owners and trainers, from both of the Gold and Grassroots levels, as well as racetracks. For complete details, please follow the link below: Notice to the Industry - Call for Standardbred Working Group Members by Lisa Hocking, for the Ontario Racing Commission

After an inauspicious debut at Grand River Raceway earlier this fall, Frankies First Luv pulled up her socks and has since rattled off four straight scores for Team Marsden. Bred, owned and trained by Jim Marsden, who co-owns the filly with Shirley Marsden, Frankies First Luv rallied for a career-best clocking of 1:54.1 during a fog-filled Thursday evening card at Mohawk Racetrack. Frankies First Luv, who piled up a three-race winning streak at Grand River Raceway leading up to tonight’s Mohawk debut, was in no hurry in the early stages of Thursday’s assignment. She got away sixth and was seventh and parked at the mid-way point before making a big rally in the late stages of the mile. To view the rest of this story click here. Tornado Tim "twists" to Flamboro win A trio of trotters lined up across the finish line in Thursday’s $11,000 Preferred 2 at Flamboro Downs, with Tornado Tim coming out on top for trainer/driver Danny O’Brian. The seven-year-old son of Revenue S-Cyclone Annie survived a first-over trip to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:57.4. Spartan Victory shot to the top from Post 7 and supplied the field with first-half fractions of :28 and :58.1 before being pressed by Tornado Tim in the backstretch. There wasn’t much separating those two at the three-quarter pole in 1:27.4, but Tornado Tim inched away in the closing strides to defeat a dead game Spartan Victory who wound up second. Winkys Pride was a lapped-on third in the seven-horse affair. To view the rest of this story click here. Rideau requests variance on race dates The Ontario Racing Commission has announced that Rideau Carleton Raceway Holdings Ltd. has requested approval for a variance for the race date schedule at Rideau Carleton Raceway. The Ontario Racing Commission is circulating an application for an amendment to the approved race date schedule and will receive comments on the application from interested industry participants before making its decision on the application. The contents of the application from Rideau Carleton Raceway Holdings Ltd. is as follows: DELETE • Friday December 26, 2014 • Thursday March 19, 26, 2015 • Total 3 dates ADD • Sunday January 11, 18, 25, 2015 • Total 3 dates • Post time 6:30 p.m. Input, comments or concerns must be received by Thursday October 9, 2014 to be considered and can be forwarded to the Ontario Racing Commission as follows: Fax: 416-213-7827 Email: inquiry@ontarioracingcommission.ca Mail: ORC, Suite 400, 10 Carlson Court, Toronto, ON M9W 6L2 From the Ontario Sire Stakes

The Director of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has approved the applications for 2014/2015 race date amendments made by The Raceway at Western Fair District (Western Fair) and Flamboro Downs (Flamboro) – with the support of the Standardbred  Alliance.    The Director has approved the following:    Western Fair Revised Dates  Delete: Wednesday October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12,  19, 26, December 3, 10, 17  Total 12 dates  Add: Friday January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, February 6, 13, 20, 27,  March 6, 13, 20, 27  Total 13 dates  Post time 7:05 pm    Flamboro Revised Dates  Delete: Wednesday October 1, January 7, 14, 21, 28,  February 4, 11, 18, 25, March 4, 11, 18, 25  Total 13 dates  Add: Thursday January 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, February 5, 12, 19,  26, March 5, 12, 19, 26    From the Ontario Racing Commission

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 inquiry@ontarioracingcommission.ca 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  records@ontariosiresstakes.com 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.

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