OLD FORESTER, read more bottom of post, he’s in DRF news! Dave Landry photo
THANK YOU to comment-ers on Thoroughblog who have shared their letters and opinions, I have also received a lot of copies of letters sent to the government by horse breeders, owners and racing fans.
Some passionate horsepeople have got a little off topic – this is not a Woodbine fight per se, it is a fight for all the horse racing industry and everyone who makes a living at it. It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s about the public perception of what horse racing and farms, farmers bring to the economy. Let’s keep that in focus.
I understand that those who put their names on their comments are frustrated with those who do not put their names on the emails, but unless they are overly offensive, those who run my blog feel it is fair to allow everyone to have a say. I appreciate everyone using T’blog as a discussion area, the site gets thousands of looks a day and it is an important part of Horse-Canada.
DRUMMOND REPORT EXCERPTS
Here is every mention of Horse Racing from the Drummond report.
“The OLG provides significant net income to the province while maintaining social responsibility, but efficiencies and other measures could improve the company’s margins. The OLG currently operates two head offices in separate locations; it should close one. It operates two casinos in the Niagara area; it should close one. Slot machines are directed to racetracks, where subsidies are provided to the horse racing and breeding industry and municipalities, rather than locations that would be more convenient and profitable; OLG would make much more money if slots were permitted elsewhere, as they should be. The OLG gives lottery terminals to merchants who sell tickets, an implicit subsidy. This practice too should cease.
The horse racing industry is another area where subsidies to racetracks and horse people require a review and adjustment to realign with present-day economic and fiscal realities. Ontario has more racetracks than any other jurisdiction in the U.S. or Canada. In addition to revenues from wagering, since the late 1990s the industry has benefited from a provincial tax expenditure (a reduction to the provincial pari-mutuel tax) and a percentage of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s gross slot revenues that together are worth an estimated $400 million in 2011–12. Over the past 12 years, approximately $4 billion has flowed through 17 racetracks to support purses, racetrack capital improvement and operating costs. Ontario’s support is 10 times that of British Columbia, which has six racetracks, and 17 times that of Alberta, with five racetracks. Ontario’s approach is unsustainable and it is time for the industry to rationalize its presence in the gaming marketplace. For more on the horse racing and breeding industry, please see Chapter 17, Government Business Enterprises.
Recommendation 11-11: Review and rationalize the current provincial financial support
provided to the horse racing industry so that the industry is more appropriately sustained
by the wagering
• Allow slot machine operations at sites that are not co-located with horse racing venues;
Recommendation 17-4: Re-evaluate, on a value-for-money basis, the practice of providing a portion of net slot revenues to the horse racing and breeding industry and municipalities in order to substantially reduce and better target that support.
Recommendation 11-11: Review and rationalize the current provincial financial support
provided to the horse racing industry so that the industry is more appropriately sustained by the wagering revenues it generates rather than through subsidies or their preferential
HANA CHIMES IN..A STRONG LESSON PROVIDED TO RACING FROM ONTARIO
(Horseplayers Association of North America)
” Things like lower takeout make sense. Things like a slush fund for marketing the sport make sense. Betting exchanges to go after a new demographic make sense. Free data for new patrons makes sense. A betting czar and league office funded with slots make sense.” – HANA
FROM HANA – In Ontario, Canada, each year the industry receives a whopping $345M in some way, shape or form, from slot machines. This money fuels up to 60,000 jobs, and helps put on races like the Queen’s Plate, Canadian International, North America Cup, and hundreds of other events. In addition, it supports up to 17 racetracks – big and small. It is one of the largest racing jurisdictions in the World.
Up until last week, things seemed to be humming along. This week, things are different. Ontario’s storied horse racing history is in potential peril.
STANDARDBRED CANADA REPORTS
RALLY BY OHHA SET FOR FEB. 22
A rally has been planned at Queen’s Park — tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, February 22 — to show support for the Ontario horse racing industry.
A release issued today by the Ontario Harness Horse Association, explains that in 1998, the Ontario horse racing industry negotiated an agreement charging the Ontario government a fee which allows them to locate and operate slot machines within Ontario horse-racing facilities, in direct competition with the industry.
It goes on to state that in 2011 racetrack slots generated roughly $1.7 billion; and from that revenue, the Ontario government paid roughly $355 million in operating costs and paid roughly $345 million to the horse-racing industry to cover its negotiated fee. As it works out, in 2011 alone, the Government of Ontario cleared over $1 billion from revenue generated at racetracks across the province without investing a penny in the industry.
SMALLER TOWNS STATE CASE
(FROM Standardbred Canada)
The proposed cuts to horse racing in Ontario have ignited a harsh backlash from not just the racing industry, but from members of provincial parliament as well.
In Thursday’s London Free Press, MPPs representing the ridings of Hiawatha Horse Park, The Raceway at Western Fair and Dresden Raceway will not sit idly by without taking up the fight to preserve the slots-at-racetracks partnership.
MPP Teresa Armstrong, the New Democrat for London-Fanshawe, told the Free Press that she opposes the recommendation, noting that slots-at-racetracks deal is a partnership with racing and the government and an estimated 7,000 jobs rely on harness racing in the London area.
“Wiping out an industry should never be taken lightly,” Armstrong said. “With over 60,000 jobs on the line (provincially), the London community cannot afford any more unemployment with our unemployment rate hovering just below 10%. The McGuinty Liberals need to consult with the industry before they start considering wiping it out.”
Sarnia’s Conservative MPP Bob Bailey told the Free Press he and the Tories “stand behind the racing industry 100%” noting the importance of racing across Southwestern Ontario for the jobs it provides in addition to its economic impact.
CASSE TRIO HEADED IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS
Back to horse racing!
A fun interview with trainer MARK CASSE yesterday, in Florida training his power stable, brought us back to the excitement of this time of season -it’s classic trail time in the U.S. and Woodbine has recently opened for training!
Casse’ has a trio of 3yo boys headed to some Kentucky Derby preps:
PROSPECTIVE – Tampa Bay Derby
STEALCASE – Gotham Stakes, Aqueduct
DYNAMICAL – Battaglia Stakes at Turfway
Casse also said that his Canadian-bred star DIXIE STRIKE, winner of the Florida Oaks, is headed to the Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream next month.
All of these are owned by JOHN OXLEY, a 30-year veteran of horse ownership who is keen to win big races in Canada to add to his scores in the US.
Dynamical, a maiden, is well thought of and his 2nd dam is the multiple graded stakes winning Ontario bred .
NEW FACES TO WOODBINE
Mike Stidham (right), from south of the border, and JIM MEYAARD from Alberta, are going to have some horses racing at Woodbine this season.
A HORSE IS A HORSE – BUT NONE LIKE BLACK CAVIAR
BLACK Caviar Inc has gone into overdrive, with merchandising sales to match an AFL team.
As the mighty mare prepares to equal the record of 19 straight wins at Flemington on Saturday, connections have been swamped with requests for photos and memorabilia – even her horseshoes.
Black Caviar website manager Stephen Silk said almost 10,000 caps – in the famous salmon with black spots – had flown off the shelves.
BLACK CAVIAR WEBSITE: http://www.blackcaviar.net.au/
OLD FORESTER – LEADING CANADIAN SIRE- DRF report
“I knew I had a good horse, and I knew I had a horse that would hit the top,” he said, “but I didn’t expect him to jump straight up into first place with just two crops.” – John Carey, TC Westmeath Stud