Almost $2 Billion for Ontario Racing

The news that the Ontario government will pledge up to $105 million per year, for 19 years beginning in 2019 was certainly welcomed by horse owners, breeders, industry workers and the thousands who have businesses that are connected to horse racing.

There will also be $6 million available for smaller tracks to work with in order to try and boost business over the next few years.

The 15 tracks in Ontario (more than any other jurisdiction in North America) will present their needs to Woodbine Entertainment, which will manage the (I will clarify this better)..proposals and then the ONTARIO RACING MANAGEMENT board, with reps from tracks, breed organzations, etc. will make the final decision.

funding, and the Ontario Horse Racing board will be involved in doling out the funds.

Certainly 15 tracks is a lot and it is not easy to predict whether all will survive even with some share of funding.

Also, should the Liberal government under Premier Kathleen Wynne, be defeated in the June election, what will happen to this funding plan?

Horse owner and breeder SHIRLEY WELLS sent a letter to Thoroughblog recently, having received a response to a query she put forth to the PC leader Doug Ford:

Hi Shirley,

Thank you for reaching out.

The Liberals have shown time and time again that they do not treat rural Ontario with the respect it deserves. They cancelled the Slots at Racetrack Program, which gave horse racing tracks access to the revenue generated by slot facilities located at their tracks. In doing so, they cost horse tracks hundreds of millions in annual revenue.

Internal government emails surfaced that showed the government knew that this decision was projected to cost 23,000 jobs and cause 27,000 horses to be put down. Due to the cancellation, horse tracks were forced to reduce purses for racers, limit race days, and some shut down operations completely. The industry has been struggling ever since.

We are committed to reviewing this formula and ensure more money is being distributed fairly to local racetracks and looking to fix the sharing agreements between Woodbine and community tracks.

Doug Ford

The Friday funding news, just over a year in the works, comes as relief for horse breeders. There is plenty of work still to be done, however. Tracks need to work on innovative ways to boost its product, boost wagering and interest in the racing show they put on.

It’s a good start and good news.



Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance, and Jeff Leal, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced a long-term funding agreement with the horse racing sector in a press conference held Friday afternoon (March 23) at Flamboro Downs.

The official statement follows:

Ontario is committing to a long-term funding agreement with the horse racing sector, supporting jobs in rural Ontario and strengthening local economies across the province.

The new agreement will provide up to $105 million a year, for 19 years, for the horse racing sector, starting April 1, 2019, plus additional supports for smaller racetracks and those that are experiencing financial shortfalls.

To further help transform the industry and bolster rural communities, Ontario will continue the Enhanced Horse Improvement Program and introduce a new Racetrack Sustainability Innovation Fund, providing up to $6 million over three years, beginning in 2018, to help regional racetracks innovate, diversify and expand revenue sources to ensure the vitality of the industry for generations to come.

The long-term funding agreement will also empower the horse racing industry to work together to make long-term decisions about horse breeding, racing programs, capital investments and hiring. It will include specific measures focused on supporting community racetracks, including operational funding and purses.

Ontario’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

• Ontario is home to 15 racetracks — more than any other North American jurisdiction.
Funding will be administered by Ontario Racing, which is responsible for representing industry interests, making strategic business decisions, and strengthening transparency and accountability.
• The Ontario Racing board will have equal representation of racetracks and breeders, with five seats for racetracks, five for breeders and an independent chair.
• The new long-term funding agreement will replace the existing Horse Racing Partnership Funding Program.

(Ontario Ministry of Finance)



“The announcement today shows the results of working together to constantly keep this issue alive and never letting it die,” said Gates.

“Four years ago, Fort Erie was facing closure, because we’ve been able to work together as a community, today we can rest assured that the track has a long-term future.”

PETER BERRINGER, President & National Director, Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, Ontario Division

“The breeders are really excited and look forward to reading the details of the long term funding agreement. Long term funding will provide greater stability and transparency in the industry, and support economic development in rural communities.”

BOB BROADSTOCK, President, Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc.

“We are very happy with the announcement of long term funding for the horseracing sector. This commitment will provide the security that the Quarter Horse industry and the people that work in it need to continue our work and plan for the long term sustainability of the sector.”


WINX WOWS with WORLD RECORD 17th straight Group 1

Thoroughblog has regaled, along with racing fans worldwide, in the remarkable exploits of the Aussie mare WINX. Winning any number of races in succession is an extraordinary accomplishment for any racehorse. Winning 24 straight is virtually unheard of. Winning 17 consecutive Group 1’s has never been done.

Until last night, 11:45 Eastern to be exact. WINX, the super horse, overcame some adversity in the George Ryder Stakes, rallying behind what looked to be a very slow pace on a soft turf. The old campaigner Happy Clapper would not give up but Winx finally did get by for the monumental win.

It’s interesting to read the reactions of her owners Peter Tighe and Debbie Kipitis, trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman. The celebrations now are low key (Yesterday’s race was $1 million AUS), now they almost seem to breathe a sigh of relief that the streak has continued.

Pressure has been mounting for the mare to be taken to other locations to race, for other fans to see this amazing gal by Street Cry (Ire).

A trip to Royal Ascot in June for the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) has been mentioned, although trainer Waller said yesterday he had not even discussed it with the owners. The Queen Elizabeth at Randwick on April 14 is her next race, a $4 million test.

Wouldn’t  Winx look wonderful in the Woodbine Mile (G1)? Alas, that would appear to be as long a shot as the horses who have been trying to chase her for the past 2 seasons.

“Three weeks between runs is quite good, but the intensity in that last week becomes sickening if you think about it too much. I’m lucky I have got a lot of distractions”.– TRAINER CHRIS WALLER


BRAVAZO and SNAPPER SINCLAIR battled to the wire in the Risen Star Stakes and will try to hold off the closers in the Louisiana Derby – Steve Queen photo/


Canadian bred Wonder Gadot major player in Oaks

The Kentucky Derby trail continues this weekend with the Louisiana Derby and Sunland Park Derby, which goes Sunday night.

D. Wayne Lukas has a good one in Bravazo and from the rail in the LA Derby, this Awesome Again colt should be close to what should be a hot early pace.

Should the pace scenario set up as it looks it will, MY BOY JACK is going to be tough to hold off. Two other contenders in the race are NOBLE INDY and longshot LONE SAILOR.

Saturday, Fair Grounds, post time: 6:21 p.m. EDT
TWINSPIRES.COM LOUISIANA DERBY S.-GII, $1,000,000, 3yo, 1 1/8m

1 Bravazo   Awesome Again Calumet Farm Lukas Stevens 7-2
2 Noble Indy  Take Charge Indy WinStar Farm LLC & Repole Stable Pletcher Velazquez 7-2
3 Marmello    Concord Point Olympia Star, Inc. Yanakov Gilligan 50-1
4 Givemeaminit Star Guitar Valene Farms LLC Stewart Castellano 20-1
5 Retirement Fund Eskendereya L and N Racing LLC Asmussen Bridgmohan 12-1
6 Hyndford    Street Cry (Ire) Donegal Racing Pletcher Bravo 8-1
7 Snapper Sinclair  City Zip Bloom Racing Stable LLC Asmussen Ortiz 9-2
8 Lone Sailor     Majestic Warrior G M B Racing Amoss Graham 20-1
9 My Boy Jack     Creative Cause Don’t Tell My Wife Stables & Monomoy Stables Desormeaux Desormeaux 5-2
10 Dark Templar  Tapit Newtown Anner Stud Walsh Geroux 12-1

Breeders: 1-Calumet Farm, 2-WinStar Farm, LLC, 3-Mikhail Yanakov, 4-Clear Creek Stud LLC, 5-Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, LLC, 6-Landaluce Educe Stable & Darley, 7-K & G Stables, 8-Alexander – Groves – Matz, LLC., 9-Brereton C. Jones, 10-KatieRich Farms

WONDER GADOT could be poised to break through in the Oaks with some speed to run at. The Anderson-bred filly, a Woodbine Oaks contender, could earn a trip to the Kentucky Oaks in may with a victory.


Saturday, Fair Grounds, post time: 5:41 p.m. EDT
TWINSPIRES.COM FAIR GROUNDS OAKS S.-GII, $400,000, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m

1 Classy Act  Into Mischief Carl R. Moore Management LLC Calhoun Castellano 5-2
2 Saguaro Row Union Rags Newtown Anner Stud & Mark D. Breen Walsh Stevens 12-1
3 America’s Tale  Gio Ponti Naveed Chowhan Flint Pedroza 10-1
4 Eskimo Kisses To Honor and Serve Magdalena Racing, Gainesway Stable McPeek Geroux 9-2
5 Patrona Margarita Special Rate Craig D. Upham Calhoun Hernandez, Jr. 10-1
6 She’s a Julie  Elusive Quality Whispering Oaks Farm LLC Asmussen Lanerie 15-1
7 Testing One Two Star Guitar Brittlyn Stable, Inc. Arceneaux Saenz 10-1
8 Wonder Gadot  Medaglia d’Oro Gary Barber Casse Velazquez 3-1
9 Chocolate Martini  Broken Vow Double Doors Racing, LLC Amoss Murrill 10-1

Breeders: 1-George Krikorian, 2-Mark Breen, 3-Madeline Auerbach & Catherine Parke, 4-Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd., 5-Craig D. Upham, 6-Godolphin, 7-Brittlyn, Inc., 8-Anderson Farms Ont. Inc., 9-Savino A. Capilupi





Woodbine’s racing season may start a week later this year (April 21) but trainers who are preparing their horses for the races  have come across the age-old problem of Mother Nature. No, it has not been snow but cold temperatures and a lack of any precipitation has made the training track  quite dusty and efforts are now being made to add some water to it with salt.

The good news is, there is quite a bit of rain in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday next week and temperatures will finally creep up to seasonal ( degrees Celcius).

It is a common problem for local horsepeople to get their horses ready in the spring when only the training track is available. The main track, the all weather Tapeta surface, is scheduled to be open for business on April 4 and that will surely help horsepeople get a move on.

Construction on the new turf course, which replaces the Standardbred track, will begin shortly after the main track opens and thus, from Monday through Thursday, the main track opens for training at 5 a.m. rather tnan 6 a.m. There will be no construction work done on Fridays or weekends and the main track opens at the regular 6 a.m. time.

Interesting to note that Woodbine has upped it’s payment to horsepeople who start their horses between April 21 and May 21, to $800, from $400. Bettors should then be aware that there could be horses in races who perhaps are not quite tightened up to be able to win if they wintered in Ontario. As always the winter raced or trained horses are the good bets.



Jockey Chantal Sutherland, a Canadian, is expected to be riding at Woodbine in 2018 and Don Parente will be her agent. Sutherland is recovering from an accident at Fair Grounds where she was riding this winter.

A winner of 1,025 races, Sutherland retired from riding in 2012 but returned in June 2013 and spent some time at Woodbine again. She then rode on the west coast.

In 2014 she won 29 races at Woodbine but only rode 2 races in 2015. She won 27 races in 2017 and has won 5 in 2018.

Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman caught up with a recuperating Sutherland.