April 17, 2014

Mohawk’s Qualifying, Training Details

The Woodbine Entertainment Group, on behalf of its other racetrack partners in the Standardbred Alliance, and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association are pleased to announce that Mohawk Racetrack will be available for qualifying and training next week.

The Campbellville oval will be open each morning for training except Sunday and Wednesday, beginning Tuesday, April 15.

Qualifying and schooling races will be at Mohawk, beginning at 10 a.m. each Monday and Friday, starting on Friday, April 18.

“This initiative will assist trainers in getting their horses trained, qualified and ready to race at Woodbine, Mohawk, and all other racetracks in the Standardbred Alliance,” said Bill McLinchey, WEG’s senior manager of Standardbred Racing.

The last day of qualifying at Woodbine will be Friday, April 11. Morning training will be restricted to Mohawk.

The Mohawk summer meet will begin on Thursday, May 22.

(WEG)

Nick Eaves Opens Up

Woodbine Entertainment Group President and CEO Nick Eaves has opened up in regard to the cancellation of the Slots-at-Racetracks program, the Province’s new funding agreement, and the future of the Ontario horse racing industry.

Eaves’ expansive comments have come via an article by the Toronto Sun.

Giving his opinion on the recently-announced five-year plan for the Ontario industry, Eaves said, “It can work for five years. It’s not a foundation for huge growth. It won’t catapult us into the next stage. Sustainability is better than the alternative. But we’re not here to sustain ourselves. We’re here to find a vibrant way forward.”

Eaves also said that the business model is more stable today, and that representatives from WEG will be returning to Toronto City Hall to renew its bid to land gaming expansion at Woodbine.

Speaking of the government’s financial support of the racing industry, Eaves said, “(The new money) does create a foundation,” but “in order for the industry to thrive again, there needs to be a broader economic envelope. The logical way is by making sure we integrate the horse-racing industry with the province’s gaming strategy, and do it in a way that meets the province’s objective, which is mostly financial, but also in a way that ensures this industry can not only survive, but thrive.”

In the Sun piece, Eaves stressed that the new agreement is “not a return to the type of partnership (SARP) that existed previously … it certainly has given us some longer-term stability which is what the industry needs,” said Eaves, who went on to say “We need to use that as a platform and identify the next areas of revenue growth; to work with the OLG and work on a strategy to modernize gaming, including at racetracks.”

(With files from the Toronto Sun)
(Standardbred Canada)

2014 Hall Of Fame Inductees

On Tuesday, April 8, the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame announced its class of 2014 inductees, which includes a total of 14 horses and individuals.

Albatross, Dreamfair Eternal and Rocknroll Hanover are the Standardbreds which make up part of the 2014 class. Robert Murphy, the late breeder/owner; Dr. Ted Clarke, in the builder category; horseman Wally Hennessey, and communicator Bill Galvin are the other 2014 inductees on the Standardbred side.

Apelia, Cool Mood and Wando are the Thoroughbreds that make up part of the 2014 class. Trainer Horatio Luro, jockey Robert Landry and breeders William ‘Bill’ Graham and Arthur Stollery are also 2014 inductees on the Thoroughbred side.

The Induction Ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.

STANDARDBRED INDUCTEES

Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his racing career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York, New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, Ontario; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC, Cream Ridge, New Jersey. Career highlights included victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three-year-olds, the Metro Pace for two-year-old pacers and the North America Cup for three-year-olds He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013. To date, the son of Western Ideal, out of Hall of Fame mare Rich N Elegant, has sired winners of $60.7-million, including eight million-dollar-plus winners.

Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a seven-year career that included 56 victories, and every major stakes event on the older pacing mare schedule, earnings of over $2.5-million and Horse of the Year honours in Canada in 2010. During that year, she racked up wins in the final of the Masters Series, an elimination of the Roses are Red Stakes, elimination and final of the Milton Stakes, the elimination and final of the Forest City Pace and the Breeders Crown. The daughter of Camluck was bred by John and Mary Lamers and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, Ontario. Patrick Fletcher trained her for most of her career.

A champion on the track and in the breeding shed, Albatross was a major influence on the Standardbred breed. He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million. Two of his major stakes wins in Canada included the Prix d’Ete and Canadian Pacing Derby. He retired as both the fastest and richest horse in the history of the breed. As a sire, Albatross’s thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million, including Niatross, who is considered by many to be the greatest pacer of the 20th Century, and Fan Hanover, who is the only filly to ever win the Little Brown Jug.

Wally Hennessey, 56, born in Prince Edward Island and now a resident of Coconut Grove, Florida, has more than 8,500 victories to his credit and has banked earnings in excess of $57 million. During the early stages of his career, Hennessey re-wrote the record books, setting new standards in both wins and earnings. In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown. Throughout his career, Hennessey has been remarkably consistent, winning at least 200 races in each of the last 25 years, and driving horses to earnings in excess of $1 million for 24 straight years. In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York.

Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry. Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth. Prior to Grand River’s opening, Dr. Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network. He was honoured for his innovative thinking and leadership with the Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award in 1999 from the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association.

The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, was one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, and was known by his popular ‘Red Star’ moniker. First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners. He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009. In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada. Murphy had a great impact on harness racing in BC with both his breeding and training centres, but that impact extended across the continent as his horses raced all over North America.

William ‘Bill’ Galvin, a native of Arnprior, Ontario and now a resident of Mississauga, Ontario, made a tremendous impact on horse racing in the country as a Canadian horse racing historian, poet, author, publisher, educator, horseman, humanitarian, publicist and former Thoroughbred racing official. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing. He led a charge to bring ice horse racing to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans. He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the well-being of horse racing during his career. He was also the executive editor of Trot Magazine and a member of the Advisory board for the School of Equine Studies at Toronto’s Humber College of Applied Arts.

THOROUGHBRED INDUCTEES

Wando, one of only seven horses to ever win the Canadian Triple Crown, was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2003 for breeder/owner Gustav Schickedanz, an honoured member of the CHRHF. Trained by Mike Keogh, with Patrick Husbands as his primary jockey, the son of Langfuhr retired from racing with 11 wins, eight of them in stakes, from 23 starts and earnings of $2.5 million. He began his career as a stallion in 2006, first in Kentucky before returning to his birthplace in 2011. Wando’s progeny have earnings in excess of $5.2 million and include Grade 1 winner Turallure.

Apelia, a very fast filly owned and bred by Steve Stavro’s Knob Hill Stable, was named Canada’s Sovereign Award champion sprinter in 1993. Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Phil England, she won half of her 24 career starts and was a stakes winner at the highest level for three consecutive years. A winner in New York, Kentucky, New Jersey, as well as Ontario, Apelia was ridden by Hall of Fame jockeys Larry Attard and Don Seymour in all her races except one. Apelia is the dam of champion mare Saoirse.

Cool Mood, herself a daughter of Northern Dancer, won the 1969 Canadian Oaks for Hall of Fame Builder D.G. Willmot, and went on to become one of Canada’s most influential broodmares. In fact, she produced two fillies that, in turn, would both produce Canadian Triple Crown winners. Her daughter Shy Spirit was the dam of Izvestia, and daughter Passing Mood was the dam of With Approval. The latter is an equine member of the Hall of Fame along with his half-brother, Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold.

Argentine-born trainer Horatio Luro, nicknamed ‘El Gran Senor’ was hired as a trainer by E.P. Taylor and was best known in Canada for training Northern Dancer in 1964, fifty years ago. During his career, Luro trained 43 stakes winners, including three Queen’s Plate winners.

Named Canada’s outstanding jockey in 1993 and 1994, Robert Landry’s stats over a 29-year riding career include 17,656 mounts with purse earnings of $69.7 million and over 2,000 wins. Of note was his 1999 Atto Mile win on Quiet Resolve, as well as the 2004 Queen’s Plate aboard Niigon. He rode five consecutive Canadian Champion two-year-old fillies from 1996-2000. The 2003 Avelino Gomez Memorial Award winner for lifetime achievement as a jockey, Landry has also made significant contributions to the promotion of racing, including participating as a board member for LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.

W. (Bill) D. Graham has been an integral participant in the horse racing industry for almost half a century as an outstanding breeder, owner and racing executive. He is the owner of Windhaven Farms which operates in both Caledon, Ont. and Lexington, Kentucky, and has bred and raced many Sovereign Award-winning horses throughout his career including the 2012 Canadian Horse of the Year Uncaptured. Graham also bred U.S. Grade I winner Joyful Victory who was victorious in the 2013 Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita.

Arthur W. Stollery was the owner and breeder of two of Canada’s most celebrated racing stars, both CHRHF inductees: Kennedy Road and Laurie’s Dancer. Kennedy Road, named after the location of his Unionville-based Angus Glen Farms, dominated Canadian racing for three years. He was named Champion two-year-old in 1970 and again Champion as a three-year-old the following year, 1971. This was followed by more accolades, including Canadian Horse of the Year in 1973. Kennedy Road was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000 and has a stakes race, which is contested annually at Woodbine, named after him. Laurie’s Dancer, named after Stollery’s daughter, was an outstanding racing daughter of Northern Dancer. She captured the Canadian Oaks in 1971 on her way to being named Canada’s Horse of the Year. During that season, she was also victorious in the very prestigious Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. Laurie’s Dancer was enshrined in to the Hall of Fame in 2006.

STANDARDBRED INDUCTEES

Male Horse Category: Rocknroll Hanover – bred by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc, Hanover, Pennsylvania. Owned by Jeffrey Snyder of New York, New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, Ontario; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC, Cream Ridge, New Jersey.

Female Horse Category: Dreamfair Eternal – bred by Mary and John Lamers, and owned by John Lamers, Ingersoll, Ontario.

Veteran Horse Category: Albatross – bred by John E Wilcutts, Aberdeen, North Carolina; Charles A Kenney, Lexington, Kentucky; Elizabeth B Peters, Wilmington Delaware; and Mark Lydon, Abington, Massachusetts. Owned by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc, Hanover, Pennsylvania; George Segal, Versailles, Kentucky; Castleton Farm, Lexington, Kentucky; Hal S Jones, Montgomery, New York.

Trainer/Driver Category: Wally Hennessey – Coconut Creek, Florida.

Builder Category: Dr. Ted Clarke – Elmira, Ontario.

Builder Category: Robert Murphy – Vancouver, British Columbia.

Communicator Category: Bill Galvin, Mississauga, Ontario.

THOROUGHBRED INDUCTEES

Male Horse Category: Wando – bred and owned by Gustav Schickedanz, Schomberg, Ontario.

Female Horse Category: Apelia – bred and owned by Steve Stavros, Knob Hill Stables, Newmarket, Ontario.

Veteran Horse Category: Cool Mood – owned by David Wilmot, Kinghaven Farms, King City, Ontario.

Veteran People Category Horatio Luro – Argentine-born trainer of Northern Dancer.

Jockey Category: Robert Landry – Toronto, Ontario.

Builder Category: William ‘Bill’ Graham – owner of Windhaven Farms, Cheltenham, Ontario and Lexington, Kentucky.

Builder Category: Arthur Stollery – owner Angus Glen Farms, Markham, Ontario.

2014 OSS Schedule Released

The 2014 Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) schedule of races is now available and can be found on the OSS website.

OSS events have been assigned to those Ontario racetracks that currently have approved race dates for 2014.

The Schedule section of the website will be updated shortly, and the draw dates and times will be added when that information has been finalized.

Alliance Tracks Applaud Racing Plan

The Ontario Standardbred Alliance (Alliance) today expressed its strong support for the Horse Racing Partnership Plan announced by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF).

A statement from the Alliance tracks was released on Tuesday night. That statement continues below.

The five-year plan provides not only more total race days annually than last year but also provides a firm base of activity with established purse levels, uniform race classes, a consistent year round schedule at the Signature level, and increased racing opportunities at the Premier tracks.

The announcement heralds an unprecedented agreement among eight Ontario racetracks in the formation of the Standardbred Alliance. The members represent a three-tier racing hierarchy, ‘Grass Roots’ (Clinton, Hanover), ‘Signature’ (Flamboro, Georgian, Grand River and Western Fair) and ‘Premier’ (Mohawk and Woodbine).

The Alliance, which will be led by Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), was created to deliver standardbred racing and wagering opportunities with a focus on ease-of-access for existing customers, and consistent and co-ordinated racing opportunities with guaranteed purses for its participants. In addition, the Alliance will deliver more efficient racetrack operations through the consolidation of services and purchasing and a coordinated approach to attracting new customers to Ontario standardbred racing.

Also, to ensure a consistent customer-focused approach to improving the distribution, value and appeal of horse racing across the province, WEG has been named the single operator of Teletheatres and Account Wagering in Ontario. The consolidation of all off-track operations under WEG’s Champions and HorsePlayer Interactive brands will allow for a consistent customer experience with the integration of a province-wide rewards program for horse players.

The Standardbred Alliance has worked closely with government, regulators and industry participants to develop this plan for the industry, which places a significant and collective focus on a stable outlook for race days, purses and operations.

“We’re very pleased with the spirit of cooperation among the Alliance tracks during the development of this historic plan,” said Hugh Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer at Western Fair. “In co-ordinating racing calendars and guaranteeing purses, this plan provides the certainty the industry requires during this time of transition. The Alliance tracks believe this certainty will help to re-establish an adequate horse supply over the five-year period and will place the industry on a sound footing for long-term sustainability.”

The province has committed $500-million over the next five years for the Ontario horse racing industry. The portion of the funding provided to the Alliance will be used entirely to fund purses at those tracks. Combined with pari-mutuel revenue and support by WEG’s purse guarantee at the Alliance venues, it will provide consistent purse levels during this transitional period.

For Alliance tracks and horsepeople, the result is a balanced, year-round schedule of at least six days of Signature racing per week, four or five days of year round Premier racing and, during the summer, two days per week of Grass Roots racing. In total, the Alliance tracks will stage 598 race days in 2014/2015, 76 more than in 2013/2014.

“WEG and the Alliance tracks are confident that this new five year plan will help to ensure a sustainable horse racing and breeding industry over that near term,” said Nick Eaves, WEG’s President & CEO. “The next critical step of the government plan is for the integration of gaming and racing through the optimization of Alliance tracks for the mutual benefit of horse racing and the provincial treasury. We are committed to that next step as we implement this new racing model and ensure the robust future of this industry.”

The Horse Racing Partnership Plan is effective April 1, 2014.

(Ontario Standardbred Alliance)
(Standardbred Canada)

2014 Approved Ontario Race Dates

On Tuesday, April 1, the Ontario Racing Commission announced its decision in regard to the race-date applications for nine standardbred racetracks.

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.

Please note that these dates are not necessarily the same as the proposed calendar sent out on Monday, as the Monday release used a fiscal calendar of April 2014 through to March 2015 while today’s announcement simply encompasses 2014.

The contents of the ORC release appear 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 (PREVIOUSLY APPROVED) – REMAINDER 2014 – TOTAL 2014

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.

Steve Lehman
Executive Director

(Standardbred Canada)

Proposed 2014 Ontario Race Dates

The Ontario Racing Commission today released the proposed racedates for the period: April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, for all of the province’s racetracks.

According to the ORC, dates must still be approved.

Clinton Raceway: 15 dates
Opening day: Sunday, May 18
Closing day: Sunday, August 31
Days: Sundays at 1:30 pm

Dresden Raceway: 11 dates
Opening day: Monday, May 19
Closing day: Sunday, July 27
Days: Sundays and Opening day Monday

Flamboro Downs: 132 dates
Thursday, April 3, 2014 to Saturday, May 31, 2014
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 to Sunday, March 29, 2015

Georgian Downs: 40 dates
Opening day: Sunday, June 1
Closing day: Sunday, August 31
Days: Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays

Grand River Raceway: 48 dates
Opening day: Monday, June 2
Closing day: Monday, September 29
Days: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

Hanover Raceway: 16 dates
Opening day: Saturday, June 7
Closing day: Saturday, September 27
Days: Saturdays

Hiawatha Horse Park: 34 dates
Opening day: Thursday, June 5
Closing day: Saturday, September 27
Days: Thursday and Saturdays

Leamington Raceway: 15 dates
Opening day: Friday, August 1
Closing day: Sunday, October 26
Days: Sundays, two Mondays and two Fridays

Rideau Carleton Raceway: 89 dates
April 3, 2014 to December, 2014
February 2015 to March, 2015
Days: Thursdays and Sundays

Sudbury Downs: 34 dates
Opening day: Saturday, May 24
Closing day: Saturday, October 11
Days: Wednesdays and Saturdays

The District at the Western Fair: 125 dates
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 to Friday, May 30, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 to Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Dates: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays (until December 26, 2014)

Woodbine and Mohawk (harness racing): 222 dates
Woodbine: 4 days per week – Thu. to Sat. & Mon. (April 3, 2014 to May 19, 2014)
Mohawk : 5 days per week -Thu. to Sat. & Mon. to Tue. (May 22, 2014 – Oct. 13, 2014)
Woodbine: 4 days per week – Thu. to Sat. & Mon. (Oct. 16, 2014 to March 30, 2015)

Woodbine (thoroughbred racing): 133 dates
Opening day: Saturday, April 12
Closing day: Sunday, December 7
Days: Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays from May 28, and holidays.

Ajax Downs (quarter-horse racing): 27 dates
Opening day: Sunday May 18
Closing day: Tuesday, October 14
Days: Sundays and Tuesdays

(Standardbred Canada)

OMAF Announces $500 Million To Ontario Horse Racing

On Monday, March 31, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food 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 dates, 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

NEWS
March 31, 2014

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

    • 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.

LEARN MORE

About the Horse Racing Partnership Plan.
About 2014 race dates.


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.

(Standardbred Canada)

Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 2014 Ballot Announced

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2014 ballot.

A total of 36 horses and people, including 18 Standardbred racing candidates and 18 Thoroughbred racing candidates have been selected to appear on this year’s ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will declare the winners in their respective categories. Results will be announced Tuesday, April 8.

Standardbred ballots representing this year’s six voting categories are as follows:

In the Standardbred Male Horse category, Blissfull Hall, J M Vangogh and Rocknroll Hanover are the candidates.

In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown. Owned by Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, QC, this champion was trained by Ben Wallace with Ron Pierce as regular driver. A 31-race career over two seasons amassed a record of 19-4-6, a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $1.4 million before embarking on a successful career as a stallion.

J M Vangogh, purchased as a yearling for $4,500 by Paul Chambers of Harrington, Delaware, made a remarkable recovery from an accident in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final as a two-year-old to earn $2.28 million in 206 starts over eight seasons and the nickname ‘The Comeback Kid.’

Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his race career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, Ont.; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC. Career highlights include victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three-year-olds, the Metro Pace and the North America Cup. He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013.

B Cor Tamara, Dreamfair Eternal and J Cs Nathalie are nominated in the Female Horse category.

Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000. Bred and owned by Bill Core of Dresden, Ont., the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall. Her offspring have earned in excess of $2.7 million.

Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a career spanning seven years, 56 victories, including every stake event on the older pacing mare schedule, earning over $2.5 million and being named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010. The daughter of Camluck was bred, raised and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, Ont. with Patrick Fletcher receiving training credit.

As a broodmare, J Cs Nathalie has produced two millionaires for owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, Ont. – pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal. Dreamfair Vogel was a winner of 19 races and over $1.1 million with a mark of 1:49.3. Dreamfair Eternal, a winner of 56 races and over $2.5 million in purse earnings was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010.

The three candidates in the trainer-driver category are Yves Filion, William Gale, and Wally Hennessey.

Yves Filion, 67 of Saint-Andre-D’argent, Quebec was one of his province’s premier trainer-drivers for close to 30 years driving in almost 18,000 races with 4,362 wins and $26.5 million in earnings. Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.4 million. Pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama each became millionaires with Filion responsible for both training and driving.

William Gale, 65 of Woodstock, Ont., was one of Canada’s leading drivers for a period that spanned the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons. During his career, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million.

Wally Hennessey, 56, of Prince Edward Island, has more than 8,200 victories to his name and has banked earnings in excess of $55 million. In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown. In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York.

Candidates in the builders’ category include Dr. Ted Clarke, John B. Ferguson and Robert Murphy.

Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry. Highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth. Before Grand River, Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network.

John B. Ferguson may be best known for his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion for Canadian horse racing was drawn from early years spent with his father and grandfather at old Hastings Park in Vancouver, BC. In addition to his role as a very active owner and breeder, Ferguson also took a role in track management. He was hired by Blue Bonnets in Montreal and after leaving hockey became the President of Windsor Raceway. He was also one of driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, BC, one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, was known by his popular ‘Red Star’ moniker. First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners. He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009. In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada.

Outstanding Standardbreds Albatross, Artsplace, and Happy Lady make up the Veteran Horse Ballot.

Albatross was voted US Harness Horse of the Year in 1971 and 1972. He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million. As a sire, Albatross’s thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million.

Artsplace was the1992 O’Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner as Horse of the Year following an undefeated four-year-old season. He was a two-year-old world record holder winning the Breeders Crown in a time of 1:51.1 at Pompano Park in Florida, soundly defeating champion Die Laughing. He won 37 races and bankrolled over $3 million during his racing career which saw him race many times in Canada before becoming a world class sire.

Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, Ont. and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville. Though her race career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.2. Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races. As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts.

In the Communicators category the election committee will make their selection from Harry Eisen, Bill Galvin and Frank Salive.

The late Harry Eisen spent a lifetime loving and covering horse racing in Ontario. As a lifelong journalist, he spent many years exposing the sport to the public, including the majority of his 40 years at the London Free Press. Eisen who once said he saw his first harness race when he was “three or four years old,” sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a boy. He was inducted into Western Fair’s Wall of Fame in 1980.

As a publicist, promoter and author, Bill Galvin, a native of Arnprior, Ont. made a tremendous impact on horse racing in Canada. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing. He led a charge to bring ice horse racing to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans. He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the health of horse racing during his career.

Leamington, Ont. native Frank Salive was known for over 35 years as ‘The Voice’ of Canadian harness racing. During his career it is estimated he called over 100,000 races, becoming a fan and industry favourite for his knowledgeable and informative calls and silky voice. Frank’s career as a track announcer began at Sudbury Downs in the late ‘70s and continued at tracks throughout Ontario, including 14 years at Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine Entertainment Group harness tracks and concluding at Pompano Park, Florida. Salive was also a regular writer for the Canadian Sportsman for several years.

The voting ballots for Thoroughbreds will feature:

A Thoroughbred Male Horse ballot comprised of, Peaks and Valleys, Quiet Resolve and Wando is offered for election committee consideration.

Peaks and Valleys, a Mt. Livermore son owned and bred by Pin Oak Farm’s Josephine Abercrombie of Kentucky and named Horse of the Year in Canada in 1995, was the winner of two Gr. 1 stakes – Molson Export Million Stakes at Woodbine, and the Meadowlands Cup Handicap. He achieved career stats of 9-3-2 in 16 starts and earnings in excess of $1.5 million before moving to the breeding shed.

Quiet Resolve, Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2000, a winner of $2.3 million and a homebred for Sam Son Farm. His race career included wins in the Atto Mile (Gr. 1), and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy Stakes (G2)

Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2003 for breeder owner Gustav Schickedanz, an honoured member of the CHRHF. The Langfuhr son retired from racing with 11 wins eight of them in stakes, in 23 starts and earnings of $2.5 million.

Fillies and Mares will be represented on this year’s roster by Apelia, Ginger Gold and One for Rose.

Apelia, a splendid sprinter owned by Steve Stavro’s Knob Hill Stables was conditioned and ridden by Hall of Famers Phil England and Larry Attard respectively. She won stakes in New York, Kentucky and New Jersey and is the dam of champion mare Saorise.

Ginger Gold, Canada’s champion two-year-old filly in 2001, a homebred for the Jim Dandy Stable of Mel Lawson, honoured CHRHF member. Under the tutelage of 2013 CHRHF Inductee Sid Attard the mare earned over $1 million during her Canadian based career.

Three time Canadian champion filly or mare One For Rose was bred by John Sikura’s Hill ‘N’ Dale Farm, and owned by the Tucci Stables of Toronto. During her lengthy career, the popular fan favorite was trained by Hall of Famer Sid Attard, before being sold to Japanese breeding interests and producing her first stakes winner.

Stewart Elliott, Richard Grubb and Robert Landry have been selected to appear on the Jockeys/Trainers ballot.

Toronto-born jockey Stewart Elliott partnered with 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner ‘Smarty Jones’ to make headlines around the world. During a career of over 29,000 starts, Elliott ridden horses have amassed earnings in excess of $91 million. In 2010 he was named the winner of the Avelino Gomez Award.

Richard Grubb, born in Kitchener, Ont., excelled as a champion jockey for a 20-year period from the mid-‘60s to the early ‘80s and carries with him the stat of winning the first race he ever rode as a professional. Significant mounts include Overskate, Vice-Regal, LaPrevoyante and Dancer’s Image.

Named Canada’s outstanding jockey in 1993 and 1994, Robert Landry’s stats over a 29-year riding career include 17,656 mounts with purse earning of $69.7 million. Of note was his 1999 Atto Mile win on Quiet Resolve, also a 2014 CHRHF nominee. Landry has also made significant contributions to the promotion of racing.

Election Committee members will select between Thoroughbred Builders W. D. Graham, Pierre-Louis Levesque, and Arthur W. Stollery.

W. ‘Bill’ D. Graham has been an integral participant in the horse racing industry for almost half a century as an outstanding breeder, owner and racing executive. He is the owner of Windhaven Farms which operates in both Caledon, Ont. and Lexington, KY, and has bred and raced many Sovereign Award winning horses throughout his career.

Highly successful owner, breeder, and racetrack operator Pierre-Louis Levesque of Carignan, QC has spent much of his career working behind the scenes in the racing industry. A founder of the Thoroughbred Jockey Club of Quebec, he is viewed as an inspirational figure within the thoroughbred industry in his home province.

Arthur W. Stollery was the owner and breeder of two of Canada’s most celebrated racing stars, both CHRHF inductees: Kennedy Road, named after the location of his Unionville based Angus Glen Farms and Laurie’s Dancer named after Stollery’s daughter Laurie. Both horses were products of his first year of his breeding operation and achieved significant wins in both Canada and the US.

The Veteran Horse category will be contested by Cool Mood, Not Too Shy and Ruling Angel.

Cool Mood, the 1969 Canadian Oaks winner owned by Kinghaven Farms, was one of Canada’s most influential broodmares. The Northern Dancer daughter is the grand-dam of such horses as Touch Gold.

Three-time Canadian champion filly or mare Not Too Shy was owned and bred by Conn Smythe, an honoured member of the CHRHOF is a daughter of Neartic

A homebred for the renowned Sam Son Farm, Ruling Angel was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 1986.

Roger Laurin, Horatio Luro and Maurice Zilber are this year’s nominees in the Veteran People category.

Roger Laurin, the Montreal-born trainer, garnered success at prominent racing stables most notably in the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s working for the likes of Penny Chenery and Ogden Phipps training such horses as Riva Ridge and Numbered Account.

Argentine-born trainer Horatio Luro, nicknamed ‘El Gran Senor’ was hired by E.P. Taylor to run his Windfields Farm operation and was best known in Canada for training ‘Northern Dancer’ in 1964, 50 years ago. In a career that spanned 48 years, Luro trained 43 Stakes winners and three times, Luro-trained horses won the Queen’s Plate.

French-based trainer Maurice Zilber was acclaimed in Canada and elsewhere for his work with racing stars ‘Dahlia’ and ‘Exceller’ among others. In total Zilber trained horses who won the Canadian International a record-tying three times.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame 2014 Induction Ceremony will be hosted at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.

Additional information about the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame may be found at www.canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com.

(Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)
(Standardbred Canada)

Adjustment To Woodbine Qualifiers

The Woodbine Entertainment Group has announced that it has made an adjustment to this week’s qualifying session.

Due to the high demand of qualifiers this week, Woodbine Racetrack will host qualifying sessions on both Friday and Saturday, beginning at 4 p.m.

Five qualifiers on the pace will take place on Friday, while a quartet of qualifiers on the trot will be featured on Saturday.

(WEG)

Darryl Kaplan of Trot Magazine Interviews Kathleen Wynne

Upcoming Stakes Events at WEG Tracks

APRIL

Blossom - Friday, April 11
3YO F Pace FINAL - $30,000

Don Mills - Saturday, April 12
4&5YO Open Trot Leg 1 - $18,000

Youthful - Monday, April 14
3YO C&G Pace FINAL - $30,000

Lifetime Dream - Monday, April 14
4&5YO Mare Trot Leg 2 - $18,000

Celias Counsel - Thursday, April 17
3YO F Trot Leg 1 - $15,000

Don Mills - Saturday, April 19
4&5YO Open Trot Leg 2 - $18,000

Lifetime Dream - Monday, April 21
4&5YO Mare Trot FINAL - $40,000

Tie Silk - Monday, April 21
3YO C&G Trot Leg 1 - $15,000

Celias Counsel - Thursday, April 24
3YO F Trot Leg 2 - $15,000

Princess - Friday, April 25
3YO F Pace Leg 1 - $20,000

The Diplomat - Saturday, April 26
3YO C&G Pace - Leg 1 - $20,000

Don Mills - Saturday, April 26
4&5YO Open Trot FINAL - $40,000

Tie Silk - Monday, April 28
3YO C&G Trot Leg 2 - $15,000

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