June 28, 2017

Canadian Horse Racing Celebrates 250th Anniversary From Coast To Coast

June 23, 2017 – As Canada celebrates 150 years of confederation on July 1st, Canada’s horse racing industry is recognizing an even greater milestone, the 250th Anniversary of Horse Racing in Canada with 23 racetracks in eight provinces taking part in a national celebration over the July 1st weekend.

From British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, tracks holding races between June 30th and July 2nd will raise flags, hold commemorative miles and honour the people, horses and history from their local communities to mark the 250th Anniversary. The July 1st weekend initiative is part of a year-long celebration led by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in conjunction with Standardbred Canada and Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society.

“This anniversary provides the opportunity for the entire horse racing industry across the country to speak with one voice about our incredible history,” said Linda Rainey, Managing Director of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. “There aren’t many things in our country that are 250 years old and horse racing has reached that milestone. It is a story anyone who has ever been involved with horse racing can be proud of.”

It all began, July 1, 1767, exactly 100 years before our country’s confederation, when a race took place on The Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. The Gazette de Quebec recounted the race as follows:

“The horse race for a purse of forty dollars was held on Wednesday, first of the month, on the Hill of Abraham. It was easily won by Captain Prescott’s mare Modesty, much to the discomfiture of those who, purporting to know about such things, had wagered against her and were thereby parted from their money.”

From that day forward horse racing has been part of the fabric of the country. From coast to coast, generation after generation, people from all walks of life have participated in and enjoyed the sport, whether on grass-root tracks, agricultural fairs, on frozen rivers dotting the countryside, or in today’s modern facilities.

Earlier this year a national initiative was launched to complete “250 Miles for 250 Years”, with a goal of accumulating 250 commemorative miles honouring the communities, horses and people who have participated in the sport over the past 250 years. Many of those commemorative miles will be held over this official anniversary weekend.

Everyone attending the celebrations is encouraged to share their experience via social media using the #cdnhorseracing250

Participating tracks include:

Century Downs (July 1)
Millerville (July 1)
Northlands Park – Edmonton (July 1)

British Columbia
Hastings Racecourse – Vancouver (July 1)

Assiniboia Downs – Winnipeg (July 1)

New Brunswick
Exhibition Park Raceway – Saint John (July 1)

Nova Scotia
Inverness Raceway (July 2)
Northside Downs – North Sydney (July 1)
Truro Raceway (June 30)

Clinton Raceway (July 2)
Dresden Raceway (July 1)
Fort Erie (July 2)
Georgian Downs (July 1)
Grand River Raceway (June 30)
Hanover Raceway (July 1)
Hiawatha Horse Park – Sarnia (July 1)
Kawartha Downs (July 1)
Mohawk Racetrack (July 1)
Rideau Carleton Raceway (July 2)
Woodbine Racetrack (July 1)

Prince Edward Island
Red Shores at Charlottetown (July 2)
Red Shores Summerside – (July 1)

Hippodrome 3R – Trois Rivieres (July 2)

Funding for the 250th Anniversary of Horse Racing in Canada initiatives has been provided by: Standardbred Canada, Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, HBPA Ontario, Central Ontario Standardbred Association, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Alberta Standardbred Horse Association, Harness Racing BC, The Jockey Club as well as individual donations. To support the 250th Anniversary Fund visit the Hall of Fame’s Sponsorships and Donations page.

For additional information about the 250th Anniversary of Horse Racing in Canada and the celebrations planned go to canadianhorseracinghalloffame.com or via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and use the #cdnhorseracing250 hashtag.

Clarke Announces Retirement

June 21, 2017 – After more than 30 years of tireless work in the Ontario harness racing industry, Dr. Ted Clarke is retiring from his post as the General Manager of Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ont.

Clarke will continue in his role until the end of September 2017. The Grand River Agricultural Society (owner/operator of Grand River Raceway) will hire a new Director Of Operations and the search will begin within the next month.

Recognized by his peers as an innovator in the horse racing industry and highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke’s strong and steady leadership established Grand River Raceway in 2003 and its reputation as an award-winning racing and entertainment destination.

Before Grand River Raceway, the retired veterinarian led numerous initiatives to put the track’s predecessor, Elmira Raceway, on the path to stability, including the inauguration of its Industry Day Celebration, the Battle of Waterloo (a race for Ontario-sired horses), and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network.

In 2014, Clarke was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame in the Builder’s Category.

“We are in a time of significant change that will demand commitment and the flexibility to develop new solutions to the challenges that come with change,” Clarke explained. “I will be 70 in July and to be frank, it’s time for someone more prepared to make the necessary commitment to lead the Grand River Agricultural Society and the Grand River Raceway into the future.

“I have been blessed with the loyalty and support of an outstanding group of co-workers at the racetrack — some since the days of Elmira Raceway. The Board of the Grand River Agricultural Society has supported me through good times and bad, and I must say a special thanks to those present and former board members who carried the load of moving the Raceway from Elmira to Elora.

“To the horsemen and horsewomen who have supported Grand River with entries, ideas, participation in our promotional events, been goodwill ambassadors, and provided much needed constructive criticism, I say a heartfelt thanks.

“I must acknowledge the significant role of the regulators who supported the change to common pool wagering on simulcast signals, a teletheatre network, and mixing of live racing with a simulcast signal, all of which kept racing alive in Elmira in the 1990s.

“Finally, I am most grateful for the continuing support of our customers, and for their advice,” said Clarke.

Under Clarke’s direction, Grand River Raceway has won several awards, including last year’s prestigious Business Excellence Award for Hospitality & Tourism from the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Of Commerce.

“Ted has been at the helm of the success of our operations, both past and present, for nearly three decades,” said Paul Walker, President of the Grand River Agricultural Society. “Through thick and thin, he has remained committed to our organization and the Ontario horse racing industry as a whole. He’s a visionary and a thoughtful advocate, and we have all benefited from his fierce loyalty,” said Walker.

“Ted’s contributions to our business and the greater community are vast and unrivalled. The impact of his efforts will continue to shape our success far into his well-deserved retirement.”

(Grand River Raceway)

O’Donnell, Campbell To Bow Out Together

June 21, 2017 – They once dominated harness racing like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson did basketball and Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux ruled hockey.

Now Hall of Famers Bill O’Donnell and John Campbell will both hang up their colours for good after a final drive against each other on July 30 in the $15,000 Legends Day Trot at Clinton Raceway.

O’Donnell said it was an idea first hatched in Las Vegas in February during the Dan Patch Awards honouring the best in the sport in the United States from the previous year.

“We were down in Vegas for the Dan Patch. John and I and Dave Miller were standing there and John said, ‘Dave’s coming to Legends Day’ and I said, ‘Good, he can take my place.’ I don’t want to (drive) anymore…’ So John said, ‘Let’s do it together, our last drives,’” O’Donnell said.

Considering O’Donnell has only had a handful of drives in the last five years — most of those for fan events — he said he isn’t bothered by the fact Campbell, who is still driving regularly, is getting most of the attention for making his last drive at Clinton.

John Campbell (left), Clint Galbraith (middle) and Bill O’Donnell (right) at Clinton Raceway during 2013 Legends Day festivities (Photo courtesy Norm Files)

“I don’t mind it. I made $98 million on (Campbell’s) coattails,” O’Donnell said, laughing, adding that he’s been trying to officially call it quits for a few years and came close in 2013 after winning the $10,000 Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry Memorial Trot for Hall of Fame drivers at the Goshen, NY Historic Track that is located behind the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame.

“After I won there that one year I said, ‘That’s it, I’m all done,’ but then they call because they have trouble getting eight guys (for the race). (Museum trustee) Ebby Gerry has called and it’s hard to say no to him, but I’ll break it to him this year (at Goshen) that this is it,” O’Donnell said.

In the 1980s, when the sport was flourishing at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey and the concept of hired-gun catch-drivers was in its infancy, O’Donnell and Campbell battled at the top of the sport like few drivers had before them and few have since. It was during that era that O’Donnell earned the nickname ‘The Magic Man’ for his wizardry in the race bike.

“Billy at his best was better than any driver I have ever seen,” Campbell said in 2001, the year Legends Day debuted. Legends Day, which this year is raising money for the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation, has been held every two years since and will celebrate its ninth edition this year. O’Donnell has never missed it.

“It’s just refreshing to see everyone is there for harness racing. These are fans,” O’Donnell said of Legends Day. “It’s a great day. You get to see people you haven’t seen for a long time.”

O’Donnell, 69, has 5,743 career wins and has earned $99 million on the track. He is one of eight of the world’s greatest harness drivers contesting the Legends Day Trot on the card along with Campbell (11,049 career wins and $303 million), Ron Waples (6,923 wins, $75 million), David Miller (12,100 wins, $215 million), Mike Lachance (10,421, $190 million), Steve Condren (6,845, $114 million), Dave Wall (7,200, $60 million) and Doug Brown (8,427, $89 million).

Combined, the eight legends have earned over $1.15 billion and won nearly 69,000 races.

Fellow legends Bud Fritz and 93-year-old Keith Waples — both of whom are retired from driving — will also be on hand for an autograph session.

O’Donnell said it’s nice the legends get along so well off the track.

“We’ve always been comrades. The racing was competitive on the track, but we all get along, pretty much, in that age group,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell was inducted into the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1990 — the same year Campbell was also enshrined in Goshen, NY — Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1996.

He was born in Springhill, NS, a mining town of some 5,000 that is also the birthplace of Canada’s ‘Songbird,’ Anne Murray.

O’Donnell’s father, Henry — better known as ‘Henny’ — was a coal miner and a part-time horseman. In 1958, when Bill was 10, the Springhill Mine Disaster claimed the life of 75 men and led to the closure of the mine. That forced Henny to transfer to a mine in Cape Breton. Though the family moved, they still stayed in harness racing game.

Bill was exposed to the horses by his father and his uncle, Art Porter, from whom Bill took his blue, orange and white colours.

In the summer of 1965, when he was 17, Bill moved to Toronto and worked as a groom for Ron Feagan. He went home to Nova Scotia for the school year before returning to Toronto in the summer of 1966 to work for Bill Wellwood. In 1967, O’Donnell went back to Nova Scotia, worked there a few years and then headed for New England as an assistant trainer for New Brunswick native and former Legends Day honouree Jim Doherty, who passed away in 2015.

Bill stayed in New England for seven or eight years before poor purses forced him to pack up and move to Saratoga in New York. Only a few years passed before Bill moved to the Meadowlands in 1980. He stayed for two decades.

Aug. 16, 1984, still stands as Bill’s single greatest day in the business. That morning he set a world record driving trotting filly Fancy Crown at Springfield, IL. Then Bill hopped on a plane back to Jersey where he won the Woodrow Wilson with Nihilator for a purse of over $2.16 million, to this day still the richest harness purse in history. To top it off, he also won three of the four sizable Wilson consolation events.

The win with Nihilator is widely considered the key moment harness racing changed from a sport of trainer/drivers to one in which trainers hired catch-drivers better skilled at getting the most out of horses. Legendary horseman Billy Haughton took himself off Nihilator — arguably his greatest horse — because he thought Bill O’Donnell would have more success.

That same year, Bill set a record for driver earnings of $9,059,184. The next year, Bill became the sport’s first $10 million man while driving both Nihilator and three-year-old champion colt trotter Prakas to single-season money-winning records. Prakas won The Hambletonian. Nihilator was the U.S. Horse of the Year. The brilliant son of Niatross won 23 of 25 starts, capturing every major stake offered and setting a then world record of 1:49.3 score at The Meadowlands.

Bill earned the reputation of excelling with trotters, even though he drove the fastest pacer ever – Cambest – in a 1:46.1 time trial in 1993 that stood for 23 years as the sport’s fastest mile until broken by Always B Miki in 2016.

Among the numerous horse of the year or divisional champions that Bill steered to victory are Little Brown Jug and Cane Pace champion Barberry Spur; Governor’s Cup and Presidential Pace winner Redskin; Camtastic, Valley Victory, Sweet Reflection, Cayster, Delinquent Account and Canadian Pacing Derby winners Artsplace and Staying Together, who also won the Breeders Crown.

Bill said fans at Clinton Raceway often ask him about the horses he’s driven and Staying Together, owned by Robert Hamather of nearby Exeter, Ont. comes up more than most.

Today, Bill lives in Guelph, Ont. and is the president of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association that represents the horsepeople racing on the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit.

He said he is honoured to hang up his colours at Clinton and be there when Campbell does the same.

“I think it will be a big deal,” Bill said. “That’s where John started. That’s his area.”

(Clinton Raceway)

Hall Of Fame Induction Gala Details

June 21, 2017 – The 41st Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala Fundraising Dinner on August 9 promises to be an extra special evening of celebration as 10 new members will join the best of Canadian horse racing.

The evening will also celebrate the 250th Anniversary of Horse Racing in Canada, including a nod to 2017 Legends Honouree Modesty, the horse who won the first race on record, July 1, 1767 on the Plains of Abraham.

The gala will include the induction of Standardbred honourees Blair Burgess, Dr. Gordon Gilbertson, Elegantimage, Happy Lady and Mach Three as well as Thoroughbred honourees, Harold Barroby, Eugene Melnyk, Curtis Stock, Quiet Resolve and South Ocean.

Held at the Mississauga Convention Centre, co-hosting duties will be shared by Jim Bannon, CHRHF member and Woodbine Entertainment Group Thoroughbred Racing Analyst along with Greg Blanchard, racing commentator and raceway manager at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The gala event will feature a cocktail reception, a fantastic line up of silent and live auction items, a four-course gourmet dinner and the induction ceremony.

The CHRHF Planning Committee, under the leadership of Auction Chair Pam Frostad, is putting together an impressive list of live and silent auction items, including sporting event tickets, racing related memorabilia and other surprises. Auction donations are welcomed and appreciated. All proceeds from the auction will go directly toward helping the Hall of Fame recognize the achievements of those that have built and established the roots of horse racing in Canada.

The reception and silent auction will commence at 5:30 p.m., followed by a four-course dinner, live auction and induction ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $175 per person, with a charitable receipt for $50 per ticket or $1,700 for a table sponsorship which includes eight tickets, a $300 donation to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and a total of $700 charitable receipts. Tickets may be purchased by visiting the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame Online Store here or by contacting Linda Rainey at 416-417-9404 or linda.rainey@horseracinghalloffame.com.

Opportunities to advertise in the souvenir induction program, event sponsorship packages and auction contributions are also available.

Henry Dominates Monday Card

June 19, 2017 – Carrying momentum over from last week, Trevor Henry posted five driving victories on Monday evening’s 10-race card at Mohawk Racetrack.

The Arthur, Ontario resident led all Mohawk drivers during the week of June 11-17 with eight victories and is well on his way to another strong week after his five-win night Monday.

Henry started things off by capturing the first-race with four-year-old pacing mare Wild Dorothy at odds of 12-1 for trainer Matt Harvey. His second victory was registered in the third-race with Kyle Reibeling’s three-year-old trotter Yo Yo Mass at 4-1.

Continuing with the trend of winning the odd number races, Henry scored victories in the fifth-race with Jamie Copley trainee and five-year-old pacer Sports Lightning and the seventh-race with Victor Puddy-trained four-year-old pacer Bank Shot Hanover.

Henry completed his five-win evening in the ninth-race by guiding Puddy trainee and six-year-old pacer Next Thing Smoken to a blowout victory.

While young guns Louis Philippe Roy and Doug McNair have been dominating the driver standings this season, Henry has led all drivers during the last month at Mohawk with 31 wins since May 19.

Roy, who was held winless Monday, leads all Mohawk drivers with 59 victories, while Henry now sits second with 46 wins. McNair holds the third spot with 42.

Live racing continues Tuesday night at Mohawk. Post time is 7:30 p.m.


To view results for Monday’s card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Mohawk Racetrack.

For the official judges’ report from Monday’s card, click the following link: Judges’ Report – Mohawk – June 19.

Breeders’ Lawsuit Hearing Monday

June 19, 2017 – Court proceedings took place on Monday, June 19 in Guelph, Ont., as the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. were looking to have summonses for 13 witnesses – including Don Drummond, Dwight Duncan, Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne – quashed.

The proceedings are part of the civil lawsuit that a group of provincial breeders have brought against the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. The lawsuit is in regard to the cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks Program back in 2012.

An article on the situation by the Toronto Star has quoted the breeders’ lawyer, Jonathan Lisus, as saying, “The evidence shows that these are the folks who are the only ones who can bring any level of transparency to the decision that was made and imposed in 2012.

“They were directly and personally involved in the decision, its implementation and the response to the harm that was caused.”

Ministry of the Attorney General spokesman Emilie Smith provided a written statement to The Star which states that, “Ontario has brought a summary judgment motion (to proceed in Superior Court) to have the action dismissed on the basis that it does not raise a genuine issue for trial.”

Smith went on to say that, “After Ontario confirmed that it would be bringing a summary judgment motion, the plaintiffs served 15 summonses to witness.”

Smith furthered, saying, “Ontario has brought a motion to quash 13 of the 15 summonses on the basis that the evidence of the summonsed witnesses is not relevant to the summary judgment motion and that the summonses are an abuse of process.”

(With files from the Toronto Star)

Fear The Dragon Wins 2017 Pepsi North America Cup

June 17, 2017 – Following a stretch battle of the elimination winners, Fear The Dragon prevailed in 1:48.4 over slight favourite Huntsville with his stablemate Downbytheseaside finishing third in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday, June 17 at Mohawk Racetrack.

David Miller earned his second consecutive victory in the Cup driving the Dragon Again-Armbro Cinnamon colt for trainer Brian Brown and owner Bruce Trogdon of Emerald Highlands Farm.

Sports Column (Chris Christoforou) got the first call off the gate leaving from post five with Classic Pro (Trevor Henry) firing just to his outside. The latter cleared at the :25.2 quarter mark, but his lead was short-lived as Filibuster Hanover (Louis-Philippe Roy) rushed up from third with Downbytheseaside (Brian Sears) hot on his heels.

Downbytheseaside took over command down the backstretch, putting up a track record half-mile clocking of :52.1 and three-quarters in 1:19.3. Meanwhile, Huntsville advanced from mid-pack with Fear The Dragon tracking his cover from sixth as Filibuster Hanover broke stride in the pocket.

From there, the stretch duel developed with Downbytheseaside leading the way into the lane while Huntsville closed in and Fear The Dragon fanned wide. Huntsville and Fear The Dragon battled past Downbytheseaside in front of the grandstand and duked it out to the wire with Fear The Dragon persevering by three-quarters of a length in a career-best 1:48.4 mile.

“This is a great, great feeling,” said 52-year-old New Jersey-based driver David Miller as he headed back to the winner’s circle. “My horse was having a hard time keeping up [during the fast middle fractions]. He was gapping and I was chasing him and didn’t really get within contention there until right at the head of the stretch and then he dug, he fought. Huntsville, he kept fighting and it was a battle right to the wire.”

“I’m very proud of Downbytheseaside, Brian [Sears], [caretaker] Toni [Dale Hollar] — they went a big mile today,” noted Brown. “He went all the top fractions. David told me ‘Dragon’ was back there pacing as fast as he could go the whole way to keep up. It was incredible fractions and for that horse to still finish third and hang in there, I was very proud of him. Fear The Dragon, what can you say? He’s tough, he just never gives up. David Miller, he’s just always in the right place.”

After 15 prior appearances in the Cup, the Hall of Fame reinsman won the Canadian classic for the first time in his career last year with Betting Line and reigned again in the 34th edition tonight for Brown.

It was the first time the Ohio-based Brown, 52, had a three-year-old colt in the North America Cup and the 1-3 finish in the final after winning two of the three eliminations left him at a loss for words when asked to describe the feeling.

“It’s unexplainable,” said Brown on winning the million-dollar race. “You’d have to ask the guys that win these races regularly. This is my first time. I don’t know what to say. It’s incredible that we’re even here with two horses. To come away with a win, it’s just something that’s unexplainable.”

The victory was also the first in the Cup for owner Trogdon, a longtime newspaper publisher who started building Emerald Highlands Farm in 1982. Emerald Highlands purchased the broodmare Armbro Cinnamon from the Peretti Farms dispersal at the Harrisburg Sale in 2013 for $15,000 in foal to Dragon Again and Fear The Dragon was born, raised and broke to jog at the Mount Vernon, Ohio farm.

Fear The Dragon paid $4.90 to win as the 9-5 second choice to 4-5 favourite Huntsville. Downbytheseaside finished three and three-quarter lengths behind in third at odds of 5-1. Completing the order of finish were: Classic Pro, Western Hill (Doug McNair), Sports Column, Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley), Filibuster Hanover, Ozone Blue Chip (Brett Miller), and Ocean Colony (Yannick Gingras).

During his freshman campaign, Fear The Dragon earned five wins, three second-place finishes and two thirds from 11 starts while banking $228,391. His success at two, including victories in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, Arden Stakes and Elevation, made him a top five contender to win the North America Cup heading into the season in Trot Magazine‘s annual Spring Book rankings.

Fear The Dragon is now undefeated in six starts this year with his seasonal earnings swelling to $597,453. He won his North America Cup elimination in 1:50 despite tripping on a head number in the stretch last weekend at Mohawk. Prior to that, he started his sophomore season in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes earning two of three wins in sub-1:50 fashion.

Click here for complete coverage of the Pepsi North America Cup undercard, including recaps and replays of the $75,000 Cup Consolation, the $440,000 Fan Hanover Stakes (for three-year-old pacing fillies), $365,000 Roses Are Red Stakes (pacing mares), $253,000 Armbro Flight Stakes (trotting mares), $251,000 Goodtimes Stakes (three-year-old trotting colts), and $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup (invitational pacers).

NA Cup Event Details Released

June 15, 2017 – Mohawk Racetrack has released admission, entrance and event details for Saturday’s $1 million Pepsi North America Cup.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids (ages 12-17) and children under 12 are free.

Tickets will be on-sale beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and doors will open at 4 p.m.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the main entrance and east gate entrance using cash, credit or debit. To avoid line-ups, fans are urged to purchase their tickets in advance through TicketMaster.

A will-call table will be set up outside the main entrance for guests with reservations in the Terrace Dining Room and Lounge. Signage will be posted to direct guests with reservations to will-call.

The pre-race concert with Kira Isabella will begin at 5 p.m. The rising country star will also be performing the national anthems at 6:15 p.m. Jojo Mason will take the stage at approximately 7 p.m. and will be performing between races.

Post time for Saturday’s 15-race card is 6:30 p.m.

There will also be several special food and drink options for fans to enjoy. A beer tent will be set up in the concert area (at the east end), while Woodbine’s brand-new food truck will also be on-site

The popular ‘First Bet on Us’ promotion is back and the first 2,500 fans to sign up will receive a 2017 Pepsi North America Cup hat.

The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup has been carded as Race 12 and will head postward at approximately 10:40 p.m.

The $100,000 All-Stakes Pick-4 starts in Race 9 and features the Fan Hanover, Goodtimes, Roses Are Red and Pepsi North America Cup.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit northamericacup.com


Retention-Area Towel Pilot Approved

June 15, 2017 – On Thursday, June 15, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency issued a memo to horsepeople competing on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit stating that a proposed pilot project in regard to the stocking of clean towels in the retention areas of Woodbine and Mohawk Racetrack has been approved.

The contents of the CPMA’s release on the subject appear below.

Horsepersons at Mohawk Raceway and Woodbine Racetrack (Harness).

Approval of a proposal by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association to stock clean towels in the retention area at Mohawk Raceway and Woodbine Racetrack (Harness).

The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) has approved a pilot project proposed by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) whereby clean towels will be made available for horseperson’s use within the retention areas at Mohawk Raceway and Woodbine Racetrack (Harness).

This pilot program is a joint undertaking between COSA and the Woodbine Entertainment Group, the race-course association responsible for the operation of the retention areas at both race-course locations. COSA will be solely responsible for the operation of this pilot program, which may be terminated at any time.

Any questions related to this approved pilot program should be directed to the President of COSA, Mr. Bill O’Donnell at bill@cosaonline.com .

Professionnels du cheval aux hippodromes Mohawk et Woodbine (courses attelées).

Approbation d’une proposition de la Central Ontario Standardbred Association pour le stockage de serviettes propres dans les enclos des hippodromes Mohawk et Woodbine (courses attelées).

L’Agence canadienne du pari mutuel (ACPM) a approuvé un projet pilote proposé par la Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA), dans le cadre duquel des serviettes propres seront mises à la disposition des professionnels du cheval dans les enclos des hippodromes Mohawk et Woodbine (courses attelées).

Ce programme pilote est une initiative conjointe de la COSA et de Woodbine Entertainment Group, l’association de course responsable de l’utilisation des enclos des deux hippodromes. La COSA aura l’entière responsabilité d’administrer ce programme pilote qui peut prendre fin en tout temps.

Pour toute question concernant ce programme pilote approuvé, vous devez communiquer avec M. Bill O’Donnell, président de la COSA, par courriel à bill@cosaonline.com.

Ruling On Revenue Allocation

June 14, 2017 – On Thursday, June 8, the final decision of a panel of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) was released regarding an appeal by the Ontario Harness Horse Association against an earlier decision of the ORC Executive Director to allocate the Standardbred Revenue Allocation marketing funds, being held in trust by the Woodbine Entertainment Group and as of November 21, 2015, to both the Ontario Harness Horse Association and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association.

The ORC’s panel denied the appeal, and decided that the Standardbred Revenue Allocation (SRA) marketing funds (the SRA funds), being in the amount of $2,125,827.00 as of November 21, 2015, are to be allocated to two horsepersons’ associations, namely, the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA).

The allocation of the SRA funds will be as follows:

(i) to OHHA, a total of $515,172.41; and,

(ii) to COSA, a total of $1,610,654.59.

The allocation of funds was contingent on several conditions, including that the two associations must use the SRA funds only for “an industry marketing program, to market and promote Standardbred racing in this province,” in accordance with the “Business Plan to Support the Reduction in Pari-Mutuel Taxes,” Section A, 4.2.2, dated June 10, 1996, as amended September 15, 1996. And, further, the SRA funds shall not be used for any local association branding, or marketing outside of the Province of Ontario. The associations must also “provide evidence, on an annual basis, through written documentation” to the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, that the SRA funds have been spent for the purposes.

In a press release, Ontario Racing (OR) announced that it supports this decision, and believes it reflects major horse racing industry changes, as noted by the ORC’s decision. The approved use of marketing funds reflects the intent of the 1996 PMTR M.O.U., and will support the best interests of horse racing in Ontario, as well as be in the best public interest by ensuring value for money and strong accountability measures for the use of the SRA funds.

A full copy of the panel’s decision can be found here.

(With files from Ontario Racing)