September 26, 2016

Welcome to Ontario Racing’s new newsletter

July 25, 2016


We are a new industry association for horse racing in Ontario. For the first time, the industry – through OR– will direct horse racing in the province, working in partnership with OLG, the AGCO and the provincial government.

What is Ontario Racing?

Are you confused about who we are? Here’s who we’re not: we’re not government. We’re not the ORC or OHRIA. We are an industry association, responsible and accountable to the horse racing industry.Ontario Racing is responsible for directing breed improvement programs, setting an annual program of purses and races, attracting new horse owners, growing the fan base, and connecting the industry with government and the general public.We’ve just hired our new Executive Director: Rob Cook. You can learn more about him here. We’re excited to have Rob on board as our leader: he joins us with a wealth of experience in the leadership of industry associations, and he’s got the skills that Ontario Racing needs to become an authoritative voice for the horse racing industry in Ontario.Rob joins Gabrielle Gallant, director of communications and stakeholder relations, and Leslie Campbell, director of finance and administration, on OR’s leadership team. As we continue to build management capacity, we will focus on professionals with expertise in communications, policy, advocacy and finance.We’re looking forward to getting to know you better.




What have you done for us lately?

Ontario Racing formed on April 1st. We’re the successor to OHRIA, and we’re committed to building new relationships and new ways of doing business.

Queen’s Park Advocacy Day

One of our first key engagements was an advocacy day at Queen’s Park.  We presented OR to decision makers, MPPs, Ministers and key staff members – letting them know that the racing industry is ready to be a professional and effective partner to government. We also spoke to each and every one we met about the need for the government to deliver on their 2016 Budget promise, to engage the industry in a long term funding agreement.This event was an enormous success. We met with 17 MPPs and Ministers, and hosted a reception that was standing room only – attended by almost 200 people! Ontario Racing made a splash at Queen’s Park, and our message was heard loud and clear.

Horse Improvement Program

Did you know that Ontario Racing administers the Horse Improvement Program?

Standarbred Improvement Program (SIP) offers incentives for the breeding and ownership of Standardbred racehorses in Ontario, through the Ontario Sires Stakes Program (OSS) and the Ontario Resident Mare Program (ORMP).

The Thoroughbred Improvement Program (TIP) offers incentives for the breeding and ownership of Thoroughbred racehorses in Ontario. The incentives and rewards to breeders and owners of Ontario Sired and Ontario Bred horses are available through purse bonuses, awards for breeders, purse supplements, restricted overnight racing and a sales stakes program.

The Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program (QHRIDP) was developed with a multi-year strategy to build a strong, sustainable Quarter Horse racing and breeding industry in Ontario. We support a breeding program, a racing program and an industry development program.

Ontario Sires Stakes

The 2016 OSS season is now underway with the first event contested at the Raceway at Western Fair District on Friday, May 27th. Three divisions of the 3-year-old colt pacers competed in three $70,000 Gold divisions. Thirty-nine more Gold Leg events, as well as forty-eight Grassroots events, will take place at tracks across the Province between now and October 15th, when the season ending Gold Super Finals will take place at Mohawk Racetrack.

Jackie Warner has been on the road all summer so far – you can find her promoting the Ontario Sires Stakes program at tracks across the province. She engages race fans and builds awareness for the OSS program; her “Be a Winner” program is always popular. You can also spot her at all the major sales across Canada and the US: singing the praises of our elite Ontario-sired and Ontario-bred horses.

Ontario Racing / OLG Sponsored Race Days

OLG and Ontario Racing have partnered to sponsor races at every track across the province, this summer. This partnership is part of our efforts to build awareness about Ontario Racing, and part of the OLG’s commitment to be a strong supporter for the racing industry.

Sponsorship of CTHS Awards

Ontario Racing was so proud to sponsor the breeder of the year award this year. Congratulations again to Mr Ivan Dalos.

Industry engagement on social media

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see how we highlight the hardworking horse professionals in Ontario through our two popular feature series: “The Horse That Changed My Life” and “5 Things That You Need to Know About…”




Coming Up Grand River: Industry Day

The OR team will be active on the backstretch, talking to race participants about who we are and what we do. We’ll also have an exhibit on the frontside, engaging with race fans in the tarmac area. Industry Day is always a hit – we’re looking forward to heading out there on August 1st.

Canadian Millions Sales Stakes Day

OR is looking forward to Woodbine’s big thoroughbred sale day. We’ll be there on Stakes Day, on August 31, and look for us on Sales Day on September 1 in the pavilion.

Awareness Campaign

Keep your eyes peeled in race programs, race offices and industry media outlets for more information about Ontario Racing.




Here’s how to reach us:
Jackie Warner – Programs, Marketing and Industry Development, 416 579 1873
Karen Hauver – Ontario Sires Stakes Program Administrator, 519 369 3545
Kathie Wilkinson –  Program Coordinator, Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development, 416 477 5529
Jeff Johntson – Financial Analyst, 416 577 4431
Gabrielle Gallant – Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations, 416 895 5716
Leslie Campbell – Director of Finance and Administration, 416 477 5532
Rob Cook – Executive Director, 416 477 5517




Tell Your Friends

We’re working to build our mailing list, so that we can keep the racing industry up to date on our work. Please share this newsletter with your friends, and encourage them to sign up by emailing us at


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Ontario Racing Hires New Executive Director

July 13, 2016 – Ontario’s new industry association for horse racing continues to build capacity.

Horse racing industry association Ontario Racing (OR) is proud to announce that their new Executive Director is in place. Rob Cook joins Ontario Racing with a wealth of experience in the leadership of industry associations. With the appointment of Mr Cook, Ontario Racing is continuing to build organizational capacity as they work to represent Ontario’s racing industry with a credible and professional voice.
Most recently the CEO of the Ontario Waste Management Association, Mr Cook has also served as president of the Aggregate Producers Association of Ontario. “The policy landscape around horse racing in Ontario is complex, but at the heart of the industry – there are elite equine athletes and hardworking professionals, and that’s what made this role a compelling opportunity,” said Mr Cook. “Horse racing is part of the economic and cultural fabric of Ontario, I’m looking forward to playing my part in moving the industry forward to a thriving and sustainable future.”
Mr Cook joins Gabrielle Gallant, Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations, and Leslie Campbell, Director of Finance and Administration, on OR’s executive team.
OR is committed to building new relationships, and new ways of doing things, as they assume responsibility for directing breed improvement programs, setting the racing program and purses, growing the fan base, and interacting with the government and racing enthusiasts.
For more information:
Media inquires:
Gabrielle Gallant
Phone: 416 895 5716
Twitter: @ontracing

Ontarians Favour Maintaining Exisiting Slots At Racetracks Program, Forum Poll shows

Nearly three-quarters of Ontarians say they approve of the ‘Slots at the Racetrack” program (74%), and two thirds approve of the specific terms of the deal OLG has with Ontario’s horse racing tracks (61%), according to a new survey conducted by Forum Research on behalf of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association.

The vast majority say it is important that the 60,000 jobs connected to Ontario’s racing and breeding industry stay in the province (84%), and close to one third say it is “extremely important” (31%).

Most feel that the 20% of slot revenues the tracks receive is the right percentage (43%), although many think it is too low (30%).

Three-quarters of Ontarians (77%) say it is important that the jobs and revenues created by ‘Slots at the Racetrack’ be maintained, and close to one quarter say it is “extremely important” (22%)

The majority do not approve of the provincial government building more casinos (58%) and a similar proportion disapprove of a casino being built in their town (57%).

One half approve of gaming tables at racetracks (50%), and the largest group thinks the best plan for OLG is to leave slots at the racetracks and refrain from building new resort casinos. Only a small minority opt for removing slots from racetracks, either to new casinos (8%) or to purpose built slot facilities (5%).

When asked where slots should ideally be located, two thirds say “at racetracks, where they are now” (62%).

“It is clear Ontarians understand the importance of Ontario’s horse racing and breeding association and that they want their government to act to protect this industry,” said Sue Leslie, President of OHRIA. “We hope the government will commit to honouring the existing contracts through 2015 and developing a sustainable way forward for the industry so that we can continue generating more than $1.1 billion dollars per year for healthcare.”

This poll was conducted by Forum Research  for OHRIA between March 17 and March 22, 2012, on a sample of 1006 randomly selected respondents. Interviews were conducted by telephone using an RDD sample. The margin of error for a sample this size is plus or minus 3%, 19 times out of 20.