October 22, 2014

OHRIA Releases Task Force Plan For Horse Racing’s Future, Submits to OMAFRA Panel

The result of weeks of hard work by the OHRIA Task Force is evident with the recent release of the Plan For The Future of the Ontario Horse Racing and Breeding Industry.

To prepare the Plan, OHRIA created a Task Force and retained the highly respected, Stanley Sadinsky. The attached Plan has been approved unanimously by the OHRIA Board of Directors and is in the hands of the OMAFRA Panel for review.

OHRIA asked government to work with the industry to find a sustainable solution for Ontario horse racing moving forward in 2013 with the cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks Program. The government responded with the creation of the OMAFRA panel. This panel has met with and received submissions from hundreds of individuals in the industry and is aware that, although there are many voices, we are all singing the same tune. We are all in agreement that:

  • Horse racing supports full-time employment for thousands of Ontarians
  • Ontario horse breeders produce a product that has a local and international market
  • The horse racing industry has grown and flourished in this province and it is worth preserving.

OHRIA has taken the lead to speak with one voice on behalf of the industry, not only because this is an expectation of the government, but also because OHRIA is representative of all facets of the industry. Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse breeders, owners, trainers, industry employees and racetracks all have representation on OHRIA’s Board of Directors.

The OHRIA Task Force has given in-depth consideration to the needs of all stakeholders, but the Plan is not the final picture for Ontario. The Plan is the road map to how, in partnership with government, the industry will chart its own course into the future — building a strong racing product supported by a breeding industry that produces horses with world-wide appeal.

The Plan had to be based on some assumptions as the task force did not know where the OLG will land with future gaming. The Plan should be viewed as a frame work that does NOT try to decide who will participate and who will not.

The strength of OHRIA’s ability to work with government and the success of the Plan will hinge on a cohesive review process and the industry’s willingness to speak with one voice. OHRIA is the voice for the industry and welcomes your feedback on the Plan via email at ohria@ohria.com. OHRIA will continue to work on your behalf to ensure a sustainable future for horse racing in the province of Ontario.

The plan is available here as a PDF.

(OHRIA)