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Group Announces Plans For Proposed Essex County Racetrack

Published: January 18, 2013 11:56 am ET

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After weeks of rumblings, speculation and partial information, the group behind the push to upgrade Leamington Raceway in 2013 and ultimately bring a brand new racetrack to Essex County held a press conference at the Leamington Fairgrounds.

In what was a highly anticipated announcement, organizers behind the planned Lakeshore Horse Raceway gathered members of Essex County's mainstream media on January 17 to hear their plans. The press event was put on by the group in order to explain its vision for the eventual erection of a not-for-profit racetrack in the county. The group is looking to acquire the reportedly $4 million to $9 million in purse-pool monies which are currently sitting in financial purgatory as a result of the shuttering of the now-defunct Windsor Raceway.

The group is looking to be granted 10 live racing dates at the Leamington Fairgrounds for 2013, which, if granted, would prove to be the launching point for the group's plans. The group is looking to utilize the millions in purse monies to make necessary upgrades at the raceway in Leamington. The group is hoping that a successful year of racing at Leamington in 2013 would put them in a position to be able to follow through with its vision to build a new racetrack in Essex County's Lakeshore municipality.

"What that does is give us the ability to set up simulcasting parlours," said Standardbred Canada Director Ruleen Lilley, who was speaking on behalf of the group behind the track push. "What we would like to do is set up simulcasting of the races and develop a pool of money to (eventually) build a brand new, state-of-the-art, not-for-profit racetrack in Essex in the Lakeshore municipality."

“It can’t be a situation that was similar to Windsor Raceway where profits kept going to the board and to the owners of the racetrack,” said Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain, who is part of the group. “That money has to be turned back into making better facilities, grandstands, restaurants, whatever.”

The group's website features 10 reasons why Lakeshore is the perfect place for a new track, and also features an online petition in support of the endeavour.

In a report by the CBC, Bain has stated that the group is confident that they can make the undertaking work. The article has cited the Ontario Racing Commission as saying that if the group plans on seeing the vision become a reality, it better present a very good business model.

"We have set our entire business plan up according to the standards that they set, so I think we have an excellent chance," Bain said in the report, which also states that the group is planning on having 'instant racing' or 'historical racing' as part of its gaming offerings.

(With files from blackburnnews.com and the CBC)


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