More Support Pledged To Fire Victims
Published: January 5, 2016 4:27 pm ET
Last Comment: January 6, 2016 4:27 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
The Ontario horse racing industry is less than 24 hours removed from the most devastating barn fire in recent memory, and some of the industry’s most high profile members have announced that they are stepping up to help.
Officials with the Meadowlands Racetrack have announced that the raceway and its horsepeople are joining together this weekend (Friday and Saturday) to raise funds for the victims of the devastating fire at Classy Lane Training Centre. The track’s chairman, Jeff Gural, has announced that he will be kicking off the fundraising drive with a $10,000 donation.
In addition, harness racing’s leading trainer, Ron Burke, has pledged half of his trainer's percentage, plus five per cent of the money earned by the Burke Racing Stable at the Meadowlands this Friday and Saturday.
The partnership of Mark Weaver and Michael Bruscemi has also pledged five per cent of the earnings their horses make this weekend as well.
The Meadowlands is encouraging drivers, trainers, and owners competing this weekend to make a pledge as well. Pledge forms will be available in the Meadowlands race paddock on Friday and Saturday night. An online pledge form will be posted on the Meadowlands website for horsepeople that would like to help, but will not be attending the races this weekend. After racing is complete, the Meadowlands will collect the funds from the horsemen and donate them to the fire victims.
Trainer Tony O’Sullivan, who is perennially among the leaders in Canada’s trainer rankings, is putting out the call to all participants on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit to step up and help those affected by the tragic fire.
O’Sullivan told Trot Insider that he will be donating his five per cent training percentage from this January and February to those affected by the blaze.
“I’m stabled at Classy Lane, and (owners) Barb and Jamie are my friends, as are many others that have been truly shaken by what happened Monday night,” O’Sullivan told Trot Insider.
“You can’t even describe the looks on peoples’ faces today at Classy Lane, you just can’t,” O’Sullivan said. “What happened has truly shaken people and left them in a very, very tough position.
“Those of us that are lucky enough to race on the WEG circuit are in a position where we can really step up and help right now, and it would be great to see as many people as possible step up right now when people are truly in a time of need.”
Everybody in the horse racing industry is encouraged to donate funds to the affected horsepeople via an official GoFundMe page that has been set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association. For more on the COSA initiative, or to contact COSA, click here.
(With files from the Meadowlands)