Alliance Tracks Close To Deal
Published: February 20, 2014 9:24 am ET
Last Comment: February 20, 2014 12:16 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
"This is a unique-in-the-world agreement between eight tracks to share resources, coordinate schedules, to provide a consistent level of racing and purses year-round to the benefit of both the horsepersons of Ontario and also for the horseplayers, so that we'll be able to put a signal out around the world that's consistent good quality racing and a great product for people to wager on."
In an update posted to OHRIA's website late Wednesday, Norm Borg caught up with Ontario Horse Racing's John Snobelen and OHRIA's President Sue Leslie. The interview discussed all breeds and provided updates for thoroughbred racing at Fort Erie and Woodbine as well as quarter-horse racing at Ajax Downs.
The interview also discussed the Standardbred Alliance racetracks -- Clinton Raceway, Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway, Hanover Raceway, Mohawk Racetrack, The District at Western Fair Raceway and Woodbine Racetrack. Snobelen noted that a letter would be going to the Premier's office within "the next 24 hours" indicating that these tracks have reached an agreement in principle that would provide an unparalleled cohesive unit and circuit of harness racing.
UPDATE: The letter was sent to the Premier's Office on Wednesday. It appears below.
"This is unique in the world. No one's been able to put that kind of cooperation together between folks that, frankly, were in competition a year ago. So hats off to them."
Snobelen also indicated that there will be further discussions on a regional circuit in South-Western Ontario involving Dresden Raceway, Hiawatha Horse Park and Leamington, and went on to say that discussions are still ongoing with Sudbury Downs and Rideau Carleton Raceway.
Leslie reiterated that the key for Ontario's horse racing in the post-SARP landscape is the reintegration with the OLG.
"Not only for the Woodbines of the world but for the smaller regional tracks of the world, integration is the key going forward," said Leslie. "It's virtually impossible for horse racing on its own to compete against its own government."
Snobelen continued on that point, noting that there's less resistance from the federal side -- ie., the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency -- to allow new gaming products.
"CPMA, at the end of the day, has been cooperative and helpful to us. So has OLG...over the last few months particularly, all of which began with Premier Wynne's announcement of a partnership plan.
"All of the ministries that are affected here -- federal government through the CPMA, OLG -- I think we're on the same page, I'm confident we're on the same page, and we're making some progress that needs to happen to have the security we all want for racing over the long-term in Ontario."
To listen to the full interview, click the play button below.
OHRIA Update, February 2014 - John Snobelen and Sue Leslie
Audio Format: MP3 audio
Host: Norm Borg