Dresden, Fort Erie Deals Reached

The Ontario government today announced two new agreements-in-principle, aimed at bolstering the horse racing industry in the province, noting that discussions are ongoing with other racetracks.

According to the release, issued on Friday, Fort Erie and Dresden race tracks have elected to receive additional financial support for horse racing operations, but declined to accept slots at those facilities.

Earlier in the week, the government had announced agreements to ensure that slot operations will continue at both Kawartha Downs and Ajax Downs.

The release, from the Ministry of Finance, in its entirety, appears below:

The Government for the People has kept a commitment to bolster support for Ontario's horse racing industry.

This repairs the damage done by the previous Liberal government when it cancelled the slots at racetracks program.

Agreements in principle have now been reached to keep slots operating at Kawartha Downs and Ajax Downs, and to provide additional funding to continue horse racing in Fort Erie and Dresden.

"This is another promise made, promise kept," said Finance Minister Vic Fedeli.

"We worked with our partners in the horse racing industry, and have agreed on packages which include funding and/or slots at racetracks. These packages are designed to directly support the horse racing industry and rural communities."

Ajax Downs will continue to have slots which will provide additional financial support to continue quarter-horse racing in Durham Region.

Fort Erie and Dresden race tracks elected to receive additional financial support for horse racing operations, but declined to accept slots at those facilities.

Discussions are ongoing with other racetracks in Ontario.

Quick Facts

• In May 2018, a new long-term funding agreement for the horse-racing sector was signed between the industry and OLG. The agreement includes funding for racetracks operations and purse support for horse people up to $105M per year for 19 years.

• The signatories of the long-term funding agreement (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), Ontario Racing, Woodbine Entertainment Group and Ontario Racing Management Inc.) executed the agreement May 7, 2018. The agreement will come into effect on April 1, 2019.


Agreed Paul, unfortunately you can't undo all the damages the Liberals inflicted on the industry but this is a good start.

I would assume as an industry we are to be thankful for the efforts being put forth by the new government. There definetly seems to be an effort being put forward with some obvious good faith at hand. However unless the purse structures increase, more tracks is not the answer. Each track needs more funding. Or reduce the number of tracks and divide the pie up into bigger pieces. Racing for $35,000 cards is just not going to cut it. Keeping tracks open with the reduced purses is not close to repairing what the previous government has done. Our share of the slot revenue has been drastically reduced that it is not feasible to race horses other than at Mohawk.
Ontario will become the minor leagues for the US market as they will buy our horses because they have a market that is flourishing (by copying our originally successful program) and we will be sellers not being able to keep horses while trying to justify the returns versus the expenses. Until the purses are increased again, we will continue to have horse shortages as Canadian owners will be selling to the US owners or Canadian owners will move their horses to the US tracks to race for more money.

The horsemen and women of Ontario should be very grateful to the PC Party of Ontario and Premier Doug Ford for attempting to repair the immeasurable damage the previous liberal gov't did to the industry in Ontario.