According to Walter Parkinson, the president of the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA) and member of the newly-minted Ontario Racing Board of Directors, "I think it's important to step up and make it the best industry possible for the long term."
Parkinson, one of five Directors who represent industry associations, serves as the assistant manager of Seelster Farms in Lucan, Ont., and believes that collaboration with Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse interests in the province can yield greater success for all three breeds in the province.
“I think there’s a lot of overlapping with all three breeds, even though you might not see it on a daily basis,” Parkinson told Ontario Racing. “But it’s actually there. To be able to collaborate with one another is extremely important.”
The new Ontario Racing Board of Directors, chaired independently by John Hayes, canvasses owners and breeders of all three breeds of horses racing in the province, as well as racetrack management. In addition to collaboration with the other breeds' interest, Parkinson cites the management of the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) as another ally in strengthening the industry.
“I think it’s a well-rounded organization and I think Woodbine Entertainment has a strong history in managing their operation very well, which I believe will transfer over to ORM as a whole for all three breeds,” he offered. “I think there is excellent representation of all three breeds on the Board. I hope going forward that the long-terming funding plan is a solid base on which to work off of.
“My family had racehorses and I worked at Seelster Farm during the summers,” Parkinson continued. “After university, I came back full time. I like to think I have a vested interest in the industry. I can’t complain about anything if I don’t try to help and assist it in any way I can. I think it’s important to step up and make it the best industry possible for the long term. It’s about everyone working towards the common goal of having a strong industry for all three breeds.”