More Details On Ontario Plan

Published: August 5, 2010 06:42 pm EDT

Over the past week, since announcing the Racing Development and Sustainability Plan, for the province of Ontario, and launching an online petition, Standardbred Canada has received a great deal of feedback and

many questions.

John Gallinger, SC's President and CEO, spoke to Trot Insider today about the plan and the response from SC's members.

“We want everyone to understand that we are just at the beginning of the process,” said Gallinger. “This is about horsepeople investing in their future. We want to hear from every interested party in Ontario about their thoughts on this plan and their ideas for building harness racing.”

There have been many questions about the use of the 5 per cent purse levy and Gallinger explained that it would be premature to determine the exact use of funding before putting the right people and resources in place to manage the plan.

“The Racing Development and Sustainability Plan will be a comprehensive program that will approach the development and sustainability of Ontario harness racing as its sole business,” he said. “Under the guidance of a transparent and representative Steering Committee, priorities will be established and projects will be determined based on solid business principles.

“What we know is that there is no single solution that will solve the challenges of our industry. As such, projects will need to revolve around product and wagering development, fan experience, brand creation and awareness, and the marketing of harness racing to a new generation of customers,” continued Gallinger. “We don’t have all the answers as to what the specific priorities are and in what order they need to be dealt with. We feel it would be a mistake to put the cart before the horse.

“The entire plan is based on building a structure that allows ideas to turn into actions and we are asking members to support that structure,” he continued. “We are listening to every comment we receive and want everyone to understand that we are working on behalf of our members to build a better industry.

“Overall we’ve been quite pleased that so many participants have supported this plan. A few days ago, we invited last year’s top 40 Ontario owners in earnings to an open meeting on the Plan. From the owners we had in attendance, we received 100 per cent unanimous support and a real vote of confidence.”

In August and September, SC will be scheduling a number of additional meetings and town hall sessions across the province to hear from everyone. Those meeting dates will be announced online at

“We encourage our SC Ontario members to take part in the town hall style meetings so that we can have an open and constructive dialogue with our membership. We are committed to living up to Standardbred Canada’s mandate to promote and protect harness racing in this country. This plan, for Ontario’s harness racing industry, is just one major program at SC.

“Please take the time to sign the online petition and to send us your questions and concerns. We are more than happy to address them. We are asking for the support of Ontario’s horsepeople because we need their help to initiate meaningful and long-lasting change.”