ORC Releases Conditional 2012 Race Date Schedule

Published: October 7, 2011 01:32 pm EDT

On Friday, October 7, the Ontario Racing Commission issued the conditional 2012 race-date schedule


The ORC release states that further to the Notice to the Industry issued August 15, 2011, the director is providing notice of the conditional 2012 live and simulcast race date schedule of the Ontario Racing Program.

The conditional schedule is subject to receipt of any requests from stakeholders and other interested parties. To be considered, requests to vary the schedule must be accompanied by rationale and received by October 21, 2011.. A final decision on the 2012 schedule will be communicated in early November. Following the release of the final decision, any person who feels they are aggrieved may appeal the decision of the director, and a hearing process will follow.

Race dates will issue to each racetrack operator as a term and condition attached to each licence to operate a racetrack issued by the director in the late fall 2011. In determining the 2012 schedule of dates, the director instructed the Implementation and Monitoring Group to provide a recommendation based on an evaluation of the 2011 season, discussions with the stakeholders and racing participants, and application of the framework approved by the Board in 2010.

Having considered the recommendation of the Implementation and Monitoring Group, the director has issued the Ontario Racing Program for 2012 as follows:

• Woodbine Racetrack 130 (130 Premier Cards)
• Mohawk Racetrack 98 (98 Premier Cards)
• Flamboro Downs 188 (188 Signature Cards)
• Georgian Downs 103 (103 Signature Cards)
• Grand River Raceway 65 (65 Signature Cards)
• Rideau Carleton Raceway 159 (159 Signature Cards)
• Windsor Raceway 88 (88 Signature Cards)
• Western Fair Raceway 123 (123 Signature Cards)
• Kawartha Downs 96 (48 Signature Cards, 48 Grassroots Cards)
• Clinton Raceway 19 (19 Grassroots Cards)
• Dresden Raceway 23 (23 Grassroots Cards)
• Hanover Raceway 30 (30 Grassroots Cards)
• Hiawatha Horse Park 44 (44 Grassroots Cards)
• Sudbury Downs 62 (62 Grassroots Cards)
• Woodstock Raceway 23 (23 Grassroots Cards)

Quarter Horse
• Ajax 40 (19 Signature Cards, 21 Grassroots Cards)

• Woodbine Racetrack 167 (167 Premier Cards)
• Fort Erie Racetrack - Due to ongoing planning and development for next year’s season and based on a request from the racetrack operator, issuance of the 2012 race dates for Fort Erie has been deferred.

The ORC's reasons for decision can be viewed in an official copy of the Notice to the Industry, which can be viewed by clicking here.

To view the race date framework, which was approved by the ORC board in August 2010, click here.

In addition to the above PDF files, the ORC has made all of the regional racing calendars available on its website, as well as breakdowns of all of the province's standardbred racing programs by track.

To go to the ORC website and view all of the relevant PDF files, click here.



Well, the ORC has responded to my concerns about the reduction in race dates and the closure of Flamboro Downs during October.
Instead of changing anything, the ORP will stay the same no matter what I believe. Horse racing is doomed at all tracks except WEG imho if the ORP stays in the hands of the ORC. They are not listening to us or the statistics (see overabundance of horses everywhere this month, especially Grand River and now even Western Fair). And please note that Georgian Downs is up to 11 weeks off next year (mid January to the end of March). I mean, really, the shutdown at Georgian was attributed to "bad weather" and protecting the horsepeople from traveling during it...ridiculous excuse, of course.
Flamboro Downs and the October shutdown? Because Great Canadian Gaming Corp. asked for it, we have to live with it.
I have suggested alternatives and put in my objections. Please add your voices and direct your suggestions to [email protected].
I am grateful that the ORC responded to my concerns, but I am definitely concerned about the future of racing in Ontario.

To address the horse shortage supply issue at Woodbine, they shut down Georgian Downs and dropped Flamboro from 5 days a week to 4 days a week?

I read the changes and one question stuck in my head. If Kawartha needs to change to racing Monday to increase handle, why wait until next year? Take action today if you believe in the direction. If you do not believe in the direction that you are forcing on the racing community, then perhaps you need a change.

In reply to by Penny Coulson

Perhaps the unelected officials of the ORP should do a survey of the people actually affected by their decisions to gauge industry mood. Please do, and publish the results. Instead we get this cherry picked ,glowing propaganda from tracks ( eg. hanover) that were doing well in their own right without any ORP intervention. I still don't know how a regulatory body had the authority to hijack the process in the first place. I haven't talked to a single soul that thinks that the program has made them better off- not owner or trainer. To be better off- wasn't that the goal? With rising costs- gas, stabling, feed etc- somehow we are going to be better off by racing less days for less money at the grassroots/signature level. The only positive change, that made it bearable, was the preference rule. Months ago I wrote about some specific concerns only to be assured that this was the first year and there would be adjustments. Too bad they are in the wrong direction again( eg. flamboro closing at the worst possible time of year). The whole premise of program was flawed from the start. That's obvious. If one didn't know better one would think there is a conspiracy to manage racing into oblivion. And therein lies racings' biggest problem; management. Always has been. Always will be.

Am I reading it correct that you want to eliminate Friday from Western Fair and move it to Wednesday. No weekend racing for a population of over 400,000 for the winter months. How does this give exposure to racing? I commented last year it was a mistake to eliminate Saturday from Woodstock. I know it wasn't a big crowd on Saturday but the Tuesday and Friday that they had this year was worse. I see nothing is going to change for next year.

Yes I agree with some of the changes to eliminate the overlap but you also have to race when people are going to come out. Fix up the facilities and people will come because it is a great game.

Having emailed the ORC twice now, I am absolutely shocked to inform everyone that the ORC is NOT answering any questions about this wonderful Ontario Racing Program.
Instead, the ORC is making unsubstantiated "claims" like horse people are racing for "more" money on average: LOL! The purses are as low as they have been for years, imho. Perhaps the Stakes are getting higher purses, but the Overnights are lower than I can remember.
The other claim on this website by the ORC: there is a shortage of horses, so let's reduce race dates. Again, a totally unsubstantiated claim. Look at the boxes for October thus far: there are more entries than "in-to-go" horses at every track (yes, even Sudbury). Grand River has more than twice as many entries as "in-to-go" horses every day except October 5h (only 211 entered and 118 used, lol). Yes, a definite shortage of horses.
Is there anyone to appeal to about the ORC in this important matter???

Well, the ORC is not listening to anyone. We are to suffer yet another 27 race dates lost in 2012, for no apparent reason... Do you believe that Georgian Downs will be closed January 15th to March 30th??? Better yet, Flamboro Downs is closed October 1st to November 15th??? The Flamboro Downs' closure is a total DISASTER this year.

As I have already explained to the ORC, the boxes are overflowing with entries, especially Grand River. The consensus: it is more difficult than usual to get a horse in the box! But the ORC has ignored the figures and extended the off time next year?!? Also note that Grand River closes much earlier on October 12th next year?!?

There will be nowhere left to race except Woodbine next October if the ORC gets its way yet again.

Sorry, but I, like many others in this industry, do not own many horses that could actually make a living at the Premier track. Thus, the loss of even more Signature and Grassroots dates is totally bewildering and unacceptable.
Already, the purse accounts have surpluses...Who will get that money, and WHEN since racing opportunities are disappearing at an alarming rate?!?

Should we insist on closing the slots down while racing is shut down? Yes! We are already losing any loyal bettors we have by NOT providing a local product on a regular basis anymore, so why not lose the slot revenue too? Maybe then the racetracks and the ORC would think twice about aking away our opportunities to make money on a daily basis!

And they smile and claim to be doing this to secure the future of the horse-racing industry? LOL!

So really just token gestures to keep the slots open (racing=slots, no racing=no slots).

Mr. Clements is right change is needed. More racing time needed for owners to make money. I meant the ones that don't race at WEG, I meant the other eighty percent of the people. Is anyone putting up a fight?????

Greg Parke

Coming from someone South of the boarder, I understand the concept of this program and agree in concept with the idea, but I don't know why purse money is sitting in the bank instead of being distributed.

Yes, being WEG's signal is the most popular Canadian signal outside of Canada, I understand why you want the fullest high quality fields you can racing there. If you didn't have the rules giving preference to Canadian-based horses at WEG, you may get more American horses racing at WEG, alleviating the horse shortage but the decision was made to be protectionist.

Perhaps the problem needs to be solved by not giving WEG the monopoly of the best horses. If they can't find enough horses to race full fields five days a week, maybe the answer it to race four days a week and then offer higher purses those days to ensure the best horses race there. The overflow can then go to signature tracks.

Allowing WEG to be immune from the situations the other tracks have to deal with is not fair to the other tracks. It is called protectionism.

Dan, you couldn't be more correct and I applaud you for standing up and speaking your mind. Its too bad other prominent horsepeople don't follow your footsteps, then maybe something might actually get done to change the Mickey Mouse run, mismanagement of the standardbred industry in Ontario.

The system now in place is horrible. There is no direct plan in place to give the horsemen any of the excess purse money sitting in the accounts of tracks. It boggles my mind when I hear Georgian has $4.6 million in their purse account and they race for less then they raced for 5 years ago because the ORC says so. Where the heck are the horse reps in all of this? How are they not pounding down the doors of the ORC getting this changed? They are the ones who are supposed to look out for the horsemen.

Why can Georgian not have purses like Pocono, The Meadows, Dover or Chester has? The handles are all terrible, yet they race for good money because of their slot revenues. They were all B tracks before the slots came in. How can Yonkers purses be greater then WEG purses when they handle less then half of what Weg does and they have nowhere near the ammount of slot revenue. If I am missing something here, someone please explain this to me. Why do you think many owners have left the game here in Ontario or moved their operations to the States?

Gary Blackburn

To whom it may concern :

I am just wondering how you decided this new rating system and why ? What do you plan on doing with all the excess money sitting in the purse pool bank acct ? Do you plan to give the majority to a couple of big races that the locals will never get or benefit from ?

I am speaking about Georgian Downs and the decrease in race dates and the 33.3% purse reduction since this newly formed grading system ..

When will the local tracks be able to stand on there own and not have to cater to the so called premier track ? If they are short of horses then when did the ORC become the ones to penalize people who could careless about racing "DOWNTOWN" ..

If WEG is short of horses , then make them get to work and make it a better place to be instead of forcing you to go there because of this ridiculous grading system ?

I feel like we are continuing on the road to extinction with this kind of strong arm tactics and thinking ..It is time for a change and some new blood to end this slide to oblivion ...IMO ...

If I had time I would tell you what I really think ..(Insert smiley guy here )