Horse Racing Fans Left in the Cold

Horse Racing Fans Left In The Cold

The recent announcement by Great Canadian Gaming to ban children from the
grandstand and clubhouse areas of the racetrack and force them to watch racing
outside during the winter months is a clear indication of the company’s lack of
concern for or interest in advancing the racing industry. It is just another nail in
the coffin for this important agricultural industry of horse breeding, training and
racing. While every other major-league sport is making concerted efforts to
engage a new generation of fans, this announcement makes it clear that
Flamboro Downs and its parent company have no concern about the future of
racing and are not prepared to assist the industry in recovering from the
devastation that happened as a result of the end of the Slots-At-Racetracks
Program (SARP). According to the last financial information available to us
Flamboro Downs already had one of the lowest on-track handles in the province
and keeping families away will only exacerbate that problem.

The Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) is opposed to this unilateral
decision to eliminate children from the racing facilities and is working diligently to
try to alter that decision. OHHA has not signed the long-term funding deal
because of a number of substantial flaws in the agreement, including the
uncertainty of any racetrack’s requirement to race at all in the future, a
requirement that was in the cancelled agreement that oversaw SARP.
Unfortunately, other horsepeople’s groups have signed the agreement and
became members of Ontario Racing and now racetracks are free to eliminate
racing and make decisions like banning children with no recourse for the
participants of the industry.
Ironically, the signature racetracks in Ontario are represented on the Ontario
Racing Board by Bruce Barbour who represents Great Canadian Gaming. Great
Canadian Gaming is also the operator of the two Woodbine Entertainment Group
based casinos. Ontario Racing and Ontario Racing Management, a wholly owned
subsidiary of Woodbine Entertainment Group, are responsible for managing the
racing industry under the long-term funding agreement. Ontario Racing is

also the organization that made the determination recently to eliminate funding for

OHHA has initiated talks with Members of the Federal and Provincial
Governments – something that we could not do if we agreed to the long-term
funding deal – to express our concerns and we encourage you to contact your
local Member of Provincial and Federal Governments to share your concerns as
If you require assistance in identifying or finding contact information for your
local MP or MPP please call the OHHA office and we will provide that information.
You can contact the office by phone at 905-854-6442 or e-mail


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