This Tuesday, April 6, one of the leading Ontario live harness regulators – Ontario Racing has released a public statement that there will be support payments for the recently canceled horse racing events. The events were on schedule to be held at the beginning of this month at Western Fair District, Rideau Carleton Raceway, and Woodbine Mohawk Park’s race track.
The horse racing industry as a whole is enduring one of its toughest spells to date as the sector has been a victim of the unprecedented situation that has taken its toll on its live harness season. The constant changes surrounding the lockdown restrictions have a negative effect on the sports as there has been a halt on the standardbred season.
Cancellation of Events
As a result of the current call off the live harness races, Ontario Racing has decided to compensate all involved horsepeople in the events with provision payments. The events were scheduled for the beginning of the month but were also canceled after a government issue order, due to the safety concerns surrounding the spread of the unprecedented situation.
According to the schedule, there should have been a race card for Woodbine Mohawk Park on April 3, 2021, but it was canceled. Along with it the cards at Western Fair District’s The Raceway on April 3, 2021, and in Rideau Carleton Raceway on the next day of April 4. The properties will receive a CA$300 payment for each horse that was scheduled to race at the beforementioned dates.
It is reported that the number of affected horses from the cancellation of the live harness races estimates to around 310. Over 103 horses were scheduled to race in Woodbine Mohawk Park, 78 at Western Fair District, and 129 in Rideau Carleton Raceway. The events could not take place as the provincial government’s new lockdown order has come into power on April 3, 2021.
As stated by the live harness leader the funds were already committed to the sector through the Funding Agreement for Live Horse Racing between Ontario Racing and the Ontario Lottery Gaming corporation. Payments should be sent out in the coming day. Amidst the lockdown, the horse racing leader has created a task force which purpose is to determine the impact of the restrictions on the sport.
As Canada is on the verge of finally introducing the long-awaited legalization of single-event wagering opportunities, the horse racing leaders of Ontario have united to demand protection for the industry. Woodbine Mohawk and Ontario racing have publicly backed the introduction of single-event betting, but only if the federal government takes the needed measures in order to ensure the wellbeing of the live harness industry and its thousands of jobs.
The legislature did not disappoint the industry and its regulators. Back at the end of March, there was a hearing on single events wagering in the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The committee has approved Bill C-218 that will allow the proposed change in gaming law, but it had also informed that the horse racing industry will be excluded from the bill in order to protect it from unintentional damages.
Source: “Standardbred Support Payments Announced” Standardbred Canada, April 6, 2021