The horse racing industry in Ontario may be in serious trouble as the latest lockdown measure can have catastrophic effects on its wellbeing. That is why CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Jim Lawson is doing everything he can in order for the provincial government to acknowledge the current state of the field during the unprecedented situation.
The Ontario government has recently issued a new stay-at-home order in order to stop the potential spread of the unprecedented situation in the province. The region has now returned to the grey tier of the colored framework meaning that horse races are suspended yet again. The shutdown has been the reason for many horse owners and trainers to migrate to the U.S.
One of Woodbine’s most prominent trainers Mark Casse has recently addressed the current horse racing situation. The trainer claimed that this is the most ridiculous thing he has ever heard of, as hockey is allowed to continue operations but the outdoor horse races are not permitted to do so. Mr. Casse stated that he will not ship any more horses to the province until there is a clear notion of when the season will restart.
The current CEO and former hockey player Mr. Lawson is requesting the local government to reconsider their decision and allow the industry to resume operations. His argument is that over the course of 2020, both Woodbine and Woodbine Mohawk Park have had an immaculate record of containing the dangerous virus. But this spring 15 cases have been recorded, however, it is not labeled as an outbreak.
Mr. Lawson said that there is still hope for the earlier return of horse racing as he spoke to Toronto’s chief medical officer Dr. Eileen de Villa. According to the CEO, his discussions with Toronto officials went great and they understood the situation but unfortunately, they did not possess the ability to change the provincial tier out of the grey zone.
The CEO remains hopeful that his and the industry’s voices can be heard from the Ford government and recognize the fact that the industry can operate safely during the stay-at-home order. He continued that if horsepeople can be assured that the live racing season will return soon, they might stop the migration to the U. S’s racing tracks.
Letter of Request
Additionally, the horse racing leader has contacted the mayor of Milton Gordon Krantz with a formal letter of request. In the letter, Mr. Lawson discussed the industry’s unfavorable situation as it has been affected by the new lockdown order. A huge emphasis was put on how the sector might be suffering serious down-the-road damages and that some measures must be taken soon.
The other leading horse regulator in the province has also demonstrated its responsibility to the industry and its horsepeople. Ontario Racing has officially started rolling out compensation fees for all the horses that were supposed to race in the canceled events at the start of the month. Around 300 horses will be receiving a single payment of CA$300 for the matter.
Source: Buffery, Steve “That sound you hear is Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson banging his head against the wall”, Toronto Sun, April 19, 2021