Two-year agreement buys time for Ontario racing
by Alex Campbell
It's been quite a year for those in the Ontario horse racing industry since the provincial government announced in February 2012 its intention to cancel the lucrative slots-at-racetracks program as a way to trim budget deficits.
“It was tough for us, and I think it was tough for other people, too,” said Michael Byrne, a breeder and owner of Park Stud, home to three stallions in 2013, including the Spendthrift duo of Court Vision and Victor’s Cry. “But I was always optimistic because I kept telling people somewhere common sense will prevail here.”
Over the past 12 months industry representatives have been negotiating with the government in an attempt to save the industry, and those negotiations resulted in a two-year transitional funding agreement with Woodbine Entertainment Group to continue live racing at both Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks through the end of the 2014 season. With the Woodbine agreement now in place, other tracks are expected to reach similar pacts with the province in the near future.
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