Lakeshore Horse Raceway Association members recently expressed an opinion that the Ontario horse racing field is struggling despite the financial allocation many horse people would be eligible for. Wayne Martinuik, General Manager of Leamington Raceway, said that many horse people face financial struggles even though a provincial relief fund aims to help them. Upcoming virtual events would shed more light on the situation.
The horse racing field of Ontario is currently frozen, as there are no live events taking place. An existing Funding Agreement with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation was recently amended in a way that would allocate a specific amount of money to the horse people looking after racehorses and training them on a daily basis. Ontario Racing expressed its support to the local horse people.
Standardbred, Thoroughbred, and Quarter horse owners would be eligible for support, as they need the money on a daily basis. Even though there are no live races taking place at the moment, the horses need daily care, as well as light movement in preparation for the upcoming live races. Thoroughbred horses meeting all conditions are going to receive CA$1,500 per month.
Standardbred horses are going to bag CA$1,000, whereas Quarter horses are about to receive some CA$750 per month. This would be possible only if they meet the conditions making them eligible for the payment. The last days of May are about to see a reevaluation of the situation and a possible second amendment of the funding agreement. The second change would make it possible for two-year-old horses to benefit as well.
Up until this moment, Ontario Racing has received about 2,000 applications for the relief funding, as many people struggle to make ends meet and take care of the racehorses. Their number is expected to continue increasing as time progresses and the lockdown continues. For the time being, Leamington is about to commence live horse racing in August, but the dynamic situation across Canada could introduce changes to the live schedule.
Horse People in Need
Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson, recently addressed the issue in an official statement to the horse people of Ontario. The upcoming Stronger Together virtual meeting is about to take place on May 12 and it is scheduled to commence at 2 p.m. Mr. Lawson hopes that by that time, he would have news regarding the Provincial Declaration of Emergency when it comes to the upcoming weeks of operation.
He pointed out that Historical Horse Racing would support the industry with additional revenue until live racing returns. Players need some betting opportunities, as this is among their preferred gaming activities. Right now, the gaming product is considered illegal within the borders of Canada, but Woodbine Entertainment is looking for ways in which it could be legalized down the road. The platform it would use is already under development.
Live racing without spectators is one of the ways in which horse racetracks would stay afloat in the summer months of this year. Mr. Lawson made a projection that this would be the way to go, as the local horse racing industry strictly follows the health recommendations on a provincial level. The simulcast and broadcasting would further support this goal.