Ontario Government Extends Support for Horse Racing

The government's racing partnership plan has been extended for an additional two years.

Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc.

The Ontario government has extended its support for horse racing, including American Quarter Horse racing at Ajax Downs. The track's 2016 meet runs May 8-October 24.

The Ontario government, in its 2016 budget, announced plans to continue support for Ontario's horse racing industry, including American Quarter Horse Racing at Ajax Downs near Toronto.

The budget detailed its plan to extend the Horse Racing Partnership Plan an additional two years, and it provided guidance that the province intends to develop a "longer-term funding arrangement with the industry." This was done to provide confidence and stability to the industry's breeding sector.

"Today's announcement should provide our industry with some comfort that horse racing will continue to have the province as a long term partner," said Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. president Bob Broadstock. "The announcement should encourage our members to breed their mares in 2016 with confidence that the province continues to work on a long term strategy that will secure our industry's future." 

The QROOI will continue to work with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, OMAFRA, Ontario Racing and the province to ensure that Quarter Horse Racing remains part of the long term vision for horse racing in the province. 

From the 2016 Ontario Provincial Budget Document: "Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) modernization is designed to maintain and grow the gaming industry in a socially responsible manner. Ontario's gaming industry employs thousands of Ontarians and contributes to local economic development across the province. Modernizing the OLG will enhance the funding available to pay for important public services such as health care and education by broadening the role of the private sector in OLG day-to-day lottery and gaming site operations and encouraging capital investments and job creation.

"The OLG recently hired a private operator to run two gaming sites in eastern Ontario and develop a new gaming site in Belleville. It is estimated that this new site will create more than 300 jobs in the Belleville community. For 2016, additional large-scale procurements are underway for the Greater Toronto Area, northern and southwestern Ontario gaming sites, as well as for OLG's lottery business.

"Technological advances continue to drive changes in OLG customer preferences and product offerings, which in turn will drive government policy considerations in the near future related to provincial delivery of charitable bingo games and new commercial gaming products.

"The OLG Internet offering, PlayOLG.ca, recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of its launch. However, there continues to be ongoing grey-market competition. Ontario will continue to work and consult with other provinces and the federal government in 2016 to determine how best to meet market demand and encourage responsible gambling.

"The OLG also continues to integrate horse racing into its gaming strategy. In fiscal 2016-17, OLG will begin to fund the horse racing industry through a provincial transfer payment program, formerly the Horse Racing Partnership Funding Program, while continuing to provide marketing and responsible gambling support to the industry.

"The program will now be extended for two additional years, beyond March 2019, to March 2021. This extension will give confidence to the industry to make investments and business decisions for the coming years. It will also contribute to the continued support of rural jobs and economic development in the agricultural sector, particularly as they relate to the horse breeding sector.

"Beyond this time, the intention would be for OLG to establish a future, longer-term funding arrangement with the industry. The arrangement would be subject to government approvals, and further integrate gaming with horse racing to support industry sustainability."

In other Ontario racing news, 2016 QROOI stakes booklets are available. The stakes program is also available on the QROOI website. Picov Maturity, Ontario Sires Stakes Futurity and Derby nominations are due on April 1.

Also, an information meeting was held on February 6 for those interested in participating in a racehorse syndicate ownership. The first syndicate will be formed and ready to go by May 1. Every syndicate will consist of 20 shares at a cost of $2,500. The syndicate trainer will be selected by the shareholders by majority vote, and it will be required that the trainer purchases at least one share.

Any trainers who are interested in participating in the syndicate will be invited to present their information to the syndicate members; the application should include their training day rate, commission percentage, blacksmith rates, and all other costs that may or may not be charged throughout the season.

Every syndicate will also have a syndicate manager who will work with the trainer in the day-to-day decisions about the care and training of the horse. The manager will also be a shareholder. When the syndicate is complete and ready to go, it will be looking to purchase or lease a racehorse. This will be a horse that has raced already and thus not a 2-year-old.

Syndicate information will be available at the Can-Am Trade Show being held at Markham Fair Grounds, April 1-3. Another information session will be held on Saturday, April 16, at 1 p.m. in the lower level meeting room at Ajax Downs. You must pre-register to attend.

Anyone interested in participating in a syndicate, either as a trainer or to purchase a share, or if you have a horse to sell or lease that would be of interest to a syndicate, contact Monique at the QROOI office at (905) 426-7050 or email to qrooiheadoffice@gmail.com. Monique will answer any questions you might have.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqharacing.com.