Province announces tentative three-year deal with Clinton Raceway

File photo courtesy of Clinton Raceway.

File photo courtesy of Clinton Raceway.

HEATHER BOA Bullet News CLINTON – Summer standardbred horse racing at Clinton Raceway will continue after a tentative three-year transitional funding agreement was reached with the provincial government today.

However, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement of transitional funding to Western Fair, Clinton, Hanover and Grand River racetracks was short on details, like how much money would be contributed to boost purse accounts for race winners and how many race dates each track will be allocated. It is expected details will be released once the province has negotiated agreements with all not-for-profit racetracks.

“We’re further ahead then we were a week ago, that’s for sure,” Ian Fleming, manager of Clinton Raceway, said. The racetrack has applied for 20 race dates this summer, which is one more than last year.

“They’re still discussing what the purses sizes will be but they say they’ll be competitive so you take them at their word that it should be good,” he said, after attending a press conference at Grand River Raceway in Elora, where Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement.

“We have maintained as a government that we want to have a sustainable horse racing industry,” Wynne said. “We’re working to ensure the dates for the 2013 racing season will be in place and provide long-term stability to the industry.”

To watch video of the press conference, visit online.

Woodbine Entertainment Group, the province’s largest horse racing provider and operator of Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks, signed an agreement on Jan. 23, 2013.

Following recommendations from the Horse Racing Industry Transitional Panel (HROTP), the agreements will also integrate horse racing with the provincial gaming strategy to ensure future revenue streams for the industry.

HROTP, made up of former cabinet ministers Elmer Buchanan, John Snobelen and John Wilkinson, released its final report on Oct. 23, 2012. Up to $30 million will be available for the Horse Improvement Program in 2013. HROTP, the Ontario Racing Commission and members of the province’s breeding industry are discussing the allocation of these funds.

“There is a full range of jobs that is supported by this industry and I understand that,” Wynne said.

The Clinton Raceway is still waiting for a lease agreement in principle to be finalized with the Ontario Lottery Corporation (OLG) for the Beech Street site in Clinton. OLG had expected to finalize the agreement by Feb. 28.

The provincial government will end the province-wide Slots at Racetracks program March 31, 2013.

Written by on March 8, 2013 in Central Huron, Clinton - No comments

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