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Saturday, October 27, 2012

What's the Future for Ontario?

So, here we are, Breeders Crown Day (Night) at Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario, Canada and there is still no plan for the future of harness racing in the province.  While most people agree racing will continue in Ontario next year on a diminished scale, no one knows which tracks will be racing, how often, and for how much.  The province has promised a subsidy of $50 million over a period of three years and while there has been a request for additional monetary support, there are no plans in place.

Racing continues on through March 31, 2013 but after that, who knows what?

The sad thing is racing really can't get many answers right now.  The Liberal Party's leadership has been hit with numerous questions regarding decision made by the provincial government led by them and the kitchen was getting hot.  As a result, Dalton McGuinty decided to step down as party head and Premier so the party will be deciding who is its next leader and provincial premier.  In the meanwhile, since the opposition has been calling for investigations, McGuinty basically engineered a coup d'etat by proroguing Parliament.  For Americans, this means suspending Parliament until the new premier decides to reopen their session.  As a result, the provincial government is stopped dead in their tracks, barred from doing any further work (wouldn't this have been a handy tool during Watergate?).  So until the Liberals select a new leader and the Premier un-prorouges Parliament, nothing is getting done and  the racing community, be it standardbred, thoroughbred, or quarter horse stand around wondering what is next..   .

If at First You Don't Succeed, try, try again.  So it goes for Valley View Downs, the proposed harness racino track for Western Pennsylvania first approved back in 2007.  Valley View Downs, originally approved back in 2007, is now on its third set of owners.  Original owners Centaur had to give up their project as part of their bankruptcy back in 2008, only to have their interests transferred to American Harness Tracks in 2010.  Unable to get their own financing for the plan, ownership has once again been transferred, this time to Endeka Entertainment. which has been approved by the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission. 

Is the third time the charm?  Endeka has been given strict deadlines to meet over the next sixty days.  One would think Endeka has their ducks in a row but then based on the track record of this project, don't be surprised if Endeka comes back to the PHRC looking for an extension or if the project stalls again.

Of course, this project would never have seen the light of day or would have been buried after the first failed attempt if not for the casino license.  One would hope if the project fails this time that the racing commission says 'enough' and pulls the license once and for all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A mile track in Pennsylvania might be nice, but the state of racing today makes it unneccessary. Are fans and bettors clamoring for a fourth harness track? NO! Are horsemen and horsewomen demanding another place to race? Not that I've seen.

Scrap the idea that originated six or seven years ago, put a general casino license up for bid and move on without trying to create a race track that seemed like a good idea at the time.