- This deal involves only transitional funding. A lot more hard work remains ahead to keep the racing industry going after this two year period. The interim agreement was the easy part.
- The ORC now falls under the responsibility of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and For Rural Affairs as announced yesterday..
- 'World class' horse racing will continue in Ontario as a result of this agreement.
- The deal with Woodbine and Mohawk is a starting point, not the end.
- Other tracks are presently in negotiations with OMAFRA for the continuation of racing. The particular tracks were not mentioned.
- The subsidy amount industry-wide will be considerably more than $50 million but will not be known for a few more weeks when agreements with other tracks are worked out.
- It is anticipated that there will be some downsizing on the standardbred side of the sport in the province.
- The Horse Improvement Program has a three year commitment which means for the next three years the Ontario Sires Stakes program should remain intact.
Nick Eaves, the CEO of WEG went into more detail.
- The plan offers short term stability.
- Change will be coming in the way things are done as a result of funding changes. The goal will be to make those changes as transparent as possible. For all practical purposes, at least in 2013, racing will essentially be unchanged.
- The high profile stakes races such as the Queens Plate and the North American Cup will be contested. Expect the stakes schedule to be altered to reflect available purse funds.
- There will be 133 days of thoroughbred racing with purses similar to last year's purse distribution. The thoroughbred meet will begin in mid to late April.
- A total of 184 days of standardbred racing will be offered with purses at the levels already established for this year. This is roughly 45 days less than 2012.
- Racing needs to fit into the province's overall gaming strategy.
- There will be attempts to find new funding sources for racing on an on-going basis.
- WEG feels in the long term it is essential that a casino be located at WEG though this is not part of this deal. This is an issue outside of the control of WEG.
A copy of a press release recapping today's press conference is available here.