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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wendesday Briefs

Attention Illinois Residents:  Annoyed you can't use your ADW account due to the authorizing law sunsetting on December 31?  HANA has issued an action alert listing steps you can take to get access to your account.

We are now 45 days away from D-Day in Ontario, the end of SAR, and while I am sure negotiations are on-going, only horsemen at Woodbine and Mohawk know they have somewhere to race come April 1.  Everyone else?  Not so lucky as they have no idea if they will have careers or jobs come April 1. At least there will be some type of standardbred and thoroughbred industry come April 1.  Albeit small, there is no idea if there will be a quarter horse industry in Ontario as there is no news regarding Ajax Downs and Fort Erie where there has been some mixed breed cards in the past.

I understand SAR is dead, but to be this close to the deadline without people knowing if they will be employed or not is unconscionable.  At a minimum, the OLG should extend the SAR program until they can finalize any agreements necessary to schedule a racing calendar for 2013, even if the extension is month-to-month.  Is giving racing employees two months notice of their future too much to ask for?

I know these days Maryland racing is off the beaten path but standardbred horsemen racing at Rosecroft will be doing relatively well this year with purses increaseing 33% from last year's purses thanks to revenue from the slots program in the state.  Their bottom class, non-winners of $750 in last three starts will be racing for $3,000; winners over $4,000 in last three starts will be racing for as much as $7,000; bottom $5,000 claimers will be racing for $3,500.  No, not exactly uber purses as in some slot states, but still a pretty decent purse structure.  Of course, depending on what happens with the sole gaming licenes in Prince George County, it remains to be seen if racing goes past 2013.


Anonymous said...

Woodbine/Mohawk appears to be well run, but today's announcement that 109 salary jobs are eliminated and an unspecified number of hourly jobs will go or become part-time begs the question.

How does a racing operation have that many many people that it can change a couple hundred positions and still be open? Were some people just feeding at the slots trough without any real work to do? The total staff at tracks I'm familiar with don't come close to the number Woodbine is eliminating.

Pacingguy said...

Anon, you ask a good question.

I don't think we are talking about no-show jobs. Remember WEG also includes their OTW sites as well as Mohawk and Woodbine.

I suspect there was some redundancy. When Mohawk kept their back stretch open, it was bsically operating as a racetrack during their dark period. All qualifiers were run there so you had a track crew keeping the track in racing shape all year long, workers responsible for the backstretch and so.

There were probably positions where people were responsible for individual properties and likely are now consolidated. Also, some of those people are tellers; my guess is there will be more reliance on self-wagering machines.

Bottom line is as the flag ship of Canadian racing, it became bulky. Now, like other companies, they can't afford to run the way they did and had to go on a diet; fast.

I am sure a lot of good people lost their jobs and the problem is there aren't those many positions open elsewhere.