December 14, 2017 – Toronto, Ontario – The Board of Ontario Racing and members of the Standardbred Alliance have voted to merge the two existing organizations. The combined entity will be an independent, not-for-profit industry organization that will represent all Ontario racetracks and horse racing industry associations in the Province with one unified voice.
“We’re excited to announce the merger of the two organizations to create a more inclusive Ontario Racing with an expanded membership and governance mandate,” said Hugh Mitchell, Chair of Ontario Racing Board of Directors. “Both the board of Ontario Racing and the Standardbred Alliance are confident that the merger will create a unified voice for racing to advocate for the sector’s interests and ultimately negotiate a long-term funding agreement that ensures the sustainability of three breeds of horse racing in Ontario.”
The newly formed entity will create a more cost-effective and streamlined approach to industry administration and governance, as well as a more collaborative and effective approach to decision-making and strategic planning on behalf of 15 racetracks and racing industry associations across the Province.
Ontario Racing will create a not-for-profit to be called Ontario Racing Management (ORM), utilizing shared resources from Woodbine Entertainment’s management team. This formula follows the successful business model of the Standardbred Alliance and allows racetracks to realize on multiple operational cost savings.
“Members of the Standardbred Alliance have benefitted from Woodbine Entertainment’s expertise and have realized countless benefits including greater operational efficiencies and a coordinated approach to overcoming shared challenges,” said Ian Fleming of Clinton Raceway.
The newly merged organization is committed to having a three-year business plan in place by April 1, 2018. The plan will include guarantees of purse payments for all member tracks, staking programs and race schedules, as well as establishing and administering common racetrack rules and policies.
“Once the long-term funding model is determined, the sector can move towards a more sustainable plan for racing, which includes strengthening the industry to meet public demand and ensure the long-term success of viable racetracks,” said Sue Leslie, President, Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. “We need to work together, all racetracks and horsepeople, and we are committed to working collaboratively with all industry stakeholders moving forward.”
“The alliance track model has helped stabilize racing since its inception. Merging the alliance tracks and OR will create a unified voice to communicate with Government and secure the long-term funding. ORM will help sustain racing in Ontario for years to come,” says Bill O’Donnell, President of Central Ontario Standardbred Association.
About Ontario Racing – One unified voice for the industry
Ontario Racing is a not-for profit industry organization created out of the merger of the current Standardbred Alliance and the existing Ontario Racing organizations. It will serve as the industry organization responsible for making strategic decisions on issues that affect the horse racing industry, including distributing the OLG transfer payment agreement, and will represent all Ontario racetracks and horse racing industry associations in the Province.