The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) is moving forward to implement a provincial approach to purses, consistent with the five-year Horse Racing Partnership Plan, and as recommended by the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel.
Among its recommendations–in an effort to provide customers with the most attractive product possible–the Panel acknowledged that the optimal use of purse money is essential to attract full, competitive fields.
In December 2013 the ORC issued a Notice of Order to Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) to re-direct approximately $500,000 of the purse funds held in trust by WEG to the Standardbred Horsepeople's Trust Account held by the ORC. This re-direction was necessary to fund Signature-level purses at The Raceway at Western Fair District.
The monies held by WEG were earned through licences issued for Telephone Account Betting and Teletheatre operations to service areas of the province that were vacated or underserviced.
Also in December, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation submitted an application to re-direct purse monies from Georgian Downs to Flamboro Downs. This request to move approximately $1.6 million to fund Signature-level purses in the first quarter of 2014 has been approved by the Director.
In addition, the ORC announced that Dresden Racetrack and Kawartha Downs did not apply for 2014 licenses. As these racetracks are no longer licensed, and to ensure that the interests of horsepeople are protected, the ORC has ordered that purses held must be re-directed to the Standardbred Horsepeople's Trust Account on or before Jan. 31, 2014.
While the total amounts are still to be reconciled, Dresden and Kawartha will maintain the purse account until March 31, 2014 in order to deal with any outstanding payments.
Please be advised that any aggrieved party has the right to appeal the Director's decision to the Commission. (ORC)