Rod Seiling, Chair of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) announced on Friday (Feb. 8) that planning and implementation of the 2013 Horse Improvement Program (HIP) is moving forward.
Funding of up to $30 million will be used to develop the Standardbred and Thoroughbred components of HIP, through work that will take place in the near future consulting with stakeholders and the Advisory Groups.
"The Ontario government and industry continue to work toward ensuring a future for horse racing in the province of Ontario”, said Chair Seiling. "This funding envelope is in keeping with the position of the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel -- that HIP plays an important role in a sustainable horse racing industry.”
"The Horse Improvement Program is another milestone on the road to a renewed, sustainable future for horse racing in Ontario,” said Ted McMeekin, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "This program will provide important support for that transition.”
The 2013 HIP will be developed based on the program's existing mandate and structure, both of which have served Ontario well for many decades. The program will be reviewed for changes necessary to reflect the new industry in the post Slots-At-Racetracks Program environment.
While consultation with the Advisory Groups did begin in mid-December to address the urgency of 2013 breeding decisions, efforts will now be accelerated.
Wendy Hoogeveen, HIP Program Administrator, observed that the Ontario Horse Racing sector will be faced with many challenges over the next number of years.
"But I firmly believe the future is bright for the Ontario-bred horse in this province. The Horse Improvement Program is well positioned to serve the interests of the stakeholders. And it will do so while providing government with clearly demonstrated benefits for its investment in the industry and for the economy of Ontario.” (ORC)