Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) held a press conference Thursday morning (Jan. 24) to discuss its agreement in principle with the Ontario Government's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, which ensures the continuation of live horse racing at Mohawk Racetrack and Woodbine Racetrack for the next two years.
The press release states that Standardbred purses will continue at current 2013 rates--WEG reduced purses by 10 percent at the beginning of 2013. WEG will be making an application for a total of 183 standardbred race days at Woodbine (99 dates) and Mohawk (84 dates). The Pepsi North America Cup is on the schedule, but no other stakes or mentioned, or purse amounts.
"I am delighted that at long last, we have been able to provide our fans, industry partners and the horsemen and women of Ontario with more clarity about our 2013 schedule," said Nick Eaves, President and CEO of Woodbine Entertainment Group. "We will continue to work hard to achieve an industry model that will sustain and grow our industry, and this sport, for the long haul."
Eaves noted that while the agreements provide short-term stability, a long-term, sustainable model for WEG and the Ontario horse racing industry could only be achieved by integrating horse racing into the province's overall gaming strategy. He added that a core element of that strategy must be permanent, expanded casinos at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks. (WEG press release)