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Quebec track takeover near

August 18, 2006

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The Société nationale du cheval de course (SONACC), Attractions Hippiques and their respective affiliates signed an agreement Thursday which will allow for the private sector to take over Hippodrome de Montreal as well as all racetrack operations in the province of Quebec.

This agreement is a major step forward in the process of the private-sector takeover of all racetrack operations and the sale of assets in Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières and Aylmer, as well as their affiliated Hippo Clubs. In August 2005, SONACC and the Quebec government issued a public call for proposals aimed at identifying a purchaser. The selection committee chose the proposal by Attractions Hippiques, a choice that was ratified by the government.

Florent Gagné, president of SONACC, said that the agreement covers not only the transfer of assets but also major commitments as to the future of horseracing in Quebec, in particular with respect to the size of the purses that will be offered. The agreement also contains specific terms that will benefit Quebec horse breeders and Standardbred racing.

Following this agreement, the Quebec horse racing industry will benefit from investments totalling $280 million over the next five years. One of the commitments made by Attractions Hippiques is to increase the size of the purses for owners, riders and trainers who win races, with a view to revitalizing the industry.

\"As soon as the agreement is finalized with the granting of racing licenses and permits for pari-mutuel betting, which could take about 30 days, we will increase the purses. I consider this to be a priority, since I\'ve observed in my many meetings with stakeholders that it is crucial to breathe new life into the industry. This way, we\'ll restore horseracing to its rightful place on Quebec\'s sports entertainment scene,\" said Paul J. Massicotte, owner of Attractions Hippiques.

\"The horse racing industry provides employment for numerous breeders, trainers, promoters and racetrack owners in Quebec. I firmly believe in the future of this industry, which is a tourist and commercial attraction in several regions of the province. I\'m also pleased to be able to work closely with industry players who are enthusiastic about what they do and determined to make it as attractive as possible. I\'m working with my team to design high-quality entertainment centres to complement horseracing activities, which will appeal to the general public,\" added Mr. Massicotte, following this agreement.

Attractions Hippiques is a Quebec company owned by Paul J. Massicotte, whose goal is to revive harness racing in Quebec. (SONACC press release)
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