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Windsor planning to close Sept. 1, 2012

May 04, 2012

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Windsor Raceway has issued a statement that it plans to cease "all operations," including harness racing, at the track by Sept, 1, 2012. The statement said the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation was in the process of  "decommissioning" slots at Windsor Raceway, and without a plan to sustain the track without slots, the closure is imminent.
"April 30th was a sad day at Windsor Raceway. It was difficult to say good bye to the many loyal Windsor Raceway patrons who expressed admiration for the program and employees who served them at Windsor Raceway," said Patrick Soulliere, president of Windsor Raceway.

Despite OLG reports, at this time no arrangement is in place to facilitate any continued horse racing operations at the Windsor Raceway and particularly not through March 31, 2013. Without such arrangements Windsor Raceway expects all operations at Windsor Raceway will cease August 31, 2012.

To facilitate removal of the slot machines and the decommissioning of the site the OLG has entered into an interim access agreement with Windsor Raceway that continues to provide some funding to Windsor Raceway until August 31, 2012. As part of the terms of the interim access agreement the OLG has agreed to make payments to Windsor Raceway during the access period that will be equally split between Windsor Raceway and its horsepeople. "We are fortunate the OLG requires access to remove assets from our facility through until August 31, 2012. This has provided funding for a short period of time," said Soulliere.

"The OLG must end its attempts to enhance the Caesars Windsor property at the expense of Windsor Raceway and horse racing in Essex County," said Soulliere. "This conduct is already having an impact on horse racing operations and places horse racing and the thousands of jobs tied to it in our region in great jeopardy," continued Soulliere.

To facilitate an arrangement beyond August 31, Windsor Raceway has advised the OLG it wishes to submit all outstanding issues, including the conditions the OLG insists upon to provide any continued funding for horse racing, to mediation but the OLG has refused.

"Windsor Raceway hopes the OLG will meet to meaningfully discuss all outstanding concerns in a timely manner so arrangements can be made to protect the long and distinguished Windsor Raceway horse racing history," said Soulliere.

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