NDP Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates and Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop say a new stabling policy introduced by Woodbine Racetrack limiting horse movement is having serious negative consequences for horse racing in the province.
“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, what Woodbine in Toronto is doing is not only unprecedented, it’s frankly unfair,” said Gates. “I can see firsthand the negative affect that this is having on the Fort Erie Racetrack and the Niagara tourism industry.”
Earlier this year, Woodbine Racetrack introduced a new policy regarding the stabling of horses at their track. Initially all horses stabled at Woodbine could only race at other tracks once a season, unless that race had a purse over $20,000. The policy has since been revised to allow for two visits to other tracks by horses stabled at Woodbine.
“We have met with the Finance Minister, Minister for Rural Affairs and OLG—we’ve made progress but right now it’s not enough,” said Gates. “Woodbine is receiving millions from the government and using that money to try and eliminate their sole competition in the province—the Fort Erie Race Track”
“We are furious that Woodbine Entertainment has adopted a stall policy that harms the Fort Erie Race Track, and that the OLG appears to be enabling such conduct. This reveals Woodbine's true intentions,” said Redekop. “The restriction of the movement of race horses and the removal of slots from Fort Erie several years ago by the OLG do nothing to address the real problem - the need for more race horses in Ontario.
“If the OLG is serious about fulfilling the Premier's plan to revitalize the horse racing industry in this province, we call upon it to level the playing field between Fort Erie and Woodbine - put the Fort Erie Race track into the Alliance, allocate a fair share of off-track betting revenues to Fort Erie and return the slots to Fort Erie immediately.”