In a letter issued to Premier Kathleen Wynne on March 11, 2014, John Snobelen of Ontario Horse Racing announced support programs for thoroughbred and quarter-horse breeders.
Not mentioned in this announcement was the Standardbred sector.
On Monday, a group of Standardbred breeders filed a $65 million lawsuit against the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp. for damages stemming from the cancellation of the slots-at-racetracks program two years ago today.
Snobelen told Trot Insider on Wednesday morning that the timing of the two announcements is merely coincidence, but the exclusion of the Standardbred side is not.
“On the Standardbred side, there’s an interest in maintaining a healthy breeding sector in Ontario, and the current litigation that the Standardbred breeders of Ontario have entered into won’t impede the programs we currently have but they do make agreements on future programs more difficult because no one — the government or the breeders — want to interfere with the matters that are before the courts.
“My hope is that this is dealt with in a timely fashion and that we can all get on with what we’re trying to do and that’s build a prosperous industry.”
The letter from Snobelen to Wynne is posted in its entirety below.
March 11, 2014
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne Minister of Agriculture and Food Government of Ontario
I am pleased to provide a further update on progress in implementing the Ontario Horse Racing Partnership Plan.
Ontario has a proud tradition of breeding some of the world’s great racehorses. Fifty years ago Canadians cheered an Ontario-bred colt, Northern Dancer, to victory in the Kentucky Derby. His offspring continue to have an impact on Thoroughbred horses around the world.
In the spirit of that legacy, I am delighted to inform you that we have reached agreements that will enhance the $30-million dollar Horse Improvement Program. Specifically, we are now finalizing five-year breeder support programs with the Ontario division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (CTHS) and the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. (QROOI).
The thoroughbred program will feature an enhanced breeders’ award program, entitled the Premier’s Awards. In total, an additional $12 million dollars will be made available to Thoroughbred breeders through the Premier’s Awards and other components of the new program.
I would like to recognize the Ontario division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, particularly Glenn Sikura and the Board of Directors, for their work in designing and implementing the Premier’s Awards program.
We are currently working with QROOI President Bob Broadstock and the Board of Directors to finalize a similar program for Quarter Horse breeders that will add $6 million dollars in breeding incentives.
These incentives will recognize excellence for Ontario-bred race horses.
In the weeks ahead we will continue to build on the spirit of partnership as we prepare for an exciting season of great racing.