A letter issued by the Ontario Racing Commission on Tuesday states that the province’s Standardbred racing industry is about to get a substantial infusion to its program
The letter — penned by the ORC’s Executive Director Steve Lehman and addressed to Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Jeff Leal — states that discussions are ongoing with the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA) to design an “enhanced Horse Improvement Program for Ontario Standardbreds not to exceed $12 million in total funding.”
Discussions are ongoing and are set to resume in mid-November.
The full contents of the letter are available below.
October 28, 2014 The Honourable Jeff Leal Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Government of Ontario
Further to the correspondence from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of October 6, 2014 instructing ORC to further engage the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA) in discussions about the design of a five-year enhanced Horse Improvement Program for Ontario Standardbreds not to exceed $12 million in total funding, I am pleased to update you on progress achieved to date.
Over the last few weeks, we have exchanged correspondence with Walter Parkinson, President of the SBOA. I am pleased to report that, earlier this week, the SBOA has confirmed their willingness to work with the ORC in the design of a program for Standardbred and will provide designate names and potential meeting dates in the near future. Unfortunately, due to other commitments, the SBOA representatives likely cannot meet with us prior to November 10, 2014.
As you know, the ORC has successfully completed agreements to enhance support for Ontario bred and sired Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. These enhancements have contributed to an increase in demand for Ontario horses as reflected in the value at sale of Ontario yearlings. It is the expectation that a similar program for Standardbreds would also result in improved prices at upcoming yearling sales.
We understand the urgency of completing this work well in advance of the 2015 breeding season and commit to report to you again, hopefully with the design of a Standardbred program, no later than November 14, 2014.
Thank you for your guidance, leadership and support for this important component of the Ontario Horse Racing Partnership Plan.
Steven Lehman Executive Director