Ontario Racing Avails More Relief Aid

By Ben Hamill - April 14 2021
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Ontario Racing Avails More Relief Aid

Following the recent announcement of a new lockdown period in Ontario, and the resulting re-closure of the province’s horse racing industry, it has now been announced that there remain available funds under the OLG’s funding agreement that may be applied for by struggling horse people. Benefit payments will be made available to affected and qualifying applicants, Ontario Racing has said.

According to a statement released by Ontario Racing’s John Hayes earlier this week, the regulator is more than willing to extend additional aid in the form of financial benefits to those most severely affected by the newest stoppage. Hayes said the regulator is fully aware of the desperate situation many of the province’s horse racing people now find themselves in all over again. He said help and support would be offered for as long as possible.

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Eligibility Requirements Apply

Eligibility requirements apply to all applications hoping to benefit from the aid offered by the regulator. For one, horse people and horses that were scheduled to race at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Rideau Carleton, and Western Fair, on the weekend of April 3-4, will qualify for a once-off benefit of $300. All races for that particular weekend at the mentioned racetracks were drawn.

Also available to qualifying participants is a monthly benefit payment for the month of April. This benefit amounts to CA$1,000. Those eligible will have not participated in any out-of-province horse racing events or training sessions. Qualifying horses must be stabled in Ontario, and applicants must have a carted provincial line for stabling in 2021.

Also available, and specifically to 3 and 4-year-old horses not yet raced in 2021, is an amount of $1,000 in relief-aid.

Woodbine Pleads For Mercy

So desperate is the current situation with the latest lockdown perceived to be, that horseracing giant Woodbine Entertainment recently directed a formal letter of request to Milton mayor Gordon Kranz, requesting the possibility of discussions regarding a reopening of the live horseracing season.

Woodbine said in its letter of appeal that while it remains fully aware of the dangerous nature of the global health crisis, it is still hopeful that live harness races will soon be permitted to re-commence. 

Since many of Ontario’s horse racing people are now seeking to make a livelihood on the other side of the U.S. border, Woodbine says it fears that the industry may suffer irreparable damage if the situation were to be dragged out for too much longer.

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