Woodbine Desperate For Re-Opening Relief
Woodbine Entertainment has now addressed a formal request to Milton mayor Gordon Kranz, with the hope of opening positive discussions over a potential reopening of the region for the live racing season. Woodbine says it is hopeful that harness races will soon be permitted to resume while remaining mindful of health and safety protocols.
According to the live harness racing giant, the industry currently carries a heavy burden owing to on-again, off-again lockdown orders, with many of the country’s horse people relocating their horses and business to the United States in order to continue making a livelihood by participating in race events.
One of the main concerns raised in the letter is the question of how the ongoing long-term pauses will play out for the local harness racing industry. Fears are the current situation could lead to permanent damage to livelihoods of thousands of people. The Canadian horse racing industry employs thousands of people in Halton and Greater Toronto.
They’ve Stuck To Health Protocols
The letter also addresses the issue of consistency, while expressing the hope that following the relaxation of the current lockdown orders in May this year, the industry will be permitted to continue its activities without any further interruptions. According to the horse racing giant, the province relies heavily on horse racing as a means to an income.
Woodbine furthermore provides details about how it has managed to approach the ongoing global health crisis. According to the harness racing leader, not a single positive case has been reported across the 2,600 races that have been hosted since June 2020.
Looking Ahead To May
As matters stand at the moment, all races at Woodbine Mohawk Park have been indefinitely suspended. Woodbine Race Track in Etobicoke has also shuttered all activities until such time as the industry is permitted to resume races and events. There is currently no certainty regarding whether Ontario’s horse racing industry will be permitted to re-open when general lockdown orders are lifted in May.
All races have obviously been cancelled too, including events scheduled for Rideau Carleton Raceway, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Western Fair District. Ontario Racking has, as a result of the cancellations, decided to grant a one-time relief payment of CA$300 to a total of 310 horses. The horses were all scheduled to participate in races already dated, but then cancelled because of new lockdown orders.
Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson has in the meantime posted to social media that he has enormous appreciation for what difficult time the industry is currently having to face, but that he remains optimistic about the possibility of a light at the end of the lockdown-tunnel.