On Tuesday, April 6, Ontario Racing, one of the leading live harness regulators in Ontario, announced that support payments for the recently cancelled horse racing events will be made. The events were set to take place at Western Fair District, Rideau Carleton Raceway, and Woodbine Mohawk Park’s race track at the beginning of this month.

The horse racing industry as a whole is going through one of its most difficult periods in recent time as it has been affected by an unprecedented situation that has taken its toll on the live harness season. The frequent shifts in lockdown restrictions have had a negative impact on the sports, as the standardbred season has been halted.

Ontario Racing has agreed to compensate all involved horsepeople in the events with provision payments as a result of the current cancellation of live harness races. The events were supposed to take place at the beginning of the month, but they were cancelled after a government order due to safety concerns about the unprecedented situation spreading.

Woodbine Mohawk Park was supposed to have a race card on April 3, 2021, according to the schedule, but it was cancelled. It will also be on the cards at Western Fair District’s The Raceway on April 3, 2021, and Rideau Carleton Raceway on April 4, 2021. For each horse scheduled to race on the above days, the properties will receive a payment of CA$300.

The number of horses impacted by the cancellation of the live harness races is estimated to be about 310. Woodbine Mohawk Park has 103 horses scheduled to race, Western Fair District has 78, and Rideau Carleton Raceway has 129. The events were canceled due to the provincial government’s latest lockdown order, which took effect on April 3, 2021.

The Funding Agreement for Live Horse Racing between Ontario Racing and the Ontario Lottery Gaming Company, according to the live harness leader, had already committed funds to the sector. Payments should be made the next day. Amid the lockdown, the horse racing leader has set up a task force to assess the effect of the restrictions on the sport.

Single-event Protection

As Canada prepares to introduce the long-awaited legalization of single-event wagering, Ontario’s horse racing leaders have banded together to demand that the industry be protected. Woodbine Mohawk and Ontario racing have publicly backed single-event betting, but only if the federal government takes the necessary steps to protect the live harness industry and its thousands of jobs.

The industry and its regulators were not let down by the legislature. The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights held a hearing on single event wagering at the end of March. The committee approved Bill C-218, which allows for the proposed reform in gaming law, but it also stated that the horse racing industry would be excluded from the bill to protect it from unintentional damage.

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