Response to 2018 Race Dates

Welcome to the OHHA

November 10, 2016

Election Update

Nomination forms for the 2016 OHHA Board of Directors election were mailed to the members in all OHHA districts by the end of August with nominations due back on October 11, 2016.

For District 5 we welcome Mr. Keith Jones and for District 11 we welcome Mr. Bill Kirkpatrick as Directors for a two-year period.  All incumbents standing for re-election have been acclaimed for two years.

We wish to thank outgoing Directors Peter Core (District 10), Donnie Rankin (District 11) and Michael Sinclair (District 5) for their dedication and commitment to the association and their years of service to OHHA’s membership.

For further information contact:
Brian Tropea
General Manager


October 28, 2016

Take the Survey

Guelph, Ontario – Equine Guelph is calling on grooms, trainers and owners in the racing industry, to complete a first of its kind survey on racehorse health and well-being to direct future research and programs for the industry.  Your feedback can help shape the future of racing in Ontario.

The goal of the survey is to learn more about the current challenges facing the Ontario horse racing industry in all three sectors (quarter horse, standardbred, thoroughbred). More specifically, this project explores: current racehorse health concerns (injuries and diseases of most concern), horsemanship and racehorse well-being including post racing opportunities, communications and training.

As a racing professional, your input is important to help drive new research, educational programs and outreach efforts to maintain and improve racehorse health and well-being in Ontario. The survey is anonymous; no specific identifying information will be collected.  A summary of the results of this comprehensive survey will be published.

At the end of the survey, participants have the option to enter a draw to win either one of five $100 fuel cards, one of five $50 Tim Horton’s cards or one of ten $25 Tim Horton’s cards.  Chances of winning are approximately 1 in 20.

Give your input before December 15, 2016!
Go to:

If you have any questions or concerns about your participation, please feel free to contact Diane Gibbard at (519) 824-4120 ext 53457 (or or Gayle Ecker at (519) 824-4120 ext 56678 (or

Photos: Images of all 3 racing disciplines, survey logo and Equine Guelph plus University of Guelph logo

Caption:  Equine Guelph is asking for race industry professionals input on a first of its kind survey for the Ontario Racing industry

Notes to Editor:

Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ Centre at the University of Guelph.  It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups.  Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole.  For further information, visit

Survey Link:

Media Contact:

Jackie Bellamy-Zions
Communications, Equine Guelph, Guelph, ON   N1G 2W1   519.824.4120 ext. 54756


September 15, 2016

Ontario Animal Health Network releases Quarterly Owner Report

The OAHN group is a dedicated group of veterinarians from primary care practices, academia, government and laboratories, who meet regularly to discuss Equine disease and health issues.  To read their Quarterly Owner Report please……… Click here


September 8, 2016

OHHA to Hold Election for Board of Directors

By now, if you are a member of the Ontario Harness Horse Association, you should have received a nomination form for the election of the Board of Directors, which will be held on the second Tuesday in December.  If you have not received a form, please contact the office in order to verify that you are a current member and to ensure that we have the proper mailing address for you.

For the past two years the board of Directors has deferred the election based on efforts made during that time to establish a single association to represent all Standardbred participants.  On both occasions this decision was ratified at the annual meeting.

OHHA supported, and still supports, one voice for all racing participants. Despite the fact that significant work was done to accomplish this, the Ontario Racing Commission, which was facilitating the discussions with the existing associations, informed us at the last minute that it would not proceed and that all of our efforts had been for naught.

The OHHA Board of Directors still realizes the importance, and supports the adoption, of a single voice for the participants in racing.  OHHA will continue its efforts to ensure that the participants in racing have a voice and that important decisions affecting the racing industry are made in a consultative and inclusive manner.

We urge you to get involved in the election process and to make sure that your opinion is heard at the OHHA table by electing engaged representatives from across the province to form the next Board of Directors of the Association.  According to the OHHA bylaw only current members as of the second Tuesday in October are eligible to vote.

If you have any questions regarding the election process, please do not hesitate to contact the office at 905-854-6442.


June 1, 2016

Landmark Decision on Absolute vs. Strict Liability

In a landmark decision a Panel of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) recently released its decision regarding low level positive test results from two horse trainers from races held in Ontario.  In both cases the appellants exhibited their due diligence and the Panel used its discretionary powers to find them not responsible, despite the onerous absolute liability rule in racing.  The Ontario Harness Horse Association has been consulting with the ORC about the clear need for threshold levels to be established in order to protect Ontario horse trainers against the possibility of receiving a positive test based on highly sensitive testing, which can result in extremely low level determinations, which may be the result of environmental contamination.  Many papers have been written, and numerous hearings conducted, that have highlighted the possibility of these occurrences as well as the need to establish protocol to protect innocent trainers from possible prosecution without any evidence of wrongdoing.

In one of the two cases handled by Counsel Frank Roth, it was argued – ultimately successfully – that the prohibited drug did not go through the system of either horse tested, that the resultant levels of drug noted were of such minimal levels as to be meaningless and that the levels would have had no effect on a racehorse, either as to its health and wellbeing or its race performance.  It was moreover argued that, given the reality of the environmental contamination existing in the air and water of modern society, any testing with such small negligible findings would be well within that environmental contamination.  It was as well argued that the currently applied standard of liability, that is absolute liability, was wrong in law and in practice and that the appropriate measure of liability must be that of strict liability, thereby providing an opportunity to make full answer and defense to the allegations of failing to properly guard horses.

In a well-written unanimous decision the Ontario Racing Commission Panel had the following to say about the evidence:

“Again, the primary issue central to both the Cappuccitti and Wilson Appeal is the application of Rule 15.06.03 (a) and (c), or the propriety of such an application, in cases where, on the evidence it is established that the positive drug test arises from environmental, or other contamination rather than any act or omission of the trainer, groom or other person who has charge, custody and care of the horse.

In horse racing, it is possible to increase artificially both the physical capacity and the presence of competitive instinct, using drugs, such as anabolic steroids and agents stimulating the central nervous system.  The primary motivation of Rule 15.06.03 is to prevent the use of illegal drugs for this purpose. The objective of the testing protocols is to detect any trace of drug exposure (parent or metabolite) using the most advanced methods.  The challenge as described by Dr. Tobin is “to set limits high enough to cut off the environmental noise and low enough to stop performance enhancement”.

The Rules of Racing require that a trainer, groom or other person who has charge, custody and care of a horse maintain the utmost due diligence in ensuring that no illegal drug is given to a horse.  In 2008, the Rules were amended to include the “absolute liability” offence of a positive test for a non-therapeutic drug or a drug prohibited by the CPMA.  In this case, the two Rules collide.  It is evident that the Appellants have maintained their stables and horses at an exemplary standard and yet, by no fault of their own, there is a positive test.

The Panel must consider the purpose of the Rules of Racing and our obligation to protect the betting public, promote and uphold the integrity of racing and do so in the public interest.  The Panel must also consider the licensees of the Ontario Racing Commission and use our judgment in determining how best to balance the evidence and apply the Rules.  The Rules, by their very nature, must be applied on a case by case basis.  Further, it is the responsibility of the Commission to ensure that the Rules of Racing, and their application, keep pace with the growing body of science and the advent of technology in the industry.

Section 6 The Commission shall exercise its powers and perform its duties in the public interest and in accordance with the principle of honesty and integrity, and social responsibility.

Racing Commission Act, 2000

Since the advance of drug screening, in particular, since the introduction of chromatographic/mass spectrometric techniques in 2010, it is now possible to detect substances at levels that were never before considered possible.  The evidence is that as screening techniques continue to improve, so will the detection of once inconceivably low levels of toxins or illegal narcotics.  The evidence is that these positive results are frequently environmental in nature.  The substance is not administered but rather caused by an environmental contaminant.  The evidence is that such low level detection is not forensically considered harmful to the horse or performance enhancing.  The preponderance of evidence is that methamphetamine did not pass through the horse at all in these cases.

The Panel has thoroughly considered all of the evidence upon which the Administration and the Appellants rely.  Without addressing herein the considerable body of ORC decisions and case law which raise similar issues, suffice it to say that the Panel views the advancement in drug testing since 2010, and the growing body of scientific data available to the Commission in regard to environmental contamination, to have enormous effect on the application of the current Rules of Racing, specifically, the “Absolute Liability” offences.

The Panel is keenly aware of the international industry standard in relation to these low level drug positives and the discussions that are currently taking place in Ontario and the United States to address the changes in testing and the increased environmental contamination.  The Panel is also keenly aware of the negative impact of “doping” in the industry and the necessity to ensure that there is a “zero tolerance” approach taken to such activity.  It is for this reason that the Commission must address each case individually.

For this reason the Panel is invoking its absolute discretion provided for under Rule 24.3 to allow the appeals of Cappuccitti and Wilson in relation to these offences.  To do otherwise would be to defy the reasoning of the Divisional Court in Shakes wherein it is determined that the imposition of absolute liability must be rationally supported and in the public interest.”

This case can be seen as a watershed in the law as it applies to positive testing and the obligations of trainers in respect of the care and custody of horses.  The law has been clarified respecting the effect of low level positive test results arising out of nothing more than the super sensitivity of testing apparatus, the effect on horses of the low levels, the need for thresholds setting out when a positive test should be called and, most significantly, that trainers who carry on with the best of practices mindful completely of their obligations to the best interests of racing can defend themselves from being found “guilty” not because of what they have done or fail to do, but only because they are listed as the horse’s trainer.

The significance of this decision cannot be undervalued in its application to these types of matters in the future given its being the first real change in the approach of an adjudicating Panel to trainer responsibility since in or about 2008.  No longer is the quality of the trainer only appropriate after a finding of liability, but rather it is an integral part of the decision as to liability.

Moreover, the needed reassessment as to findings of low level drugs in urine testing as they relate to performance and the effect of water and air, as well as inadvertent human carriers, now can meaningfully proceed given the Panel’s review of the potential which again provides a more sensible approach within the industry.  The Panel’s recognition of the advances in these areas in other North American racing jurisdictions adds impetus to the review and the benefits to the industry as a whole.

The Ontario Harness Horse Association applauds the Panel ruling and encourages the Alcohol and Gaming Corporation to continue the work of the Ontario Racing Commission to create threshold levels backed by scientific research to, as Dr. Tobin testified at the hearing, “set limits high enough to cut off the environmental noise and low enough to stop performance enhancement.” It is only through that effort that we can eliminate the possibility of positive tests due to environmental contamination and protect the rights of those that practice horse training in Ontario.

To read the decision in full please click here.

February 2, 2016

Notice of Annual Membership Meeting


Date:       Saturday, February 13, 2016

Time:        2:00 pm

 Place:   Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale

                 6750 Mississauga Road

                 Mississauga, Ontario

                 Greenwich Room


Agenda Items:

  • Introduction of Board of Directors, Officers and Executive
  • Ratification of Motion Pertaining to 2016 Board Election
  • President’s Remarks
  • Approval of 2015 Annual Meeting Minutes
  • Presentation of 2015 Audited Financial Statement
  • Appointment of 2016 Auditors
  • General Manager’s Remarks
  • Other Business

In order to verify membership we ask members to kindly bring their card.

For further information please contact the OHHA office at 905-854-6442 or 1-866-774-6442.


December 3, 2015

University of Guelph – Equine Guelph Winter Semester starts in January 2016.  For course descriptions and further information,  please click here

November 24, 2015

CHRHF Launches 2016 Calendar to Celebrate 40th Anniversary and Honour Equine Racing Heroes

2016 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and to celebrate, a calendar has been produced honouring many of the racing industry’s equine heroes.

From the moment Linda Rainey, Managing Director of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, read ‘So God Made a Racehorse’ she knew it was special.  “The beautiful words written by TROT Magazine Editor Darryl Kaplan captured all the best qualities of our equine racing heroes and spoke directly to what the CHRHF represents.”

With Kaplan’s agreement, it was decided to create a calendar to celebrate the CHRHF’s 40th anniversary in 2016.  Commenting on the project, Darryl noted, “There are few athletes in this world more deserving of our admiration than the tremendous equine performers on our racetracks.  ‘So God Made a Racehorse’ was written as a tribute to the horse‎ and it is an honour to have the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame use this piece in its 2016 calendar.”

Darryl’s powerful words are accompanied throughout the calendar with images of Hall of Fame horses from the files of award winning photographer Dave Landry, “The horses brought me into photography at an early age”, said Landry, “Being involved with this project brought back cherished memories of racing and farm visits.  I very much enjoy seeing the great ones honoured, as it serves to remind us how fortunate we are to have them in our lives. In recognizing their achievements, we ensure the traditions of horse racing remain a strong part of Canadian culture.”

Each page of the 12 month calendar features a stanza of “So God Made a Racehorse” along with a beautiful Dave Landry photo of either a Standardbred or Thoroughbred CHRHF member.  Horses featured include Somebeachsomewhere, Jambalaya, Dance Smartly, Bettors Delight, Wando, Izvestia, Mystic Mistress, Dreamfair Eternal, Soaring Free, Kadabra, Rocknroll Hanover and Peteski.

The full colour calendars measure 12.5”x9.5”(opening to 12.5”x 19”)  and can be purchased for $15.00 each + HST through the CHRHF online gift shop at,

The calendars will also be on sale November 28 and 29th in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and on the 2nd Floor at Woodbine during both Thoroughbred and Standardbred race cards.  Additional racetrack locations and dates, as well as information on retail sales locations to be announced shortly.

Linda Rainey
Managing Director
Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame


October 16, 2015

Deloitte is undertaking an Ontario Horse Racing Industry Economic Impact survey.  If you are interested in participating in this survey, please click on the link below.

July 27, 2015

The University of Guelph – Equine Guelph offers equine studies online.  If  you are interested to learn more, please follow the link below:

July 20, 2015

Ontario Standardbred Horseperson Association
Steering Committee
Invites Applications for Directorships
for the Inaugural Board of Directors
The Steering Committee of the forthcoming Ontario Standardbred Horseperson Association (OSHA) invites prospective industry and independent directors to apply for directorships on the inaugural Board of Directors, expected to be established by August 1, 2015. Applications are welcome if received by July 22, 2015. Early applications are encouraged.

If you possess some of the following competencies, you are encouraged to apply:

  • Financial;
  • Governance;
  • Equine welfare;
  • Gaming (e.g., pari-mutuel) and entertainment industry;
  • Horseperson industry;
  • Human resources and compensation;
  • Information technology;
  • Legal/regulatory;
  • Marketing and communications;
  • Public policy and political acumen;
  • Risk management;
  • Safety, health and the environment; and
  • Strategic planning.

Desired attributes of prospective directors include: commitment and engagement, communication, impact and influence, integrity and accountability, leadership and teamwork.

This inaugural Board is expected to be comprised of seven directors, including four industry directors and three independent directors. One of the independent directors will be elected Chair. Industry directors may include individuals affiliated with the standardbred horseperson industry, including horse breeders, drivers, grooms, owners and trainers. Independent directors should have no relationship to the standardbred horseperson industry.

While the inaugural Board will be appointed, OSHA will move quickly to populating the Board with elected industry directors. As such, terms for Directors of this inaugural Board may be limited to one, two or three years.

There are expected to be five meetings per year. Modest compensation may be accorded to directors, in the judgment of the inaugural Board. Diverse board candidates are encouraged to apply, to achieve gender, cultural, age and geographic diversity.

This inaugural Board is expected to comply with leading governance practices. All prospective industry and independent Directors are encouraged to apply by submitting a curriculum vitae or short bio, in hard copy or by email, in confidence to:

 The Steering Committee
Ontario Standardbred Horseperson Association
c/o Ontario Horse Racing
90 Sheppard Ave East, Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2N 0A4


It is anticipated that Directors and Committee members may be eligible for a modest per diem of around $300 to $500, subject to Board approval.

Questions, if any, may be directed to individual horsepersons’ associations within Ontario, or to the Steering Committee at the above email address.


February 12, 2015

Update for OHHA Members

Last Saturday, February 7th, the Ontario Harness Horse Association conducted a board meeting in the morning and its Annual General Meeting following in the afternoon.  Both meetings were held at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga.

During the board meeting Messrs. Jody Jamieson and Anthony Haughan were reappointed as Directors-at-Large for a one-year term.

Due to the ongoing process of amalgamating the current four Standardbred horsemen’s associations, the OHHA board decided to maintain its 2014 Executive Committee for the current year.  Executive Committee officers and members are:  Ken Hardy (President), Jody Jamieson (1st Vice-President), Kent Baker (2nd Vice-President), Paul Lindsey (Treasurer), Peter Core, Dave Gibson, Anthony Haughan, Jim Whelan and Mark Williams.

For the same reason a motion was brought forward and ratified by the members, during the AGM, to maintain the status quo pertaining to the OHHA Board of Directors.

OHHA recognizes the importance of working with the Ontario Racing Commission in order to achieve the establishment of one Standardbred horsemen’s association.  OHHA has always strongly supported the concept of one association/one voice for the Standardbred horsepeople of Ontario.

A definite timeline for the completion of the amalgamation has of yet not been set and OHHA wishes to reassure its members that for the duration all will remain as is.  The RRSP program is healthy, insurance programs are being maintained, representation for those who need it will be available.

OHHA encourages all members who have questions or concerns to contact the office.


January 6, 2015

Notice of Annual Membership Meeting

Date:               Saturday, February 7, 2015

Time:               2:00 pm

Place:              Delta Meadowvale Resort and Conference Centre,                               6750 Mississauga Road,  Mississauga, Ontario –  Hazel McCallion Room

Agenda Items:

  • Introduction of Board of Directors, Officers and Executive
  • Ratification of Motion Pertaining to 2015 Board Election
  • President’s Remarks
  • Approval of 2014 Annual Meeting Minutes
  • Presentation of 2014 Audited Financial Statement
  • Appointment of 2015 Auditors
  • General Manager’s Remarks
  • Other Business

For further information please contact the OHHA office at 905-854-6442 or 1-866-774-6442.

December 11, 2014

Equine Guelph and the University of Guelph are currently conducting a study on the awareness of current research among members of Ontario’s horse industry – the study aims to measure who in the equine industry is accessing University of Guelph research, how they are accessing it, and whether the information changes their practices. In order to assess this we are asking members of the industry (riders, athletes, owners, veterinarians, and equine business owners) to complete a short online survey. In it you will be asked about your involvement with the horse-industry and your sources for horse-related information and any experiences with University of Guelph equine research. Participation in the survey is completely voluntary and anonymous and should take no more than 30 minutes. If you are under the age of 18 please seek consent from your parent or guardian before completing this survey.

Below you will find the link to the survey, which contains an information letter describing the project and your role as a participant. I encourage you to read the information letter before completing the survey, and please do not hesitate to contact the research team with any questions you may have. You can contact the principal investigator Professor Jeff Thomason at, or student investigator Erin Massender at

The survey will close on February 1, 2015.

Thank you very much for your time,

Erin Massender, Research Assistant

Survey Link


September 12, 2014

For the ninth year in a row, OHHA will offer college/university entrance scholarships to children of active OHHA members. For 2014 one scholarship will be at the university level in the amount of $2,500, and two will be at the college level in the amount of $1,500 each. Money will be distributed upon proof of registration at an Ontario college or university.

Application deadline is November 7, 2014.

To qualify, submit a completed application form (available here or by contacting the OHHA office) by mail on or before the due date to:

Scholarship Committee
Ontario Harness Horse Association
35 Crawford Crescent
PO Box 429
Campbellville, ON L0P 1B0

For further enquiries please contact Brian Tropea at the OHHA office: 905-854-6442 or 1-866-774-6442 ext. 222.

July 25, 2014

The Ontario Harness Horse Association supports the proponents behind the EquiLottery initiative, a new horse-racing product that adds lottery money directly into on-track handle.  To read the Press Release, please click here.

June 23, 2014

The Ontario Harness Horse Association has prepared a response to the current situation as it unfolds in the Meadowlands.  To read the Press Release, please click here.

June 9, 2014

To read the response from the New Democratic Party, please click here.

To read the response from the Liberal Party, please click here.

To read the response from the Progressive Conservative Party, please click here.

June 2, 2014

OHHA has sent letters to all party leaders asking them a series of questions regarding their plans for the horse-racing industry in Ontario.

To read the Press Release, please click here.

To read the letter as was sent to the 3 party leaders, please click here

April 30, 2014

On Monday, April 28, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario released its Special Report pertaining to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Modernization Plan.

To read the report, please click here.


March 14, 2014

Mr. Tony Doucette, host of CBC – Windsor Morning, interviewed Brian Tropea last Wednesday (March 12th).  To listen to the communication please click on

Brian’s interview.

February 3, 2014

Brian Tropea was interviewed by radio CFRU 93.3. earlier today.  To listen to this interview click on the link below, once opened, click on the arrow in front of February 3, 2014 Hoofbeats, and, as a final step find 13:32 on the gold bar.  

Brian’s interview


January 21, 2014

The Ontario Harness Horse Association would like to remind its members of the upcoming

Annual Membership Meeting

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Best Western Plus Milton Inn (Banquet Room)

161 Chisholm Drive, Milton, ON

We strongly encourage members’ attendance as the business and future of the association will be discussed.


November 21, 2013

OHHA Board of Directors Election Postponed

OHHA Annual Membership Meeting Notice

Election of OHHA’s board of directors historically has been held each year on the second Tuesday in December as stipulated in the association’s bylaws.

For 2014 the board has decided to postpone this year’s election process due to the considered creation of one SB horsepeople’s association as outlined in the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel’s report that was delivered last month.  Performing the administrative responsibilities attached to an election has always been a costly exercise and the board felt these costs would not be warranted under the current circumstances.

In order to maintain due process a vote will be conducted during the Annual Membership Meeting and if members in attendance at that meeting indicate an election should be held the process will be started immediately after the annual meeting. 

Members having questions or concerns regarding this decision are encouraged to call the OHHA office.

The 2014 OHHA Annual Membership Meeting is scheduled for 

          Tuesday, January 28, 2014 – 6:00 pm
          Best Western Plus Milton Inn (Banquet Room)
          161 Chisholm Drive, Milton, ON


October 29, 2013

For the eighth year in a row, OHHA will offer college/university entrance scholarships to children of active OHHA members. For 2013 one scholarship will be at the university level in the amount of $2,500, and two will be at the college level in the amount of $1,500 each. Money will be distributed upon proof of registration at an Ontario college or university.

Application deadline is November 21, 2013.

To qualify, submit a completed application form (available on the this website (get involved – scholarships) or by contacting the OHHA office) by mail on or before the due date to:

Scholarship Committee
Ontario Harness Horse Association
35 Crawford Crescent
PO Box 429
Campbellville, ON L0P 1B0

For further enquiries please contact Brian Tropea at the OHHA office: 905-854-6442 or 1-866-774-6442 ext. 222.

October 16, 2013

The Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel has delivered its Final Report to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.   To read the report please…..Click here.

October 9, 2013

The Ontario Racing Commission is seeking public input regarding Standardbred race date changes submitted by Western Fair and Flamboro Downs.  To view the ORC notice please……Click here

July 2, 2013

On Friday, June 28, the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel released its draft plan for the future of horse racing in Ontario.  Industry participants have the opportunity to provide their input at four scheduled meetings  or by written suggestion.

The report, information regarding registration for the meetings and email address for written suggestions can be accessed by clicking on the links in the notice below.

Ontario’s Horse Racing Industry
Transitioning to a Sustainable Future

The Ontario government is committed to supporting a sustainable racing industry that is fair to industry partners and the people of the province. The Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel has been directed to develop a plan that sets a clear path forward on:

  • growing the fan base and enhancing wagering revenues,
  • improving the governance and regulation of the horse racing industry,
  • developing a sustainable funding model, and
  • promoting excellence in racehorse management and breeding.

The panel will also work with industry partners, the Ministry of Finance and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to integrate horse racing into the broader Ontario gaming strategy.

In early July the Panel will hold public meetings open to all interested parties, to discuss their draft plan for a sustainable Ontario horse racing industry.

You can download the panel’s draft plan, entitled “Toward a Sustainable Future – a Plan for Horse Racing in Ontario,” and are invited to submit written suggestions on how it can be improved. The Panel will incorporate stakeholder and public input into their final plan, which will be released October 2013 to allow for phased implementation beginning April 1, 2014.

For further inquiries, please email:


June 24, 2013


Horse Racing Public Meetings

Ontario has asked the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel for a plan that sets a clear path forward on:

  • growing the fan base and enhancing wagering revenues
  • improving the governance and regulation of the horse racing industry
  • developing a sustainable funding model, and
  • promoting excellence in racehorse management and breeding.

The Panel is required to submit its final plan by October 2013 to allow for implementation on April 1, 2014.

Public meetings are open to all interested parties and will take place as follows:

Monday, July 8, 2013
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Western Fair District Raceway
900 King Street
Carousel Room
London ON

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Woodbine Raceway
555 Rexdale Boulevard
Toronto ON

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Ajax Downs
50 Alexander’s Crossing
Ajax ON

Thursday, July 11, 2013*
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Rideau Carleton Raceway
4837 Albion Road
Ottawa ON
*Services for this meeting will be provided in English and French.

To register for a session or to sign up for web-ex or teleconference , please:

You can also submit comments online. The Discussion Paper will be posted on this site by the end of June.

April 22, 2013


This event is scheduled for Thursday, May 9 at 6:30 pm in West Copetown.  For further information and the registration form please…..Click here.


March 13, 2013


Due to a scheduling conflict encountered by the PC Party it is necessary to reschedule the dinner with Tim Hudak which was originally slated to take place on March 19th.

This PC fundraiser is now confirmed for Tuesday May 14, 2013; venue and time unchanged.  The amended registration form can be accessed here.

The Executive Director of the PC Ontario Fund and OHHA thank you for your understanding and offer sincere apologies to those who have already registered in case this date change causes any inconvenience.


January 10, 2013


The OHHA Board of Directors met yesterday, January 9, 2013, to elect the Officers and Executive Committee for 2013.

Ken Hardy was re-elected as President for a third term.

Mr. Hardy thanked the board for its continued support.  He acknowledged the difficult circumstances in which the racing industry currently finds itself and he expressed his concerns pertaining to the future of racing.

Other members of the OHHA Executive Committee are:

First Vice President:  Jody Jamieson

Second Vice President:  Kent Baker

Treasurer:  Paul Lindsey

Executive Members:  Peter Core, Dave Gibson, Anthony Haughan, Jim Whelan and Mark Williams


December 7 2012


The OHHA Annual Membership Meeting is scheduled for

Saturday, January 26, 2013 – 2:00 pm
Delta Meadowvale Hotel (Hazel McCallion Room)
6750 Mississauga, Ontario

 We invite and encourage all our members to attend this meeting.

November 1, 2012


The Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA), which represents the majority of Standardbred horsepeople in Ontario, after careful consideration of the final report as prepared by the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel, would like to share its initial reaction to the publicized content.

Unfortunately, we are not greatly surprised by the recommendations as communicated by the panel.  Given the process that has surrounded the government’s intentional dismantlement of the harness racing sector the outcome appears to have been predetermined.

To be clear, the decision to kill the Slots-at-Racetracks Program was made before the release of the Drummond report.  Mr. Drummond, in his recommendations, noted the program should be reviewed, not eliminated.  OHHA has historically supported a review realising there were issues with the existing arrangements, particularly the minimal reinvestment by some racetracks into the infrastructure in order to enhance the industry.

Misinterpreting the recommendation from the Drummond report, the government announced that SARP was dead, effective March 31, 2013.  A multitude of reasons were provided for this decision: it was going to help the fiscal position of the province, it was a “subsidy” to the industry, the industry was unsustainable, a new model was needed…..  We have heard it all and none of the reasoning withstands even the most basic test of scrutiny.

Given the public pressure applied by OHHA and others, the OMAFRA panel was appointed to appease the industry and buy the government time.  This week we were presented the final report excluding a segment of financial information.  The panel developed a model based on revenue generated from pari-mutuel wagering in 2011.  The report clearly demonstrates that the impact will be significant, particularly on the Standardbred industry.

While we applaud the recommendations calling for accountability and transparency, obligations we have repeatedly asked and encouraged the ORC to enforce, OHHA will not and cannot accept a report that buries a dagger in the back of its membership.

Investments by our members and members from other organizations have grown the economy.  In addition to the SARP program contributing in excess of $14 billion dollars to the provincial treasury since its introduction, direct taxation from the economic activity generated by the racing sector is approaching a quarter of a billion dollars.  $1.25 Billion dollars per year have been received by the government to provide services for our fellow citizens.  Apparently “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” doesn’t register with this government.

The panel shows a certain level of naïveté by suggesting that gutting Standardbred race dates and purses will keep Ontario competitive with other jurisdictions.  Given that our major competitors south of the border are increasing racing opportunities and purses, we will become far less competitive in racing opportunities, purse monies and in the breeding shed.  How will the demand for the Ontario Standardbred increase under these circumstances?  What will be the loss of economic activity and loss of revenue for government under this proposal?

The extreme bias favoring the A Thoroughbreds is an affront to the Standardbred industry.  While we will not engage in a divide and conquer discussion, to recommend that Standardbreds lose 54% of race days and over 60% of purse monies, compared to a minimal decline of race days and purses for A Thoroughbreds, is a grave injustice by any measure.  Yes, we will hear about the tremendous cut to the Thoroughbred B tracks and OHHA deeply sympathizes with those who will be affected at Ft. Erie Racetrack.

The fact that government doesn’t want a partnership on slot machines but is willing to partner with racetracks on other types of gaming is more than a little confusing.  Of course, none of this increased gaming revenue is available to horsepeople, but will be used to offset racetracks operational expenses.

While we thank the panel for its time and effort we feel deeply disheartened.  This is a confidence-shaking report, a bad deal for harness racing, and a bad deal for the people of Ontario.

The panel refers to OHRIA as representing the horse racing industry.  However, this particular association certainly does not seem to represent the rank and file of the harness racing sector.  The latest results of its efforts could not have made this any more evident as reflected in its initial submission to OMAFRA and the ensuing final report presented by the panel.

As we mentioned at the beginning, this was a political process designed to achieve a pre-determined outcome to the benefit of a few and the detriment of many.  Ending the SARP was never about the dismal fiscal position of the province; they could have enhanced the program if they wanted to improve the province’s finances.

The only rational response is to reject the report.  We must continue to work with all elected officials to move the industry forward in a meaningful manner.  As we have since our inception (1961), OHHA will continue to provide open and responsible leadership on behalf of all its members and we welcome and value our members’ continued input.

For further information contact:
Brian Tropea, General Manager
905-854-6442 or 1-866-774-6442 ext. 222


To read the report…..Click here.


To view the report…..Click here.

Panel to Work With Industry on Future of Horse Racing

 June 7, 2012 10:00 AM

McGuinty Government Helping Industry Transition to More Sustainable Future

Ontario is moving forward with consultations to help the horse racing industry transition from the Slots at Racetracks program to a more sustainable, self-sufficient model.The consultations will be led by a panel of three former cabinet ministers — Elmer Buchanan, John Snobelen and John Wilkinson.The panel will:

  • Work with the industry to help develop a vision for the future.
  • Provide recommendations to the government on how to allocate transition funding.
  •  Advise on the modernization of other industry revenue sources to assist the industry in becoming more self-sufficient.

A final report from the panel is expected in late summer 2012.


    • Ontario will provide up to $50 million over three years in transition support to the industry.
    • Employment Ontario will help displaced workers in the industry find jobs and training.
    • Since 1998, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has provided nearly $3.7 billion to horse racing in Ontario through the Slots at Racetracks program.
    • The industry is expected to receive a payment of $340 million from the OLG this year.
    • The Slots at Racetracks Program gives 20 per cent of gross slot revenue. That money is shared equally between the track operator and those involved with running horses at the respective tracks. The program will end on March 31, 2013.




  • Mark Cripps
    Minister’s Office
  • Susan Murray
    Communications Branch


 Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs



racing industry facing serious declines

The 2011 racing season has been completed and the statistics are now available. The new racing model developed and implemented by the Ontario Racing Commission for the 2011 season led to declines in purses paid, opportunities and pari-mutuel wagering. To view a comparison between 2010 and 2011 click here.