On December 12, 2019 the Ontario Harness Horse Association, (OHHA) learned of the new implemented changes to the scratch rule at Flamboro Downs and Western Fair Raceway from the posting on the Standardbred Canada website. The new rule would see any horse that scratches from an outside post for any reason will be assigned the outside post (Western Fair post 7-Flamboro Downs post 8) in their next start within 15 days. As the representative of the majority of horsepeople, whose membership have signed over exclusive rights to represent them, we wish to inform the membership that OHHA was not consulted before the announcement of this new rule that was implemented and do not support it without a proper meeting of the horsepeople effected. If the new proposed rule was discussed about being implemented on a trail basis, then OHHA would revisit if it warrants support or not.
OHHA met with Western Fair Raceway last year regarding the larger field, extra distance races and came to a compromise that they would only card one such race per night. Since reopening this year they have reverted back to carding two of these races per night without consultation or discussion with OHHA. Clearly the majority of horsepeople do not support these races and see no benefit in continuing to card these races.
These rules are being implemented as track rules without any consultation with the participants of the industry or their duly elected representatives. OHHA believes in a transparent, accountable process when rules are being contemplated or implemented, that affect our membership. OHHA will be requesting supporting documentation that Racetracks, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and Central Ontario Standardbred Association ( COSA ) relied upon to force this rule on the industry.
This process where racetracks choose who to speak to when making substantial changes to the industry, highlights the need for a single, democratically elected representative Association. OHHA continues to lobby for an election of the horsepeople in order to determine who will represent their collective interests in the future.