A reminder has been issued today from the Presidents of COSA, OHHA and NCRHHA reiterating that they cannot offer their support for Standardbred Canada's Racing Development and Sustainability Plan.
A statement, signed by Bill O'Donnell, President of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association, Don Amos, President of the Ontario Harness Horse Association and Gordon MacDonald, President of the National Captial Region Harness Horse Association, was issued earlier this month and reads as follows:
During the month of August members of the boards of COSA, OHHA and NCRHHA met separately with John Gallinger and Darryl Kaplan of Standardbred Canada to discuss the recently announced Racing Development and Sustainability Plan.
All of our organizations support the promotion of harness racing in Ontario. While the Standardbred Canada proposal has initiated a worthwhile debate, the withdrawal of significant amounts of money from the purse account for other uses is a dramatic change that requires a far more detailed and focused plan than has currently been presented.
To put things in perspective, the investment being discussed is not a one time five per cent levy on the purse accounts, but rather a multi-year commitment which would be at a minimum in the $35 to $45 million range. Approximately $15 to $20 million of that would be drawn from the WEG purse pool, with the balance to be taken from the purse pools of the other tracks across Ontario.
The magnitude of the funding being sought dictates that there be more than a simple request that horse people take a "leap of faith." If the aim is to have the industry as a whole take a more business oriented approach to marketing, the initiative itself should start on that footing. Most importantly, there should be an analysis of the costs and the potential benefits that can be realized by engaging in the proposed marketing initiative.
The funding of a marketing initiative from the purse accounts is one of the number of ideas that could be explored and possibly adopted, if there is a reasonable prospect of greater overall return or benefit for the horse people. The current state of the plan proposed by Standardbred Canada does not provide the detail to permit the necessary analysis.
In consideration of the above, we cannot offer our support for the plan at this time.