FORT ERIE..fight is on to save it again. DAVE LANDRY PHOTO




On THE MOTTS radio show (NewsTalk1010)  this sunny Saturday morning, OHRIA president Sue Leslie  thanked Premier Kathleen Wynne for her effort and the announcement of the transition panel’s 5 year horse racing plan, but she was realistic too:

“We suffered a devastating blow, and I still wonder if the breeding sector can come back, they were the first ones to get hit. There were  6,000 jobs lost in the spring.”

Feelings are mixed as we read over the 5-year horse racing plan which goes from suggesting Fort Erie cannot be sustained, to adding thoroughbred racing to Ajax Downs and some quarter horse racing to Woodbine.


The Plan includes $80 million a year in funding for the industry to
support 900 race dates along with an allotment for rent paid by OLG for
racetracks that operate slot machines for the next five years beginning
in 2014.

OHRIA would like to thank the Premier for her understanding of the
economic importance of the horse racing and breeding industry and her
commitment to integrating the horse racing industry into the Province’s
overall gaming strategy.

OHRIA recognizes the efforts of the Horse Racing Transition Panel to
incorporate the needs of the horse racing and breeding industry into
this Plan while adhering to the requests by Government to create a
sustainable industry which is accountable and transparent.

OHRIA would also like to congratulate Elmer Buchanan on his appointment
to Chair of the ORC and looks forward to a continued meaningful working
relationship in his new position within the industry.

While there are many positives to come out of the report, Sue Leslie
stressed that much more work remains to be done especially surrounding
the Standardbred grassroots racing and Thoroughbred racing at Fort Erie

“It has been a very difficult couple of years for the horse racing
industry,” commented Sue Leslie, President and Chair of OHRIA, “Our
industry has certainly suffered while negotiations to get to where we
are today have taken place.

“Looking back on where the industry was in negotiations this time last
year, great progress has been made working with Premier Wynne and the
Horse Racing Transition Panel.  However there are still many aspects of
the report which need further dialogue and clarification especially in
relation to grassroots racing, the survival of racing at Fort Erie Race
Track and securing the necessary investment to ensure the breeding
industry survives its severe decline.”

OHRIA plans to continue to work with John Snobelen, leading the OLR,
the ORC, OMAFRA and the Premier’s office to work through the remaining
industry issues and to achieve clarification on the specifics of how
horse racing and breeding will be integrated into the OLG Modernization
plan.  We are encouraged that John Wilkinson, a member of the Horse
Racing Transition Panel, will now play a pivotal role in assisting in
the integration process.

The OHRIA Board of Directors will be reviewing the report further
within the next few days and will be available for consultation with
industry participants by contacting OHRIA at or


Woodbine seems to be happy about the $400 million, 5-year-old plan and the partnership that is going to bring together racing and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation:

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) thanks Premier Wynneand the Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel for their hard work and commitment during the development of the Five-Year Plan, ‘Building a Sustainable Future Together.’ We are encouraged by the plan and support its vision of a new transitional relationship between government and the horse racing industry. WEG believes that the Plan’s general principles will lay a strong foundation for the long-term sustainability of horse racing in Ontario.

“WEG is particularly supportive of the Panel’s recommendation that maximizing the potential of racetracks as gaming centres, including added gaming options, is a top priority for an integrated relationship between horse racing and the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG). WEG has long been of the view that expanded gaming at racetracks such as Woodbine and Mohawk is important to ensuring the sustainability of horse racing and the thousands of jobs it supports in Ontario. We agree with the Panel that substantial benefits to the province and to the industry can be realized by integrating expanded racetrack gaming into the provincial gaming strategy.

“Many of the Plan’s implementation details require further understanding and discussion, and its successful implementation will require much hard work from all parties. WEG believes such effort is absolutely essential, and we are committed to working with our government and industry partners to turn the Panel’s blueprint into reality.”


Curraghmore Farm

Dave Landry photo









John MacMillan, a race-horse owner in Eastern Ontario, put his farm up for sale this week – one day before Premier Kathleen Wynne rolled out $400-million in new funding over five years for the ailing industry.

The funding is too little, too late for many horse owners and breeders across Ontario, among the biggest casualties of the previous government’s decision to kill a revenue-sharing program with the province’s racetrack operators.



 After years on the brink, the 116-year-old Fort Erie Race Track appears headed for permanent closure as a full-time racing venue.

The provincial Horse Racing Transition Panel announced on Friday that the industry will be slimmed down to just eight tracks, and the historic border oval isn’t one of them. The track was deemed unsustainable by the panel, which will distribute $400 million to the industry each year, but recommended against investing that money in Fort Erie.




no winners at all in High 5!

The fastest race of the day according to Beyer Speed Figures from Daily Racing Form was race 2, won by shipper MEADOW MAGIC. The winner took the $32,000 claiming race at 6 furlongs  in 1:09 4/5, good for an 87 Beyer. The winner came in from Presque Isle for trainer Gary Terrien and he has won 7 of his last 17 races.  MALIBU SKYLINE was claimed by Very Dry Stable and trainer Bob Tiller.

Race 1 went to the sizy ECHO FLAT OUT, who rallied to win the 7 furlong maiden $15,000 event for David Sorokolit and trainer Darin Banach.

HURRY UP ALAN, bet by this corner when he ran 13 days ago and was 3rd, won a long stretch battle in this $50,00 claiming event to give trainer TINO ATTARD his 3rd win of the meeting. The winner is a confirmed grass horse and he spends a lot of time in Florida during the winter. Emma-Jayne Wilson got everything she could out of this 4yo who was all-in to win over Red strike and Top Prospect.

Alpine Stable paid $50,000 to claim SKY COMMANDER, a stakes winner owned by John Oxley.

It was Oxley who won the 4th race as BOLD BIRDIE won the $20K claiming race as expected under Patrick Husbands. She is by Birdstone and was bred in Ontario by Siena Farms LLC.

Race 5 was just a mess of a race as there were numerous horses who got into trouble in the 7 furlong grass race for allowance gals, Ontario sired. The winner was Sheldon Pettle’s BLONDIE THE BEST, who came very late on the scene and won the 3rd race after a long layoff. She is by BEST OF THE BESTS (IRE) who is now standing in Alberta at Peaceful Valley Farm. Horses such as PRINCESS PICK and TERESA’S PRIDE had no chance when they were mired in traffic.

Race 6, a maiden allowance for Ontario sired colts was notable as MAN CAVE became the first winner for 1st crop sire LEONNATUS ANTEAS, the champion 2yo in Canada in 2006. Man Cave, making his 2nd start for Colebrook Farms and trainer Ashlee Brnjas was 1st time Lasix and he was up in time to beat TICKET TO GLORY, also by Leonnatus Anteas.

CANADIAN FLAG won the 7th race on the grass for $40K claiming and continues a roll for trainer Josie Carroll. She trains this Aragorn 4yo for Laconian Racing and he is 2 for 12 in his career.

The 2yo filly FLIPCUP is 2 for 2 in her career with a win in a 6 furlong allowance, race 8. The winner is a New York-bred, Ontario sired gal by Milwaukee Brew, owned and bred by Team Penney and trained by Brian Lynch.

And then there was the last race: the second ever High 5 Jackpot race was not won, by anyone. The winner, 50 to 1 shot BARE HUMOR, rallied up the rail UNDER MALLORY STRANDBERG (HER FIRST WOODBINE WIN!) to take her first win in her 9th outing this year. The combination of her and the 8-1-2-9-5 combo was not on anyone’s ticket.

There is a $14K carryover to today’s last race, a tough maiden claiming event on the grass.



Do you have a favourite memory of the Canadian International? there have been 75 runnings, here is one that I liked:


RAINBOW CONNECTION, leaving the paddock at Woodbine. I took her photo and then she ran 2nd in the big race to OPEN CALL, seconds later..a rainbow appeared over the track – so awesome! The year? 1981!!

























Gone are the days of the old Canadian International, press conferences to announce the 50-60 nominees to the famous Canadian race (thanks Secretariat!).

That’s okay, the race has held it’s own for a while, it’s fun to see the European stars come in for the International and E.P. Taylor, we make our own heroes.

It is a bit disappointing, though, to see just 17 noms for the race this year, Oct. 27, the weekend before the Breeders’ Cup. The race figures to be for the taking for Roger Attfield trainee FORTE DEI MARMI, who could be canada’s Horse of the Year if he wins it. the winner of the race twice, JOSHUA TREE, just raced in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but was 13th, is said by Woodbine to possibly come and the filly Tannery from the US is also on the way.

here are the nominations:

gr.f.3 by Oratorio (IRE)(Danehill) – Aifa (GB)(Johann Quatz (FR))
Benoit Chalmel Christophe Ferland
b.g.7 by Empire Maker(Unbridled) – Reams of Verse(Nureyev)
Riverdee Stable H. Graham Motion
b.g.7 by Selkirk(Sharpen Up (GB)) – Frangy (GB)(Sadler’s Wells)
Stella Perdomo Roger L. Attfield
b.h.6 by Victory Gallop(Cryptoclearance) – Raw Nerve(Nureyev)
Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey Chad C. Brown
ch.f.4 by Giant’s Causeway(Storm Cat) – Misty Mission(Miswaki)
Robert S. Evans Mark R. Frostad
b.h.6 by Montjeu (IRE)(Sadler’s Wells) – Madeira Mist (IRE)(Grand Lodge)
Mr. K.K. Al Nabouda & Mr. K. Albahou Edward A.L. Dunlop
b.c.4 by Turtle Bowl (IRE)(Dyhim Diamond (IRE)) – La Vltava (IRE)(Grand Lodge)
Pandora Stud Neil D. Drysdale
gr/ro.g.4 by Macho Uno(Holy Bull) – A. P. Andie(Star de Naskra)
Signal Hill Farms Henry Collazo
b.c.4 by Martillo (GER)(Anabaa) – Notre Dame (GER)(Acatenango (GER))
W. Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges Nicolas Clement
dk b/.c.4 by Perfect Soul (IRE)(Sadler’s Wells) – Timber Ice(Woodman)
Charles E. Fipke Roger L. Attfield
ch.g.6 by Dubawi (IRE)(Dubai Millennium (GB)) – North East Bay(Prospect Bay)
Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
ch.g.5 by Dalakhani (IRE)(Darshaan (GB)) – Sasuela (GER)(Dashing Blade (GB))
Gestut Karlshof Andreas Woehler
b.h.5 by Cacique (IRE)(Danehill) – Sound Asleep(Woodman)
Juddmonte Farms William I. Mott
dk b/.c.3 by Harlan’s Holiday(Harlan) – Rietondale(Dynaformer)
Leonard Leveen and Michael Shanley David G. Donk
b.f.4 by Dylan Thomas (IRE)(Danehill) – Danse Grecque (IRE)(Sadler’s Wells)
Richard T. Santulli Alan E. Goldberg
dk b/.g.4 by Arch(Kris S.) – Lonely Fact(Known Fact)
Niall Racing Thomas F. Proctor
b.g.4 by Purim(Dynaformer) – My Twilight Dancer(Twilight Agenda)
West Point Thoroughbreds Inc. Thomas Albertrani