Woodbine Reaches Agreement with Ontario

Woodbine officials will announce details of an agreement with Ontario on Jan. 24.

Woodbine officials say an agreement in place with the province of Ontario will ensure live racing and industry stability for the next two years.

Woodbine Entertainment Group officials will conduct a press conference Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. EST to discuss the agreement. They are calling it a short-term resolution that will allow Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing to continue at Woodbine as well as Standardbred racing at Mohawk.

"This long-awaited agreement offers stability while WEG and our partners in horse racing work with government toward a long-term sustainability solution," said WEG chairman Jim Lawson in a release. "It's clear to us that this is only a short-term fix, and sustainability can only be achieved by the integration of horse racing into the province's gaming strategy. As the largest operator of horse racing in Canada, WEG is committed to working with the government to achieve this critical outcome."

In recent years, the WEG tracks have increased purses with money generated from gaming but lawmakers have pushed to eliminate, or decrease, that commitment in 2013.

Lawson noted that horse racing has a long and important history in Ontario, and that in recent years the industry has established a business modeland a level of racing excellencerecognized the world over.

"Our challenge is to now build a new, sustainable model for horse racing in Ontario that continues to set the standard internationally," Lawson said. "I'm confident that working with our partners in industry and government, we can achieve that goal. Our industry deserves nothing less."