OJC, Hastings Park Enter Into Partnership Agrement

The Ontario Jockey Club and the Pacific Racing Association have reached an agreement concerning the formation of a partnership, but other details must be worked out before the deal can be finalized.

In September, the two groups agreed to work exclusively with one another for up to 120 days to look at the feasibility of forming a partnership.
Management at Hastings Park said this agreement is the first of a possible eight steps leading to the takeover by the OJC. Phil Heard, general manager of Hastings Park, has said the OJC could assume control of the PRA as early as January.

The OJC sent a letter of their intent to purchase to the PRA in early November. In the letter, the OJC agrees to assume the $7 million Canadian debt the PRA owes the Provincial government. They also plan to construct a new, multi-purpose racing facility with a one-mile track if agreements are reached with the other groups in the British Columbia horse racing industry. Some of the groups that must agree to the deal before the OJC can take over include: the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Society, the British Columbia division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society; British Columbia Lottery Corporation, and the British Columbia Standardbred Breeders.

The British Columbia Racing Commission and the Provincial Government must also approve the deal. The role of the government would be to dissolve the PRA, which was established in 1993 to oversee the future of horse racing in the province. The PRA bought out the B.C. Jockey Club and has operated as Hastings Park ever since.

Two Standardbred tracks, Fraser Downs and Sandown Raceway, both operated on Vancouver Island by Orangeville Raceway Ltd., have turned down offers from the OJC concerning a buyout. The denials are not expected to have any affect on the discussions with Hastings Park.