Page 16 - June 2008 The Game
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16 The Game, June 2008 L1ove
st Corinthians 13:13 And now
these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Listen to the radio and all you’ll hear is love songs: Love Will Keep Us Together...All You Need is Love... Addicted to Love...Love Stinks. OK, maybe Love Stinks isn’t really a love song, but it certainly talks about love.
Most of the people working on the track say they do it for one reason: they love horses. Some people are here because they love horse racing, but that’s not the same as loving horses. Loving horse racing is for the action, the buzz of the sport. Loving horses is for the pure love of the animal itself, racing or not.
The English language is a lousy language for describing love. Telling
someone that you love them and then telling someone “I love this horse in the  fth” is not the same thing, even though you’re using the same word. The Greeks, who are known for more than their salads, have an excellent language. They have different words to describe love: phileo- the love of mankind; eros- the physical or sexual love. Their greatest word for love, in my opinion, is agape, which is a sacri-  cial love.
Jesus said in John 15:13: ”Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Secret Service agents who guard the Prime Minister and the President consider it an honour to take a bullet for the one they are guarding. Most parents would gladly die for the welfare of their children. Spouses would die for one another, but I’m not sure how many friends I’d take one for. (Of course, my list of friends has now diminished
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signi cantly. On the other hand, I don’t know how many of my friends would take one for me.)
The agape, (pronounced
ah-gap-eh), love Jesus talks about is describing what He was about to go through at the cross, on our behalf.
He was willing to give His all for our sake, regardless of the pain. I think many horses have the same outlook. Some will run through pain and a brick wall for us. They train and compete regardless of their discomfort and many, many sacri ce their bodies for our wellbeing. Yet too often we look upon horses as tools for our pleasure and gain. This is the tension that is horse racing.
Like it or not, horse racing is a business and we have no business whatsoever criticizing what others do to horses, while turning a blind eye to the very nature of what we do. Horses
with Chaplain Shawn
don’t choose to sacri ce- we make them.
Yet there is a saying in horse
racing, words of wisdom to heed that are as wise today as when they were  rst spoken. I can’t  nd the source, no matter how much Googling, but they are some of the  rst words I heard when I set foot on my  rst race track. I have heard them quoted on every track I’ve been to, in North America and Europe, even Communist Russia. I’ve heard trainers, owners, jockeys, grooms, you name it. They’re prob- ably spoken more and followed less than any advice ever given in horse racing. “Keep yourself in the best of company and your horse in the worst of company”.
HBPA Administrative Of ces: 135 Queen’s Plate Drive, Suite 370, Toronto, Ontario M9W 6V1 Phone: 416-747-5252
Report from the Executive Director - Nick Coukos
the reasonable existence of a sustainable racing industry at the border oval. Although pari-mutual wagering has slipped over the last couple of years, the challenges faced by the border community in a highly competitive gaming region has crippled the alterna- tive gaming revenue streams. Four primary reasons have resulted in the current state at Fort Erie which are unique when compared to Woodbine: a) increase competition of slot machines within a 90 mile radius, b) signi cant strength of the CDN$ has deterred American visitors and staggered their buying power, c) border crossing and confusion generated by passport requirements, and d) ban which is not in effect in the US.
4. Continue our quest to eliminate and or weaken the abil-
ity for off-shore illegal wagering to continue on our product. The enactment
of legislation toughening enforcement against overseas gaming operators by criminalizing the acceptance of payments from Canadian customers will go along way to curb the leakage that is currently occurring.
Let’s hope the panel has incorporated our thoughts into the game plan of the future. Our industry is depending on it.
Shedrow of the Month
The winner of the Shedrow of the Month award for May is trainer Mike Keogh and his crew.
Shedrow of the Month winners will receive a $100 cheque from the HBPA and another $100 cheque from Woodbine Entertainment Group.
Congratulations to Mike and his barn!
Visit the HBPA on-line at
The much anticipated “Sadinsky” report is scheduled to be released this month, which in our view, could change the landscape of the horseracing industry in Ontario for many years to come. The Horse Racing Industry Strategic Review (HRISR), chaired by the former chair of the Ontario Racing Commission, Mr. Stanley Sadinsky, was commissioned by the Provincial Government, and speci cally by Minister Phillips, last summer to embark on an extensive evaluation of our industry and to make recommendations on how horseracing could move forward as being a viable and sustainable growth industry.
With any government review of course, the economic contribution
to the provincial treasury, will be a key factor of determining continued support and or enhanced support that our industry may receive in the future.
the smoking 3.
As a starting point, the panel developed their “terms of reference” and circulated a request for input from the industry stakeholders with the view of developing a consensus on the challenges faced by the differing participants.
Our industry business plan and economic model needs to
be changed. Our business model needs to be consumer oriented, and not product oriented. Our growth lies within the internet and our focus should be on technological innovation.
The HBPA not only provided an extensive written submission to the panel, the HBPA also met with the panel face to face on two separate occasions last fall to ensure that our comments were well articulated and understood by the panel. A roundtable informal forum provided a relaxed frank discussion on the issues of the day.
5. We suggest that the time has come whereby an extensive review of the roles of our regulators (CPMA and ORC) should be undertaken to rede ne the roles, mandate, and powers granted. We need to de ne our regulators roles and limits of power in order to ensure that their regulatory mandate is geared toward encouraging growth within the current competitive economic climate. Furthermore, we believe that such review must increase accountability of the regulators to its stakeholders and to its industry participants.
Highlights addressed in our submissions covered several of the “terms of reference” as requested by HRISR. Speci cally, a short version of our positions of consideration can be summarized as follows:
1. The preservation of the compensation provided for by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming site holders agreement to the industry (10%/10%) is critical at Woodbine to ensure the continuance of a viable thoroughbred industry. The injection of this revenue stream to our purse account, along with our sustained pari-mutual revenue, has allowed our racing product to maintain a quality product on a world scale.
2. At Fort Erie, an alternative remedy is required to ensure
HBPA Trainer Testing Schedule 2008
Applications for Trainer and Assistant Trainer testing are due two weeks prior to the test date. Only complete applications will be accepted. Applications are now available at the Woodbine HBPA Backstretch Of ce.
HBPA Trainer and Assistant Trainer Testing Schedule 2008:
July 9, 2008 - Both Woodbine and Fort Erie Racetracks
September 24, 2008 - Both Woodbine and Fort Erie Racetracks
For more information contact the HBPA Backstretch Of ce, 416-675-3802.
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