Oct 11, 2013

By Michael Kramer

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Premier Kathleen Wynne’s  government is going to put up to $400 million over five years to help Ontario’s struggling horse-racing industry.

A panel appointed by the Liberals after their cancellation of the  slots-at-racetracks program made the recommendation today.

The panel’s report urges the government to pump  up to $80 million per year over five years, starting next April, mainly to help cover purses and the costs of live racing.

It also calls for a standard-bred racing alliance to operate a “a world class racing circuit.”  The eight tracks in the province would be located at  Hanover, Clinton, Grand River, Western Fair, Flamboro, Georgian, Mohawk and Woodbine.

The panel  doesn’t support a full race calendar at Fort Erie’s track but endorses the current 30-day calendar at Ajax Downs.

The Progressive Conservatives say the damage has already been done in rural Ontario, where farms have gone bankrupt and people have lost their jobs

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