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Fort Erie Submits Proposal to Continue Racing

By Alex Campbell

The Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, which operates thoroughbred racing at Fort Erie Race Track, said it has submitted a proposal to the Ontario provincial government's Horse Racing Transition Panel to continue live racing at the track for at least the next three years.

The consortium has asked the government for $7.9 million per year to run 400 races, or $8.7 million to run 500 races for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horse. The consortium has also stipulated that it be an "evergreen"-style agreement by which the province would be required to give three years notice of cancellation.

While the province is in the midst of developing a five-year plan for the industry after ending the lucrative slots-at-racetracks program this past March, Jim Thibert, chief executive officer of the FELRC, believes the consortium's proposal of a three-year "evergreen" agreement is more practical for the needs of the horse racing industry.

"It won't work on a five-year contract," he said. "You're going to get two years down the road and after your racing season is over, you're down to three years left and everyone's wondering what's going to happen. A three-year evergreen agreement puts everybody on a good, firm footing. It's good for the racing industry as a whole, and it will instill confidence."


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