Sue Leslie. Image Peter Power / The Globe and Mail.

Ontario Finance Minister’s comments over funding cuts anger horse-racing executive

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There is no mention how the cancellation of the Slots at Racetrack program, which is to end March 2013, will impact the lives of the horses utilized by the Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing industry. However, talk of breeders euthanizing foals, and owners considering sending a number of their horses to slaughter, is already being reported.

The Globe and Mail reports:

Sue Leslie. Image Peter Power /  The Globe and Mail.
Sue Leslie is the owner and head trainer of Sue Leslie Stables at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, and president of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association. Image Peter Power / The Globe and Mail.
    Sue Leslie, president of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association, is incensed by Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s comment that the provincial government’s Slots at Racetrack program took “money that should go to Ontario schools and hospitals and gave it to . . . wealthy people.”

    The government recently announced termination of a 14-year-old agreement with 17 Ontario tracks that directs about $345-million a year to the harness and thoroughbred industries. The deal – designed originally to compensate tracks for lost wagering revenue because of the installation of slot machines – is to end in March of 2013, but three tracks have already been closed down.

    Currently, 75 per cent of the slots revenue from the tracks goes to the provincial government; 5 per cent to the municipality where the machines are located, and 20 per cent to the horse-racing industry. Of the industry’s 20 per cent, about half goes to the tracks and half to the breeders, primarily through purses.

    On Friday, Leslie said the slots program actually contributes $1-billion annually to the government, and argued that the $345-million payment to the industry comes from commissions earned on horse wagering and slots, and from fees paid by breeders to race their horses, rather than from tax dollars.

    On Thursday, American equine breeder Joe Thomson had compared the Ontario government’s cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks program to a famously failed Ponzi scheme. Continue reading >>


Fears are that the closure of racetracks will lead to the wholesale slaughter of racehorses. Breeders are already reportedly euthanizing foals.

— Read more at “Foals euthanized in Canada as provincial funding of harness racing ends“, Tuesday’s Horse.

What impact do slots and other extended gambling opportunities at US racetracks have on horseracing?

— Read “Help, Don’t Enrich Racing Industry“, The Intelligencer.

2 thoughts on “Ontario Finance Minister’s comments over funding cuts anger horse-racing executive”

  1. If the Canadian taxpayer knew what has been going on at Woodbine in the past 14 years of the subsidized slots at racetracks program – they would be appalled! A large majority of stalls went to American trainers when they did not pay ONE DIME in Canadian taxes. Those American trainers and breeders handsomely profited all compliments of the Canadians taxpayer. 345 Million going to wealthy Americans while Canadian children were being denied education and healthcare! NOW they are threatening to send innocent baby horses to slaughter because their CASH COW is ending! This all going on while Canadian trainers were being denied stalls and a chance to make a living! It is reportedly rumored that the OHRIA and the HBPA financially benefited from taking a cash cut from American trainers. Not in a moment would any American racetrack allow these corruption to go on! People like Sue Leslie, Glenn Sikura, board members of the Ontario Jockey Club and Woodbine became filthy RICH from this subsidy while putting hundreds of Canadian trainers out of business! If the wagering public only knew the alleged race fixing going on at Woodbine! The sad truth is that thousands of racehorses get sent to slaughter every year when they are no longer profitable! What idiots Sue Leslie and her co-horts are threatening to send baby horses to slaughter now thst their cash cow is ending and they have to pay their way honestly like the rest of us – SHAME on you. The HBPA is a bunch of racketeers abd I hope they get arrested and thrown off the tracks. They ruin your trainer career if you soeakout about them and resort to blackmail. They need to be seriously investigated by international authorities.


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