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Quarter horses premiere at Fort Erie Oct. 2

Quarter horses will race at Fort Erie Race Track for five days in October.

The pilot program will launch Oct. 2 and be run on four consecutive Saturdays and one Sunday.

The first three cards on Oct. 2, 9 and 16 will be quarter horses alone.

“Then we’ll offer mixed races with thoroughbreds on the 23rd and 24th,” said Jim Thibert, head of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium.

The Ontario Racing Commission authorized the new racing menu today.

It has been a much-anticipated announcement since the province announced in December that it would introduce this style of racing at Fort Erie in hopes of bolstering the new non-profit corporation that runs the track and the horse racing and breeding industry in general.

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  1. Anonymous | Jul 28, 2010 | Reply

    What is the difference between what they do now and quarter horses? Will this matter too much to the average person looking for entertainment? These are the people we need to attract! Horse racing itself is a dying industry…for whatever reason…

  2. Mike Cloutier | Jul 28, 2010 | Reply

    Quarter horses are a different breed — more like the cowboy breed. They run races of one quarter mile (two furlongs). Think of it like drag racing with no turns, just a straight up sprint. It’s something the horse industry wants to try in Ontario. There currently is quarter horse racing in Ajax ON, but they don’t have any other type of horse racing. It’s hoped that bettors will want to wager on quarter horses and that horsemen with those types of horses will come to Fort Erie. It’s thought that there might be 3,000-3,500 registered horses of this breed within “commuting distance” of Fort Erie. It helps to keep the “plant” — as the track is called — operating, so that we don’t have an idle capital asset.

    The horse racing industry, the racing commission, the provincial government are all very anxious to know if it can be successful as it is in Ajax.

  3. anonymous | Jul 31, 2010 | Reply

    The track at Fort Erie is a loser. It employs losers and needs to be supported in order to support the loser carnies who seasonally work there. Fort Erie won’t become a ghost town or a retirement community when the track dies. There are other real jobs there, or close by. Only carnies and lazy part timers work there so they can collect off season. Horse racing is cruel anyway so why support animal exploitation. Fort Erie track is a nice enough place to remember the past, the outdated past that we need to get over and move on from. It’s like a little Newfoundland full of carnies.

  4. Mike Cloutier | Aug 1, 2010 | Reply

    Losers have a right to a job too. Horse racing is a very large industry. The racetrack runs on a $50 million budget — twice as large as the Town. Employees of the racetrack number 310. There are at least 100 separate training outfits, and they all have employees who consume goods and services and who help circulate the hundreds of millions of dollars that are plunked down on bets and fed to slot machines. They pay their mortgages, rent, utilities, taxes, grocery bills, fuel, insurance. They send their kids to school, join minor hockey or soccer. They get up at 4 a.m. and work until 1 p.m., unless they also have a race, and then they could be on the job until 6 or 7 p.m. They are in a job that carries with it increased risk of grievous injury. And until you can wave your magic wand and give them all “other real jobs there, or close by”, I don’t think you are in a position to criticize these people or to pass judgment on their lives.

    Your cracks about lazy losers, carnies and Newfoundland are indefensible, and they are not welcome here.

  5. anonymous | Aug 1, 2010 | Reply

    You are right, insulting Newfoundland was going too far. They cannot help their isolation from the rest of civilization.

    But the carnies might as well just work for the slaughterhouses directly.

    I don’t support gambling, animal exploitation or seasonal workers who collect unemployment as a career half the time. This is why to me the track is pointless and helps nobody but the bottom feeders.

  6. Justin Nixon | Sep 22, 2010 | Reply

    Dear Mr. Anonymous,

    Unfortunately you hide behind the weak shield of anonymity. If you truly had conviction in your statements, you would not be afraid to show your name. I am a trainer at Fort Erie, and I have a University degree. My operation employs ten full time employees, with a payroll of over $6,000.00/wk. My payroll taxes average $5,000.00 per month, that is money given to both the provincial and federal governments. My feed bill is over $10,000.00 per month, plus HST. As stated the people I employ and the suppliers I purchase from spend and support the community of Fort Erie in many ways, including rents and restaurants. The trickle down effect of the track is massive, as anyone paying attention surely understands. And yes, there are some “carnie” types at the racetrack, as there are at GM in St. Catharines and even working for the Town as I drive by the road crews. But that element is not indicative of the entire Racetrack workforce, horsemen and casino. I invite you to try and work at the track for one week, and see if you can keep up to the hours and work, and get a real look at how things are.

    Sincerely, Justin J. Nixon

  7. Lizabeth | Sep 22, 2010 | Reply

    Ya and how many of those working at the track take crack or drink to get through those long hours?

  8. Mike Cloutier | Sep 22, 2010 | Reply

    Probably no more than in other industry. I can tell you that the easiest place to find drugs is in a factory.

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