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									Ontario Racing Commission 9 floor 20 Dundas Street West Toronto ON M5G 2C2 Tel (416) 327-0520 Fax (416) 325-3478
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Commission des courses de l’Ontario 9e étage 20 rue Dundas ouest Toronto ON M5G 2C2 Tél (416) 327-0520 Téléc (416) 325-3478

September 30, 2003

MEMORANDUM TO:

Ontario Harness Horse Association Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association Northern Horsemen’s Association Jockey’s Benefit Association Quarter Horse Racing Owners Association Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association All Racetracks “Linking Grooms to Prosperity: A Proposal to Direct 1% of Purses to Grooms”

RE:

The Ontario Harness Horse Association recently submitted a proposal for a rule change that would allow the deduction of 1% of the purse payable to the owner to be forwarded to the ORC licenced groom designated for that particular horse. OHHA’s proposal is attached and is designed to be voluntary. In other words, the trainer and owner must agree to name a groom for each horse at the time of entry in order for the 1% to be deducted. The Commission reviewed the proposal and is very supportive of the objectives of this program. However, the Commission is seeking your comments and/or suggestions on how the OHHA proposal could be enhanced by making the 1% deduction for grooms mandatory and industry-wide (for all breeds). Several issues will have to be considered in the development of such a program including: • • Any issues with respect to access and release of personal information of the grooms (e.g. addresses); and Any income tax issues.

The logistics of introducing this program will have to be worked out for the different breeds. Any comments in this respect are also welcome. Ideally, and depending on the feedback we receive, the Commission is aiming for a launch date in January 2004. In order to ensure as broad a consultation as possible, I ask that you canvass your members’ views on this proposal by posting it on your respective web sites. Assuming that the various horsemen’s associations support the proposal in principle, further meetings will be needed to work out the details of implementation.

As a first step, the Commission is seeking your position in principle to this proposal no later than October 27th, 2003. The Commission will consider all submissions made at its next Board meeting of October 30th. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions on this matter. Yours truly,

Jean Major Executive Director

Proposal submitted by Ontario Harness Horse Association Linking Grooms to Prosperity: A proposal to direct 1% of Standardbred Purses in Ontario to Grooms
Goals of the Proposal
1. Provide a direct link to the purses for remuneration of grooms. This has been a goal of the industry revitalization through the slots at racetracks initiative of the provincial government. 2. Encourage people to pursue careers in standardbred racing by entering and learning the business at the groom level. 3. Encourage grooms to take advantage of OHHA medical and dental premium assistance. The full premium will be paid by OHHA (from the 1.5% retained from overnight purses) for any groom who is a member of the association. The current expenditure is about $160,000 per year. 4. Encourage grooms to take advantage of the OHHA RRSP program, funded through the SRA funds from the last pari-mutuel tax reduction. 5. Encourage grooms to take advantage of Standardbred Canada’s disability insurance for members. This insurance is available to members injured while caring for a race horse and is supplemented by OHHA for such injured persons who are OHHA members. (Note: This proposal has been approved by the OHHA board of directors and by OHHA members at the 2003 annual members meeting.)

Economic Impact
1. Based on purse levels of about $170,000,000, reported in the 2001/2002 Annual Statistical Report of the ORC, this plan would make about $1,700,000 available for grooms. All purses are eligible for this program. 2. Based on licensing statistics from the same ORC report, more than 3,400 licensed grooms would be eligible for this program (this is the only licensing category to decrease since 1997.) 3. The 1% would reduce the amount of purse money available to owners. 4. OHHA and associations for which OHHA does not provide purse cheque management services must amend their accounting and purse cheque systems (all currently support the driver/trainer purse deductions.) 5. Standardbred Canada and individual racetracks must amend the race office routines to allow the groom to be named at the time of entry.

The Program
1. The program is voluntary. The trainer and owner must agree to name a groom for each horse at the time of entry. If no groom is named, no groom’s fee will be deducted from any purse won by the horse. Standardbred Canada will make the required changes to the software supporting horse registration, including the entry process, horse record and race programs so that the trainer can name the groom for each horse under his/her care and change that name as grooms change. As well, changes will be made so that race programs can include the groom’s name if associations wish to publish this information. 2. Only those with a valid ORC groom’s license at the time of the race qualify for the payment. Standardbred Canada software will check this in a manner similar to that currently used to check the status of other licensees. 3. The payment will be made through the OHHA purse cheque program and through other purse cheque programs; grooms must make their mailing address available to OHHA through Standardbred Canada and to other purse cheque managers. 4. Cheques will be produced and distributed on a monthly basis. 5. Standardbred Canada will make the software amendments required to support the accounting and cheque writing functions for OHHA. (Standardbred Canada currently controls these functions for owner, trainer and driver purse payments.) 6. For those associations that have not contracted OHHA as a purse account manager, inhouse staff will be required to institute the appropriate changes (Woodbine Entertainment Group, Sudbury Downs, Ontario Sires Stake/OHRIA must make these changes.) 7. OHHA will conduct a public relations campaign to inform racetracks, owners, trainers and grooms about the program including the benefits available through OHHA and Standardbred Canada for grooms. 8. OHHA will pay Standardbred Canada for the software changes required for its systems. 9. Agreements between OHHA and racetracks will be amended to specify the groom deduction.

The ORC’s Role
1. Any deduction from the purse must be approved by the ORC. The grooms’ 1% will be deducted from the purse. 2. Section 18.11 of the Rules of Standardbred Racing 2003 defines the process for the trainer and driver fees deducted from the purse. This section should be amended to include the fees for grooms. 3. No other rule change is required. (Because the program is voluntary rules governing the entry information that must be provided need not be amended.)


								
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