“We ended up striking up multiple conversations with people in Guelph and it was shocking to me how many of them loved horses and loved horse racing but had never gone to the racetrack, never owned a piece of a horse or taken part in any facet of racing.”
Horseman Anthony MacDonald was recently asked to discuss the imminent challenges facing horse racing on Canada’s most listened-to talk show presentation, Primetime Sports with Bob McCown and Dave Perkins. What prompted the invite? A blog penned by MacDonald that was posted earlier this week on the Standardbred Canada website.
Among the challenges MacDonald, McCown and Perkins discussed in the interview were shortages of owners and horses, heavily impacted by the current exchange rate.
“We can’t afford not to sell if somebody offers us a little more than claiming price, which is still below claiming price there. So what we’re left with is a real mixed bag, and I know the race secretaries are really hard done by and worked hard in Ontario.
“For me, I’ve said it for two years and I’ll continue to say it. We need to know exactly what we have in Ontario, we need to know exactly what horses and what classes they fit, all over Ontario, from what trainers. We need trainers to keep a real-time, up-to-date version of what they have so that we can make real-time condition sheets.”
MacDonald discussed the creation of thestable.ca, but deflected talking specially about his stable to reinforce his feeling that harness racing needs more fractional ownership operations like his.
“But this isn’t about The Stable, this is about building 50 The Stables…for us to bolster our fan base the way we need it to be, more trainers are going to have to come forward and be up front and open, open the doors of their barns to the general public and invite them in. Make then feel like they’re welcome and that they’re part of something.
“People seem to think there’s going to be this huge, new idea to fix racing. It’s just not going to happen. We’re going to have to roll up our sleeves and do what everybody in the industry has always done and that’s work hard.”