About 100 full-time jobs will be lost this year as Sudbury Downs ceases all horse racing hopes and cancels the 2014 season.
Sudbury Downs, the only racetrack in northern Ontario, said Monday it had informed the Ontario Racing Commission that there would be no live racing this year due to a lack of commitment from the province to provide adequate funding.
Race dates scheduled for June have been cancelled, and Sudbury Downs said further cancellations will be implemented as required.
Last year, the province cut the slots revenue that used to flow to racetracks in Ontario. The previous race season had only 22 races, down from about 60.
After months of negotiations, the racetrack said it was unable to reach a profitable deal.
“You cannot put a track together with what they were offering and now we are looking at forever losing our racetrack,” said incumbent Nickel Belt candidate, MPP France Gelinas.
Brian Tropea, manager of the Ontario Harness Horse Association, said those who choose to stay in the industry will have to leave Sudbury.
“You’re going to relocate, you're probably going to look to a place that offers more stable opportunity to race your horses for more often for more money,”
Progressive Conservative candidate Paula Peroni wants local candidates to voice their support for the reintroduction of the Slots at Racetracks Program, which saw revenue from the slots flow to the race tracks in the province.
“I'm begging these candidates with the NDP party and the Liberal party to reconsider their own party's stance on what they've done to this industry and to get them to understand that what they've done is wrong, it's wrongheaded,” she said.