There will be harness-horse racing in Sudbury this season, but scaled back to a quarter of what it has been in the past.
Horse-racing officials say transitional government funding to keep racing going isn't enough.
The government is providing $179 million over three years for race-track operators, but no money for horse owners, who in the past have been getting a 10 per cent share of profits from slot machines.
The general manager of the Ontario Harness Horse Association sees this as slow death for harness racing.
Brian Tropea said this season Sudbury fans will see dramatically fewer races, with less prize money.
"My fear is that we may be past the tipping point, and if something isn't done to shore up the industry in the short term, that we may lose a vital part of rural Ontario," Tropea said.
Meanwhile, a government panel is preparing to ask the harness-racing industry for feedback on a final report.
In contrast to the reaction by Tropea, a member of the government panel describes a bright future for the industry.
John Snobolen said a final report will be circulated among harness racers in a few weeks for their feedback.
"You know, it's been quite a struggle for horsemen, but I think we can see light at the end of the tunnel, and I think we can see a good day for racing when we get through these next conversations," Snobolen said. The final report is expected by October.