Local members of the Ontario Harness Horse Association will try to convince the Ontario Racing Commission to approve 11 race dates at the Leamington fairgrounds this year.

A campaign to bring harness racing to Essex County goes public today.

The group will talk to reporters about how important it is for people to get on board and show their support.

The group is launching a website, encouraging people to get behind the effort.

Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain, who has been involved in the industry for years, is convinced horse racing can become a big draw if done right.

"Windsor-Essex County, if you remove the slots from the betting, they're the second highest in Ontario betting per capita, and they've taken our track away," he said.

Windsor Raceway closed last August, months after OLG ceased the slots for racetracks program and removed slots machines from the track.

The local harness industry eventually wants to build a new track in Lakeshore.

Bain said the money is available, if racing at the Leamington track is successful:

"There's anywhere from $4-7 million sitting there in the Ontario Harness Horsemen's Association," he claimed.

Bain, who is also the country warden, said reviving the horse racing industry would be a boost to the local economy and tourism.