Oct 062019

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

Dr. Seuss

What he found, as told in the new book Before the Lights Go Out, was that everyone agrees that hockey in this country has entrenched problems — it’s too expensive, it’s too white, it’s too all-consuming — and yet no one sees easy solutions on offer.

Globe and Mail – Scott Stinson: Hockey is still Canada’s game. But will it last?

Phil has a question:

Does Clark Kent have enough grey matter capacity to hire someone like Fitzgerald to do a review on horse racing in Alberta.

Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon

TDN – What Would You Fix First – Martin Panza

TDN – What Would You Fix First – Mark Toothaker

… I learned many years ago from Mr. John Nerud that the two most important stakeholders in our industry are owners and handicappers. To me, an overarching issue is that owners do not only deserve a seat at the table, they should head the table. Yet today, racehorse owners remain unable to develop through their leadership groups the policy platforms, messaging, and negotiating leverage needed to exercise their proper authority and rights throughout all jurisdictions.

TDN – What Would You Fix First – Eric Hamelback

TDN – What Would You Fix First? Joe Appelbaum

What would I fix first about the Thoroughbred industry? In a word: everything. There isn’t a facet of the industry that cannot be improved.

TDN – What Would You Fix First? Erin O’Keefe

I truly believe that the whole industry needs to be streamlined.

We make everything so difficult. Can you imagine driving your car and every time that you cross state lines you have to get a license every single year?

Human nature is to choose the path of least resistance. The path of least resistance in the thoroughbred industry is to get out of it. Susan Montayne is a good friend and a two year old consignor. She was on Facebook recently about some horses she had running, and the staggering amount of hoops she had to run through just to get licensed.


I will say that all of this negative publicity has actually been positive to get horse racing back in the news. It would be great if we took this opportunity to sort out all the major problems. We have the most important thing of all in our corner–the horse. It has to be about the horse. Until it’s about the horse, we will continue to go down the rabbit hole.

TDN – What Would You Fix? Carrie Brogden

TDN – What Would You Fix? Rob Whiteley

TDN – What Would You Fix Fist – Kenny McPeek

TDN – What Would You Fix First? Craig Bernick

TDN Writers’ Room Podcast for Oct 2 – What Would You Fix First

Scientists announced today that they have discovered a cure for apathy. However, they claim no one has shown the slightest interest in it.     

George Carlin


Washington Post – Battuello – The time for horse racing has passed. It’s time to outlaw it.

Horse Racing Wrongs

From the utterly complacent apathetic lack of response Phil has received so far from the 100+ persons he sent e-mails to, perhaps the best way to fix thoroughbred racing in Alberta would be to shut it down and use that slot money for education.

Your life begins to end the moment you start being silent about the things that matter.

Martin Luther King Jr

Alberta Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Theme Song

Sound Of Silence

What Would I Fix First – Phil’s Alberta Edition – Mucka Singh


UCP (UNIVERSAL CUTS PROVINCE) budget will affect all facets. Expecting racing to not be touched even with tenile as part of Kenny transition team would be a pipedream!!!!
Eliminate HRA and have AGLC takeover since 90% of revenue is generated from slot racino activities!!
HRA mission to lead and enable a healthy vibrant and progressive racing industry to function is not being achieved,with race day cuts and purse increases frozen.
HRA business plan assumptions 2019-2021 pg 15 show a 10% handle increase in both 2019/2020 and 5% in 2021 from 108 million to 121/133/139 BAD GUESS!!!!
Slot revenue increases of 22% in both 2019/2020 and 5% in 2021 as this under AGLC governance not HSA (horse slots Alberta) based on the economy and possible racino formula cuts, this is not part of the HRA mandate!!!
HRA purse grants 10.5/19,11.5/20,12.2/21 where did the million dollar purse increase disappear from next year ask your HBPA rep!
The recent CTHS sale with a 31% drop in average is a barometer of the industry health a buyer’s market was quoted , how about confidence in the future and OLD money leaving as the economy slips downward.
Positive news all 2020 license renewals will receive a limited issue pair of rose coloured glasses!!!

What Would I Fix First – Phil’s Alberta Edition – Scott Maier

I would shutdown thoroughbred “B” track racing in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie. The horses from those facilities could create the new “bottom” at the “A” track facilities solving the lack of horse population issue as well as the ongoing subsidization of those “B” track facilities.

Then one further step like most jurisdictions in North America the HRA grants for Thoroughbred and Standardbred would be based upon the percentage of revenue generated by each breed while they conduct racing at their respective facilities. The current split is not respective of this fact and continues to undermine the thoroughbred breed that continually outperforms the standardbred breed on every economic variable. My belief is this would result In increased field size, handle, purse structure, attendance and overall morale for the most popular breed by far in this province. A fitting analogy is, the NFL did not continue to subsidize the NFL Europe when that league was in trouble and most certainly would not have if it meant it was going to hurt the NFL. We are going down a path where continuing to subsidize the minor league is going to cost us not only the minor league operation but the major league as well. To continue to do so is is unfair to all stakeholders involved.

The standardbreds could race at the B tracks for 50% of their dates and at Century Downs for 50% of their dates and reserve Century Mile for thoroughbreds adding a turf track.

The world is in chaos not because of violence by bad people but because of silence of good people.

Ritu Ghatourey

What Would I Fix First – Phil’s Alberta Edition – Paul Ferg

  • abolish the thoroughbred B circuit
  • make Century Mile exclusive to thoroughbred racing
  • race thoroughbreds from May 1- Oct 31, three days per week at Century Mile

What Would I Fix First – Phil’s Alberta Edition – Maxine Anderson

One idea I thought of is why when they have big days of racing at Century Downs can they either have a betting terminal or someway to bet without having to walk back across the race track, I’m sure in today’s
world of technology  there is some way to use WiFi or something like that to bet. Even a person walking around taking bets? With perhaps you have to go to other side to collect your winnings but a way to play with it all day till you go over to collect.
Also I believe we need to pay the Alberta/bred bonus out differently with more going to Alberta sired horses. There is no incentive to buy or breed to Alberta stallions therefore at sales everyone(including myself) only looks at the KY sired horses so people do not keep their mares here to breed but either ship or buy cheap mares already in foal. It would be an incentive to bring better stallions in so there might be better horses.
In old days no one shipped but everybody is now. And it would require no extra money just paying out say 15% to Alberta Sired and 8% to horses that are sired by stallions that stand elsewhere. And I get it totally but when I look around for a stallion to breed to I see nothing other than our own stallion. He would have bred 20 or more this year but that’s another story! And our stallion is no star just gets very consistent runners and perhaps in our market he would be alright.

Remember: you cannot build a better mouse trap by fixing the old one – NewCo demands active ownership, and that activity is not the sum of doing multiple jobs but, instead, the sum of implementing paradigm-shifting changes that create new industries and solutions.
Michael Gerber

What Would I Fix First – Phil’s Alberta Edition – Phil M Stockmen

Abolish Horse Racing Alberta and move the administration of horse racing in Alberta back to AGLC.

Terminate the entire HRA board and all their employees and ensure that none of them are hired by AGLC.

That rustling noise you hear near the legislature is the Undertaker scurrying down the hall to Clark Kent’s office to rat on Phil.

Tear up the bullshit business plans where HRA’s minions have been filling in the blanks with fake news numbers on some first year college paper template they think is still relevant.

Put a business man, woman or child in charge not some retired political crony topping up her outrageous pension with a bloated salary or some life long bureaucrat who’s only adept at treading water and performing busy work.

Hire a consulting firm that has worked for either the NFL, MLB or NBA or a EU equivalent and give them free rein to rip apart the entire horse racing and gaming industry in Alberta and move the entire horse racing and gaming industry in Alberta into the 20th century and start preparing for the 21st century. No more of the old boy club pat us on the back and kiss each other’s asses self serving pieces of toilet paper reports like HRA has been cranking out. The Cuff report excepted.


Read and understand the Cuff report before hiring a consulting firm.

Racehorse Owners Association

Industry strategy to retain and attract racehorse owners, enabling the long-term sustainability of horse racing.

The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) protects and promotes the interests of racehorse owners in Great Britain. Racehorse owners are significant investors in the sport; however, a large portion of owners were not satisfied with their experience, leading to a risk of declining ownership numbers. 

We developed a strategy that will provide all owners with an engaging and sustainable experience. This included developing a new membership proposition for the ROA, as well delivering structural change to the industry to enable trainers, racecourses, syndicate managers and breeders to deliver an excellent experience.

The Approach

Considering the highly fragmented nature of the horse racing landscape, a collaborative approach was adopted to engage the multiple stakeholders, with the owner’s voice at the heart. This included engaging:

  • Owners through extensive interviews, surveys and focus groups to understand what they wanted and the current challenges facing them

  • Industry bodies and service providers including trainers, racecourses, syndicate managers and various governing bodies to understand and align the industry behind the changes needed

  • Non-equine organisations to incorporate leading practices from outside of racing into the sport

Portas Consulting – Case Studies – Racehorse Owners Asociation

Tear up the existing contract with the tracks and start all over again.

Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.     

George Bernard Shaw

What Would I Fix First – Phil’s Alberta Edition – Michele Brewster (Phil’s paraphrasing parts)

Eliminate  the infighting and childish behaviour from the thoroughbred organizations, trainers and owners.

Owners, breeders and handicappers need to hear some positive words in friendly conversation. Do they understand that our Alberta economy is different from what we knew. But I hope it improves.

This year there have been many, many young people attending both tracks, and they spend their money, enjoying the races. That is a nice change from baby boomers and seniors (Ab and I go a lot, he is 82 and I am 72). I still love thoroughbred racing.

What Would I Fix First – Phil’s Alberta Edition – Al Side (Phil’s paraphrasing parts)

Phil  we all truly care and we will surely miss it……..its a great thing to do   so enjoyable      a bit costly but what the hell    its easy to make money  in other venues

We need people like Lynn Chouinard with cash and a passion…or Allie Noren with a passion and no extra cash and Vern  Hrychuk  much the same but willing to work long hours…. Jim and Amber Meyaard  better trainers and hard working and better managers but smarter than the average trainer

Any part of the industry is certainly not 8 to 5     I could keep rambling on how it’s a worldly sport…I have travelled and visited tracks from Hong Kong To Johannesburg to Dubai to Ireland to fifty tracks in the US…..the people are much the same..and it is an enjoyable.sport…when I go to Santa Anita I breathe in the history and surroundings…beautiful…and visit the barns

And go to clockers corner for breakfast..its a wonderful world..but it’s a shrinking environment ….within 25 years I predict it will all be gone except for a few minor league tracks in the boonies…

Thanks to you Phil –  you support the industry so much…you extended my interest….unless someone likes you cares an awful lot nothing is going to get better……

Fixing our schools must begin with reforming the way we attract talent to teaching.
Michael Bennet

What Would I Fix First – Phil’s Alberta Edition – Numerous Alberta Breeders, Owners, Participants and Fans compiled by Julie Brewster

Horses – Health & Welfare, Regulatory and Aftercare

  1. Animal Activists / Horse welfare Concerns
  • Animal activists are targeting horse sport and agriculture
    • Suggestion: Communications Spokesperson
      • Communications spokesperson from each breed is authorized and designated to speak on behalf of the organization, and will be prepared to answer any questions. The spokesperson will be able to provide positive, factual messages with regards to any potential media or other questions or concerns.


  • Suggestion: Messaging bullet points for all stakeholders to utilize regarding health, welfare, and safety of horses
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks, Organizations, Stables
    • Work together to develop positive messaging and provide it to their members
    • Include messaging in social media, backstretch tours, print collateral


  • Suggestion: Increase social media to promote positive horse stories
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks, Organizations, Stables
    • Source stories, publish stories which other stakeholders can share


  • Suggestion: A similar campaign to I Am Horse Racing https://www.iamhorseracing.org
    • Stakeholder: Organization or Stable
    • Source stories, publish stories which other stakeholders can share


  • Suggestion: Family Fun Days at the races, Charity promotions similar to what ASHA does with “Fun for Fans”
    • Stakeholder: Organization or Tracks
    • Providing family fun days will engage fans with horses, with some inexpensive entertainment for a family
    • Pony rides, provide an opportunity for fans to pat horses, have a mare and foal or quiet, friendly retired horses available for children and fans to meet


  • Paddock Presentations
    • Suggestion to hold Paddock Presentations for race fans on regular racedays to show people the care horses receive
      • Stakeholder: Track, Organizations
      • Topics could include some of the basics about equine care – for example, paddock school, saddling a horse, bandaging a horse, role of the pony horse, role of the outrider, role of gate crew
  1. Regulatory
  • Alberta is far behind other jurisdictions in our rules and regulations
    • Suggestion: Work with HRA to review other jurisdictions and revise rules
      • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks, Organizations


  • Suggestion: Use Safety and Integrity Alliance Accreditation process to rewrite Alberta’s thoroughbred racing rules
    • Stakeholder: Tracks


  • Suggestion to have racetrack vets incorporate a test for body condition scores for horses to try to ensure minimum levels of care for equine athletes
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks
    • The backstretch needs to do better to increase quality of care the horses receive, and adding a body condition score


  • Suggestion to have a more formal Public Relations role to advocate for horse welfare and provide timely, accurate information after injuries or catastrophic breakdowns
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks
    • Prevalence of social media and other news channels can be counteracted with timely, accurate information from a spokesperson with media and crisis training


  • Suggestion to incorporate vet checks on B Tracks
    • Stakeholder: HRA
    • If the A tracks are going to become accredited it would be useful to begin to incorporate stricter policies for horse welfare at the B tracks


  • Suggestion to incorporate timed works on B Tracks
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks
    • Timed works are useful to show a horse is fit for racing.


  • Suggestion to incorporate a piece of the ARCI accreditation and have mandatory necropsy performed on every horse that dies in the backstretch or on the track with a follow up report
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks
    • Trainer pays for the necropsy and receives a report with the findings
    • Trainer and owner get peace of mind or can make necessary changes


  • Suggestion to add a sticker or sign to go on the stall of every horse “In Today” so stable staff, security, owners, or any guests to a shedrow know which horses are being prepared to race
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks
    • Increases security for the horse


  • Suggestion to have an added purse bonus for every horse who races without Lasix
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks, HBPA
    • Moves us towards changes in Lasix regulations, gives bonus to trainers/owners who want to race their horses without Lasix
  • Transparency
    • Suggestion: Stewards rulings should be described by announcer or steward following any inquiries
      • Stakeholder: HRA
      • Stewards would have opportunity to educate betting public and explain their ruling


  • Suggestion: Have a recognized vet or other expert available to explain the injury when a horse is vanned off. Injuries are never going to be completely eliminated, so addressing them will help how we interact with our fans.
    • Stakeholder: Tracks
    • When a player is injured in other sports, a commentator speaks to a doctor or an official for an update. If a horse is vanned off, have an update from a vet or official to update the public on the injury in laymen’s terms.


  • Suggestion to have the HRA PSA videos used between races to show foals and happy horses running across fields.
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks
    • We need to show casual fans that horses love to run, and showing them the PSA will connect people emotionally


  • Bio Security
    • Suggestion: Bio Security Education and Information Training
      • Stakeholder: Tracks, Stables
      • Encourage all stable staff to learn better bio security measures to help prevent outbreaks of disease or help contain disease
      • Equine Guelph courses are available for HRA licences for a 15% discount


  • Suggestion: Horse vaccinations
    • Stakeholder: HRA and Tracks
    • All horses entering premises must show proof of vaccinations in addition to negative coggins
    • Work with veterinarians for volume discount and timing of vaccinations


  • Suggestion to create bio security protocols for all disciplines of horses using the tracks – example Indian Relay, Chuckwagons, Horse Shows, etc.
    • Stakeholder: Tracks
    • Security inspections to ensure all horses have Coggins/Vaccinations, security inspections to make sure horses have adequate food and water
    • Full process to disinfect stalls between horses shipping in/out


  • Stabling
    • Suggestion: Evaluate stabling at all racetracks and identify areas that must be changed/fixed before horses move in for training in spring 2020.
      • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks, Organizations
      • Create a checklist for shedrow/stall safety, water, access to bedding and manure disposal
      • Identify ways to minimize dust, air circulation, ventilation


  1. Aftercare
  • Encourage all organizations and individual stables to have Aftercare information
    • Suggestion: work with TLC or other organization to have official charitable status
      • Stakeholder: Organizations
      • Events could be incorporated at the racetrack to raise funds for aftercare if there was a bonus of a tax receipt
      • Offer tax receipts to stables who provide retirement options, rehabilitation and retraining for off track thoroughbreds


  • Network with other breeds and sports to provide cross promotion
    • Suggestion: attend other sports and tradeshows to provide information and education on thoroughbreds
      • Stakeholder: Organizations
      • Have a budget for tradeshows and professional materials to provide OTTB information
      • Host Days at the Races with a barn tour, information session and information on available horses for people from other sports


  • Thoroughbred Challenge Program
    • Suggestion: Create, promote and host a thoroughbred challenge show
      • Stakeholder: Organizations, Individual stables
      • Plan based on Retired Racehorse Project: https://www.retiredracehorseproject.org/ or in conjunction with Saskatchewan Equine Expo, Farmfair, or other multi breed venue/event in the off season


  • Suggestion to have an All Breed Challenge Show
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Organizations, Individuals
    • Plan an Off Track Horse Show for all three racing breeds in Alberta. Promote and market it for all three breeds.


  • Aftercare Accreditation Program
    • Suggestion to establish criteria for accreditation to officially recognize breeders, training centres, stables, trainers as part of an Aftercare Alliance in Alberta
      • Stakeholder: Organizations, Stables, Individuals
      • Host educational events with guest speakers from other jurisdictions to learn what other areas do to support retired racehorses
      • Create an accreditation process so people looking for information on horses, for trainers, or other sports have resources
      • Provide information on a website or social media which can be shared across multiple organizations


  • Aftercare Accreditation from Jockey Club
    • All breeders pay $25 per foal registration and stallion owners pay $35 per each mare reported bred for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, with Canadian breeder fees directed to Canadian Thoroughbred Aftercare organizations which are only in BC and Ontario. Need to work to establish accredited program(s) in Alberta.
      • Stakeholder: HRA, Organizations, Breeders
      • Establish list of aftercare/retirement stables and help them become accredited


  • Marketing Programs for Aftercare
    • Suggestion to work with HRA for marketing funds specifically to support OTTBs and Aftercare
      • Stakeholder: HRA, Organizations, Stables
      • Create a video, social media or marketing campaign to highlight OTTBs

People – Education, Safety, Networking

  1. Training/Education
  • Increase level of professionalism of stable and racetrack staff
    • Suggestion: All stable staff must have continuing education every year to apply for a new licence or maintain a licence.
      • Stakeholder: HRA
      • Work with Olds College, Equine Guelph or Grayson-Jockey Club to offer free courses for licencees
      • Follow California and New York and create mandatory continuing education to renew a training licence


  • Suggestion: Dress Codes/Code of Conduct
    • Stakeholder: Tracks
    • Work with Olds College to offer suggestions to all staff (not just graduates) on proper presentation. And then enforce the rules.
    • Offer discounts on polo shirts for all stable staff and track staff
    • Offer free Century branded polo shirts to stable staff for race days
    • Create a dress code for race days, especially Stakes race days


  • Suggestion: All stable staff must have basic horse welfare and handling basics before they can be licenced. Will help with bio security protocols and safety of people and horses
    • Stakeholder: HRA
    • Work with Olds College, Equine Guelph or Grayson-Jockeyclub to offer free courses for staff


  • Business Skills Training for trainers
    • Suggestion: Trainers need better skills for working with owners for invoicing, accounting and communications
      • Stakeholder: Organizations
      • Work with business professionals to offer training for our trainers to increase level of professional accounting, invoicing and communications
      • Work with other jurisdictions for sample templates for trainers
      • Have templates or business tips available on websites so trainers can access them


  • Suggestion to establish minimum qualifications for trainers to be licensed by HRA
    • Stakeholder: HRA
    • Work with HBPA to establish minimum qualifications and hold mandatory trainer workshops before issuing licences


  • Suggestion to have a practical hands-on exam for A Track Trainers in addition to written and oral exam
    • Stakeholder: HRA
    • Work with HBPA to bring back a practical component of the exam to ensure a basic level of competence for horsemanship care of equine athletes


  • Suggestion to have Business, Payroll and Tax training for trainers and owners
    • Stakeholder: Organizations and Individuals
    • Service Canada presentations for owners, trainers, farm managers to help prepare for payroll, foreign worker requirements, tax advantages/disadvantages. Etc


  • Suggestion to have all trainers tested at all tracks – no B Track exemption
    • Stakeholder: HRA
    • If we want to increase our professionalism, all trainers need to pass the test


  • Social Media Training
    • Suggestion: offer workshop or training for social media skills
      • Stakeholder: Organizations
      • Offer social media training to trainers and stable staff so that we can provide the background into what happens on the backstretch in a professional manner


  • Backstretch Qualifications
    • Suggestion to have mandatory qualifications for backstretch employees and track employees who work with horses (eg gate crew)
      • Stakeholder: HRA
      • Work with HRA, HBPA for minimum qualifications
      • Work with Olds College for online courses or training/orientation sessions for backstretch workers to be licensed


  1. Networking and Morale
  • Backstretch Engagement
    • Suggestions to hold BBQs, Breakfasts, Softball games, Soccer games, anything to encourage morale
      • Stakeholders: Organizations, Stables
      • Free breakfast or BBQ for all stable staff to network and socialize
      • Organize a games day


  • Biographies or stories to highlight the people on the backstretch
    • Suggestion: Increase social media to promote positive people stories
      • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks, Organizations, Stables
      • Source stories, publish stories which other stakeholders can share


  • Suggestion: A similar campaign to I Am Horse Racing https://www.iamhorseracing.org
    • Stakeholder: Organization or Stable
    • Source stories, publish stories which other stakeholders can share


  • Backstretch improvements
    • Suggestion: Better system for assigning stalls to trainers, especially at Century Downs where the tent barns are inadequate for colder weather
      • Stakeholder: Track, HBPA
      • Add water to the tent barns


  • Suggestion to make the backstretch a more friendly environment by holding potlucks, soccer games, baseball games, etc.
    • Stakeholders: Organizations
    • The Community Circuit has potlocks and BBQs which are very well attended and create a feeling of belonging to a community


  • Facilities for Backstretch Employees
    • Suggestion to have kitchen or common area at racetracks for food and beverages, breaks, socializing
      • Stakeholder: Tracks, Organizations
      • The Kitchen is a space at most racetracks where employees can take a break, eat, be dry/warm, socialize, have meetings, find common information on bulletin boards, etc.


  1. Safety/Security
  • Personal Protective Equipment
    • Suggestion to follow Ontario HBPA and offer safety vests to riders and work shoes to grooms
      • Stakeholders: HRA, Organizations
      • Create a fund to provide backstretch employees safety vests and safety shoes


  • Backstretch Security
    • Suggestion to reconfigure Race Office area so trainers can have more privacy when entering races, discussing sensitive issues with race office staff, etc.
      • Stakeholder: Track
      • Create race office etiquette or processes to give trainers and backstretch staff access to information, allow more privacy for entries, allow for privacy and confidentiality when necessary


  • Suggestion to have set times for Paddock School
    • Stakeholder: Track
    • Example Paddock Schooling is available on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday at 11 am to encourage trainers to send horses to paddock school at regular hours


  • Code of Conduct and Code of Care Meetings
    • Suggestion to have Code of Conduct and Code of Care checklist with meetings so everyone on the backstretch signs off
      • Stakeholder: Organizations
      • Use current Code of Conduct and create Code of Care documents for behaviour and care of horses in the backstretch, in the paddock, post race, etc. that every staff member in the backstretch must read, sign off, and adhere to

Owner Retention/Recruitment

  1. Owner Retention – Keeping owners will help with our horse population, which is tied to handle and purses. From a survey by ATOBA in 2018, the key areas of concern were:
  2. Shortage of horses
  3. Purse money decreases
  4. Shortage of owners


  • Owner engagement
    • Suggestion: Clockers Corner area in the morning for owners to gather and have coffee and watch horses train
      • Stakeholder: Tracks, Organizations
      • Offer coffee, racing tip sheets, overnights or racing programs to owners


  • Suggestion to offer networking or educational activities for owners
    • Stakeholder: Tracks, Organizations
    • Bring in speakers from other racing jurisdictions
    • Host an owners event before major race days like Canadian Derby


  • Suggestion to offer all owners a free program on the day their horse is entered
    • Stakeholder: Track, Organization
    • Develop budget for free programs for owners – maybe as an offer from the track or a sponsor


  • Suggestion to offer Owner Appreciation Day or Events
    • Stakeholder: Tracks, Organizations
    • Capitalize on the ownership experience and make sure that owners are made to feel like an important part of the racing team, or exclusive members of a club
    • Tailgate parties, members only events


  • Suggestion to offer a Winner’s Zone for every winning owner after every race
    • Stakeholder: Track, Organizations
    • Offer an area with beverages and snacks, tvs with the race replay for owners after every race to celebrate the victory


  • Suggestion to offer a Gift Shop or Trade Show opportunities for major race days
    • Stakeholder: Tracks
    • Let owners be part of the ‘team’ by offering branded items like jackets, shirts, caps, umbrellas, scarfs, toques, etc.


  • Owner education or training
    • Suggestion to have educational sessions or online training available for owners
      • Stakeholder: Organizations
      • Offer courses or workshops from Olds College, Equine Guelph, Grayson-Jockey Club to owners to learn more about horses, medication or veterinary procedures, betting, buying yearlings, conformation, pedigrees, breeding and aftercare options


  • Suggestion to have Owner Orientations
    • Stakeholder: Organizations
    • Offer Orientation for owners so they know safety, horse behaviour, proper etiquette, training times, race times
    • Introduction to common veterinary procedures, vet glossary, vet bills


  • Suggestion to have Owner/Trainer Binders or Guides
    • Stakeholder: Organizations
    • Offer Guide to Being an Owner / Guide to Being Trainer templates so all of our trainers and owners have basic expectations in a fillable form
    • Example “10 things your trainer wants you to know”, for example a map of the backstretch, when training hours are open, what not to do in the barn area, who to call to reserve a table, track photographer name and phone number etc.


  • Suggestion to provide binder or worksheets with basic information to owners on current range of day rates, what is included in day rate, estimated costs of other services
    • Stakeholder: Organizations
    • Give current day rate range in Alberta, and what is typically included in day rates
    • Give estimates of costs of other services



  • Alberta Bred Bonus structure
    • Suggestion to have members of the horsemen’s associations provide input on the current Alberta Bonus options.
      • Stakeholder: HRA, Organizations
      • Allow members input into the bonus structures


  • Suggestion to pay bottom horses bonus to provide incentive for owners to keep low level claiming horses at the track
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Organizations
    • Many members feel that any Alberta bred winner should be recognized and provided a bonus


  • Suggestion to get members together to come up with a better payout structure for Alberta bred bonuses
    • Stakeholder: Members
    • Survey all owner members to find out where the bonus money should be spent


  • Create an Alberta First Program within the Bonus Structure and highlight it for all Alberta bred horses to recognize the breeder and owner
    • Stakeholder: Organizations
    • Create a sponsorship program or reorganize the Breed Improvement program to recognize Alberta breds at all levels


  • Suggestion to create an Alberta Sire program for Thoroughbreds. Look at Quarter Horse and Standardbreds as well as BC, Ontario or other jurisdictions to see what works well and then work with stallion owners
    • Stakeholder: Organizations
    • Evaluate Breed Improvement funds to add Stallion Stakes or Sire Series to add value to Alberta breds


  • Incentive and Reward Programs
    • Suggestion to evaluate what other jurisdictions are doing, specifically BC and Ontario, to create incentives to bring in new horses or keep horses in training
      • Stakeholder: Organizations
      • Work with HRA, tracks and organizations to create a couple of new programs for fresh horses or to keep horses in training


  • Paddock Sale
    • Suggestion to hold a Paddock Sale for horses of racing age to increase horse population and allow owners to buy new stock
      • Stakeholders: HRA, Tracks, Organizations
      • Create budget and goal of program
      • Ask trainers for input either who to send to a track or appoint an agent at a track, and at the end of the Fair Grounds (or other similar track) meet next spring arrange to purchase a range of horses to fit our conditions. Buying privately from a track would ensure horses are fit and ready to come race


  • Statistical analysis done for all tracks to measure starters, starts, and purses to evaluate the current race days at the tracks. Better information, presented consistently, and distributed to all stakeholders.


  • Suggestion to track the data and then provide the analysis to breeders, owners, and trainers so they can plan their businesses.
    • Stakeholder: HRA, tracks, organizations


  1. Owner Recruitment
  • Owner recruitment
    • Suggestion to hold Days at the Races for new owners to include a backstretch tour, lunch, introduction to racing, winners circle photo
      • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks, Organizations
      • Create budget and standardized program to attract new owners and introduce them to the sport


  • Make horses “stars” to build a fan base which might inspire people to become owners
    • Suggestion to add more information about the horses to the video board and TV screens during post parade. Create short video clips about horses, breeders and showcase the Alberta breds in the race
      • Stakeholder: Tracks, Organizations, Breeders
      • Create budget and create video clips
      • Add an “Alberta Bred” graphic or icon on the screen for Alberta breds
      • Provide additional information in the program or for announcers to read like “goes back to x stallion, was purchased for x at the Alberta Sale, has earnings of x” etc.


  • Create partnerships or syndicate opportunities
    • Follow other areas and make partnership or syndicate opportunities available for newcomers to the industry
      • Stakeholder: Organizations, Trainers
      • Contact trainers and establish contacts for new owners to join partnerships or syndicates


  • Create app or website so fans can look up horses
    • Suggestion to create a program similar to the WPCA Equine Outfit of Excellence where horses can be entered and followed as the season progresses so fans can follow them more closely
      • Stakeholder: Track, Organizations
      • Profiles on individual horses compiled and maintained in a regular site so fans can look up their favourite horses to find out more and follow them

Handle, Purse, Sponsorship

  1. Conversion from fan to bettor
  • Introducing fans to betting
    • Suggestion to have volunteers who can attend the races every afternoon in branded apparel who can offer Betting Basics to fans
      • Stakeholders: Tracks, Organizations
      • Provide jacket, hat or shirts to friendly, approachable volunteers
      • Have standardized betting information sheets, ipads or mobile phones to show fans the basic bets and how to make them


  • Suggestion to have daily tip sheets more accessible to fans (especially those who do not buy a program or are intimidated by program)
    • Stakeholder: Tracks, Organizations
    • Make it a fun sheet with some basic information


  • Suggestion to follow ASHA’s lead and have a number of envelopes for fans each day with pre purchased bets for a specific race. Fans receive an envelope for each horse in a specific race and someone is guaranteed to cash a ticket.
    • Stakeholder: Organizations
    • Have someone buy the tickets, hand them out, and be available to help people


  • Suggestion to bring back the HRA ‘how to bet’ guides or produce new ones, videos that can be played on the video screens and televisions and shared on social media
    • Stakeholder: HRA, Tracks, Organizations
    • Have guides available at every table every race day, as well as at every betting station, play the video every day, make it shareable on social media so that it’s easy to refer people to a print or digital betting guide


  • Create volunteer desk with tip sheets, learn to bet guides, volunteers to answer questions
    • Stakeholder: Track, Organizations
    • Get volunteers to take shifts to be at the races to engage fans
    • Talk about the horses, talk about breeders, trainers, backstretch staff to make create fan favourites


  • Suggestion to have regular $1 pop and $1 hot dog days to encourage families to attend
    • Stakeholder: Tracks
    • Family friendly spaces and family friendly prices will establish a clientele who might become loyal fans
  1. Purse
  • Evaluate our claiming levels, race distances and field sizes to make decisions for the split of days between A and B tracks, allocation of purses, etc. If we do not have everyone using the same information, we cannot make good decisions
    • Suggestion to evaluate B Track days and make changes to boost handle, field size and purse allocations. Example is to race in Lethbridge in spring, Grande Prairie in summer and end at Century in fall
    • Suggestion to evaluate A Track Days and make changes so that racing starts at Century Downs in the spring and moves to Century Mile in the summer and fall
  1. Sponsorship
  • Aggressively target different sponsorship opportunities
    • Suggestion to have race sponsors for every race each race day, similar to WPCA Heat sponsors
      • Stakeholder: Track, Organizations
      • Set a price on a race sponsor for $250 or $500 and give sponsors x number of races to sponsor. Sponsor is on video board with announcer and a graphic thanking them for their sponsorship


  • Feature Race Sponsorship
    • Stakeholder: Organizations, Individuals
    • Reach out to network of stakeholders to bring in more major race sponsors similar to Delaney’s Vet, etc. Establish what sponsor will receive for a feature race and coordinate with track and sponsors


  • Coordinate with all stakeholders to develop a comprehensive sponsorship program
    • Stakeholder: Organizations
    • Can a feature race sponsor also have a page in the sale catalogue, or have their logo displayed by Olds College Racetrack Program; can a sponsor have an exclusive drink at the track or an invite to Canadian Derby or Fall Classic? Create ways for organizations to work together for more prominence for sponsors


  • Suggestion to bring in local sponsors and promote them to the owners, trainers, backstretch.
    • Stakeholders: Organizations, Tracks
    • Example would be gather group of businesses local to tracks who will offer a discount to licensees. Offer a day at the races to employees of the business, or reciprocate with a feature race, shout outs from the track

Politicians – in both political parties – spend too much money. And they forget to focus on what matters most: fixing the economic mess they created and putting people back to work.

Brad Wenstrup

Children of the Revolution

Rebellion Lies

Phil M Stockmen

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