The OHHA has elected a new president. Bill O'Donnell, driver of such greats as Nihilator, was chosen to take over the horseman's organization today in a meeting. Immediately Mr. O'Donnell placed his stamp on the group by reaching out to Woodbine. As you know, this latest stalemate was mainly due to the horseman's assocation's executive insistence that Woodbine drop some of their demands in using private property rights to expel trainers who have gotten positives off their grounds.
"WEG doesn't want to hurt anyone. Their board is made up of horse people and they genuinely want to race horses unlike some other tracks."
At the heart of the debate is the private property rights issue to which OHHA took exception.
"WEG did not want to have a partner that condoned bad behaviour in racing. There was a clause that we were having trouble with but in my time in racing I always knew that at any racetrack there were private property rules.
"Not that I ever would break them but I knew that if I did it was clear that I would have to leave. I knew the ramifications and I would be out of there," he went on. "The membership spoke very clearly and showed by not boycotting the Woodbine entry box that this was not that big of an issue for them to stop racing. We had to listen."
Everyone I have spoken to wishes the Magic Man good luck. Harness racing in Ontario has a long tradition and it is filled with wonderful people. Let's hope this gets done quickly and we can all move on in a proactive way to help racing in our province.