The recent horseman dispute with Woodbine Entertainment has been tumultuous. In late December the Ontario Harness Horse Association called for a boycott of the box at Woodbine, due to primarily Woodbine's reluctance to give in on their right to private property, and banning people they feel hurt their product. From almost its inception the boycott call was met with less than full support. The box filled easily. Then a second boycott was called and the box filled easily again. I had a couple of people in the know mention to me that they thought this might be the end of the leadership at the horseman's organization, as they lost the confidence of the membership.
Earlier today this call was made public. John Kopas, trainer of Keystone Horatio among many other greats, and member of a family which has been heavily involved in racing since the 1950's called for a change in leadership in the OHHA. In a letter to the Harness Edge he stated:
I have grave concerns in regards to our current leadership at OHHA. If we allow Mr. (Jim) Whelan and his "disciples" to continue we are not going to have a business left. OHHA must stop its antagonistic approach towards racetracks, politicians and its members.
We as horse people must rid ourselves of the OHHA as it presently sits. Mark my words, if we do not the repercussions will be catastrophic to our industry.
The full text of this letter as well as others can be accessed here.
It will be extremely interesting to see where this goes next. But a call for change from a well respected member of the owner and trainer community like Kopas is sure to get attention.
For video from Messers Kopas, Burns and Waples regarding the situation it can be accessed here.
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