Updated on 01/15/2014 11:11AM

Woodbine told to redistribute money to harness purses at other tracks

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The Ontario Racing Commission has directed Woodbine Entertainment Group, the owner and operator of Woodbine, to direct a half-million dollars to an account it has set up for Standardbred purses at other tracks, the ORC said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the ORC said that it had issued the order to Woodbine in December of last year as part of a plan to “implement a provincial approach to purses.” The money will be used to supplement purses at The Raceway at Western Fair District, a London, Ontario, Standardbred track, the ORC said in the statement.

The $500,000 was being held in trust by Woodbine, the most prominent track in Canada, located in Etobicoke, Ontario. The money was earned through fees for telephone and off-track betting in Ontario, the statement said. The statement also said that “any aggrieved party has the right to appeal” the decision.

Woodbine officials said on Wednesday the track has complied with the order.

“The money was transferred to accommodate an appropriate level of funding commensurate with Western Fair’s quality of racing,” said John Siscos, the track’s senior manager of communications, in an e-mailed response to a query.

The ORC has also issued orders to other tracks to direct money to the trust it maintains for Standardbred purses. The ORC said in the statement that the purpose of redistributing the money was to provide for “optimal use of purse money … to attract full, competitive fields.”