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Friday August 31st, 2012

Posted at 10:30am

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Its the end of an era in Windsor today, as Windsor Raceway — which opened its doors on October 25th 1965 — shuts down its operations.

Windsor Raceway has a storied history. For the first twenty-nine years of its operation, live harness racing was contested during the six month season of October through April only, but in 1995 Windsor Raceway held its first season of year round live racing.

In the 1990’s came simulcasting giving ability for raceway patrons to bet on races being held at other racetracks.

In January of 1999, Windsor Raceway was the first racetrack in Ontario to install slot machine, which lead to boosted purses and quality of racing generating revenue of 69 million in its first years of operation, and helped sustain the raceway for more than a decade.

March 14th of this year was the beginning of the end for the raceway when the Ontario Government announced that slots would be pulled from the track on April 30th. Declining revenue was the main reason. 150 full-time and 60 part-time staff lost their jobs.

On May 4th, Windsor Raceway announced that they would close all horse racing operations to the financially troubled facility on August 31st. The Raceway said that despite OLG reports, there is no arrangement in place to facilitate any continued horse racing at the raceway.

On August 15th the raceway sent a letter to the racing Commission requesting to end its license. The Commission met with management of Windsor Raceway to discuss issues related to the request and set an end date.

Windsor Raceway’s license will be cancelled as of 11:59pm tonight.  There is no indication what will happen next to the building or property.

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