MISSISSUAGA, ON — For the first time in its history the Ontario racing industry joined together in a grand display of showmanship, education and entertainment at the 2002 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

“Horse racing is part of the rural fabric of Ontario and we were proud to participate in the tradition of the Royal. It gave us the opportunity to demonstrate first hand how we care for and train the horses that provide the excitement and entertainment at the track,” said Jane Holmes, Executive Director of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA).

Both Standardbred and Thoroughbred horses were featured in the Cavalcade of Horses three times each day. The standardbred star was Banting, a pacing gelding owned by Earl Lennox of Orton, Ontario. He quickly became the hit of the show, socializing with crowds of all ages, which was no surprise to his handler Ian Dow.

Longrun, the thoroughbred adoption society, provided the thoroughbred horse � retired gelding Artic Grail. His handler Kelly Callaghan felt that he was well chosen for the job as he settled into the Fair’s activities quickly and found his niche with the public.

“The success of the Ontario Horse Racing exhibits can be attributed to the many dedicated volunteers who shared their expertise with thousands of visitors who attended each day,” explained Jane Holmes. “The racing industry is about the people and animals that make a living in this business. It is also family entertainment which allows people of all ages to enjoy what the racing industry has to offer.”

OHRIA is an umbrella organization representing all segments of the horse racing and breeding industry � Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter Horse, all horse people � breeders, owners, trainers, and all 18 racetracks. OHRIA seeks to further promote the horse racing industry as a vital part of Ontario’s lifestyle, heritage, and agricultural economy. The Ontario horse racing industry is the third largest segment of the provincial agricultural economy, providing more than 45,000 jobs. Annual expenditures of breeders and owners are in excess of $1.2 billion. The strategic vision of the industry is, “To be a world class leader in horse racing and breeding.”