Ontario Racing (OR) confirmed that John Hayes will step down as its Independent Chair, after leading the organization since March of 2018.
“Horse racing is a unique partnership between all participants including owners, breeders, horsepeople and racetracks,” said Hayes. “If one of the cogs is experiencing an issue, the other gears will not work as well. Building strong relationships with these partners and trusting those relationships allowed us to achieve our goals and overcome challenges in these past four years.”
The Long-Term Funding was among initiatives established under Hayes. Katherine Curry, the first Executive Director of Ontario Racing, worked closely with Hayes during her time in the role, when the Long-Term Funding Agreement was instituted.
“The Long-Term Funding Agreement represents an unprecedented level of collaboration between the
horse racing industry and its government partners, and John helped Ontario Racing lay the groundwork for its current and future success,” said Curry, current Ontario Racing Board Member, and Vice President of Legal and Compliance at Woodbine Entertainment Group.
While the Long-Term Funding Agreement and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic were the largest items on OR's agenda the last four years, Hayes' influence also impacted the work the organization has done with breeding programs, equine welfare, and aftercare.
Added Sue Leslie, Ontario Racing Board Member and President of the Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association of Ontario, “John has a lot of class, and he has led with dignity. When you have class and dignity at the top, it sets the tone, and everyone follows. Ontario Racing will miss him, and his leadership.”