Leamington harness racing contract extended through 2020

Harness racing in Leamington will continue for at least another two seasons.

A contract that secures 13 dates each year through 2020 was signed with the Ontario Racing Commission on Friday.

"We're extremely pleased," said Tom Bain with the Lakeshore Horse Raceway Association. "We knew there were earlier proposals to shut us down so that's excellent news."

It's a three-year process to raise and train a racehorse, according to Bain, meaning a sense of security for the future is very important to the business.

He pointed to the loss of Windsor's racetrack as an example of what can happen when the provincial racing organization heads for greener pastures.

"The industry almost crashed with almost half of the stables folding up," he said. "It decimated the industry."

The new contract provides $455,000 per year to fund race purses.