The Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario
Mr. Jim Lawson elected Chairman of Ontario Racing
TORONTO, March 29 – Mr. Jim Lawson (Michael Burns photo) was today unanimously elected Chairman of the Board by the Directors of Ontario Racing, following the retirement of Mr. Hugh Mitchell in the role.
Mr. Lawson is the CEO of Woodbine Entertainment (Woodbine) responsible for the operation of the largest horse racing organization in Canada. He is also the Chairman of the Board of the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Prior to becoming Chief Executive of Woodbine in May 2015, he served as the organization’s Chairman of the Board. He also served as the Chairman of the Jockey Club of Canada for 2010-2015.
“I’m honoured to have been elected as the next Chairman of Ontario Racing,” said Mr. Lawson. “The organization has excelled under Hugh’s leadership and I look forward to continuing with a board of industry leaders motivated to make Ontario the envy of the horse racing world.
Since April 2016, following Ms. Sue Leslie’s term as founding Chair of Ontario Racing from 2015-16, Mr. Mitchell has been the Chair of Ontario Racing.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished as Chairman of the Board at Ontario Racing,” said Mr. Hugh Mitchell, President and CEO of Western Fair Association. “While I look forward to continuing to help guide the industry as a member on the board, I am confident that now is the right time to step down and have Jim, with his immense horse racing, sports and business expertise, lead a thriving horse racing and breeding industry in the short and long term.”
The long-term funding agreement, announced last week by the Ontario government, will be administered by Ontario Racing and is intended to empower the horse racing industry to move towards a self-sustaining future. It will include specific measures focused on supporting community racetracks, including operational funding and purses.
The members of the Board of Directors at Ontario Racing are well-regarded in the industry with its blend of expertise and experience in the industry. The board includes Jim Lawson (CEO, Woodbine Entertainment) as Chairman with Bill O’Donnell (President, COSA), Bob Broadstock (President, Quarter Horse Racing Owners of Ontario), Bruce Barbour (Executive Director of Racing Operations, Flamboro Downs), John Hayes (At-Large), Hugh Mitchell (CEO, Western Fair Association), Heather MacKay (Marketing Director, Kawartha Downs), Brian Van Arem (At-Large), Sue Leslie (President, HBPA) and Walter Parkinson (President, SBOA) serving as members.
Mike Chopowick, Acting Executive Director