Careers

An incredible day for B.C. horse racing

(SURREY, B.C. - 20 December, 2004) -  Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCC), headquartered in Richmond, B.C., announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire all of the assets of Orangeville Raceway Limited, operators of Fraser Downs, Sandown Park in North Saanich, B.C. and other horse racing interests.

Orangeville has been a closely-held private company which originated with a small standardbred racetrack in Ontario, followed by the founding of Cloverdale Raceway (now Fraser Downs) in 1976. The patriarch of the company was the late Jim Keeling Sr., a member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Another of the tight family group of departing shareholders is a harness racing legend, Keith Waples, also a Hall of Fame inductee.

In an open letter today to staff and friends, Chuck Keeling, general manager of Orangeville, emphasized that it will be business as usual, eagerly anticipating the completion of a $25 million construction project at Fraser Downs, and the commencement of similar redevelopment at Sandown Park. He said that the solid management team in the standardbred sector was an important part of their decision, and that ownership by this aggressive visionary company can only mean bigger and better opportunities for all, including horsemen and fans.

His letter added:

"You should also be advised of the emotion which underscored these negotiations on our side of the table. The Orangeville directors, from the Keeling and Waples families, have been part of this story from Day One 35 years ago, and they are very proud of what has been achieved. Their courage, commitment and support during our toughest years should never be forgotten, but their lives and families are in Ontario. Now that they have helped put our business back on a solid foundation, with the long dreamed of redevelopment going forward at both Fraser and Sandown, the time is right for them to withdraw.

The acquisition of standardbred operations is a milestone for horse racing in British Columbia. GCC during 2004 has consolidated ownership of Hastings Racecourse and its related horse racing assets. Major redevelopment, including machine gaming, is planned for Hastings Racecourse. Tony Martin, GCC President & C.O.O. said, "We are so pleased to have Fraser Downs and Sandown Park join our family. The hard work and dedication shown by their management and staff were key factors in our decision making process."'

About this united ownership, Keeling said: "This is an incredible day for horse racing in British Columbia. Placing both sectors under common ownership, which was achieved by the Woodbine Entertainment Group many years ago in Toronto, has been a vision for B.C. racing, and everything we have ever done within the industry has advocated solid partnerships and cooperation."

He added that any dealings he has ever had with GCC over the years have been first class in every sense. "It is not hard to see why GCC is one of the most successful and progressive operators in the gaming industry anywhere. They have always been honourable with us and helpful as we have gone through a learning curve within their industry," Keeling said. "And the most encouraging thing of all is their genuine interest in horse racing."

- 30 -

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Chuck Keeling
(604) 576-9141 FAX (604) 576-9821
e-mail: [email protected]

Howard Blank
(604) 512-6066 FAX (604) 279-8605
e-mail: [email protected]

 
...