Return of thoroughbred racing to Calgary-area celebrated as season winds down

Following a nine year absence, thoroughbred racing returned to the Calgary-area this year and is here to stay for the foreseeable future thanks to a commitment from the provincial government.

“It’s been an exciting racing season,” said Paul Ryneveld, general manager of Century Downs Racetrack & Casino. “We’re very excited to have thoroughbred racing return to Calgary and I think it’s done a lot for the thoroughbred racing industry in Alberta already.”

The inaugural season of thoroughbred racing at Century Downs, north of Calgary, kicked off in September following the signing of a 10 year agreement between Horse Racing Alberta and the province. The memorandum of understanding provided Century Downs officials with the confidence to invest in the infrastructure required to accommodate thoroughbreds.

“This (memorandum of understanding) has brought stability back to the industry,” said Shirley McClellan, Horse Racing Alberta’s CEO. “It’s inspired confidence in the breeding industry, as well as in our owners, our trainers, our back stretch workers. It inspired the confidence to have a new, one mile, $50 million-plus investment in a track in the Edmonton market which is so desperately needed for our industry.”

“Horse racing and the horse industry is a part of Alberta. It’s a part of a culture, a part of our heritage.”

As part of the agreement, Horse Racing Alberta receives a percentage of the proceeds from slot machines at racing entertainment centres but the organization does not receive tax dollars. In 2017/2018, Horse Racing Alberta is expected to receive $35 million.

Joe Ceci, Alberta’s Minister of Finance, say the agreement is part of a larger plan to diversify the province’s economy. “Continued support of rural communities is just one way we’re working to bring the economic recovery to the homes of each and every Albertan and working to make life better for all Albertans.”

With files from CTV’s Ina Sidhu

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Originally posted 2017-11-05 13:09:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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