"You're going to have the casino, you're going to have horse racing. It's just going to be something that's needed in the Calgary area -- live entertainment."
With Century Downs Racetrack and Casino scheduled to open its doors next month, O'Brien Award-winning horseman Kelly Hoerdt took to the airwaves to discuss the importance of harness racing finally returning to the Calgary area.
"We've been waiting a long time for this and we're excited that it's actually going to finally happen," said Hoerdt in an interview with the Calgary Eyeopener's host David Gray on CBC Radio.
The Beaumont, Alberta horseman emphasized the importance of the new Calgary racetrack, noting that it would provide stability to the province's racing industry after years of "bridge racing" and snags in the long-awaited Balzac project.
"We've raced in Grand Prairie, Lacombe, Lethbridge, different places since Calgary closed," he said, referring to Stampede Park's closure in 2008. "Every one of those places was always a temporary one-year contract just until the new racetrack opened so we've been going year to year and just kind of putting together race meets as we went along, just enough to kind of keep us all going."
Located near CrossIron Mills shopping centre not far from the airport, Century Downs Racetrack and Casino is scheduled to open its gaming floor on April 1 and its first harness racing meet is expected to begin on April 25.
"This is going to be a first-class operation," said Hoerdt. "I'd encourage anybody that's listening to come check it out."
To listen to the full interview, click the Play button in the media player window below.