The chairman of Horse Racing Alberta is very satisfied with what he sees at Century Downs on the northern edge of Calgary.
"It has been very successful to date. The horsemen like the track and the on-track racing has been good," said Rick Lelacheur, chairman of Horse Racing Alberta.
"In 2016 we'll introduce flat racing, We'll switch, with the Standardbreds going to Northlands in Edmonton and the flat racing coming to the Calgary track. With two A class tracks there'll be no need for the Standardbreds to run in January and February,"
Lelacheur sees online activities as a big part of horse racing's future.
"You can't stay where you are, you've got to move with the trends of the time," he said. "With those on-line features, you don't even need to be at the track"
He said the future holds a big opportunity for more and more online and mobile initiatives. Simply put, the younger generation is in tune with all the online conveniences and modernizing is a perfect way to attract the youth to horse racing. Besides, he added, the younger generation finds if frustrating to wait 20 minutes between live races.
"All signs for horse racing, with Calgary back, is all about growth," he said.
"The Thoroughbreds are holding their own. A bunch have come up from Golden Gate and Phoenix and hopefully the Calgary track will bring a broader base into the picture.
"Quarter horses are a big part of racing in Alberta, with some Quarter horse Stakes being held at Northlands in Edmonton. Last year they ran a Quarter horse Stake on the same card as the Canadian Derby. They are value-added to a program."
Lelacheur feels the Rocky Mountain Turf Club does a good job in Lethbridge, from the racing, to the crowds, the market feature under the grandstand to the music and kiddies attractions with the candy toss.
Grande Prairie is really going well and in Lethbridge the RMTC is growing. "I'm sure Lethbridge would like one full, continuous meet instead of the spring and fall split. But realistically Grande Prairie would have a challenge to go in the early spring and even in the fall. As well, they don't have lights."