It's official! Century Casinos Inc. held a press conference at RedTail Landing Golf Course this week to kick off Century Mile Racetrack! Representatives from Horse Racing Alberta, Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, and Alberta Standardbred Horse Association were in attendance with Century Casinos Inc. Managing Director Andreas Terler and MLA Shae Anderson to help with the ceremonial "first shovelful of dirt" turning!
Paul Ryneveld of Century Downs Racetrack and Casino says "We're pretty excited about it. We believe that having Century operate both 'A' tracks in the province will actually lead to further growth and sustainability of the industry."
Century Mile will be located along QE II highway, close to the Edmonton International Airport. It is between the Ivanhoe Cambridge Premium Outlet Collection mall and RedTail Landing Golf Course, which makes it an ideal location for fans. With all other amenities available in the immediate and surrounding area it is also ideal for horsemen. Century Mile will have 103 acres of land (there were 55 acres available at Century Downs) and the grandstand/casino area will be 48,000 square feet (Century Downs is 32,000 square feet) so there is room for a well planned backstretch, track, grandstand and parking.
Century Mile will have a 1 mile racetrack, which will be the only mile course in western Canada. The track itself will have state of the art lighting as well as built in safety and track performance features which will give Alberta an advantage over other western tracks. The Rider Protection Rail for safety of horses and riders in flat races will be similar to what is used at Woodbine Entertainment and major U.S. racetracks like Gulfstream and Churchill Downs. Century Mile must host at least 100 days of racing for flat and harness horses and Quarter Horse, Standardbred and Thoroughbred race days will be negotiated for spring, summer and fall for racing fans to enjoy.
The goal for Century Mile racing fans is to "promote and grow Alberta horse racing product through Pari-Mutuel wagering options". The off-track betting area will be 150% larger than the area at century Downs, and will have HD screens for easy viewing. There is a large second floor viewing area, with an enclosed clubhouse, outdoor patio spaces and terraced outdoor seating. There are multiple dining areas for racing fans, which will all provide a "memorable customer experience" with a la carte, buffet and on-the-go options. Century Mile will appeal to a broad range of racing fans, and will have areas inside and outside for families to enjoy a day at the races including family friendly green spaces as well as a large banquet room for concerts and live entertainment. An outdoor festival area is also planned for special event days and premiere race days.
Century Mile will have a lot of appeal for horsemen. The layout of the barn area and track access from the barns is similar to Emerald Downs in Washington, and the team has communicated with horsemen from around North America to discuss design, functionality and safety. There will be four permanent barns for 800 horses, which is based on the average number of horses at racetracks in North America (estimating racing to be 3-days per week). There will be separate buildings for both Test Barn and Veterinarian. 24 hour surveillance is being added to racetracks around North America, and Century Mile will have an advantage over other tracks, because security measures can be built into the plans rather than added on piecemeal. The backstretch and racetrack will be constructed with the goal of being the first western Canadian track to become accredited with NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
There are about 150 people who currently work at Century Downs, and Century Mile expects about 200 full time employees. Added to the estimated 300 people who work in the backstretch, and they are essentially planning a small town. Century Mile will have a large recreation area on the backstretch, with washrooms and showers, laundry facility and an area to gather and socialize. Although there are no permanent dormitories planned for the backstretch, RV sites with power and water are part of the planning process. And located just minutes from Nisku and Leduc, permanent and temporary housing options are abundant.
The drawings are only conceptual, but the overhead view shows the basic outline of the track, grandstand and barn area. They will begin construction as soon as permits are in place, and the goal is to be open for live racing in summer or fall for 2018.
We want to congratulate Century Casinos Inc. on their successful bid for a new racetrack in the Edmonton area, and we are thrilled to see the plans. This is an incredible development for horse racing, and we believe that Century Mile will have a huge impact on the industry in Alberta!