“It’s probably the lifesaver for us. We all have been just hanging on by the skin of our teeth the last years, every year getting tougher. And finally the light is going to show up at the end of the tunnel – and without it we are all finished.”
It’s an enormous understatement to say that Standardbred horsepeople in the province of Alberta are breathing a collective sigh of relief that the long-delayed racetrack in Balzac is just weeks away from hosting its first-ever program of live harness racing.
Earlier this week, officials with Century Downs and the Alberta Standardbred Horse Associated commented on the racino’s anticipated April opening, which will see the gaming floor open for business on April 1 and the first live card of harness racing scheduled to be conducted on April 25.
Global News has run an article on the upcoming track opening and has interviewed horseman Gordon Empey and Century Downs General Manager Paul Ryneveld.
“We are a casino and off-track betting site for 364 days of the year,” said Ryneveld, “but for 100 days we will race live – something unique to Calgary now.”
Empey – whose comments on the situation serve as the lead for this story – explained to Global News that horsepeople are glad that Standardbred racing is back in the Calgary market because “Really, we don’t have a circuit because we’ve been jumping around from Timbuktu to everywhere else.”
(Reposted from Standardbred Canada, with files from Global Calgary)