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PEIHRIA Will Continue To Determine Dates

Published: January 18, 2011 12:29 pm ET

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Last month, Councillor Jim Steele publicly stated that the 2011 race-date discrepancy between the Charlottetown Driving Park and Summerside Raceway had to be 'evened up' on Prince Edward Island. Provincial Finance Minister Wes Sheridan has retorted.

An article by the Journal Pioneer explains that the 2011 race-date gap between Summerside Raceway (formally known as 'Red Shores at Summerside') and the Charlottetown Driving Park ('Red Shores Race Track and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park') is rather vast. Summerside has been allotted 29 race dates, while CDP has been allotted 81.

The report cites Sheridan as saying that the race date allocation is determined by the Prince Edward Island Harness Racing Industry Association (PEIHRIA), and its determination is based on facts.

Sheridan offers many quotes in the article, which also cites him as saying that since 2001 there has been increases in race dates and purses at Summerside Raceway.

"Back in 2001 Summerside had 25 race dates and the purses were $399,090 and this past year there [were] 29 race dates versus 25 and the purses were $912,681 -- a pretty significant increase. That's a 200-plus-percentage increase. Charlottetown has certainly not see that type of increase in their purse pools."

Sheridan goes on to state in the article that the process of the PEIHRIA determining the race-date allocation isn't changing any time soon.

"I had started with this group of very capable individuals and the experts will make the decision on what the market will bear with [regard] to race dates and it will never change. I don't pretend to know everything about the industry, but these guys have been in it for 50 years. I'm going to continue to allow them to make decisions. Politics is never going to come into it with [regard] to how race dates are going to be at one track or the other. We'll continue to support harness racing and the Prince County Horsemen's Club is very supportive of what we're doing."

(With files from Journal Pioneer)

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