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Optimism For Additional Kawartha Dates

Published: October 16, 2017 1:06 pm ET

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Officials with Kawartha Downs have applied for the track to host 40 race dates in 2018 – more than double the amount of dates that the track conducted this year. The deadline for feedback on the application was this past Friday, but some local horsepeople have let their feelings about the application be known.

The comments have come via an article that has been run in The Peterborough Examiner. Local horseman Tommy Riley and Nick Boyd offered their opinions in the piece, and both of them state that it is imperative that Kawartha be granted the 40 race dates for the 2018 campaign of racing at the five-eighths-mile track.

Referring to the 18 dates that Kawartha conducted this year, Boyd said that it is unrealistic that a horse can race on each of those dates, citing sickness, injury and other variables. The horseman believes that the small number of dates that Kawartha currently conducts limits the degree to which a local owner can really invest in racing at the Peterborough-area track.

Boyd believes that an increase in dates at Kawartha would, in turn, increase the local ownership stake in Standardbreds. In part, Boyd stated that “with a 40-date season, trainers and owners will treat it more as a business than a hobby."

Riley concurred with Boyd’s position on things, and stated that an increase in dates would only make sense to strengthen Standardbred ownership and racing at Kawartha, which has seen much recent success.

"It takes two and a half hours, one way, for me to ship to [Flamboro Downs] which is the closest track for me when Kawartha isn't racing. No one wants to truck that far, especially in the winter,” said Riley. “With the proposed 40-date schedule, folks would have the chance to get their horses rested and ready for the next season. We'd have 12 weeks off versus the 34 we currently have."

Kawartha Downs General Manager Orazio Valente was also quoted in the piece. He has stated that racing 40 dates in 2018 would make Kawartha Downs viable.

"Kawartha is in a unique situation,” Valente said. “We are one of, if not the most successful ‘B’ track in the province. However, we're also the first Standardbred track to be losing our casino and the revenue that comes from that."

(With files from The Peterborough Examiner)

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