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Northlands Will Not Host Top Stakes

Published: November 24, 2008 11:59 am ET

Last Comment: November 25, 2008 10:07 pm ET | 6 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The Western Canada Pacing Derby and Northlands Filly Pace will not be held at Northlands Park in 2009.

Horse Racing Alberta has reported that Northlands officials will not offer those races in 2009 because there isn't a scheduled harness meet in late spring.

While Northlands officials will not comment on the record on the disappearance of the two races, HRA has reported that the decision is based on the track not wanting to reduce the prestigious level of the events by having a champion declared in the winter.

The WCPD and NFP have traditionally been held in the final month of the spring meet - in either May or June.

With the disappearance of the Nat Christie Stakes in Calgary earlier this decade, the $175,000 Western Canada Pacing Derby had become the top standardbred race in Western Canada. For 46 years, it had been a major event at the Edmonton track. There is speculation that Northlands will host a winter standardbred meet in 2009 -- possibly just more than 50 days until early March -- and there could be a six-figure stake race for three-year-old colts and geldings, but it won't be called the Western Canada Pacing Derby.

Northlands Park appears to be the only 'A' track in the province that will operate in 2009. Stampede Park in Calgary is out of the game. A proposed track in Balzac is still up in the air with no date for opening. That means Northlands is faced with two breeds -- harness and thoroughbred -- wanting to get as many dates as possible next year.

It appears the thoroughbred industry will have the majority of the dates. The harness industry will not be on the Edmonton track in the prime months of April through September. As for the Northlands Filly Pace, it had been the top three-year-old filly race in the West for more than a decade. It celebrated its 25th year this past spring, three weeks before the 46th Pacing Derby.

Past winners of the Northlands Filly Pace include Breeders Crown champion Rons Girl (1999), Ma Belle Hall (2001) and Just Sassy (2004). The Western Canada Pacing Derby honour roll includes As Promised (1992), Thatll Be Me (1994), Just Doodlin (1996) and Tajma Hall (2001).

(With files from HRA)

November 25, 2008 - 10:07 pmFirst off these races have

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

First off these races have only been in late spring since 2000.

Why not go back to October where they were prior to that instead of up and scrapping them all together. Oh yeah, I forgot, there are no actual race dates at all for 2009, not yet.

Besides that there will be considerable time spent and cost in refunding all payments for two years of racing 2009-2010 starting with yearling nominations in 2007.

November 25, 2008 - 8:07 amNorthlands Park by law will

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Northlands Park by law will have to run these races as per there advertising and getting nomination payments. There applications state that the Western Canada Pace will be contested in 2010 for foals of 2007 for a guaranteed purse of $175,000. Are they going to split this purse up amongst all those that nominated their colts????? Are they going to return the nomination fees??????? Just because they do not want to run the races in the Fall/Winter does not mean that they can cancel them. The application form did not specify that they had to be run in the summer. It is about time people woke up and smelled the roses these tracks want all the casino money and they do not want to support the total horse racing industry. Would like to get some clarification on this?????

November 24, 2008 - 11:21 pmReally encouraging for

Kristin (not verified) SAID...

Really encouraging for someone who's going into the racetrack groom program at Olds College in January. :( I suppose a few dates in 2009 is better than none... right?

November 24, 2008 - 6:12 pmWhat will happen with all

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

What will happen with all the monies collected for nomination fees of the horses that are eligible for the 2009 editions of the respective races?

November 24, 2008 - 1:11 pmThis is so disappointing.

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

This is so disappointing. But then I guess the thoroughbred people are happy. One way around this stupid situation in Alberta is to develop an only Harness A track in Red Deer with revenues from Casinos across Alberta supporting the sport. Forget Balzac, Edmonton and Calgary they feel that they deserve thoroughbreds well let them go ahead. Question I have is how many thorough breds can race outside the Province of Alberta???? The Standardbred Industry is so far ahead of the thoroughbreds in developing their breeding and racing stock in Alberta. The Standardbreds from Alberta can race anywhere and hold there own. I do not understand the thought process of the AHRA in punishing the breed that has done more to grow its sport and provide world class horses while the other group can only produce a B track product and expect to race on an A track.. Get real

November 24, 2008 - 1:00 pmALOHA!-------------WHY isn't

don anderson (not verified) SAID...

ALOHA!-------------WHY isn't there any harness racing in Alberta! This is a lively/hood for many thousands of people. Give me the #1 reason for this decision!!!!! Thanks, don anderson

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