S-Breds To Race At Fraser Downs In 2011

Published: November 25, 2010 02:30 pm EST

The BC Horse Racing Industry Management Committee has announced that the 2011 season of standardbred racing in the province will be taking place at Fraser Downs. The announcement also outlines the race-date schedule


According to a letter from BC Horse Racing Industry Management Committee Chair Derek Sturko to Horse Racing Industry Principals and Management Committee members, a total of 70 live standardbred race dates have been agreed on by Fraser Downs operator Great Canadian Gaming Corporation and Harness Racing BC.

The agreement will see three days of live racing (on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) per week from January 1 to April 15 (for a total of 45 race dates). There will be a minimum of two days (Fridays and Sundays) of live standardbred racing per week from October 7 to December 31 (25 race dates).

In relation to the fall/winter schedule, the letter states that, "If performance measures for 'demand' (i.e. improvement in betting) and 'supply' (i.e. number of horses started and number of BC-owned horses) are achieved during the spring period, Saturdays during October 7 to December 31 will be added for a three-day race week."

Therefore, if the performance measures are reached during the spring meet, race dates could be given for Saturdays in the fall/winter meet, thus the total amount of race dates overall on the year could be increased from 70 to a maximum of 82.

The letter also states that there will be no dates in 2011 for a 'B' meet considered at this time; and that it appears that the 2011 thoroughbred season will be "fundamentally the same season as 2010."

The contents of the letter appear below.

Horse Racing Industry Principals and Management Committee Members,

I am writing to summarize the results of the October 15,2010 meeting between representatives of BC's horse racing industry and the BC Horse Racing Industry Management Committee.

Financial Update

As of September 30, 2010, industry finances were $725,000 ahead of the $44.41 million forecast, of which $260,000 must be used to offset corresponding TBC operating costs. The small surplus has not yet been committed for any specific use.

2011 Race Seasons

• Race seasons for both breeds will use performance measures to monitor the viability of race events.

• The 2011 standardbred race season, as agreed to and supported by both GCGC and HRBCS, is as follows:

  • Three days of racing from January 1, 2011 to April 15, 2011;
  • Minimum two days of racing (Friday, Sunday) from October 7, 2011 to December 31, 2011; and
  • If performance measures for "demand" (i.e. improvement in betting) and "supply" (i.e. number of horses started and number of BC owned horses) are achieved during the spring period, Saturdays during October 7 to December 31 will be added for a three day race week.

• The 2011 standardbred season will be held at Fraser Downs.

• No standardbred "B" meets will be considered at this time.

• The 2011 thoroughbred race season is under consideration, through the same process used for the standardbred season. At this time, it appears it will be fundamentally the same season as 2010.

• Where race dates are cancelled during a season, they cannot automatically be replaced but will need to follow the appropriate process for re-instatement.

2011 Allocations

Committee considerations for 2011 allocations commenced on October 20, 2010. The committee intends to determine allocations in November, 2010.

The amount, source and application of potential new government funding for the industry is still under consideration.


With respect to industry marketing and advertising, this remains an industry responsibility with primary communication between GCGC and the respective industry sectors and with BCLC has been providing support as a sponsor to the industry. BCLC's continued support must work within BCLC's budget considerations as well as provide value for industry and BCLC.

TBC Governance and Enhancements

TBC enhancements and governance options developed by the TBC Advisory Group and provided to the Committee will continue to be developed by the Group. Standardbred and thoroughbred representatives on the TBC Advisory Group will identify their TBC governance preferences by letter to Chris Curtis.

Looking Forward

Industry representatives were asked to provide suggestions for moving the industry forward under the following three themes:

  • New cost saving synergies;
  • New revenue initiatives and management and application of any new revenue;
  • Improving the event and the experience.

Many thanks for your continuing involvement and cooperation.

Derek Sturko
Chair, BC Horse Racing Industry Management Committee



The latest ploy of Mr. Sturko and the Great Canadian Gaming is typical of what has been happening in British Columbia. Race dates down to 70 is just not enough to sustain Racing and is no doubt designed to eliminate this industry altogether. It is my understanding that when Orangeville Raceway applied for government permission to install slots at Cloverdale it was the municipality and not the Horsemens association that put the stipulation in place requiring a minimum of 70 live race days before the municipality would sanction slots (the provincial govt. at the time said that they would not grant a license to anyone without the municipality agreeing). It doesn't take a lot of foresight to see west coast horsemen pulling up stakes for those greener pastures of Ontario and once becoming established there not returning to the coast. I wonder how Mr. McLeod would feel about closing down his casinos for five months of the year? Casinos are our competition and this provincial govt. has mismanaged our economy and are looking for the gambling revenue to subsidize them and in doing so have us being regulated by that same competition. I get very upset when they say that if the bet goes up and the B.C. owned horse population warrants it they will look at adding Saturday racing to the fall meet. If you remove the opportunity for gamblers to bet on the horses and you also force horsemen to either move their stock or in a lot of cases dispose of their stock, what possible chance is there to show improvement for the fall meet.