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End Of Racing In Saskatchewan?

Published: April 11, 2014 1:49 pm ET

Last Comment: April 18, 2014 1:36 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Yorkton Exhibition Association General Manager Shaun Morin has called on supporters of Saskatchewan harness racing to contact their Member of Legislative Assembly to voice their concerns over the Province’s lack of support for the standardbred industry.

For contact information for MLAs in Saskatchewan, click here

Morin has penned a letter explaining how the Province’s deal with the Saskatchewan Thoroughbred industry will leave the Standardbred sector without a revenue stream from off-track wagering in the province.

“Following the announcement last year by SLGA, Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, home of Thoroughbred racing was awarded a three-year contract for 100 per cent of provincial off-track betting,” Morin wrote. “That left Yorkton and harness racing with no tools to generate the needed funding to cover purse money and operating costs. The three-year licence secured funding for Marquis Downs for the future. In past years, the 10 per cent betting tax was shared by both breeds at approximately 72 per cent to Thoroughbred and 28 per cent to harness racing.”

Morin wrote that, as a result of the deal, “This means there will no longer be Standardbred harness racing in Yorkton as well as Saskatchewan in 2014 and into the future.”

Yorkton held 12 cards of racing in 2013 as the province's only Standardbred track in operation.

A recent poll conducted by Yorkton This Week asked the question, ‘Should the province find the funds to save standardbred racing in Saskatchewan?’

The question attracted the greatest response to any of the publication’s polls so far this year. The poll was open for seven days and 83.3 per cent of respondents voted ‘yes’ that the province should find the funds to save Standardbred racing in Saskatchewan.

The contents of Morin’s letter appear below.


The YEA have been trying to work with the Saskatchewan Government to find options for funding to save Harness Racing in Yorkton but have been unsuccessful.

Following the announcement last year by SLGA, Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, home of Thoroughbred Racing was awarded a 3 year contract for 100 % of provincial off-track betting. That left Yorkton and Harness racing with no tools to generate the needed funding to cover purse money and operating costs. The 3 year licence secured funding for Marquis Downs for the future. In past years the 10% betting tax was shared by both breeds at approximately 72 % to Thoroughbred and 28% to harness racing.

This means there will no longer be Standardbred Harness Racing in Yorkton as well as Saskatchewan in 2014 and into the future.

The Yorkton Exhibition has lost a large portion of their Summer Programming, horsemen have lost a place to race in Saskatchewan, hundreds of people have lost their Friday night entertainment and Yorkton has lost an estimated economic impact of 1 million dollars.

The request involved an investment of $200,000 per year for the next 3 years. Within the 3 years the Standard bred Racing Industry must become self-sufficient.

In BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario as in Saskatchewan, Thoroughbred racing generates the bulk of the gambling dollars but in all provinces but Saskatchewan they recognize this fact and the need to share profits in order to keep both types of racing viable. Each province has an agreement between the tracks and breeds to stabilize the racing industry. Saskatchewan has not.

If Harness Race supporters wish to help save racing in Saskatchewan they need to call their MLA and voice their concerns, we have done all we can to try and convince government to see the damage being done by supporting only Marquis Downs and Thoroughbred Racing in our province.


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April 18, 2014 - 1:36 amNot only WMR, but why not in

Not only WMR, but why not in Marquis Downs as well? The more the merrier, for exposure and purses and race dates. We are not a bunch of hillbillies who should be kept out in the back woods, our sport is as good as the thoroughbreds. The more people see it, the more they will understand and like it, just like any other sport. So I concur, please people, call and write your MLA's and raise awareness of the plight of the standardbred!!!

April 12, 2014 - 12:09 amThis article is certainly

This article is certainly indicative of what is going on in this province and I appreciate the effort being put in by the Yorkton Exhibition to bring this case into the spotlight again. Three words however are missing in this article and those words are "West Meadows Raceway" I do support Yorkton's efforts and would only hope that members of the standardbred industry across Canada could somehow voice support for the sport here in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan government needs to feel the heat and passion for our sport from the industry members here as well as across the country. The three year contract must be renegotiated fairly after the current contract expires and the standardbred industry should be recognized as a viable addition to the world of thoroughbreds, here as well as across the country.


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