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New Track Gambles On No Betting

Published: May 12, 2016 8:42 am ET

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Can a racetrack survive on races conducted without any form of pari-mutuel wagering? One track set to start next weekend will try to do exactly that.

After a nearly 25-year absence, Utah will conduct quarter horse races at Weber Downs in Ogden. Located at the Golden Spike Event Center, Weber Downs will be the third track in the state to host quarter horse races...none of which involve pari-mutuel wagering -- which is illegal in the state.

The 2015 racing season consisted of four race dates and 20 total races, but changes to racing seasons in neighbouring Idaho and Wyoming has caused an increase in the horse population.

“When we did this, we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if we could fill all the cards for our first Saturday of racing?’” venue manager Jim Harvey told the Standard Examiner. “But we had so many interested that we’ll be running on Friday as well."

Not only is there interest from the horse racing community, there's interest from the public as well.

“Interest just keeps growing,” Harvey insists. “As I’m out in the community and mention the horse racing, people say, ‘Harv, that is so awesome.’”

According to the Standard Examiner, one of the races for two-year-olds has 88 horses registered for an event with a $20,000 added purse. After entry fees are collected the race will go postward with the winner taking home around $70,000.

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