"My Horse Needs A Job"

Published: July 14, 2011 12:45 pm EDT

On Wednesday, July 14, a large crowd of horsepeople, racetrack workers, family members and politicians congregated at Canterbury Park in an effort to get live racing at Minnesota raceways up and running once again

, and to push the racino agenda.

Two full weeks of racing programs have now been cancelled due to the current Minnesota state government shutdown, including the layoff of the Minnesota Racing Commission employees required to conduct racing, caused by a state budget impasse between the governor and the legislature.

Horse racing participants and advocates have been pushing for expanded gaming in the state. The move could see racetracks converted to racinos in order to house alternative gaming and give a shot in the arm to the state industry via subsidy. The monies generated at racinos would also aid the state’s budget deficit, and new jobs would be created.

In regard to the shutdown of live racing, a report on startribune.com has quoted quarter-horse owner Rosemary Higgins as saying, “This is criminal.” She was at the protest with a sign which said, “My horse needs a job.”

She indicated, like many others have, that she can move her horse out of state and reap the benefits, but that she hasn’t given up the fight in Minnesota just yet. "My horse pays its way with its winnings and needs to work," she said. "It costs me $50 a day just to keep training, there's vet bills, the farrier.”

Sen. Claire Robling was on hand and addressed the crowd. "I know you'd rather be working," she said, adding, "a healthy horse industry is important to Minnesota."

(With files from startribune.com)

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