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Gearing Up For The Track On 2

Published: August 27, 2018 10:37 am ET

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Century Downs’ summer meet came to a close this past weekend. Live Standardbred racing in Alberta will now shift to both The Track on 2 in Lacombe and Northlands Park in Edmonton. Alberta Standardbred Horse Association Executive Director Fred Gillis has commented on the Century meet and what the next couple of months will hold in the province.

Century’s summer meet concluded this past Saturday that featured a total of eight $12,500 divisions for the ASHA Stakes with two divisions each for both sexes of frosh and soph Alberta-sired pacers. For a full recap, click here.

The Track on 2 is scheduled to kick off its inaugural 10-date meet this coming Saturday. A triple draw for the track’s Saturday (Sept. 1), Sunday (Sept. 2) and Monday (Sept. 3) are scheduled to take place on Tuesday (Aug. 28). To access the condition sheets for the cards, click here, here and here, respectively.

Northlands Park’s 19-date meet is scheduled to get underway on Friday, September 14. Racing will also return to Century in early November, as the track will host two live cards per week through the end of the year.

Gillis discussed the Century summer meet with Peter Watts for his column on the Horse Racing Alberta website, and he conveyed that he was pleased with how the meet went at the Calgary-area raceway.

“I think it’s been a pretty good meet,” Gillis stated. “Paul (Paul Ryneveld, the GM of Century Downs) will have some final numbers in the next few days, but both on-track and off-track wagering is up over last year. We’ve done very well with the horse population we’ve got to work with and I want to thank owners and trainers for their support of the entry box.

“We’ve got two more big stakes events as part of the Northlands calendar, the Don Byrne Memorial for three-year-old fillies and the Western Canada Pacing Derby for the three-year-old colts and geldings. Both of those will be staged over a couple of weekends in October. And then when we come back to Century Downs in November, we’ve got the Super Finals on November 17th.

“Beyond that, we’ve had some preliminary talks with Paul about racing dates at Century Downs and at Century Mile for next year. We’ve also talked to Track on 2 about what might be possible going forward. We’ve got a board meeting at the end of September and I hope we’ll have more information to release at that time.”

Speaking of The Track on 2, the former Alberta Downs facility has been transformed into a new community events destination in Lacombe, and a big crowd is expected on Saturday afternoon for the grand opening.

Standardbreds pictured training over The Track on 2 in mid-August. For more information, click here.

“The owners have put a lot of time, money, and sweat equity into revitalizing the place,” business development advisor Jim Reed told Watts this past weekend. “I think folks will be pleasantly surprised by what they see and how they are treated when they join us on Saturday. We won’t be quite at the level of a full service restaurant for opening day, but we’re getting there. We’ll have three bands to provide entertainment in and around the races. We’ll have a barbeque for the horsemen after the Sunday card to welcome them to Track on 2 and to thank them for their support.

“As far as racing is concerned, we’ve spent a lot of time with Ron Grift who has made several trips to Lacombe to supervise the preparation of the racing surface. Ron is also teaching our people how to take care of the track. We’ll have 140 stalls available for horsemen for the ten days of racing we have scheduled this fall. In fact, we’ll have 87 stalls occupied with horses which will be racing both here and in Edmonton.”

“Canadian Pari-Mutuel Racing Agency is scheduled to conduct a survey on Monday afternoon. We hope to get our betting permit at that time. After that, I can follow up on some preliminary inquiries and see if we can get the signal into a number of other tracks. I think the fact we have a one-mile track here will make people at least curious to see quality racing. And our three camera racing photography will be available to those who can’t get to the track. They’ll be able to watch the races over Track on 2’s website much as fans have been able to watch racing at Rocky Mountain Turf Club in Lethbridge or at Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie.”

(With files from Peter Watts /

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