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Challenges In Saskatchewan

Published: August 8, 2013 1:19 pm ET

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The Regina Leader-Post has run an article outlining the challenges that the Saskatchewan harness racing industry is facing, particularly at West Meadows Raceway in Regina and at the Yorkton Exhibition to the northeast.

The report explains how the provincial government has pulled its funding for racing in Saskatchewan.

In addition, West Meadows Raceway has been denied a Home Market Area licence, which would have allowed local fans to wager on racing from other tracks via simulcast while at West Meadows. The lack of a licence is the major reason why the 2013 season of live racing at the track had to be cancelled. The article also explains that Prairieland Park in Saskatoon was granted an HMA licence by the government, yet West Meadows was not.

“After two years of exceptional racing with record crowds and handles bet, SLGA (the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority) has turned their backs on us,” Grainger told the Leader-Post via email.

At Yorkton, organizers have dug their heels in and really fought to make a 'go' of racing at the Exhibition. Sponsorships have been solidified and crowds have been coming from far and wide to watch racing at Yorkton, which has a 130-year history.

“There are horsemen here who have really put their trust in us to keep this alive, but we have to make sure it remains viable,” Yorkton Exhibition Association General Manager Shaun Morin was quoted as saying in the article.

“It’s the kind of thing that if you let it go, then it just won’t happen again. But we haven’t given up on this. We can’t let it die.”

Morin added, “We have to look at the almighty dollar, but also keep the integrity of who we are. To me, it’s about keeping this history of Saskatchewan.”

(With files from the Regina Leader-Post)

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