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Optimism Abounds At Century Mile

Published: September 2, 2019 9:29 pm ET

Last Comment: September 2, 2019 11:59 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The nation’s newest racetrack celebrated its Standardbred grand opening this weekend, and all reports indicate it was a smashing success.

Century Mile, located in Edmonton, Alberta, ushered in fans to watch harness racing for the first time on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 1) and Albertans had another chance to check out the province's pacers at the new facility on Monday afternoon.

“It is absolutely wonderful to see the opening of Century Mile,” said Shirley McClellan, past CEO of HRA. “It’s been a while coming and anyone visiting will see that this is a racing facility that includes wonderful sight-lines, a great track and amazing barns.

“Century Mile brings stability to the industry that has been lacking for the past eight years,” she added. “Now with two ‘A’ tracks and three ‘B’ tracks and a solid breeding industry, this will continue to provide standardbred racing stock with an increasing handle and a great complement of young drivers and trainers. A special thank you to Century Casino Inc. and Paul Ryneveld and his team for putting their name and investment into Alberta.”

Ryneveld and his team, while being praised, also realize the great importance Century Mile brings to racing in the province.

“The stability to the racing industry in Alberta and Western Canada is the most exciting,” said Ryneveld, managing director of Century Mile and Century Downs. “With new infrastructure in the two major metro areas in Alberta, horsemen and horse owners should feel confident in the future and I believe we are seeing some of that already on the Standardbred side. I will be curious to see how the ASHA sale does.

“The second exciting aspect to Century Mile is the mile racetrack itself,” Ryneveld added. “Already we are seeing exciting finishes on the long 1,280 foot stretch and the ability to move so well in the stretch should provide confidence to horseplayers when they are looking at the races.”

The excitement could also be heard in the voice of the ASHA President, Bill Andrew, who echoed the comments shared by Ryneveld and McClellan.

"To Alberta horse racing the opening of first Century Downs and then Century Mile means we now have a magnificent foundation to rebuild our fan base and support and to welcome new horse racing fans of all ages,” said Andrew. “Add in the Track On 2 and we have a Trifecta of modern racing entertainment centres. This means the world to the Alberta Standardbred family who have worked so hard, with great faith, to keep our passion for horse racing alive over the past decade of turmoil in Alberta. No more looking over our shoulder, now we step on the gas."

(L-R: Fred Gillis, Executive Director, ASHA; Dan Gall, President & CEO, Standardbred Canada; Paul Ryneveld, Managing Director, Century Casinos Inc.; Kelli Hemingson, Manager of Pari-Mutuel Operations, Century Casinos; Matt Jukich, Racing Manager, Century Mile; Shirley McClellan, past CEO of Horse Racing Alberta; Kent Verlik, CEO of Horse Racing Alberta; Kevan Schell, Casino Manager, Century Mile)

September 2, 2019 - 11:59 pmThis is huge! Congrats to all

This is huge! Congrats to all invovled now and thank you to Century Casinos for their faith in western Canada racing.

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