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Maze Sends Open Letter To Lindsay

Published: July 15, 2008 11:35 am ET

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Breeder/owner Robert Maze of Stony Plain, AB has sent an open letter to Frederick Lindsay, a high ranking member of the Alberta legislature for Stony Plain, AB, asking for support in light of the current state of the province's industry.

Maze's letter appears below.

Dear Mr Lindsay,

I hope you are paying close attention to the recent decisions made by Edmonton Northlands, the Calgary Stampede Association and Horse Racing Alberta regarding the future of the standardbred horse racing industry in Alberta.

In the 1970s the industry was growing and expanding. At that point, the PC Government of Alberta allowed of the expansion of bingo halls and than the development of casinos and VLTs. From that point on, the horse industry in Alberta began a steep decline.

Finally, after great pressure from the industry in the late 1990s, the government supported a program to allow for a percentage of revenues from slot machines to be put back into the industry through increased purse structures, payments to breeders and increased marketing and other industry support. Unfortunately, continued expansion of casinos throughout Alberta (Fort Road, Enoch) has now forced Northlands to make a business decision to no longer support the harness racing industry.

While Northlands can find monies to support the Rexall Indy Car race, this non-profit agricultural-based organization can not support the horseman than helped build their organization. Stampede Park, which also prides itself on being an important part of agricultural culture in Alberta, has decided not to support either the thoroughbred or standardbred breeds without a $10 million payment from horse racing.

As you are probably aware, this is about more than just horse racing. For every horse on the racetrack, four jobs are created in agriculture in the province, including a number of indirect jobs relating to veterinarians, breeders, trainers, grooms and farmers. The least that I can do is to try to gain your support of these individuals and their futures.

I would hope to see your signature on the petition started by four young Alberta girls hoping to make a difference.

Any support you could provide the industry is very important at this time of crisis since the next few months are likely to determine the future of 100-year-old agriculture industry in Alberta.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Robert Maze, P.Eng, MBA
Stony Plain, AB

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