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Racing To Resume At Montreal

Published: August 30, 2008 1:05 pm ET

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Horse racing at Hippodrome de Montreal could resume, on a limited scale, as early as next week.

At a well-attended meeting today on the Hippodrome backstretch, horsemen overwhelmingly approved a tentative agreement to present 13 cards of Sunday racing from September 7 to November 30.

Races would be restricted to Quebec-owned or Quebec-bred trotters and pacers aged two and three, and the purse payout per card would average $175,000.

The money, a total of $2.3 million, is currently held in trust, and a holdover from 2007 purses.

As part of the agreement in principle with Attractions Hippiques, the horsemen agreed to desist from legal action contesting Quebec Superior Court's authority to suspend the racing calendar in place of the RĂ©gie des Alcools, Courses et Jeux, racing's regulatory body.

Live racing was halted at Hippodrome de Montreal at the end of June when racetrack operator Attractions Hippiques was granted creditor protection in Superior Court.

Since then, horsemen have had little opportunity to race their young horses.

"This is what we wanted. The horsemen will be able to race for that $2 million," said Michel St. Louis, head of the provincial horsemen's association, who chaired the 90-minute meeting.

"It's been a tough haul for owners who invested money in two-year-olds. They've been paying since October and never had a chance to get a biscuit," said trainer Marcel Barrieau.

(Paul Delean)

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