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Stevenson Fed Up

Published: July 4, 2008 12:10 pm ET

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Fed up with the current climate of the standardbred racing industry in Alberta, Brad Stevenson of Verve Racing Stables has sent Trot Insider a letter sounding off on the situation.

Stevenson's letter appears below in its entirety.

Hi, I am the owner/operator of the Verve Racing Stables, which races predominantly in British Columbia and Alberta...I have been concerned about the situation in Alberta for some time now, especially the way the ENTIRE racing infrastructure in Alberta has acted towards the standardbreds.

Now with the news that Edmonton Northlands has arbitrarily taken it upon itself to enter into a long term deal with the HBPA of Alberta, as an owner, I am outraged and frustrated beyond description.

The racing product in Alberta, for standardbreds, is outstanding. We host some of the greatest trainers in North America, and an absolutely stunning collection of horses...the quality of which, likely rivals Ontario (which is saying a lot). On top of this, is the fact that Alberta possesses some of the best owners anywhere.

To witness a product this outstanding, first hand, and yet see it be constantly mistreated, year after year, is beyond is downright criminal.

In the face of all of the uncertainty with Balzac, the Stampede grounds, Lacombe, etc. Horse Racing Alberta has been almost SILENT towards its members and the press. Instead of taking a firm grasp of the tenuous situation in Alberta, they have encouraged each piece of the Alberta pie to work alone to disastrous results.

So, the thoroughbreds will have a spring meet in Edmonton...hmmm...that means they will need to winter and prep there, so even with a four and a half-month meet, it will mean that the first opportunity for the standardbreds to race at Edmonton won't be until October...and with Northlands (in their infinite wisdom) scheduling a cow show for two weeks each November, it would be a nine-week meet to race at...again, hmmm...nine weeks out of 52...let's see, knowing the Alberta weather as I do, the only places we could race in February would be SOUTH of Edmonton, ruling out Grand Prairie (a place that bets less than $2,000 for an ENTIRE race card).

Without completed tracks in Lacombe and Balzac, and with the Stampede Grounds ruling out hosting live racing until 2011, the only other place to race is Lethbridge, and believe me, it is NOT a viable option.

We are on the cusp of losing standardbred racing in Alberta as we know it, perhaps forever, and it seems like NO ONE seems to care...and again, considering how incredibly strong the standardbred product is in Alberta, it is a crying shame.

If it wasn't for the strong relationship and respect I have for Lance Ward, I would have been gone already...I have downsized the Alberta stable by half, and will NOT invest a further dollar here until SOMEONE of significance steps up and offers a reasonable solution to this mess!


Brad D. Stevenson
Verve Racing Stables

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