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No Atlantic Sires Stakes For N.B.

Published: April 21, 2015 11:07 am ET

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Trot Insider has learned that the 2015 Atlantic Sires Stakes schedule will be finalized shortly and not include any visits to New Brunswick.

"There will not be any AtSS events in New Brunswick in 2015, as no funding for the program was forthcoming from any sources in New Brunswick," said Lynne MacLennan, Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association Executive Director, on Tuesday morning.

Horse Racing New Brunswick announced last year that the province would return to the AtSS circuit after a one-year hiatus.

"In October it was felt HRNB would be in a position to contribute to the ASBA program for, at the very least, a half slate of events," Horse Racing New Brunswick's President Dr. Mitchell Downey told Trot Insider. "During the months of September, October and November our revenues from wagering began to decline and then nosedived in October and November. The aftereffects of that dramatic decline in wagering still plague us as we pay off overdue purses. As such, we are no longer in a position to even partially fund this valuable and pivotal program."

Downey told Trot Insider that he feels the current government essentially used the AtSS program as a "bargaining chip" in discussions with the horsemen of New Brunswick.

"The ASBA program is critical to the success of maritime racing," Downey continued. "Everyone in New Brunswick realizes this. It's amazing that during election time people shake your hands and set forth plans and ideas to resolve the matters that prevent racing from achieving its goal of sustainability. Then after elections it becomes an afterthought."

Downey's frustration is reinforced by his assertion that a $200,000 investment from the province would have yielded a $600,000 return.

"Lynne and the ASBA board were very patient, constantly extending deadlines at the government's request only to be met with no response."

The goal for HRNB is now to achieve solid footing, work within the budget they have and yield a profit for this year.

"We remain hopeful that we can soon put litigation behind us and move the industry forward."

The full Maritime stakes schedule, which includes the AtSS events, is currently being drawn up and should be released in the near future.

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