February 17, 2014

A late April or early May start to the 2014 racing season at Hastings Racecourse is on the drawing board following an announcement from the B.C. Horse Racing Industry Management Committee that a funding model for the Thoroughbred sector is in place for the next three years.

A statement from Management Committee chair Douglas S. Scott said a multi-year funding arrangement has been finalized among the principal participants in the industry:  Track operator Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, the Thoroughbred sector at Hastings Racecourse and the Standardbred sector at Fraser Downs Race Track.

“The funding model will be an extension of arrangements that have been in place since 2012 whereby pooled income from all of the industry’s revenue sources is allocated to industry participants,” Scott said. “Income from a portion of slot machine profits at the casinos at Hastings Racecourse and Fraser Downs Race Track will continue to be divided equally between the Thoroughbred sector and Standardbred sector.”

Scott confirmed that the funding arrangement includes the next three years for the Thoroughbred sector and five years for the Standardbred sector.  “We feel this will create an atmosphere of stability that will benefit breeders, owners, trainers, bettors and race track personnel,” he said.

The Management Committee also approved race days and season lengths for the 2014 seasons, subject to ratification by the provincial Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.  They include up to 55 thoroughbred racing days at Hastings over a six-month season: 51 confirmed days plus up to four conditional days depending on income. There are 71 standardbred racing days at Fraser Downs over an eight-month season. Racing at Fraser Downs is currently staging races on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons with 34 race days approved for a January-to-April time frame and 37 to be scheduled for the September-to-December time frame.

“This race day calendar will allow us to put on a first-rate racing product on a consistent basis,” said Darren MacDonald, Interim General Manager at Hastings.  “We’ll be rolling out numerous new initiatives this season to attract a wider base of racing fans and look forward to working with our horsemen throughout the 2014 race meet.”

Stall applications at Hastings Racecourse continue to be processed by Racing Secretary Stuart Slagle.  Training hours are 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday.