May 3, 2018 6:03 pm
Updated: May 3, 2018 6:06 pm

New track delayed; horse racing to stay at Northlands a little longer

The horse race track at Northlands in Edmonton Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

Global News
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Horse racing will continue to take place at Northlands until a new track opens in 2019. The new Century Mile Racetrack was scheduled to open August 2018 but has been pushed back.

In a news release Thursday, Horse Racing Alberta (HRA) and Northlands said their partnership will extend until October. Century Mile Racetrack is now scheduled to open in spring of 2019.

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“The industry is ambitious but also realistic,” HRA CEO Shirley McClellan said. “With the delayed opening of the state-of-the-art facility, Century Mile, we are very pleased that Northlands Park has agreed to continue their partnership with the industry.”

READ MORE: Mixed messages as Northlands CEO hints organization interested in keeping Canadian Derby

Northlands extended the contract to ensure the “future viability of the sport” and recognizes the connection with farmers and supporting businesses in the industry, the release said.

“We have always valued the commitment of those connected to the industry — the breeders, the horsemen, the jockeys and the fans,” interim president Kevin Gunderman said.

“We feel we have been a good steward to this community and these relationships for many years and we want to provide support through their transition to a new facility in any way we can.”

After months of uncertainty, Northlands and HRA reached a deal in November 2016 to keep horse racing there for two more seasons.

READ MORE: Century Casinos plans to build new horse-racing track south of Edmonton

Century Casinos had been chosen by HRA to build, own and operate a new horse-racing track in the Edmonton area.

Both Northlands and HRA were happy they could work together to keep racing in Edmonton in the interim, calling it a “win/win/win.”

Now, the final season of thoroughbred racing at Northlands will begin May 5. The season includes 43 days of racing events, ending with the Canadian Derby on Aug. 25.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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