Alberta Downs will become the first turf track in Western Canada to host thoroughbreds on Monday around 6 p.m. with the launch of its weekly amateur horse racing fundraising event.
A team at the Lacombe track has spent the past year working to bring to Central Alberta the speedy breed that races along dirt tracks in Edmonton, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.
“Thoroughbred racing is the sport of kings,” said Chrissy Ming, who helps with Alberta Downs promotions.
“It will be really exciting to watch. This is fun way to make some money for charity.”
Three short-field amateur thoroughbred races will kick off the summer series, which will run until September to raise money for various charitable organizations.
Business sponsorships of $500 per race help pay for a trophy and official portrait of the winner. The remaining money will then be donated to a charity chosen by the owner of each winning horse, Ming explained.
All proceeds raised Monday, however, will benefit the Canadian Red Cross to help families impacted by Alberta wildfires.
Ming said funds raised through the sale of “funny money” for “pretend betting” will also be donated to charity. Betting on an amateur race is not legal, she explained.
The spectator with the largest funny money windfall will win a prize while everyone else can use the fake currency to purchase items such as T-shirts, Ming said.
The family event will also feature a trick riding demonstration and a petting zoo.
Amateur thoroughbred races will follow standardbred harness racing every Monday. The amateur event will start around 6 p.m. and feature up to six races.
Harness racing will continue every Saturday, Sunday and Monday starting at 1:35 p.m.
For more information on Alberta Downs, please visit www.albertadowns.com.