Alberta Downs owner still fighting for races

Alberta Downs racetrack owner Bob Allen is not one to shy away from a challenge.

Alberta Downs racetrack owner Bob Allen is not one to shy away from a challenge.

Notified last November that Horse Racing Alberta was cutting his facility from its 2015 racing schedule, Allen has fought hard to get the organization to change its mind and send some races his way.

He’s expecting to hear soon if his efforts have paid off.

Allen sent a letter to the racing body on Thursday through his lawyer to push them to make a decision on his race days soon.

He earlier threatened to sue Horse Racing Alberta for $8 million, arguing it was reneging on an agreement to support his track which was given a 10-year operating licence in 2012.

That’s not the route he’d like to go though.

Legal fights are expensive with no guarantee of victory.

If Horse Racing Alberta doesn’t come through with some racing days, Allen already has a Plan B in mind.

“Here’s what I’m going to do. If they don’t give me race days I’m running anyways. I’m going to run 33 days of thoroughbred racing.”

Under the rules, he can’t have betting in Canada but he’s got U.S. tracks interested in the betting end.

He says he also has betting contracts with tracks in Jamaica, Bahamas and South America.

That means punters there can bet on races run at his track next to Hwy 2 just west of Lacombe.

If he goes ahead with the plan, racing would start at the end of May.

Allen sees this as a “last resort” option.

What he still wants to see Horse Racing Alberta relent and give him the racing days he needs to make a go of it.

“They started out at 26 days. Now they’re trying to cut me down to 10 days and they’ve got all kinds of other little conditions,” he said.

He’s invested about $200,000 more in meeting conditions, including providing engineering and safety documentation and letters of support, without any guarantee of landing race days.

What’s on the table — but hasn’t been officially approved yet — are 10 harness racing days and five thoroughbred days, he said.

Meanwhile, in Calgary the new Century Downs track held its first racing on Saturday.

Horse Racing Alberta could not be reached for comment on Friday.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Kinky campground turned down in Red Deer County

County’s municipal planning commission said campground didn’t meet regulations

City aims to improve transit efficiency

Citizen input survey is available until Aug. 6 on city’s website

Crops looking good halfway to harvest

Coming off a lousy 2018, farmers having a much better year

Adriana LaGrange tops Alberta ministers’ office costs in May

The costs accumulated by three central Alberta MLAs serving as cabinet ministers… Continue reading

World’s second-ranked amateur Andrea Lee out in front at Canadian Women’s Am

Andrea Lee hasn’t played golf in over a month but showed no… Continue reading

Opinion: RCMP and military legal settlements ignore accountability

If you asked Canadians which institutions stand at the heart of our… Continue reading

After strong hosting effort in ‘15, Canadian team back on road for Lima Pan Ams

Canada went all-in at the last edition of the Pan American Games… Continue reading

Transat co-founder could make more than $17 million from sale to Air Canada

MONTREAL — Transat A.T. Inc. chief executive Jean-Marc Eustache stands to make… Continue reading

‘Joker’ and Fred Rogers drama among galas set for Toronto film festival

TORONTO — A standalone Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix, a drama featuring… Continue reading

These mannequins aren’t for fashion. They’re for medical training

Lying on the table, surrounded by two nurses, a woman shrieks in… Continue reading

Lamoureux twins start foundation to help disadvantaged kids

BISMARCK, N.D. — Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, stars of the United… Continue reading

Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse wins second gold at world aquatics championship

GWANGJU, Korea, Republic Of — Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse has defended her… Continue reading

Pitt, DiCaprio and Robbie reconcile a changing Hollywood

LOS ANGELES — Once upon a time, not too far from Hollywood,… Continue reading

Most Read