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

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

Restaurant closed after compliance team patrol

Public Safety Compliance Team checked eight bars and restaurants on Oct. 19

Red Deerians await local cannabis stores

So far 31 stores in Alberta awarded licence to operate

Rimbey RCMP seek missing man with health concerns

Has anyone seen Bill Harris of Ponka County?

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Local Sports: Rudy Soffo valuable to Kings on the court

When Rudy Soffo first saw the RDC basketball Kings roster he was… Continue reading

Except for 1 kick, Saints, Ravens are evenly matched

BALTIMORE — In a matchup between the league’s highest-scoring offence and top-ranked… Continue reading

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy

WASHINGTON — After a 35-year acting career and with two iconic television… Continue reading

Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West enter Country Music Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and… Continue reading

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

LONDON — Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration… Continue reading

Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review

OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials have determined that the United States remains… Continue reading

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

MONTREAL — Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over… Continue reading

Three strong earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island

Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night in the Pacific Ocean… Continue reading

Most Read