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Kawartha Looking To Double Dates

Published: October 2, 2017 4:55 pm ET

Last Comment: October 3, 2017 12:37 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Officials with Kawartha Downs, the five-eighths-mile harness raceway located near Peterborough, Ont., have submitted an application for 2018 race dates at the track. If Kawartha officials get their wish, the track will host more than double the amount of dates that it did this season.

Kawartha’s 18-date campaign wrapped up this past Saturday (September 30). The program featured Kawartha’s annual Shorelines Drivers’ Championship, which was won by pilot Brett MacDonald.

According to an article by The Peterborough Examiner, Kawartha officials have applied for 40 race dates in 2018. The track’s proposed schedule would run from March through to December.

"By all accounts we've had a good season," Kawartha Downs General Manager Orazio Valente was quoted as saying. "Kawartha Downs has the highest attendance of any Ontario racetrack on a normal race night. Kawartha Downs is only second to the WEG (Woodbine Entertainment Group), which is Woodbine and Mohawk, for on-track handle. We do have something special going on at Kawartha Downs."

Kawartha officials are well aware of the significant monetary shortfalls that the track will face in 12 months’ time if new financial commitments are not reached. Kawartha’s slots are scheduled to be relocated to the new Shorelines Casino Peterborough in October of 2018. Eighty-five per cent of Kawartha Downs’ current revenue comes via rent from the slots facility on its premises. According to Valente, the track will not be financially viable unless some sort of new financial scenario is realized.

Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal, who is Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, has said that potential tax changes and off-track wagering options for the track are currently being explored. Minister Leal has also looked into the possibility of having some slots stay at the track, according to the article.

"We're looking at options right now to see what we can do to keep those race tracks whole beyond 2019, 2020 and 2021," Leal told The Peterborough Examiner. "The leasing dollars generated are a key part of the financial model and we need to look at options as to how we might be able to backfill that amount of money."

Leal went on to say, "I'm fully engaged in this because I have a great commitment to horse racing in the province of Ontario and the impact it has on rural communities."

(With files from The Peterborough Examiner)

October 3, 2017 - 12:37 pmThere would be not slots cash

Tim Bates SAID...

There would be not slots cash cow in Ontario without the tracks.

Someone needs to wake up at Queens Park, they are killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

I hope someone makes the decision to keep the slots at Kawartha, great place to race and watch.

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