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Quebec: 2013 And Beyond

Published: November 25, 2012 1:20 pm ET

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"We had people coming in from Montreal and Quebec City by organized buses, as well as people just coming in on their own from the townships of Montreal and so on. It became a bit of a social occasion. You saw people that you hadn't seen for a while...it was a very positive environment."

On today's episode of Trot Radio, Norm Borg reflects on the 2012 season of harness racing with Quebec Jockey Club President Tony Infilise. It was a season of rebirth in Quebec after many tough years without a solid program or location.

"The fan reception was just fantastic. In the 10 race dates we drew about 35,000 fans...ranging from over 6,000 on opening day to, I think we had a couple of rainy Tuesdays where we had about 1,500 or so. We were very pleased, way beyond our expectations."

Not only was attendance a positive, but wagering was also above and beyond the hopes of QJC officials.

"We averaged $63,000 for the 10 cards. We had a high of $88,000, I believe, on opening day, where we really couldn't accommodate everybody at the windows - we were hoping for 2-3,000 [people] and got 6."

While the on-track betting was strong, the creation of an off-track network is equally key. Infilise noted that OTBs opened in late June with more planned for next year to help "provide a very solid foundation for the rebirth of racing and also breeding in Quebec. There's a positive note for the first time in years."

There's also a positive note in Trois-Rivieres. Infilise told Borg that the town is experiencing a rebirth of its own.

"It's now a growth town. They've had some rough times with pulp and paper declining badly. There's some vibrant leadership in the Mayor, Yves Levesque and we're part of some nice economic growth in Trois Rivieres."

Looking ahead to 2013, Infilise dished on plans for an expanded stakes program similar to the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots program but with divisions for older horses as well. To hear the full interview, click the play button below.

Episode 278 – Tony Infilise
Audio Format: MP3 audio
Host: Norm Borg


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