01/16/2012 4:56PM

Fort Erie restores seven days to 2012 meet

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TORONTO – Fort Erie, which originally planned to downsize its 2012 meeting to 69 days, has restored the seven “lost” dates in an agreement between the Ontario HBPA and the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium.

The meeting will begin May 6 and will now run through Oct. 30, after originally having been scheduled to conclude Oct. 16.

“We wanted to do all we can to encourage a healthy horse population for the startup of the 2012 racing season,” Sue Leslie, president of the HBPA of Ontario, said in a press release issued by the track Monday. “We hope this will encourage our trainers and owners to participate at Fort Erie in even larger numbers, providing full fields in order to help the purse account and cover the expenses of the FELRC.”

Jim Thibert, chief executive officer of the consortium, responded enthusiastically to the HBPA initiative.

“As a not-for-profit corporation, we are ever diligent in our need to operate within our financial resources,” Thibert said. “We were therefore very excited when the HBPA proposed the application to the ORC for seven additional days of racing, and we are all pleased the ways and means were approved.”