06/02/2008 12:00AM

New track delayed until 2010


CALGARY, Alberta - Horse Racing Alberta has announced that the scheduled 2009 opening of the new racing facility at Balzac, just north of Calgary, has been delayed until 2010.

The Balzac project includes a one-mile Thoroughbred racetrack, a seven-furlong Standardbred oval, a gaming center, and top-drawer frontside and backstretch facilities.

David Reid, the chairman and CEO of Horse Racing Alberta, said that several factors had contributed to yet another delay to the project, originally scheduled to begin operations in 2007.

Reid said the racing and entertainment facility, budgeted four years ago to cost in the $80 million range, has nearly tripled in cost and that difficulty in obtaining capital investment and long-term loan rates at sustainable interest rates necessitated the latest delay.

A meeting on the new facility convened in Edmonton last Tuesday, and it was attended in person or by conference call by representatives of United Horsemen of Alberta, the holders of a 10-year license granted in 2004 to conduct racing at the proposed new facility; the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, representing the Thoroughbred industry; the Alberta Standardbred Horsemen's Association; the "B" circuit, of Lethbridge and Grande Prairie racing associations; and Stampede Park. Reid also attended.