09/27/2009 11:00PM

Northlands cuts seven race days


Northlands Park has cut seven days from its current meet, with officials citing a lack of available purse money. The meet, originally scheduled to run through Oct. 25, will now end Oct. 12, for a total of 89 days rather than the planned 96.

Shirley McClellan, chair of Horse Racing Alberta, the province's governing body of the sport, said the "the decision is about fiscal responsibility in our industry."

The main reason for the purse shortage is that with a proposed track in Balzac stalled, there is no slot revenue coming from southern Alberta. The United Horsemen of Alberta were given a license to run the Balzac track in 2004, and it was supposed to be running in 2007. Earlier this year, the horsemen's group said it needed to raise $80 million to complete the project.

Until this year, racing in southern Alberta was held at Stampede Park.

Northlands Park will begin its 2010 meet on May 15 and run through Oct. 10 for a total of 85 days, with the purse structure expected to remain the same.