07/18/2007 11:00PM

Stampede to hold '08 races


As a result of negotiations between the Calgary Stampede and Horse Racing Alberta, a spring Thoroughbred meet will be held at Stampede Park in 2008 and simulcast racing broadcasts will continue through the end of 2008.

Max Gibb, chief executive officer of the United Horsemen of Alberta, cited unforeseen permit and construction delays as the reason a proposed new racing facility at Balzac would not be ready for next year.

The negotiations began on July 12, and a final agreement was reached Wednesday evening and announced in a press release on Thursday.

Subject to a dates meeting between all parties scheduled for Aug. 2, it is anticipated the 2008 spring meet will follow virtually the same format as this year, with 50 days of live racing as the target.

David Reid, chairman and CEO of Horse Racing Alberta, expressed his gratitude to the Calgary Stampede.

"This is absolutely great news for Alberta horsemen and the horse racing and breeding industry in the province," Gibb said.

Vern Kimball, chief executive officer of the Calgary Stampede, said, "We feel our continued support into 2008 is good for the horse racing and agriculture industry,"

Kimball also noted that the Calgary Stampede will continue with development plans, including the construction of new agricultural facilities, over the next two to three years.