This is an incredibly frustrating time to be a horseman in Alberta. Stampede shut down in 2008, the Thoroughbreds moved to Edmonton and the harness folks got to run around from Grande Prairie to Lacombe. Century Downs finally opens up near Calgary last year, the province looks like it will finally have a solid two city, two track set up again, and now Edmonton is out of the picture.
Thoroughbred horsemen in Alberta should be worried, I think. Century Downs has yet to solidify Thoroughbred dates, and harness racing is a cheaper game to host. Horse Racing Alberta has said on Twitter that they are looking to get a new track built in Edmonton, but it took seven years for a new track to open in Calgary and there's no guarantee it won't take longer for a new Edmonton track to become a reality.
HRA will explore, with our industry partners, options for building a new racing facility in the Edmonton area. https://t.co/VsbFy6JoMf— Horse Racing Alberta (@thehorsesab) February 17, 2016
In the meantime, Northlands is a track that should be on your radar for 2016. They offer the lowest WPS takeout in North America at 14.5%, they have a $1min P4 that has carryovers once in a while, and they offer a 10% takeout Pick 5 with a $1min that also frequently carries. There's value there for those who are interested.
Hopefully everything works out in Alberta and there'll be a replacement track in a reasonable amount of time. I'm very disappointed that I can say almost certainly I will never get to spend a day at the races at Northlands. That's the way things go, however.