The YEA have been trying to work with the Saskatchewan Government to find options for funding to save Harness Racing in Yorkton but have been unsuccessful.
Following the announcement last year by SLGA , Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, home of Thoroughbred Racing was awarded a 3 year contract for 100 % of provincial off-track betting. That left Yorkton and Harness racing with no tools to generate the needed funding to cover purse money and operating costs. The 3 year licence secured funding for Marquis Downs for the future. In past years the 10% betting tax was shared by both breeds at approximately 72 % to Thoroughbred and 28% to harness racing.
This means there will no longer be Standard bred Harness Racing in Yorkton as well as Saskatchewan in 2014 and into the future.
The Yorkton Exhibition has lost a large portion of their Summer Programing, horsemen have lost a place to race in Saskatchewan, hundreds of people have lost their Friday night entertainment and Yorkton has lost an estimated economic impact of 1 million dollars.
The request involved an investment of $200,000 per year for the next 3 years. Within the 3 years the Standard bred Racing Industry must become self-sufficient.
In BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario as in Saskatchewan, Thoroughbred racing generates the bulk of the gambling dollars but in all provinces but Saskatchewan they recognize this fact and the need to share profits in order to keep both types of racing viable. Each province has an agreement between the tracks and breeds to stabilize the racing industry. Saskatchewan has not.
If Harness Race supporters wish to help save racing in Saskatchewan they need to call their MLA and voice their concerns, we have done all we can to try and convince government to see the damage being done by supporting only Marquis Downs and Thoroughbred Racing in our province.