Saskatchewan harness racing fans in Yorkton were treated to an opening day of racing that featured a brand new toteboard, the first ever at its racetrack.
The board was acquired by the SSHA for use at Saskatchewan harness tracks which saw the season opener on Friday and where racing will switch over to West Meadows Raceway in Regina on Sunday, September 18. "Our directors have been discussing this for almost two years and we felt it was time to make another significant investment in our industry and our future," says SSHA president Glenn LeDrew. "They are very, very expensive and it just wasn't feasible until we discovered this tote board by Teleview Racing Patrol in Florida. They worked with us to find the right solution in a way it was affordable. Racetracks here simply don't have the revenue or budget to support this type of acquisition so we knew if we wanted to have it we were going to have to figure out a way to get it done," LeDrew explains.
SSHA would like to thank the Yorkton and Regina tracks for contributing towards the cost and that made it possible. "The key was to ensure it could be used at both tracks and the idea was largely inspired by the toteboard in Manitoba which they have on a trailer and is used at all tracks on the circuit. This board is 34' in length so we thought we could permanently mount it on a flat deck trailer but the real challenge was to find a way to make it look like a professional and permanent fixture." continued Le Drew.
Timing was critical since we wanted to have it for opening day and the board was late arriving. "We (Gord's Mobile Service) were up until midnight on Thursday in the driving rain welding the frames under tarps to get it finished in time! Special thanks to Mark and Carlos from Teleview who made the trip from Florida to assist with the setup and worked continuously through adverse weather conditions on Thursday and Friday to ensure it was operational in time for the first race."
"There were a few minor glitches but overall we were really pleased with how it all came together and it is going to be a great addition to our harness racing season. The board also features the very first teletimer ever at a Saskatchewan racetrack and will not only help elevate the profile of racing here, but will be more professional and be an effective tool informing the betting public."
Racing continues in Yorkton on Friday nights at 5:45 p.m. and the meet extends to Satur-day, September 10 when the meet then switches to Regina for Sunday afternoons until October 9. More information on Saskatchewan's racing scene can be found at www.HarnessRacing-SSHA.com.