Fort Erie Biding It’s Time By Making Upgrades
Niagara-region based Fort Erie Living Racing Consortium has been making the most of the downtime caused by the global health crisis and the ensuring restrictions in the area. The corporation has made full use of the opportunity by making several upgrades to the track and premises – including an improved draining system and new sprinkler systems.
The last thoroughbred event hosted by the track was in the fall of last year. The track is now making the final preparations for an imminent reopening of the live harness racing season, which will of course include the installation and roll-out of the mandatory health and safety measures.
Upgrades To Improve Races
The main goal of the improved draining systems is to provide improved racing conditions for harness drivers and horses. Proper draining greatly improves the physical condition of the turf, which in turn leads to better control during race conditions.
In addition to the upgrades done to the draining systems, the consortium has also made several improvements to the backstretch by fitting eavestroughs to the barns and placing more fill in the horses’ stalls. The stalls are currently being prepared by trainers for the arrival of the horses in the coming week.
Fort Erie recently announced that its consortium has lodged an application for the addition of two more racing dates to the annual live harness racing calendar. This application has been submitted to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which organisation is the local horse racing regulator for the province. The requested dates have been confirmed as October 25 and 26.
If the application is approved, Fort Erie will in future host 42 annual live harness races instead of 40. Supporting Fort Erie’s application are Ontario Racing, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp, and Ontario Racing Management, among others.
Fort Erie A Success Story
Other renovations and upgrades nearing completion include new paddock fencing, a new clubhouse roof, and a fully renovated Prince of Wales dining room. Newly installed are several plexiglass barriers and hand-sanitizing stations for ensuring everyone’s safety.
Interestingly enough, unlike what several other venues had reported over the course of last year, the absence of live spectators at Fort Erie hasn’t hurt the track’s 2020 season. In fact, Fort Erie has seen a 40 per cent increase in the amount of betting spend, with more than CA$2,093,000 spent on an eight-race card on last year’s June 2 opening day alone.
Ontario’s interest in live harness racing clearly remains exceptionally high.