Marquis Down Facing Permanent Closure

By Ben Hamill - March 18 2021
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Marquis Down Facing Permanent Closure

While live harness racing may be returning in measured extent to at least some parts of the country, it appears as if Prairieland Park’s Marquis Downs racetrack may be about to close down for good. While no official statement has been issued either way, management is reportedly considering replacing the live harness racing track and venue with a football stadium.

The decision to terminate harness racing at the venue is obviously a big blow in the belly to many. And it’s obvious that the local live harness racing community is of the opinion that not enough was done by management to keep the track open and functioning before the controversial and disappointing decision was made.

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Two Sides To The Story

The decision to transform the park into a football venue is however one vehemently defended by park president Mark Regier, who claims that the challenges the venue has had to face over the past year have simply become too difficult and daunting to successfully negate. Regier said that since many of the track’s riders are from the Caribbean, ongoing travel restrictions have not made life for management any easier. And that a lack of funding has played a deciding role too.

According to recent information provided by management to the general public, the legendary venue is currently involved in talks that will, if successful, bring a Canadian Premier Soccer League team to the borders of the city. If the talks were to be successful, and all were to go according to plan, then the stadium could replace the horse racing track by as early as 2023 – news that doesn’t sit particularly well with the local horse racing community.

Some Are Holding On To Hope

One of the many local horse racing people of the region, trainer Anita Gardipy, who says her family has been training horses at the famous venue for literally centuries, now faces having to bid the horses she’s had the privilege of training, farewell. Since the venue might be closing down, the horses will likely be relocated to Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg.

But not everyone’s convinced that closing down is the only way out of the venue’s troubles. According to Matt Love and Aleana Young, it is far from the case that it is too late to raise the necessary funds in order to save the track as well as those who rely on the track for making a living. They believe that had local horse racing people been included in the discussions, those discussions might have led to an altogether different outcome.

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