Truth Revealed For Marquis Downs Closure
When Saskatoon’s Prairieland Park announced earlier this year that it planned on pulling the plug on horse racing at Marquis Downs, the immediate assumption was that the global health crisis was to blame. However, it has now emerged that Marquis Downs has been in deep financial trouble since much further back than March 2020.
The park revealed this week that Marquis Downs has been operating at a loss of around CA$500,000 annually for the past five years, and that this was the real reason behind the decision to indefinitely suspend all horse racing events at the venue. Prairieland Park’s board of directors now have several alternative options for the space at their disposal – including a golf course, home to a professional soccer team, airport, hospital, zoo, or even a cemetery. It’s however highly unlikely that live horse racing will be making its return to the park anytime soon.
Closure Leading To Job Losses
While the most likely route right now appears to be turning the space into a home for a Canadian Premier Soccer League team, discussions held around this particular topic have led to mostly discontent from the local horse racing industry as well as fans of live horse racing in Saskatoon.
The industry recently addressed city councillors during a community services meeting, while expressing the need for a viable plan of action to be made for the preservation of horse racing events at Marquis Downs. According to Marquis Downs trainer Anita Gardipy, the suspension of events at the track had been a punch in the gut for the local horse racing industry, with jockeys and trainers now left with no other option but to relocate to neighbouring provinces in search of work and an income.
Potential For Future Venue
But all is not lost for live horse racing in Saskatchewan.
The Moosomin First Nation recently announced their plans for the development of a new race track in the region. “Moosomin Downs” is set to be developed in Corman Park, with the idea being to include not only Thoroughbred races, but also a fully-fledged range of equine therapy programs.
According to First Nation Chief Brad Swiftwolfe, the Moosomin First Nation is hoping to soon bring full circle a plan already 25 years in the making, being the development of Treaty Lands in the Rural Municipality of Corman Park. While the project is still only in its initial stages, it certainly holds much promise for breathing new life into live horseracing in the region.