Calgary Herald

The province has ponied up to keep Alberta’s horse racing industry on track.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci announced the decade-long deal Saturday at Century Downs race track north of Calgary, which will replace the current pact set to expire.

“This new 10-year commitment will continue to support an important economic and cultural piece of rural Alberta and the agricultural sector,” Ceci said.

Horse Racing Alberta (HRA) will receive a cut of the net revenue from slot machines at the province’s four racing entertainment centres.

However, while the industry previously received just shy of 52% of those gaming revenues, the new deal see it begin at 50% this year and gradually shrink to 40% in 2018.

“It’s important that we keep an industry going, but it’s also important that it be affordable to Albertans, and that’s what this new agreement does,” said Ceci.

Rick LeLacheur, chair of the HRA, said even with waning funds the industry will make due, noting the significance of the deal for horse racing in Alberta.

“We’ll deal with the money we have available,” he said.

“I know in government 10 years is a long time for an agreement. But the minister really recognized how important a long-term agreement was to the industry, particularly the breeding industry.

“It just doesn’t happen overnight.”

That sentiment was echoed by stable owner Norm Castiglione.

“When you’re breeding horses, it’s a two-to-four year process each time you breed a horse,” he said.

“By the time you get a horse to the racetrack, it’s three years after you’ve decided to breed it.

“If you don’t have those longer agreements, it makes no sense to put the money into that part of racing.”

Ceci portrayed the deal as an effort to preserve both rural culture and jobs during a difficult economic period.

“As a government, we recognize the importance of horse racing not only from a cultural perspective, but also as a source of livelihood for many Albertans,” Ceci said, adding that 1,600 Albertans are directly employed by the sector, with an additional 7,000 “touched by racing in some way.”

The announcement comes a month after Edmonton’s Northlands race track announced it would close after this season.

LeLacheur pointed out that Northlands CEO Tim Reid is on the HRA board and was aware of the negotiations with the province.

Ceci said he didn’t want to speculate on Northlands’ plans.


mackee auctions

With the economic struggles there has never been a better time to get yourself invested in collector vehicles.

We see the stocks all over the place where classics have seen upwards of a 200% increase in the last years in USD.  Selling your classic to get the best money in this market place you need marketing and a team behind you. 

This will be our third MacKee Classic Car Show & Auction event – being held May 6-7 in the ENTREC Centre at Evergreen Park - and we have already received confirmation from buyers as far away as the USA that they will be at this auction.

Want to be a Buyer? Want to be a seller? Visit the MacKee Auctions website at:

Want to discuss your classic? Give Jonathan a call at 250-801-3446.

We will have over 30 vendors this year. For vendor space call Tim at 587-343-6996 or email him at

Event accommodation at the Ramada Inn at 780-814-7448 and there is camping right on site at the Mcgovern’s RV Campground.

Friday night there will be a doubleheader outdoor movie in Parking Lot A. First movie is The Cannonball Run and second is Bullit. There is no admission fee, but donations to the PEDS Ward at the QEII hospital would be appreciated. Nurses and doctors from the QEII will be at the admission gates and parking vehicles.

The first several rows in front of the screen will be reserved for classic vehicles.

Gates open at 7 p.m. and everyone who makes a donation at the gate will be given a free ticket to taken in the Classic Car Show & Auction for Friday. The show is open until 10 p.m.

There will be several mobile concession units on site including the WINMAR Kettle Corn unit. The nurses and doctors will be selling bags of kettle corn and will be donating 100 per cent of the proceeds to PEDS.

The ENTREC Centre will remain open for the entire evening for access to washrooms.

The car show hours are 5-10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $15 for the weekend and $10 for the day and free to children 12 and under.