Alberta’s horse racing field has witnessed a surge of popularity over the past few weeks regardless of the dynamically changing situation on a provincial and national level. Century Mile Racetrack and Casino in Edmonton recently revealed that some CA$800,000 a day has been amassed via Thoroughbred racing live events on the premises of the racetrack.
The past couple of months have been more than turbulent for both the gambling and horse racing industries of Canada, as they witnessed the temporary suspension of daily operation on the premises of the casino locations, as well as horse racetracks. Century Mile Racetrack was one of those locations that had to hit pause on its daily operation and postpone its 2020 live season.
Regardless of the uncertainty, horse racing resumed its daily events part of this year’s meet on June 21, preparing for a total of 40 days of live events over the summer and fall months of 2020. Century Mile Racetrack is the only mile-long Thoroughbred racetrack west of Woodbine, making it a rather special location for horse people and horse racing fans in Alberta.
Expectations for this live season were not high but, nevertheless, they were exceeded immensely, as it was recently confirmed. The Edmonton racing hotspot announced that daily events averaged upwards of CA$800,000 per day. Individuals were interested in participating in the riveting live events taking place there had the chance to do so over the past months and this market a staggering increase year-on-year.
It could be recalled that the spring months of 2019 saw the official opening of this new racetrack and its first racing season left a lot to be desired. It reached an average of CA$162,000 per day over those weeks of live Thoroughbred racing on its premises. When compared with the performance this year, there has been a 400-percent surge in 2020. One of the highlights of this year’s meet was no other than the Canadian Derby.
It was also much more successful than its 2019 edition, as individuals were more interested in following it and wagering on it. Harness racing also saw significant success, with an average of CA$175,000 per day during the live racing schedule of 2020. This marked a 75-percent surge when compared to its last year’s performance.
Kent Verlik, Chief Executive Officer for Horse Racing Alberta, said that the year-on-year improvement on both offerings surpassed the expectations of Alberta’s horse people. Only several months ago, they had no idea if horse racing would even be allowed in the province. The unprecedented situation also called for various health and safety measures and protocols to be introduced, further impacting the training process and the eventual live races.
The original plan for the Edmonton racing hotspot was to bring 227 race days, but it ended up introducing only 140 ones because the racetrack missed the months of March, April, and May this year. Harness racing saw a return on November 15 bringing more race days into February.