Anne M. Eberhardt

Off-Track Wagering Up at Assiniboia Downs

Ardell Sayler clinched 11th training title; Paul Nolan repeated as top rider.

Assiniboia Downs ended its 60-day season of live racing Sunday, Sept. 22 with a 24.3% increase in wagering by bettors outside of the province.

But, amid uncertainty created by the Manitoba government and significant increased competition in the local gaming market, on-track wagering was down 10.8%. Total handle was $8.7 million (U.S. $8.45 million) compared to $8.2 million last year.

The Manitoba Jockey Club has announced, however, that a deal has already been signed with horsemen for next year's racing season that will have the same number of racing days and the same purse structure as this past season. This could lead to bigger field sizes as horsemen who were uncertain what to do this year may now confidently ship their horses to the Downs, which should lead to larger wagering pools.
CEO Darren Dunn issued this statement after the season came to a close Sunday afternoon:
"Even though we had to operate in very uncertain times, I am incredibly proud of our employees and horsemen for staying the course and showing confidence in our organization. While there were many accomplishments on the track from horses such as Balooga Bull, Portales, and Zdeno or trainer Ardell Sayler's 11th title and Paul Nolan repeating as top jockey, the season highlight by far and away was the way Manitobans supported us from the beginning.They voted with their feet each day and let us know over and over again how they appreciated our efforts and how they enjoy the history, impacts and contribution to the social fabric of this province that racing and Assiniboia Downs brings."