Thursday, 14 September 2017 06:51

Horse racing rides back into Lethbridge for the fall season

Written by  Demi Knight
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Rocky Mountain Turf Club CEO, Max Gibb gives official announcement of the new Indian Relay Race Canadian Championship event taking place this year. Rocky Mountain Turf Club CEO, Max Gibb gives official announcement of the new Indian Relay Race Canadian Championship event taking place this year. Demi Knight

With races in the fall meet fast approaching the Rocky Mountain Turf Club in Lethbridge is excited to add its part each year to the economy.

 In a press conference held Aug. 31, a small celebration for the sport of horse racing and the economic impact it has on the province was brought to life.
Rose Rossi, general manager at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club, says the importance of this sport to not only the community, but the province as a whole, is one that should be brought to light more often.
“There’s such a big importance of horse racing in Alberta. It brings in around $40 million annually and has such a large impact economically in Lethbridge and the surrounding areas.”
With the long-standing history that Alberta holds with this unique sport, the Lethbridge horse-racing division under the Rocky Mountain Turf Club has been working at resurrecting the city’s name in the horse-racing industry since 1996.
Although horse-racing within the province began more than a century earlier in 1882, in the past years is when financial gains have been seen.
Max Gibb, RMTC CEO, says it’s a sport fundamental to the makings
of the province and with its large spectatorship, it’s also great for the economy.
“Horse racing is in our fibre. Almost every community from Raymond and Taber to Cardston and on engage in it and it’s settled here in Lethbridge. There’s so much history and tradition in it and we’re glad it thrives on.”
With a viewing base of more than
1.2 million fans, all working together to wager $137 million at five race tracks throughout the province, Lethbridge is not the only community within Alberta reaping the benefits of this spectator sport. In fact, the annual contributions of horse races to the province come in at $750 million in industry assets, $399 million in economic benefits and $254 million that goes towards making a rural economic impact.
However, the sport doesn’t only work to make money, but to also raise funds for local projects and causes.
“Every year at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club, we work hard in our efforts of raising money and we exceed
$1 million in funding for donations,” says Rossi, of the donation efforts that the club has made.
Since 2002, horse racing in Alberta has helped net contributions to the Alberta Lottery Fund of more than $265 million.
Although the fall season is riding into full swing and spectators are gearing up to rejoice, Gibb also made a point of stating the excitement these race days have to offer to the whole family, rather than just the sport lovers themselves.
 “There’s always family fun here. There’s a mini market, a petting zoo, there really is something here for everyone to enjoy during the races.
“We have over 1,000 licensed horsemen here and everybody works hand in hand to get everything done. We start racing the fall season (Sept. 9-10) and will have more the following Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

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