The Racing Journal Logo

Help save the race track in Helena!


June 19, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

Concerned Horsemen and Horsewomen:

Here is an update on what is happening in regard to the Helena Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds issue involving saving the horse racing track and bringing back horse racing.

As you may know, we are fighting a plan to renovate the Fairgrounds that includes eliminating our one-mile horse race track. Since the meeting with you we have been constantly attending Fairgrounds Commission meetings and County Commission meetings to protest and register our comments. This track is a jewel and could be the finest horse racing track in Montana. It is the second oldest track in the nation. The original mill-levy brochure showed and talked about a plan that did not eliminate the track or move the rodeo arena or tear down the historic West barn. Now they are planning to tear them all down.

We are facing a group of men who were picked by the County Commissioners to work with an engineering firm and architect to develop the renovation “footprint” plan. The three people picked ironically are all on the masthead for Gateway Development, a consulting firm that advises small businesses and provides development money. I asked, in my comments that I submitted to the County Commissioners, how that represented varied interests? This is what we are up against.

Also, do any of you know the directors or managers of the racetracks at Kalispell, Missoula, Billings and Great Falls? Because, Bob Fusie, one of the “footprint” plan developers has in his hand statements from every track manager saying horse racing is going down the tubes and losing money. That really helped our cause…

To go on with my report, we need you to email or call the County Commissioners in support of horse racing and other equine activities that you would participate in at the Fairgrounds. Anything you can do to bolster our contention that the horse industry is one of the biggest industries in Montana, and that you would support a race meet here in Helena, would be greatly appreciated. If you are involved in a horse group that would like to come here to hold an event, say that. Also, if you would like to use the track to condition your horses that helps our cause too. The website for the county commissioners is: www.co.lewis-clark.mt.us. When you get there, click on County Commission and you will see each County Commissioner’s name, which you can click on or click on email at the bottom of the page. It also has phone numbers.

We have established a “Save the Track Fund” at the Valley Bank in Helena, which you and any of your friends who love horse racing can contribute to by sending a check to: P.O. Box 5988, Helena, MT 59604. Make it out to “Save the Track Fund”. We have hired a lawyer, and my father, Dr. S.J. Skip Score, longtime supporter of horse racing, has already paid the lawyer $5000 to set in place a legal response in case the Commissioners vote to accept the plan. We need your help and the help of all concerned horsemen. Believe me, once they beat us on this, the rest of the equine and rodeo events follow.

I would also like any suggestions on starting to raise money to run a meet next year and raising money for purses. Give me names of individuals, businesses, and organizations who would like to be sponsors of races. Also, any ideas for fundraisers would be appreciated.

We are also in the preliminary stages of re-establishing the Montana Horse Council, as stated at the April meeting. Because of this battle we’ve been engaged in, we haven’t focused on it, but do have many involved folks ready to help set up the Council. We are going to need it, because we have to lobby the legislature for our rights starting now. We have a Governor who I think is sympathetic to horsemen and wants to be seen as an Ag Governor. I have two friends who are his administrators. Now is the time to establish contacts. Please let me hear from you and thanks for your involvement.

Candy Score
“Save The Track!”