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Millarville meet postponed until September 4 due to flooding

July 22, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Steve Ferreira

You will have to excuse the members of the Millarville Racing and Agricultural Society (MRAS) if they now think that Mother Nature has it in for them. On both June 7 and June 18, the racetrack grounds were inundated with flooding rains normally only seen once every hundred years or so.

After both events, the entrance road and track were damaged, and in both cases the volunteers associated with the MRAS came together to repair the damage so that the planned celebration of the 100th Anniversary of horse racing could go on. But in a final cruel twist of fate, the rains came again on June 27, just four days before the July 1 race meet. And this time it was determined that the damage to the entrance road, the track and the grounds was too substantial to repair in time for the day’s festivities.

Accordingly, on June 28 it was decided that the 100th Anniversary Races would be postponed until Sunday, September 4.

The flooding rains put the kibosh on quite a celebration, which was almost a year in the planning. An outstanding nine-race card had been assembled for the day, with over $116,000 in purses offered. The day’s feature would have been the Millarville Derby, with a purse of $31,600.

Other feature races included stakes for both Paints and Arabians. In addition to the pari-mutuel races, the day’s events would have included a series of one-mile foot races for men, women and children over the racing oval, a polo pony and ladies side saddle race, and a stock horse race for local riders and their stock horses under western saddle. In a real coup, CTV was scheduled to broadcast live from the Millarville Racetrack between 4 and 5 p.m., culminating their coverage with the Millarville Derby.

But out of adversity has come opportunity. The Millarville Races will now take place on September 4 during the Labour Day weekend on a date that would have been raced at Lethbridge. And in an act of remarkable dexterity, the entire original nine-race Millarville card was transferred to Lethbridge and went off without a hitch, although for slightly less purse money. The field for the Millarville Derby ran instead in the Canada Day Stakes, which went off for around half of the original purse. The Derby itself will take place on the rescheduled race day. One can only hope the weather in late summer will be more cooperative.