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Yellowstone Downs adjusts live race dates


January 24, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

When the Montana Board of Horse Racing (MBOHR) met on December 3 for a state-wide date hearing for live race meets in the state for the upcoming 2006 season, the Northwest Montana Fair at Kalispell and the meet at Yellowstone Downs in Billings had four overlapping race dates. After much heated discussion regarding the viability of both meets running live racing on the same days and much expressed concern about the logistics (and improbability) of having enough jockeys and horses in the state to cover live dates simultaneously at two tracks, the board approved the dates for both tracks with no changes.

Since then, Racing Director Ben Carlson for Yellowstone Downs said the Yellowstone Horse Racing Alliance, which operates the live meet at the MetraPark oval in Billings, met with horsemen on Saturday, January 21 and decided to drop the overlapping race dates and go with an 8-day race meet in September.

The Northwest Montana Fair is slated to hold live horse racing on August 18, 19, 20, 26 and 27. Adjusted dates for Billings are September 3, 4, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, and 24. The overlapping dates were August 18, 19, 26 and 27.

Yellowstone Downs was submitting the changes in its date request and then must wait for approval from the MBOHR. After receiving official feedback from the state governing board, there is still 30 days to request revisions before any penalties are applied to changes in dates.

“It is pretty well evident to everybody after last year that that is not a viable deal (to run two meets simultaneously),” Carlson noted.
“We’re not going over the top of Kalispell, and I think the days have come and gone where we can run three days in a row. We found that out as well in the last couple of years. We just don’t have the horse population to do it.”