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Missoula keeps live horse racing for 2006

March 29, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

Live horse racing at the Missoula County Fairgrounds during the Western Montana Fair in August will continue for the 2006 season, county commissioners decided in a 2-1 vote on Tuesday, March 28.

Commissioners agreed to at least one more year of racing, with expectations that something must happen on the state level legislatively or by action of the new Governorís Task Force to re-invigorate the sport in the state in order for Montana horse racing to remain alive.

Read more on that story at for March 28.

Four of five tracks in Montana will continue with a live meet this season, beginning with the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale and Racing on May 14. Only the meet at the Northwest Montana Fair in Kalispell has been cancelled as a result of increased concerns about the large jockey insurance rate hikes this year. However, without major state-wide action to overhaul funding for live horse racing, every meet in the state is in jeopardy for the future.

The Charlie Russell Stakes program, which offers some of the richest Quarter Horse stakes in the state, has been canceled this year as a result of the closure of racing at Kalispell. The Russell stakes traditionally run at the Northwest Montana Fair, and Joyce McDonald, secretary-treasurer of the Montana Quarter Horse Association which organizes the races, said it is too late this year to begin to restructure the races for a different venue for 2006.