Leamington harness racing ends, more dates wanted in 2014
More than $40,000 wafered on final date at Leamington Fairgrounds
A pilot project on whether horse racing should return to the Windsor-Essex region crossed the finish line Sunday afternoon.
Organizers say the provincial government and and Ontario Racing Commission can't ignore the results.
A few thousand people were in the stands at the Leamington Fairgrounds on Sunday for the final day of racing.
Tom Bain, a member of the local harness horse association, said the money wagered in Leamington exceeded expectations.
He said $41,000 in bets were placed.
"That was double what our expectations for the day," Bain said. "I just never expected to have the crowd that we had."
Earlier this year the Ontario Racing Commission approved four racing dates spread over a month at the fairgrounds as a pilot project.
Racing supporters expressed disappointment when racing at Windsor Raceway came to an end in 2012, after the provincial government killed the Slots at Racetracks Program.
Brian Tropea the general manager of the Ontario harness Horse Association said the four racing dates at the Leamington fairgrounds proves that racing is a sustainable sport in Windsor-Essex.
"This is a huge area of the province with support for horse racing and we're hopeful it will be on the map we're going to continue knocking on their door," Tropea said.
Based on the results of racing during the pilot project, the local harness horse association will put together a business plan in an effort to convince the Ontario Racing Commission and province to approve more racing dates next year.