Horse racing interest on the rise in Alberta

And they’re off!

With the Alberta Fall Breeders’ Classic in Edmonton underway, there is a feeling in the air that interest in thoroughbred horses an racing is on the rise… especially when the winds of change are bringing with it a new race track in the Balzac area.

The event is considered the marquee event of the year.

Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s Alberta Manager Jean Kruse tells Rural Roots Canada it’s the event horse breeders’ wait all year for and it is one of the main reasons for an increase in interest across the province in recent years.

“It is a big event for the year and with the excitement that’s come with, the new track being built in Balzac, there’s definitely been an increase interest in thoroughbreds and racing in the province since we’ve been working with the main track in Edmonton,” said Kruse.  “So I’m seeing more increased interest in inquiries into regards to what is happening with thoroughbreds.”

The weekend’s festivities go far beyond the race and sale, as it started with an art show on Friday night.

“It’s an art show and equine gala that showcases the talents of some of Canada’s best equine artists.”

Also this weekend a new book has been released.

“We are really excited to have author Nancy Mackenzie launching her new novel, Nerve Line, which is about horse racing in Alberta.”

Kruse says there is always plenty of heated competition come race day on Saturday as Alberta’s best thoroughbreds compete for $350,000 over 7 stakes races.

“We usually see about 56 Alberta-breds in those races.”

The sale the following day is always a big hit and an indication of where the market is on thoroughbreds.

“It (sale prices) really ranges from year to year, two years ago our sales topper was about $60,000, but the average price goes from $8,000 – $10,000.  So you can spend way more than that or you could spend less than that to own a thoroughbred, our starting price is usually about $1,000.”

There will be 104 yearlings on sale this year, to see this year’s catalogue click here.