Century Mile the horse racing future in Edmonton

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Bye, bye Northlands Park. Hello happiness.

For several years, horsemen have been unhappy campers at the century-long home of horse racing in Edmonton. But not now. Not as they get ready for Opening Day of a new era of horse racing.

The first-ever thoroughbred race card at Century Mile goes to the post Sunday afternoon at 1:45 with high hopes of good times ahead for the industry.

“We all saw Northlands deteriorate to the point it was beyond sad,” said trainer Tim Rycroft, a veteran of 30 years on the track including a lengthy spell at Toronto’s Woodbine until returning to his hometown 13 years ago.

“You could tell the writing was on the wall. Nobody seemed to care there toward the end. It was once a really nice thriving place with a proud tradition,” he said of the track that once owned the title of being the per capita betting capital of the horseracing world.

“They were just letting it slide into the abyss,” he said.

“I loved it at Northlands Park. It was a great racetrack. Over the years it just deteriorated and deteriorated and the horsemen were told one B.S. story after another. It became terrible the way the horsemen were treated.

“They let the barn areas go to hell. Instead of fixing bathrooms and stuff their idea was just to slap a piece of plywood on the door and put up a big closed sign.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 16-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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