Century Mile Broke Sharply, Now Struggling to Gain Traction

Century Casino logoIf you were calling it like a horse race, Century Mile broke well from gate, set a great pace going into the first turn but has faded in the backstretch. Halfway through the first thoroughbred racing season in 118 years not being held on the property of Northlands Park, […]

… the numbers don’t lie.

Total wagering sat at $3,839,137 going into the weekend. That’s for 27 race dates of the 51 for the season and an average of $142,191. The on-track total is only $1,223,097, an average of $45,300 per card.

The average number of horses per race has been 6.58 for 201 races involving 551 individual horses. The average number of races per card has been 7.4.

The lack of horses in many of the races, Ryneveld believes, is driving away the people they want most — the gamblers.

And that’s not just here but around North America at off-track betting locations including sports books in Las Vegas where they put up the races that attract the action and Century Mile hasn’t made the ‘A’ list yet.

“Field size and quality of racing has impacted handle negatively,” said Ryneveld of the product Century Mile inherited from Northlands Park after years of running racing into the ground.

Century Mile the horse racing future in Edmonton

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.