“We’ve got a great field of horses lined up for our biggest race of the year — I wouldn’t be surprised if history is made and our current all-time track record is beaten,” said race secretary Brent Powell.
Sudbury Downs’ feature race of the year has been named the Remember, Sudbury Stakes, which has a special meaning as Sudbury Downs “reaches out to our community, our employees, past and present, our horse-racing fans and all horse-racing participants who have raced at Sudbury Downs over the years,” the racetrack said in a press release. “Simply, we ask everyone to remember Sudbury Downs.”
The future of the racetrack remains unclear, and last week, owners issued layoff notices to 38 employees in anticipation of the cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks program. With the end of the season quickly approaching, the more than 100 employees at the track may not have jobs to come back to next year.
In 1999, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) introduced slot machines at Sudbury Downs. The partnership between OLG and the racing industry has produced great results for racing and the province, said the track's owners. However, it now seems inevitable that Sudbury Downs' last night of racing for 2012, to be contested on Nov. 24, will be the last card of live racing ever at Sudbury Downs.
Over the 38 years Sudbury Downs has offered live harness racing in Northern Ontario, many memories have been made, said the MacIsaacs.
“Fans may remember our opening day in 1974, the first Nickel Plate, meeting top driver Ron Pierce, watching Piece of the Rock break our all-time track record or taking a walk through the backstretch on race night,” said the MacIsaacs. “Racing participants may remember winning their first, or 1000th, race at Sudbury Downs or the conversations they had travelling up Highway 69 to our community. Sudbury Downs is asking the community to remember the entertainment, employment and agricultural impact Sudbury Downs has had on the City of Greater Sudbury.”
As the race season winds down, Sudbury Downs is asking everyone to send their best memories of the track to [email protected]
“We would like to print these memories in our official race program leading up to our final card of racing on Nov. 24 when the best submission will be highlighted in our final race program,” said Andrew MacIsaac, director of operations.