Fort Erie Race Track Undertakes Revamping During Lockdown
Fort Erie Race Track made good use of the Niagara region’s lockdown period by conducting a comprehensive revamp of its venue.
With large chunks of the previous year being swallowed up by the lockdown, Fort Erie Race Track used the opportunity to make improvements at its racecourse, enhancing the turf through enhancements of the sprinkler and drainage systems.
With the last thoroughbred race taking place in autumn last year, the track is making hurried preparations for a potential reopening of the live harness season. Parallelly, visitors’ safety features are also being buffed up, should spectators be allowed back any time soon.
Major Overhaul of Facilities
The drainage and sprinkler system enhancements will allow better control of the turf. Additionally, there’ve been improvements to the backstretch, with eavestroughs installed on the barns. It is expected that horses will begin to arrive next week, with trainers currently readying their stalls.
The racetrack also approached the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to add an additional two racing dates in October to its live harness calendar, bringing the total number of races to 42.
Last year’s horseraces at the track had no spectators. When fans eventually return, they will have at their disposal the renovated Prince of Wales dining room. Additionally, the clubhouse roof has been replaced, and a new paddock fencing has been installed. Plexiglass barriers and hand-sanitising stations have also been set up to comply with the health and safety protocols.
Interestingly, the absence of a live audience in 2020 has not hurt the track’s season, with the venue enjoying a 40 per cent rise in pre-race betting. Over CA$$2,093,000 has been placed in bets on an eight-race card on 2 June 2020 alone. The year has been high-volume for the track, with a total of CA$40.2 million wagered in 39 racing days.
Fort Erie Race Track has recorded a profitable last few years. For the 2019 live harness season, the venue reported an improvement in revenue compared to previous years. Place wagers on the track’s races reached CA$29,970,000 for the 2019 season, showing a growing interest in the sport among the local Ontarians.