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August 13, 2009
For immediate release

Province Announces Additional Funding for Harness Racing Industry

Provincial Treasury

As Old Home Week begins, the provincial government is providing a financial boost to the harness racing industry, says Provincial Treasurer Wes Sheridan.

“As we celebrate the tremendous history of harness racing in the province, especially with the 50th Edition of the Gold Cup and Saucer, it is appropriate that we set a new commitment level for harness racing,” Mr. Sheridan said.

“The Island harness racing industry is built on longstanding partnerships – and as one of those partners, the province is committing an additional $50,000 to the industry,” said the Minister, who is also Responsible for the Island Harness Racing industry.

The new funding will be used to host a third Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer Trial race this year, enhance the overnight purse pools for races at the Charlottetown Driving Park and the Summerside Raceway and grow the Atlantic Sires Stakes.

“To say the Harness Racing Industry Association on PEI is pleased, would be an understatement,” said Tom Clark, Vice-President of PEI Harness Racing Industry Association.

“We are extremely grateful to our government for the role that they play in the growth of the racing industry, not only here on PEI, but the Atlantic provinces in general. Our responsibility now, is to ensure that these additional funds are utilized to their fullest, in an equitable manner, to help ensure continuing growth and prosperity.”

“We will also be working diligently to share this success story with our sister provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Through the Atlantic Harness Racing Industry Association, we will remain focused on encouraging those leaders to follow suit and build on the Racing/Gaming Model here on PEI, which will create an even stronger Atlantic industry,” Clark added.

The province has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years, leading the country in new ownership numbers.

“We are very appreciative of the increased support from the province of Prince Edward Island for the Atlantic Sires Stakes program, and hope other provincial governments are able to do the same. As a board we are always working to make the ASBA program better,” said Eldred Nicholson, vice-president of the Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association.

“Prince Edward Island is a leader in the sport of harness racing,” said Jeremy Pierce, General Manager, Harness Racing PEI Inc. “We've had so much interest this year we had to add a third trial. This announcement by the province is welcome news during a year with such significance as the 50th edition of the Sobeys Gold Cup & Saucer.”

“To have long-term growth in the industry we need to ensure the foundation is strong. This $50,000 announcement is another step, along with our partnerships with the Charlottetown Driving Park, Summerside Raceway, Atlantic Lottery Corporation, Harness Racing Industry Association of PEI, and Atlantic Standardbred Breeders Association to building a better future for harness racing,” Mr. Sheridan added.

Media Contact: Alf Blanchard
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