Horsemen hit the OK Trail

Harness racers from Fraser Downs to hold two exhibitions in Osoyoos.

Harness drivers from Fraser Downs will compete in pair of exhibition races this month in Osoyoos.

The horsemen at Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino are taking the show on the road – all the way to Desert Park in sunny Osoyoos.

This Saturday, in what may be a Canadian first, Standardbred horses will share a track with their thoroughbred cousins, introducing fans to the sport of harness racing in two exhibition races on Aug. 16.

Some of Cloverdale’s best-known stables are making the trek to the Okanagan, where the Desert Park Exhibition Society has worked to return thoroughbred racing to Osoyoos in the past two summers, after a 15-year absence, attracting thousands of spectators for two race days a season.

The harness races will take place in between the five thoroughbred races scheduled for the day, said Jackson Wittup, executive director of Harness Racing B.C., an association representing drivers, owners, breeders and other members of the harness racing industry.

Thoroughbred races start at 1:30 p.m. and the two exhibition (no betting) races get underway at 5 p.m.

There will be two, six-horse fields, featuring the Travis Tracey, Justin Curry, Dave Hudon, Allan Molloy, and Rick Lancaster stables, and a host others.

“We’re just trying to get our foot in the door and see if there’s other options in the summer time,” he said. “Let’s go showcase ourselves.”

The 2014 live racing season at Fraser Downs is currently on summer break, and resumes on Sept. 4-5, but the industry has pledged to look at ways to keep harness racing viable in the long-term.

In February, a deal was inked guaranteeing live racing at Fraser Downs for the next five years, but the seasons will shrink to six months in 2016, something horsemen have been lobbying against, in part because operating costs are year-round. The deal also extends the funding arrangement.

At the time, Wittup said the deal means there’s time to pursue other racing options during the summer.

A number of Alberta owners and trainers use the Desert Park facility as a training facility, the Osoyoos Times recently reported.

The return of horse racing in Osoyoos proved popular last year, drawing upwards of 4,000 spectators over two race days.

Wittup said Fraser Downs and owner Great Canadian Gaming Corp. have been very supportive of the Osoyoos road trip, offering equipment and staff to make it happen.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Walnut Grove’s Shawn Meehan (front) has started another band, Trigger Mafia. This local country rocker has put country on the shelf, and is going hard-core rock with this group, releasing their first single last Friday to radio. It started as a way to pass the time during the COVID lockdown, and evolved. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Langley musician drives rock revival with COVID twist

Trigger Mafia goes straight from the garage to radio with raw lyrics

The peninsula’s Community Christmas Day Dinner at White Rock Baptist Church – seen here in 2019 – has been cancelled for 2020, because of pandemic-inspired limitations on gatherings. (File photo)
Annual Community Christmas dinner ‘just not possible’ this year

Organizers vow that 40 years-plus Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition will return, post-COVID

A surveillance camera in a photo posted to the Project Iris page on
Quality surveillance video helps catch crooks, Surrey Mounties say

Charges laid in connection to break-and-enter in Guildford area

Strawberry Hill Hall is being renovated and moved to another location on its existing corner lot in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project

Childcare spaces coming to corner lot where hall has stood for 111 years

(Photo: Twitter@SurreyRCMP)
Surrey Mounties, pet owners, bracing for Halloween

Last year the Surrey RCMP received 147 fireworks complaints on Diwali and 121 on Halloween

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read