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HORSE RACING IS RETURNING TO OSOYOOS WITH TWO RACE DATES CONFIRMED AT DESERT PARK FOR THIS SUMMER
After an absence of a decade, horse racing will be returning to Osoyoos in June.
The Desert Park Exhibition Society has received approval to have two racing days this year, said Carol Youngberg, society president.
Races will be held June 15 at 3 p.m. and Aug. 31 at 2 p.m. at the race track at Desert Park, Youngberg said.
Races will include thoroughbreds and quarter horses. Full paramutual betting will be allowed for both race dates.
The facility has improved dramatically the past few months, she said.
“The race track is in tip top condition according to the horse owners that were there,” she added.
Youngberg believes the races will have an economic spinoff in the area and will also give a boost to the horse racing industry, breeders, farmers, tourism and the community in general.
The provincial government is contributing some of the purse money as part of its support for horse racing in the province, she said.
A lot of work is still required at the track because the facility has to be inspected by authorities prior to the race days, Youngberg said.
The Desert Park Exhibition Society is responsible for the race days and it works under the direction of the Interior Race Association, which in turn reports to the provincial association.
The Interior Race Association recently accepted Osoyoos’ application for the racing days.
Osoyoos got racing back because the community wanted it, Youngberg said, but she hopes community support will result in volunteers, who are badly needed, stepping forward.
Aside from Osoyoos, the other horse races in the area are in Princeton, with race days on June 29 and 30, and Vernon, with two days in July, Youngberg said. Otherwise, B.C. racing fans would have to travel to Hastings Park racetrack in Vancouver.
“The society is really trying to encourage everyone in the community to support race days, and see if we can bring a little more life to the industry,” Youngberg said.
Desert Park Exhibition Society plans a public meeting in conjunction with its annual general meeting on Wednesday, March 13, at 7 p.m. at the Sonora Community Centre.