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Published June 03 2012

North Dakota horse track to kick off four weekends of racing

BELCOURT, N.D. — One of North Dakota's two state-sponsored horse racing tracks is preparing to open the season.

Chippewa Downs in Belcourt has scheduled four straight weekends of racing beginning on Saturday. The track draws horses and riders from several states and Canada.

Track officials say they have spent about $100,000 in improvements on the track, including a new railing and roping arena.

Lee Thomas, spokesman for the group that funded the upgrades, tells the Minot Daily News that horse racing is a tradition in the area. He says people used to congregate at small tracks on Sundays after church and race horses.

The North Dakota Horse Park in Fargo plans to resume racing later this summer after a two-year shutdown to pay bills and find new ways to pay for racing.