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Wendy Reuer, Published February 15 2013

Racing board ups Fargo track funds

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Racing Commission on Friday granted Fargo’s horse track more than $61,000 to help fund racing at the track this summer.

The commission awarded Horse Race North Dakota – the nonprofit that runs the track – $61,684 in promotional funds, racing director Winston Satran said.

In 2012, the Fargo track received about $18,000 of promotion funds from the racing commission to operate four days of racing.

Wes Heinert, president of Horse Race North Dakota, said earlier this year that North Dakota Horse Park is hoping to host nine days of racing sometime between July 26 and Aug. 18.

Horse Race North Dakota initially requested 12 days of racing, $220,000 in purse money and $300,000 in promotional funds.

Officials from Horse Race North Dakota could not be reached for comment Friday.

Satran said the commission delayed the decision to award purse money to Fargo’s track until May.

Purse money determines the values of races while promotion funds can be used for operations.

“By that time, we’ll have collected more tax revenue, and we will be able to reward them more funds,” Satran said. “We would be looking at a minimum of $85,000 in purse money.”

The racing commission funds both the North Dakota Horse Park in Fargo and Chippewa Downs in Belcourt by using taxes paid by account wagering deposit companies and on simulcast betting.

Account deposit wagering is when someone deposits money in an account using a wagering hub licensed by the commission and uses the account to pay for race bets in person, by telephone or online.

Satran said the racing commission has $183,773 in its purse fund, and the racing commission awarded $142,000 on Friday to Chippewa Downs for the eight days of races it plans.

The commission’s promotion fund holds $149,684, and commissioners on Friday granted about $88,000 to Chippewa Downs for 2013 operations.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530