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Wendy Reuer, Published February 27 2013

Horse racing to return to Fargo in July with three-day meet

FARGO – Horse racing will return here this summer with a three-day meet in July.

Races at the Fargo track are scheduled July 19, 20 and 21, said Horse Race North Dakota Vice President Wes Heinert.

Horse Race North Dakota, a nonprofit group that operates the North Dakota Horse Park in Fargo, decided Tuesday to operate a one-weekend meet after the North Dakota Racing Commission granted the track only a third of its requested funding on Feb. 15

“This year we expect to have a great meet again,” Heinert said. “We’re generating as many dollars as we can for the city of Fargo. We wanted to go three weekends so we could pump dollars into the local economy. There’s really no other way to do it and be fiscally responsible with the lack of funds they give us.”

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

The track was granted $61,684 in promotional funds, but a purse money award was delayed until April, racing director Winston Satran said.

The racing commission awarded $142,000 to Chippewa Downs in Belcourt for eight days of races it plans.

Heinert said the three-day meet will be eight races less than the four-day, two-weekend 2012 meet.

Horse Race North Dakota has also hired a full-time general manager for the Fargo track. Chris McConnell, president of Racing Consulting Group in Miami, started his job on Feb. 1.

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