June 9, 2020, SASKATOON, SK – With the safety of our patrons and staff in mind, today we announce the cancellation of the 2020 Marquis Downs Live Thoroughbred Race Season.
A previous announcement (May 4th on social media) canceled the first part of the season up until July. “This is the first time we are seeing anything like this,” said Race Manager, Rick Fior. The racecourse opened at Prairieland Park in 1969 and has not missed a season yet, “We have missed nights due to rain or weather, but never anything like this before”.
Most of the jockeys that race at Marquis Downs come from Trinidad or Jamaica, which leaves the Marquis season at the mercy of the travel ban during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The trainers also need time to get the Thoroughbreds race-ready. With the limitations currently in place for travel and public gatherings, a race season is just not feasible for this year.
Horse racing was a part of the Saskatoon EX prior to finding its home at Marquis Downs in ’69. The racecourse was built in just under three months and was a marvel of its time, with a wide track and state of the art grandstand, Marquis Downs was the talk of Western Canada.
Marquis Downs is the only live Thoroughbred racecourse in Saskatchewan. It is located at Prairieland Park and, in most years, has 24 – 30 race days each season on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer (May to September). Marquis employs approximately 100 people annually across the province in the teletheatres it operates for off-track betting and during live racing season in Saskatoon. The industry is comprised of many trainers and owners that will be directly affected by this cancellation.
“It is sad to think there won’t be horse races this year,” said Fior – who has been a part of the track in some way for more than 40 years.
For more information contact:
Kristy Rempel, Manager – Marketing, Saskatoon Prairieland Park Corporation Cell: (306) 261-9233 or (306) 229-2338