Mar 2, 2013 7:56 PM by David Jay
BILLINGS - For the second year in a row, Yellowstone Downs will not have horse-racing this year at MetraPark.
That announcement happened during a Montana Board of Horse Racing conference call meeting this afternoon.
The last time horses ran at Yellowstone Downs was 2011.
During Saturday's meeting, Yellowstone Horse Racing Alliance Director of Racing Ben Carlson said he can not run races in 2013.
"After giving it quite a bit of thought and consideration, we're not going to have enough money to run eight days," Carlson said.
Running fewer than eight days still would not make it possible to have horse racing.
"It's just not going to be a doable deal to knock it down to four, five or six days," Carlson said. "Takes too much to get the facility ready, same amount of money to do three or four days."
Yellowstone Horse Racing Alliance President Jim Espy says horse-racing takes about $20-thousand a day, which adds up to about $160-thousand dollars for the whole eight days.
In 2011, the Montana Board of Horse Racing contributed $140-thousand dollars to Yellowstone Downs. This year, it expected to give about $50-thousand.
"If for some reason it was $50-thousand, are you saying that would still not be enough to run your eight days and anything less than eight days is not an acceptable thing," Tom Tucker, executive secretary of the board of horse racing asked.
"That's right," Carlson answered.
Some on the conference call said horse racing in Billings helps all the tracks in Montana.
"It makes me very sad that Billings won't be running. Huge, huge hit to the horseman in our state."
"It's a terrible blow to think about Billings being out of the picture."
The Yellowstone Horse Racing alliance cancelled last year and this year, hoping to come back in 2014.
But at the end of the meeting, a board of horse racing member and crow tribal member, Shawn Real Bird, made an announcement.
"There could be a possibility that the Crow Tribe will lease MetraPark race tracks for those dates to run," Real Bird said. "Pie in the sky kind of idea. Could be a possibility if everybody is in support of it."
Missoula and Kalispell also cancelled horse racing this year.
Miles City will run four three days, May 12, 18 and 19 as part of the Bucking Horse Sale.
Great Falls will have three days of horse racing in July.
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