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2011 Fraser Downs Dates Confirmed

In a joint announcement from Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, Fraser Downs Racetrack & Casino management and Harness Racing BC, it’s been confirmed that the 2011 schedule will consist of 70 live racing days with an opportunity to increase that total to 82 days.

The added 12 dates may be added subject to performance-based measure and approval from the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch of British Columbia (GPEB).

“We are very happy with the approval and look forward to working with our racing partners to ensure that our product exceeds expectations,” said Howard Blank, Vice President, Communications, Entertainment and Responsible Gambling at Great Canadian. “Having the dates now officially approved can be attributed to the hard work and cooperation achieved with the Standardbred owners, the Provincial Racing Committee, regulators and our executive team.”

The Fraser Downs schedule in 2011 will consist of three racing days per week (Friday Saturday and Sunday) beginning January 1 and running through April 15 prior to the summer break.

There are two race days (Friday and Sunday) on the calendar beginning October 7, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011, but the additional 12 dates could be added based upon achieving the goals and approval from GPEB.

The updated complete racing schedule is available at

Doug McCallum Joins Harness Racing BC

Former Surrey City Mayor Doug McCallum has joined Harness Racing BC in an executive capacity to help meet operational goals. “We’re delighted to have him on board,” said president Jim Vinnell. “Doug will help in setting up a plan of operations and achieving goals as well as be of great assistance in the area of sponsorship and fund-raising.”

McCallum first held a seat on Surrey City Council and during his term was Chair of the Finance Committee and sat as a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission and Library Board. He was elected Mayor in 1999 and again in 2002.

Fraser Downs Race Dates Cut; 2011 Season in Doubt

In a letter sent to the horse racing industry by the British Columbia Government’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch of the Ministry of Housing and Social Development, it was announced that race days at Fraser Downs would be drastically cut in 2010, and the whole 2011 season would be “rescinded” for now, subject to review. Following is the complete text of this letter:

Horse Racing Industry Participants:

As discussed at the open meeting with industry on July 27,2010, the financial challenges affecting the horse racing industry have created a very difficult environment for racing in this province and elsewhere.

While we all hope the fiscal picture has stabilized and will begin to improve, it is much too early to reach any conclusions in that regard. Perhaps more importantly, it is clear a significant and fundamental change in business approach is necessary if the industry is to have an opportunity for real and sustained recovery.

The Horse Racing Industry Management Committee has been striving to balance a number of competing challenges (declining revenues, everyone’s desire to have better and more race dates despite that, etc). The committee has been strategic, thoughtful and organized in its efforts to achieve the best results possible, including making difficult financial allocations that did not necessarily reflect traditional practices.

To date, the committee has focussed on the current year, in order to fully understand and explain the financial realities, stabilize circumstances and mitigate any negative consequences.

However, we have clearly heard the industry is concerned about what will happen in the future. Participants in the industry are looking for a longer-tern vision. In this regard, the committee intends to implement a plan that creates the best possible opportunities for success. This will require some difficult decisions.

I am writing today to communicate decisions taken by the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC) regarding the current and coming race seasons.

This plan is endorsed and supported by the Horse Racing Industry Management Committee, which believes the following steps will best prepare horse racing in British Columbia for a successful and sustainable future.

Race days and financial allocations for the duration of 2010

GCGC has advised the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB), in its role as regulator of the industry, that GCGC is adjusting the race season for the standardbred sector for both 2010 and 2011.

For the remainder of 2010, GCGC has requested that GPEB reduce the number of assigned race days for the standardbred sector from 37 to 23 days during the period between October 15 and December 31, 2O1O. This reduction will not only avoid any overlap between British Columbia’s thoroughbred and standardbred racing seasons, but will also improve the value of purses available for distribution among the remaining standardbred race dates.

GPEB has approved this revised racing schedule, which includes Fridays and Sundays during the mid-October to December period, as well as Thursday, November 11.

At present, the committee does not anticipate any change in 2010 financial allocations made to either the standardbred or thoroughbred sectors as a result of this reduction in standardbred race days.

Standardbred race days and financial allocation for 2O11

For 2011, GCGC has requested that GPEB rescind all assigned race days for the standardbred sector but has indicated that it may in future request approval to race in 2011 with the number of potential race days yet to be determined.

GCGC has verbally advised the committee that the viability of a 2011 standardbred race season will be significantly enhanced if the Harness Racing BC Society (HRBCS) can reach an arrangement with the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association (ASHA) and Horse Racing Alberta (HRA) to establish an inter-provincial standardbred racing season. Discussion with HRA have already identified the possibility of a season that would involve four (4) months of racing in BC (January to April) and four (4) months in Alberta (September to December) starting in 2011.

The Horse Racing Industry Management Committee proposes to establish a dedicated task force involving the HRBCS to ensure timely and effective negotiations between the relevant parties, with the goal of formalizing this arrangement prior to October 15, 2010.

The intention is to establish a coordinated inter-provincial standardbred racing season beginning in 2011 and continuing thereafter. Such a coordinated effort has the potential to stabilize the breed in both provinces, provide a lengthy race season for interested standardbred participants in both BC and Alberta, and allow the BC industry to achieve some operating savings through a shortened season at Fraser Downs.

Given a shortened 2011 standardbred season, the committee anticipates a reduction in the allocation to the standardbred sector in 2011. This reduction will reflect industry revenues but ideally, will also facilitate increased purses for the remaining race days.

Once the 2011 season has been determined, the committee will make decisions concerning the allocation of available funds in the best interests of British Columbia’s horse racing industry.

Derek Sturko
Chair, BC Horse Racing Industry Management Committee

pc: Honourable Rich Coleman
Committee members
Chris Curtis
Doug Scott

Special Night for a Special Person

Canadian harness racing icon Robert Murphy will be honoured at Fraser Downs Racetrack & Casino on Friday, June 11. Robert Murphy Night will be a salute to one of Canada’s most prominent breeders and owners in the history of standardbred racing. Mr. Murphy passed away on February 8, 2010 at the age of 77.

Robert Murphy Night will include a race in his name and the unveiling of the Robert Murphy Room located off the Atrium in the main entrance to Fraser Downs.

Born in Vancouver, Robert Murphy’s horses were credited with well over $105 million in purse earnings over two decades. Mr. Murphy and his wife, Mary, were honoured by the B.C. Standardbred Breeders’ Society in 2008 with the renaming of the BC Breeders Stakes for 3-year-olds. Robert Murphy was inducted into the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2009.

Mrs. Murphy says she expects upwards of 25 family members and friends to be on hand at Fraser Downs for the evening dedicated to her husband of 58 years.

Rededication Ceremony at Surrey Centre Cemetery

The Cloverdale Legion will be hosting a rededication ceremony of the renovated World War I veterans’ area on June 5 at 1:00 PM.

The Cloverdale Legion has been working with the City of Surrey Cemetery Services to renovate the existing World War I veterans’ area. The project involved having the WWI memorials returned to their original setting. Upright memorials that had been flat have been resurrected and pillow type memorials have been raised, cleaned and retouched. The cornerstones have been replaced with new granite cornerstones, the grass area surrounding the graves has received new sod and leveled, a new Memorial Garden has been created, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has supplied two new upright markers.

A short and moving ceremony has been planned to include a short on site parade, and address by the Branch Padre to rededicate the veterans’ area and memorial, a tribute to the passing of John Babcock, the last Canadian WW1 veteran, and the Last Post is to be performed on a 1916 WWI bugle, a recent donation to the Cloverdale Legion.

Toward the conclusion of the ceremony, the Mayor will plant the last plant in the Memorial Garden.

Iconic Canadian Band 54-40 Set to Kick Off Rodeo Weekend

One of the most popular bands to emerge from the Canadian cultural landscape, 54-40 will officially kick off the 2010 Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair with a concert on Thursday, May 20 at the Longhorn Saloon. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets for the special Thursday Night Kick-Off Party are only $25 plus service charges and are available at TicketMaster: online at or by phone at 604-280-4444.

Olympic Torch travels through Cloverdale

Runner carries the Olympic torch past the colour guard to Museum Plaza

Runner carries the Olympic torch past the colour guard to Museum Plaza

The Olympic Torch Relay passed through Cloverdale on February 8. A huge crowd lined both sides of Highway 10 and filled the Museum Plaza.

The Cloverdale Legion colour party provided an honour guard.

The Lord Tweedsmuir Senior Jazz Band provided entertainment to the crowd.

Cloverdale Rodeo Election Results

Elections for the Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition Association board were held at the AGM on January 20. Results of the elections are as follows:

Incumbent Directors Shannon Claypool, Ken Kachur and Rob Marshall were voted back onto the board.

The 2010 executive consists of:

  • Shannon Claypool  President
  • Gerry Spielmacher  1st Vice President
  • Penny Smythe  2nd Vice president
  • Ken Kachur  Treasurer and Personnel.

A Sign of Spring


Crocuses have popped up in the planters in downtown Cloverdale. The one pictured is outside the Museum.

New Recreation Centre for Cloverdale

A new $15 million, 60,000 sq. ft. multipurpose complex is being built at the corner of 176 Street and 62A Avenue. This new centre will meet the needs of Cloverdale’s rapidly growing population, which has jumped to 53,000 and is projected to grow in the next five years.

Some of the highlights of this new facility will be a triple gymnasium, a wellness centre and fitness and exercise rooms. There will be activities like drop in sports, arts and cultural programs, preschool and children’s programs as well as a wide range of programs for seniors, like carpet bowling and pickleball.

The Centre is expected to open in early 2011.