In Terrebonne, near Montreal, we had a big race at the fair grounds in 1837.
In a book, published about horse racing in Quebec, we read that in 1900 we had 101 racetracks in Quebec and at least one is most municipalities. The nicest fair ground was in Montreal on Sherbrooke street.
But then, the agriculture ministry sold all tracks to private owners and the tracks disappeared.
In 1980, we had only four tracks — Blue Bonnets had bought all track permits around the Montreal region.
Mayor Jean Drapeau told in 1980 and 1982: “A great city has a stadium, a great theatre, a hockey arena and grand hippodrome (Paris had eight hippodromes).
In 1985, I published Le Grand Hippodrome du Quebec in Montreal, after letters from the Minister and the two horsemen associations.
The plan was copied on the French organization, 250 racetracks, a non lucrative organization controlling the wagering money market. There were plans for the track, for houses for trainers and employees with a organisation for 35 regional racetracks.
Nobody paid me for my two years work and experience. I am the only Canadian owner who won two races in Paris Vincennes in 1976.
Politicians, track owners wanted the video poker etc.
Now, there is just one racetrack in Three Rivers, with $3,000 in average purses and no future for the sport founded by our ancestors.
Is this your future?
Yes, unless you copy the French organization and their betting branch, the PMU, to make USA great again.
— Richard Lavigne / Laval, QC
Embrace and help younger generations
Two Saturdays ago at Scioto Downs, a younger man in his 20’s approached our table and asked why a particular horse on the program was racing at different distances, 15,000 feet one time and 18,000 feet a couple of other times. He was looking at the purse level’s column. So I took my pencil and pointed out left to right what all the columns mean, basic read the program 101. He was very appreciative. He was also one of 10-12 younger folks sitting and standing at two tables below our level in the simulcast table area. They were drinking favorite beverages, wagering, and appeared to be enjoying the evening. New prospects hopefully. It was refreshing to see a younger generation (I was born in ’48) at the races. We did not get into driver ratings, pedigree, class drops, or how the race may unfold as I wanted to avoid information overload. My hope is that when others encounter a novice they will take the time to educate/indoctrinate them on our wonderful sport. These opportunities do not occur often, or often enough.
— Steve Smith / Grove City OH