Recent articles confirming the final demise of Sandown Race Track have caused me to write. It was this very facility which caused my father and mother to move our family to Sidney back in 1963. My father was a thoroughbred race horse trainer and I have wonderful memories of the spectacle of colour and athleticism which is horse racing.
So it is with true sadness that I witnessed the final closing of Sandown and I am concerned over the lack of foresight by various municipal bodies which have caused this outcome.
Horse racing, both thoroughbred and harness, brought largely agrarian and ecologically sustainable jobs to the Peninsula. The fact that wagering underwrote the financial viability of this enterprise should in no way lessen this point, as pari-mutual wagering at race courses around the country offer customers far and away the best odds of winning compared to other gambling outlets.
In my view, it’s too bad that the race track’s owners were ultimately turned down in their bid to upgrade the facility and include a small casino in order to remain financially viable. This surely would have been preferable to the proliferation and expansion of other forms of gambling in the Capital Region.
But it is the sport itself that I will surely miss. The speed, athleticism (both equine and human) and excitement of horse racing is hard to match. The people, the jobs, the atmosphere will all be greatly missed.
This truly is a loss for our area.