WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 21, 2010, 01:29 PM

Fargo horse racing on hold for now

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Horse racing is on hold for the summer in North Fargo. The park is being closed because of "major" debt, but there is still a chance of races returning in the future.

Board Members from the Horse Park would not go on camera with us today, but do say temporary closings like this are happening all over the country. One of the problems they've seen here in Fargo is that people did come out to the races, but didn't bet, which made it hard to make much of a profit.

Horse races are at a standstill, but now the race is on to find money to re-open next summer. Right now, the park is 160 thousand dollars in debt. The board has 30 days to figure out a plan to raise that money, and then go back to the State Racing Commission.

“And if it's satisfactory to the commission, then the commission would consider granting additional funds to help pay off the debt.”

If they decide to help out, the State Racing Commission would give 50 thousand dollars. Because of the benefits that come along with racing, getting that debt paid off is the number one concern for horse park and state racing commission leaders.

“They've brought a lot of traffic and economic impact and, so that's what leads us to when we can generate enough funds to get Fargo up and running again.”

In the long run, racing officials say staying closed for one summer will be a benefit, and they aren't worried about losing fan support.

“We want to get the suppliers paid off, so that we can have horse racing in the future. I don't think they're overnight fans, I think they're real fans.”

The Horse Park's board president did tell me over the phone today that he has been in contact with a couple of different donors, who he thinks will be able to contribute 100 thousand dollars to the park. He's optimistic that races will continue next summer.