Opening day at Fort Erie race track

It’s opening day at the Fort Erie race track, and just a few months ago no one thought this day would arrive. But at the last minute the province came up with money for the track. Hours before post time, the horses and everyone else in the backstretch, were getting ready for day one at the track.“It’s been threatened the last couple of years, but you know, we’re back. We’re here,” says horse owner Julie Ayres. Ayres and Shawn Ridout kept seven race horses over the winter, costing about $20,000.It was just a few days ago, on Friday, that the Ontario Racing Commission approved the 37 race dates and signed the government contract for $7.9 million.It may not seem like a lot when you consider last year there were 43 race dates, but it could have been worse. Over the winter everyone thought the Fort Erierace track was going to shut down.Peter Martin delivers feed to the horses and he’s seen the number decline from 800 a few years ago to less than 300 today.“Our volume in feed has gone from close to nine tons three times a week to close to two tons twice a week.”To keep up the number of horses, you need more people betting on live racing.On opening day they had a pretty good crowd, and track officials are hoping it stays this way until the end of September. read more