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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Fargo could have up to 9 days of horse racing

  • Horse Race North Dakota had requested 12 days of racing for next year, $220,000 in purse money and $300,000 in promotion funds.
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  • The North Dakota Horse Park in Fargo could have up to nine days of horse racing next year.
    The North Dakota Racing Commission has granted nine days of racing to the track, but will not award funding until a February meeting, state Racing Director Winston Satran told the Forum newspaper (http://bit.ly/TBzD0i ).
    Wes Heinert, president of Horse Race North Dakota, which operates the Fargo track, said the organization is pleased with the number of days allowed for next year's racing, which is expected sometime between July 26 and Aug. 18.
    "When they do determine the amount of funding they are going to give us, then we can go ahead and determine how many of the nine days we can use," Heinert said.
    Horse Race North Dakota had requested 12 days of racing for next year, $220,000 in purse money and $300,000 in promotion funds. Satran said a funding decision was delayed until February, when final deposits from tax funds are known.
    Funding for the state's two horse racing track comes from taxes on account deposit wagering and then divided into purse money or promotions for the tracks.
    Account deposit wagering is when someone deposits money in an account using a wagering hub licensed by the commission. The money in each account is then used to pay for race bets that can be made in person, by telephone or online. Companies operating the hubs are taxed.
    The track in Fargo hosted two weekends of racing last summer after being shut down for two years due to mounting debt that included nearly $2 million still owed to the city for construction of the track.
    The state Racing Commission is allowed to contribute funding for meet operation and purse money, but not for track debt.
    Horse Race North Dakota received a break last week when the Fargo City Commission agreed to defer 2013 and 2014 assessment payments.
    Heinert said he believes the delay will allow the organization to build a savings for future payments.
    The Racing Commission allocated $89,000 for the 2012 Fargo meet, which generated a $120,000 profit. The majority of operation funding was received as donations from out-of-state gambling companies. Heinert said the Fargo track will likely benefit next year from similar donations.
    The state commission also awarded Chippewa Downs in Belcourt nine race days in 2013, Satran said. That track asked for 10 race days and about $371,550 in funding.

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