Will this be the last Molson Pace?

The signature race at Western Fair Raceway is set for Friday night (May 25) at the half-mile track.

It’s a $300,000 race and the top pacers are invited to the event.

I have covered it many times and I always attend.

This year I’m wondering if it might be the last one.

With the provincial government ending its racetrack slots program next March, the harness racing industry will change dramatically.

I’m not so sure this race will survive or many others like them.

It’s a difficult time for the industry and others are wondering what the future holds as well.

I have a feeling it will be more of a sombre atmosphere at this year’s Molson Pace.

I was at the eliminations and there definitely was uncertainty as I talked to officials about what is going to happen. The OLG is keeping its bets to itself right now.

Post time is 6:50 p.m.


8 thoughts on “Will this be the last Molson Pace?

  1. Don’t know much about racing…but love going to Raceways (Aqueduct, Balmoral Park, Belmont, Calder, Churchill Downs, Gulfstream, Hialeah, Sam Houston Race Park, Pompano, Woodbine, Mohawk etc…)in my humble opinion, Western Fair facility in so many ways, on so many levels seriously lags and pales in comparison to what is now considered state-of-the-art in size of track; size of Grandstand, size of parking; quality of amenities (dining and entertainment).

    While the Western Fair has long contemplated plans for a complete face-lift of its facility (built more than 5o years ago—and slightly and only occasionaly renovated in stages over the years since) in order to compete with other quality racetracks, it now realizes more than ever that it will need to improve its image and facility to attract a higher caliber of racing as well as racing patron and do whatever it can to reverse declining trends in attendance, waning public interest, falling revenue, etc.

    Perhaps consultants will be making their recommendations with more urgency these days, and suggesting many more changes: including extending and re-orienting track; build new Grandstand; more restaurants; a hotel; more parking; larger, fancier up-market casino.

    Who knows if new OLG policy changes will spur or spurn these grand schemes?

  2. There is an old adage at the race track that now may be more true then ever. ” The only sure thing is that there is no sure thing”

  3. I couldn’t agree more with the first post. Western Fair is sadly lacking. It is obvious that the facilities are very poor. One need not look far down the road to see how the Ontario Jockey Club cares about its patrons and product. Seems that only caring about the bottom line has come back to haunt Western Fair. Maybe a case now of to little to late.

  4. With so many other buildings and such a large property, there is much upkeep.
    Organizations everywhere are trying to do more with less. Compared to other tracks on the B circuit, it’s in pretty good shape.

    • London is the best B track in North America, good management and they try the best they can to accommodate the patron. Clubhouse 2nd to none with lots of free parking at the door. What more could you ask for in a city this size & to answer your ? will this be the last Mol Ex., I think there will be 1 more then it’s lights out. Thousands of fans will be left without their sport of choice and the jobs that will be lost will be catastrophic. I’ve met friends on Boxing Day that I have know for 40 years and their will be 1 more party. The decision to end racing in Ont will be looked back in the future as one of the worst political decisions in Canadian history.

  5. I think you’re right Gord. But nobody will recognize the mistake until the ripple is felt far and wide.
    Had a great night at the track on Fri. Bet on the best of the best, John Campbell, and he didn’t let me down.

    • Ya Jr. ( JC ) did good, the horse he had in the Wall Of Fame finished 2nd ) looks like a good claim for 25K.
      He still has the touch for q guy thats been around for a while, its becoming a young mans game. cheers

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