Fargo-Moorhead will get live horse racing back next year


The Fargo-Moorhead area will have live horse racing in 2016.

After canceling the 2015 schedule because the owners of North Dakota Horse Park owed $1.9 million, the state's Racing Commission Thursday approved races for next summer, the Grand Forks Herald reports.


Races, according to WDAY, are now slated for the 2016 weekends of July 16-17, July 23-24, and July 30-31.

So how did the track end up owing money?

The city of Fargo helped get the infrastructure needed for the track in place, the Bismarck Tribune explained in August, and the two parties that own the track – North Dakota Horse Park Foundation and Horse Racing North Dakota – owe the $1.9 million from that.

They were supposed to start repaying it in March this year, with a $189,000 special assessment and property tax, but that didn't happen, The Forum reported. One of the ownership groups was reportedly struggling to comer up with its share of the repayment.

The commission canceled the season that month, the third time they've done so since racing began there in 2003, the Grand Forks Herald reports.

The owners submitted a repayment plan, and the state's racing commission will get some spots on the track's board going forward.

North Dakota Horse Park is the only live race track in the immediate Fargo-Moorhead area. The other licensed North Dakota track is in Belcourt, about four hours northwest of Fargo and right up near the Canadian border, the North Dakota Racing Commission says.

There are two licensed options in Minnesota – Canterbury Park and Running Aces, both of which are in the Twin Cities area.

Nationwide, racetracks are generally in freefall, MinnPost wrote in a piece from July – but not Canterbury Park, which is seeing dividends after (among other things) pushing to attract younger people while not being as worried about hardcore gamblers, the site says.

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Racing back in action at North Dakota Horse Park?

It looks like horse racing might return to Fargo as soon as this summer after being shut-down for two years because of major debt. Forum Communications reports the horse park has paid off several thousand dollars and found new revenue streams. The commission is set to discuss racing dates later this month.