Opening Day at Marquis Downs is scheduled for June 2. What are you most excited about for the 2017 season?
I always look forward to seeing the new horses compete that were purchased during the off season. We also have two new jockeys from Trinidad that I’m looking forward to meeting and watch ride.
What’s new at the track for 2017?
The post time has been changed to 6:35 p.m. We hope that the earlier post time will encourage people to come after work and enjoy the food and beverages in our Terrace Dining Room.
What has been your biggest challenge in recent years and how are you addressing that challenge?
The biggest challenge has been balancing the racing budget with the limited resources that we have to work with. Marquis Downs is one of the few tracks that does not receive any form of additional funding. As a result, we have had to reduce our race meet by one day.
Foal crop numbers are down across North America. How acute is that problem in Saskatchewan and what’s the biggest challenge it is posing to your business?
It certainly is a big problem in Saskatchewan. About 18 per cent of the horses that raced at Marquis were Sask.-bred. It really hasn’t affected our business, but if the numbers were stronger it would be beneficial.
I understand the CTHS board in SK is trying to find race sponsors for its events and to put together a breeder bonus to try to encourage breeding. How is that process going?
I haven’t talked to the CTHS lately, but the economic situation in Saskatchewan has taken a turn for the worse. Sponsorship during a good economy can be difficult so this will be a big challenge for them.
What other initiatives do you think the industry needs to address in Saskatchewan?
Simulcasting. Our clientele is aging and we are struggling to engage the younger generation. We have to find new ways to promote simulcast wagering in a way that it will appeal to young people. For that purpose we have employed a promotional sales coordinator.
What is your fondest horse racing memory?
Secretariat winning the 1973 Triple Crown.
Name three things on your bucket list.
1. Kentucky Derby. 2. Montreal Canadiens home game (versus Toronto) 3. Indianapolis Colts home game.
What music artist most reminds you of high school?
Who is your favourite fictional character from books or movies?
Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird.
If you could pick one superpower, what would it be and why?
Telepathy – It would be beneficial to know what others are thinking.