Fraser Downs 17755 - 60th Avenue, Surrey, B.C. V3S 1V3 Canada 

A New Era Dawns

Proud, Grateful 
& Determined
by Chuck Keeling

An Industry,
Not Just a Sport

Careers, Training
& Opportunities

An 8-Year Odyssey

Apologies for 

Our Goals

Sandown Park

Rainbow Downs

Around the Province

An 8-Year Odyssey

An 8-Year OdysseyThe campaign to win municipal and provincial approval for the project now under construction at Fraser Downs began in 1995. The late Jim Keeling Jr. designed a research project to track the damage government lotteries and other gaming was doing to horse racing all over North America, and what other jurisdictions were doing to reverse the trend.

A report entitled Crossroads 1996 published by Cloverdale Raceway and the B.C. Standardbred Association on January 31, 1996, demonstrated the decline and even bankruptcy of tracks where governments failed to rectify punitive taxation, or to permit racing a share of other gaming revenues.

This was the beginning of a campaign to follow the lead of Ontario, Alberta and other jurisdictions, to eliminate the 3% tax on pari-mutuel gross, a burden unique to horse racing, and to permit slot machines at racetracks. This British Columbia tax was removed in 2001. The final approval for slot machines at Fraser Downs was voted by Surrey City Council on December 16, 2003.

Here are excerpts from the 1996 report:

  • If intelligent leadership is not immediately provided, both within the sport and also at governmental levels, it is more than possible that both harness and thoroughbred racing will be in serious difficulty before many years pass. In fact, if the wrong decisions are made within the next two years, there may not be a sport five years from now.

  • All policies must emphasize and protect the viability of live horse racing. Simulcasting and new technologies must evolve in a fashion complementary to, but not as an alternative to, the live event.

  • Any policy decision that does not impact itself positively where horses are bred, or which does not encourage people to buy, train and race horses, or which does not bring more fans into the live audience, is a decision that will enhance decay rather than renewal.

In has been an exercise in survival since 1996. The track was lengthened to 5/8ths mile as Cloverdale Raceway became Fraser Downs, and the improvement to facilities has been significant, consuming substantial investment. The simulcast explosion throughout horse racing has been of benefit to fans, track operators and horsemen. Government has helped along the way, working with the industry to divert portions of the former pari-mutuel tax into both purses and capital improvements.

But a phrase we used in 1996 - “clinging to the precipice” - has been a fact of life for almost a decade. 

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Fraser Downs 17755 - 60th Avenue, Surrey, B.C. V3S 1V3 Canada 
Tel. 604.576-9141 * Fax 604.576.9821 

This publication is a copyright of Orangeville Raceway Ltd., presented for the information and enjoyment of staff, horse people, suppliers, fans and friends. Articles may be reproduced or quoted without permission, but please credit Fraser Downs.