Our Goals

Sandown Park

Rainbow Downs

Around the Province

A New Era Dawns

Proud, Grateful 
& Determined

An Industry,
Not Just a Sport

Careers, Training
& Opportunities

An 8-Year Odyssey

Apologies for 

Sandown Park

Sandown ParkMore than 150 years of frequently distinguished Victoria horse racing history has been hanging by a slender thread in more recent times. The message has been very clear about the future of Sandown Park: unless slot machines are approved, live horse racing is no longer sustainable.

A proposal is currently in the hands of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation which could revolutionize Sandown, and once again make the Vancouver Island horse racing centre a significant employer year-round, and a major local entertainment attraction. A high quality sports lounge and simulcast centre, dining room, a slot machine racing and major redevelopment of the entire Sandown property are all part of the vision.

Thoroughbred racing was established at Sandown by the late Bill Randall Sr. in 1955. The late Jim Keeling Sr., founder of Fraser Downs (Cloverdale Raceway), commenced harness racing at Sandown Park in 1978. Keeling constructed the current grandstand complex in 1981 at a cost of $1 million, at which point the standardbred sector became the primary tenant (peak years 1981-82 each had more than 70 live harness racing cards).

Thoroughbred racing ceased completely in 1992, but a revitalized Sandown might one day provide an opportunity for a return of live thoroughbred action.

We have worked closely for years with Sandown’s neighbours, community and business organizations and Greater Victoria politicians in efforts to win support for what Sandown might become if the financial foundation is improved. We have many influential friends within the Sidney and North Saanich municipalities. Sandown Park is located within North Saanich, adjacent a commercial and industrial strip running along the Patricia Bay Highway to Victoria Airport. 

Mayor Ted Daly, several members of North Saanich council and municipal staff have been solid supporters of Sandown, very helpful to the business and encouraging about plans for new investment. But we are not presumptuous about their support of slot machines. Should BCLC and the provincial government permit us to go forward, we would then have to be as convincing and thorough in our presentation there as we were in Surrey.

Many were disappointed in March, 2001, when the former North Saanich council voted 4-3 against formally studying the proposal for slot machines at Sandown Park. However, general manager Chuck Keeling’s reaction was positive.

In an open letter to Saanich Peninsula communities, he said:

“. . that night was one of the most gratifying experiences I have had since assuming executive responsibilities within the horse racing industry in 1996. The public gallery overflowed into the parking lot. Speaker after speaker spoke in support of the horse industry, thoroughbred and standardbred racing, equestrian and even riding horses. They not only backed our proposal, they offered council excellent suggestions about how we all could go forward together. Enthusiastic applause repeatedly erupted among the audience. In fact, only one of many speakers had anything negative to say.”

Support for Sandown and our proposition has grown since 2001 and the gaming environment has also changed. The public acceptance of a successful casino at View Royal, in the western part of Greater Victoria, has quietened much of the former opposition. Our friends are ready to come forward once again.

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Fraser Downs 17755 - 60th Avenue, Surrey, B.C. V3S 1V3 Canada 
Tel. 604.576.9141 * Fax 604.576.9821

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