- Associated Press - Thursday, December 7, 2017

FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A faint ray of hope has surfaced that a horse racing track in central South Dakota could hold races next year.

Stanley County Commissioner Dennis Booth announced two weeks ago that the Verendrye Benevolent Association wouldn’t host horse races in Fort Pierre for the 2018 season. The statement cited a continued decline in funds provided by the South Dakota Commission on Gaming from taxes on pari-mutuel betting.

But during a commission meeting on Tuesday, Booth, who sits on the association’s board, told Fairgrounds Manager Scott Deal that the future of the races is “not totally dead, yet,” the Pierre Capital Journal reported .

Deal said he wouldn’t make plans for the fairgrounds until it’s certain that no horse races will be held at the track next year. The races date back more than half a century.

The South Dakota Commission on Gaming allocates funding for the state’s two race tracks in Fort Pierre and Aberdeen. The association was allocated $170,000 for the 2018 season, which is $19,000 less funding than last year. The drop is part of a nationwide trend for pari-mutuel betting.

Five years ago, the newspaper reported, the association was allocated about $300,000. According to Booth’s statement, the association would face a shortfall of $40,000 to $50,000 if it were to host next year’s races.

Booth said there are discussions taking place about raising the funds required to put on the races.


Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, http://www.capjournal.com

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