The spacious MetraPark grandstand, overlooking the horse-racing track formally known as Yellowstone Downs, is scheduled to be demolished soon. It will truly be a sad moment for me when that part of the crumbling racing facility officially bites the dust. Crashing down with it will be any hopes of reviving the popular sport locally.
[Due to the demise of simulcasting] the revenue scenario for 2021 and live racing is now in question. But, as always, in the midst of difficulty lies opportunity. This turn of events may be a silver lining in creating a sense of urgency that the Legislature often needs to act. The need for passage of the sports wagering and Historical Horse Racing legislation becomes much more compelling.
Another era in Montana horse racing comes to an end Tuesday when the statewide simulcast network goes dark. Missoula businessman Nick Alonzo has operated Montana Simulcast Racing, LLC, daily since 2012, but said Monday he’s been bucking the times. He decided a couple of weeks ago not to renew his one-year contract with the Montana Board of Horse Racing that ends Dec. 31. “Unfortunately, the bettors aren’t there any more to have a place like this, other than one day a year for the Kentucky Derby”.
The Montana Board of Horse Racing has paid off a loan in excess of $628,000 to the state three years ahead of schedule, officials said, erasing a debt incurred several years ago. Board members say they are optimistic about racing’s future in the Treasure State.