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Committee recommends fair drop horse racing

By Heidi Meili, Anchor, hmeili@keci.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:03:37 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 28 2013 09:17:19 PM MST
End of racing recommended
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The Missoula County Fairgrounds Advisory Committee is recommending against horse racing in future planning.

A member of the committee tells NBC Montana that the fairgrounds is going to remain where it is and continue to house the Western Montana Fair, that the race track takes up more than half of the grounds and that studies show that days of horse racing have declined sharply across all of Montana.  

Eric Gabster, the chairman of the committee, says there have only been two days of racing at the Western Montana Fairgrounds in the last seven years.  

Gabster goes on to explain that promoters, not the county, run horse races and that the current regulatory structure makes it virtually certain they will lose money doing so.  Therefore, few come forward to book races.  

The final decision is up to the Board of County Commissioners.  It is unclear when the County Commissioners will consider the committee's recommendation.