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Flathead horse racing may be done

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Sep 25 2013 10:09:43 AM MDT
Updated On: Sep 25 2013 02:39:52 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Horse racing may be gone for good in the Flathead, as Northwest Montana Fair Organizers discuss tearing down the track.

Horse racing was put on hiatus at the fair in 2007 and made a brief return in 2010 and 2011 before being held off again for financial reasons.

Officials tell NBC Montana that tearing down the track and barns could make way for a new parking lot.

We spoke to a member of the Montana Board of Horse Racing who told us the races may not be as popular as a concert, but they do benefit the local economy.

"That money gets spread across all these horsemen and all these vendors that travel with these horsemen in terms of shoers and vets and feed suppliers and stuff like that.  That money never leaves the community.  For the most part, 95 percent of that money's staying right there," said Tom Tucker, the executive secretary of the Montana Board of Horse Racing.

We sorted through more statistics about that money, and found that the last time races were at the Northwest Montana Fair, the Montana Board of Horse Racing shows $117,455 was wagered in bets over three days of racing. Those numbers were up from the year before in 2010.

Only two tracks ran races this year in the entire state. In Miles City they ran three days of racing with a total of $106,266 wagered. The state fair in Great Falls had some big numbers this year. People there wagered a total of $374,475.