Horses, jockeys and followers had been welcomed again to the monitor on Monday as Dresden Raceway started its 2022 racing season.
Seven races had been held on Monday, and whereas some races had been held individually in 2021, this yr marks the raceway’s first full season because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am excited to be again for the primary full season,” mentioned Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Caniff, who competed in Monday’s race. “It is an incredible facility right here.”
“It is a custom right here,” he mentioned. “I need to proceed this custom right here in Dresden.”
Julian Robinson, who grew up in Dresden, has been operating for many years.
“It is simply been one thing that has at all times been a part of the reminiscences of the summer time as a child rising up right here in Dresden,” he mentioned. “It is undoubtedly modified over time.”
Robinson mentioned the 2021 season was troublesome as a result of an absence of racing.
However, he mentioned, Monday was “the identical feeling” as in years previous.
“You come again on the monitor in these first early days, and you continue to odor Dresden Raceway,” Robinson mentioned. “All of it comes again to you.”
The monitor is a “great point” for the neighborhood, he mentioned.
“It is one thing you are able to do with your loved ones,” he mentioned. “You do not have to return in to spend some huge cash, it is only a good environment.”
Monitor announcer Gary Patterson mentioned horse racing has an extended historical past in Dresden.
“We have been racing stay right here at this venue because the ’60s, however we have been racing in Dresden for over 100 years,” he mentioned. “Opening Day is at all times an enormous deal at Dresden Raceway.”
Patterson mentioned followers weren’t allowed to look at races in Dresden within the 2021 season due to the pandemic, though some had been allowed for the ultimate few races.
However there are some challenges dealing with Ontario’s horse racing business, Patterson mentioned, with a scarcity of horses within the province.
“The horse scarcity has returned since 2012,” he mentioned, including that it was attributable to the provincial cancellation of a deliberate slot machine revenue-sharing program.
“Lots of people went out of enterprise,” Patterson mentioned.
Horse shortages, together with the variety of different races to be held on Monday, compelled a discount within the variety of races to seven affecting Dresden’s opening day.
“At the moment, we might sometimes have 80 to 90 horses within the field,” he mentioned. “We had 45 horses within the field.”
He mentioned that in 2011, there have been 11,000 race horses in Ontario. At the moment, there are about 4,000.
Patterson mentioned this season would come with 11 days of racing in Dresden, with occasions operating by August.