Horseracing back this summer, but future remains cloudy – Buckrail

 SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYO – The Sweetwater Events Complex and Wyoming Horse Racing announce that live horse racing will be back in 2019 at Sweetwater Downs. The 2019 program was in jeopardy but organizers and members of the host venue worked out a temporary solution for this summer.

“We are pleased to be racing again in 2019 at Sweetwater Downs. However, racing in 2020 and beyond is in jeopardy if the facilities cannot be upgraded,” said Eugene Joyce, President of Wyoming Horse Racing.

Sweetwater Events Complex Executive Director Larry Lloyd, explained, “The Sweetwater Events Complex is vital to live horse racing and the future of the Off-Track Betting in Rock Springs and Sweetwater County. It has brought directly over a million dollars each to the City of Rock Springs and to Sweetwater County each. However, the facility needs some major repairs and upgrades to continue this partnership.”

Necessary improvements to the grandstands includes updating restroom facilities, adding a race office with restrooms that will free up other facilities on the property, adding a jockey room with bathrooms, bleacher seat upgrades, renovating concession area and hood system, providing a windbreak to the west side, adding a new detached bathroom behind uncovered bleachers, installing a permanent horse paddock, mats or rubber surfacing in horse stall alleyways, fencing along horse path to stalls, renovate pari-mutuel windows and money rooms, update front of house at the grandstands including drainage, ticket windows and fencing, hard surface the parking lot, improve and expand steward stand on top of grandstands, upgrade sound system, add permanent flag poles behind announcers stand and improve and expand announcers booth for arenas.

“As successful as the return of horse racing has been for Wyoming, there has been a tremendous divide in the public perception of what we have accomplished,” Joyce added. “Over the past three years horse racing has pumped $2.7 million dollars to the City of Rock Springs and Sweetwater County, yet the Sweetwater Events Complex does not share in those revenues. Let’s be clear—no horse racing, no horse racing revenues. The complex has struggled to upgrade their facility to not only benefit horse racing but all events that utilize the grandstands and stalls.”

Wyoming Horse Racing and the Sweetwater Events Complex are focused on keeping the revenues from live horse racing and the Off-Track Betting in Sweetwater County.

Joyce explained, “Recognition is long overdue to the partnership with Sweetwater Events Complex, which is the foundation of these monies that benefits the city and county directly. Why shouldn’t a proper percentage go back to the facility that created this valuable revenue stream for the City of Rock Springs and Sweetwater County.”

Sweetwater Downs will host live horse racing for three weekends. Racing will be August 23, 24, 25, 31 and September 1, 7 and 8 in 2019.

Additional events that utilize and would benefit from improvements to the grandstands are the Red Desert Rodeo, National High School Finals Rodeo, Monster Trucks and more. Improvements would also assist in recruitment efforts for additional events.

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