Alberta racing fans have been eagerly awaiting news on the development of the Balzac Racetrack Entertainment Centre. Recently, United Horsemen of Alberta (UHA) president Darcy Marler provided an encouraging update to the industry.

At the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association’s annual general meeting in March, Marler announced that funding for the project has now been secured. He said that plans will move forward once approval is granted by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission and the county, which is expected later this summer.

Reports indicate that Century Casinos, based out of Austria, has loaned the UHA $13-million to fulfill their dream of building a racetrack and entertainment centre in Balzac, located just outside Calgary’s northern city limits.

According to the UHA website: “UHA has a 10 year license to race from Horse Racing Alberta (HRA). We are currently in stage 4 of 5 with Alberta Gaming & Liquor Control (AGLC). Stage 4 is a review of the projects financing while stage 5 is the actual granting of the license…Now that the funding agreement has been finalized we have submitted our final update to AGLC for their approval.”

The facility will be built next to the CrossIron Mills, a 1.4 million square foot retail development with 180 specialty stores. The UHA website notes that they have “scaled down the project to better fit into today’s economic realities. We are now taking a phased approach. The first phase will see a single storey Racing Entertainment Centre (REC) built, along with a 5.5 furlongs race track and 2 barns. The main revenue sources (650 slot machines, simulcast betting and restaurant / bar) have been retained in the REC. The barns will hold at least 300 stalls. Phase II will see the expansion of the REC as funds become available in the future. UHA is much more grounded today. Our goals, our plans and our projections are more realistic and based on common sense.”