Summerside harness races moving from Sunday to Monday on trial basis

·4 min read
Lee Drake, manager of racing and broadcast for Red Shores, said Monday night racing in Summerside could mean less competition for viewers on online platforms.   (Red Shores/Facebook - image credit)
Lee Drake, manager of racing and broadcast for Red Shores, said Monday night racing in Summerside could mean less competition for viewers on online platforms. (Red Shores/Facebook - image credit)

Red Shores Summerside is trying something new, moving the next five race cards from the customary Sunday afternoon time slot to Monday evening.

The move is designed to attract off-track bettors in the simulcast market on a night when there are typically fewer tracks in operation.

"There is more of a demand for a Monday night in terms of product, and we wanted to jump into that and see if we could fulfil that request, and we're going to try it in Summerside," said Lee Drake, manager of racing and broadcast for Red Shores.

"This is primarily done for off-track partners that are looking for product on a Monday night. Not all tracks wanted to deliver it. We said, 'You know what? We're going to try it.'"

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

Drake said Monday night racing in Summerside could mean less competition for viewers on online platforms.

"Because the more traffic you have on a night, there's a less chance that they're all going to make it to your product," Drake said. "So this way, it's an opportunity to have, hopefully, players looking for product."

'Could be a good thing'

Tyler DesRoches races at Red Shores Summerside and is a member of the board of directors of the Prince County Horsemen's Club.

"Red Shores came to the board of directors and asked them to consider it. And we voted on it, and decided to change our last five dates to Monday for them to try to see if they can increase the wager on Monday evening."

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

DesRoches said there could be some advantages to racing on Monday nights.

"There's a lot of race cards throughout the year on Sunday afternoon, we don't have our regular drivers here, they're away at stake racing," DesRoches said. "There's normally not too many stakes on a Monday night, so we'll never have a problem of trying to find drivers.

"There's a lot of people who didn't like racing on Sundays. They consider it the Lord's Day, and there's a lot of people who probably will not like racing on Monday. But we're just happy to have the dates and try to work with Red Shores and make everything go smooth."

Red Shores/Facebook
Red Shores/Facebook

DesRoches said he's looking forward to seeing how the Monday race dates go.

"I believe it could be a good thing. We won't know until we try it," DesRoches said. "I hope to see big crowds. We've been very fortunate here in Summerside, where we've got some loyal fans that come and we get a fairly decent crowd every Sunday."

'Give it a try"

Marvyn Webster of Port Hill, P.E.I., also owns and trains and races horses at Red Shores Summerside.

He said some of the older drivers enjoy the Sunday afternoon racing, but are willing to give the Monday nights a try.

"As an aging population in Summerside, we find it a little challenging, but we do have to look at the economics of the game, realizing that we are racing for much better purses this year," Webster said.

"I think we, in fairness, we have to give it a shot and see how it works out. Us older people, we like the afternoon cards, but we have to give it a try."

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

Webster hopes racing fans in Summerside will also give Monday nights a try.

"Typically, I think we always get a decent crowd in Summerside, there's those people that just love the sport and love the animals and they come pretty near any day of the week," Webster said.

"But it's the off-track wagering, if there's room there that we can improve that, then we need to look at it."

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

Drake said Red Shores and its partners will compare the numbers year to year, to see how the Mondays stack up in terms of the wagering, compared to what they are taking in now on Sunday afternoons.

"We feel it's going to take a couple of weeks to get rolling. If we can beat the $30,000 number, then we're right in the lane."

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