Assiniboia Downs is a Canadian horse race track on 150 ha (360 acres) of land located in the Winnipeg suburb of St. James-Assiniboia. It is operated by the Manitoba Jockey Club and is the site of the annual Manitoba Derby.
|Location||3975 Portage Ave.|
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3K 2E9
|Owned by||Harvey Warner|
|Date opened||June 10, 1958|
|Course type||Flat racing for Thoroughbreds|
|Notable races||Manitoba Derby|
The track is located on the western edge of the city, near the intersection of the Perimeter Highway and Portage Avenue. It was opened on June 10, 1958, replacing the former Polo Park Racetrack, which was demolished to make way for Polo Park Shopping Centre. The main track is a six-and-one-half furlong oval.
Thoroughbred racing season events run from May and end in September. Harness racing events operate during the winter months.
Preparations were underway in September 1957 to construct a (est.) $4 million new horse racing venue in the Greater Winnipeg area, with seating capacity for 5,000 spectators. The width of the track would be 80 ft (24 m) with a six-furlong and 1⅛-furllong chutes. Assiniboia Downs would be located in the RM of Assiniboia at 3975 Portage Avenue. The racetrack took but seven weeks to complete construction.
Harness racers had shown an interest at using the new racetrack, and if they couldn't, would use one in St. Vital instead.
Construction of Assiniboia Downs would be competed in time for the beginning of the 1958 season in June, where 42 races would take place.
Assiniboia Downs installed a state-of-the-art "tote" machine at the new racing venue which displayed betting information in real-time.
In December 1987 Videon Cable-TV and Westman Cable's application to the CRTC to telecast live horse racing from Assiniboia Downs was approved. On January 23, 1988, Videon Cable-tv began telecasting Assiniboia Downs live harness racing to allow for off-track betting via telephone (Telephone Account Betting). Twenty phone lines were installed to handle incoming calls and they were frequently full. The signal was uplinked to the Anik C3 satellite. Initial telecasts on VSP-7 were a success, though Videon stated that on-air presentation between races could have been improved. Across the Red River, cable company Greater Winnipeg Cablevision did not telecast the harness racing and did not (initially) apply to the CRTC to do so.
Today the Assiniboia Downs Racing Network is available on MTS TV ch. 179 and 180 and on the Internet via the HPIbet website.
- Davis, Reyn (June 8, 1984). "Wright parlays $250 into racing empire". Winnipeg Free Press. p. 38.
- "Canada's Finest Race Track Opens First Season Tuesday". June 6, 1958. p. 8.
- "Start To Build New Race Track -- 'Assiniboia Downs'". Winnipeg Free Press. September 17, 1957. p. 3.
- Smith, Maurice (November 7, 1957). "Harness Racing Group Haven't Given Up". p. 27.
- "Nags Will Run For 42 Days". Winnipeg Free Press. November 11, 1957. p. 30.
- Kilvert, Cory (November 16, 1957). "Our New Track To Get Modern 'Tote' Machinery". Winnipeg Free Press. p. 3.
- Lyons, Steve (December 22, 1987). "Live TV racing from Downs likely by mid-January". Winnipeg Free Press. p. 38.
- Lyons, Steve (January 24, 1988). "Live TV racing off to fast start at the Downs". Winnipeg Free Press. p. 23.
- Lyons, Steve (February 28, 1988). "TV racing response favorable". Winnipeg Free Press. p. 26.
- Lyons, Steve (January 27, 1988). "Remillard's horse scsres off competitors at Downs". Winnipeg Free Press.
- "Live Racing". Assiniboia Downs - Live Racing, Simulcast Racing, VLTs, Dining, Facility Rentals!. Retrieved 2020-02-01.