Chippewa Downs prepares for 2021 racing season

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 9:36 PM CDT
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BELCOURT, N.D. - Jockeys and horse race fans are making their way to Chippewa Downs for the start of their 2021 horse racing season.

After having to adopt COVID-19 regulations to salvage a season in 2020, this year, guests are invited to enjoy the races with a sense of normalcy.

The track at Chippewa Downs is seeing some action as more than 100 horses are being prepped for the first race this Saturday.

“We’re getting these two-year old’s to get away from the gate and go as fast as they can,” said returning jockey Zachary Bacon.

Jockeys like Bacon are returning from out-of-state for their turn at first place and are getting in some one-on-one training time with their horses.

Bacon said: “They need to get that burst of wind and feel that speed a little bit. But mostly it’s just training them is galloping them, which is just nice slow easy gallops that helps builds their muscle up.”

Race organizers said the track will have minimal COVID-19 restrictions.

Horse racing fans can expect to practice social distancing while on the grounds, and this year children are welcome back to the stands.

Organizers said spots are still open for various races.

Racing Secretary Carol Sivak said: “We want to try to run eight races a day. We can put eight horses in a race so hopefully, we have at least 75 entries a day.”

With entries open on Wednesday and Thursday, staff said they are preparing for a strong start to the season.

Doug Demontigny, the Chairman of the Outdoor Recreation Development Association, said: “We’re just excited to have the season back. We’re up and running and really hope that we can put on an enjoyable meet not only for the spectators but for the participants as well.”

On top of streaming races on the track’s Facebook page here, this year’s season will also include a bike giveaway for kids.

You can follow updates on the race track and other Turtle Mountain attractions on the tribe’s website here.

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