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Horse racing commission strikes deal with jockey club

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Artist rendering of the future development plans for the Assiniboine Downs that will include hotels, restaurants and retail outlets.

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Artist rendering of the future development plans for the Assiniboine Downs that will include hotels, restaurants and retail outlets.

Threats by the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission to yank the licence of Assiniboia Downs for simulcast horse-race betting are on hold.

The commission had threatened Tuesday to suspend the licence Jan. 1 if the Manitoba Jockey Club didn’t come clean on a joint venture with Peguis First Nation.

But Thursday the commission announced the board had reached a temporary deal with the jockey club.

"Manitoba Horse Racing Commission is pleased to advise that with the decision of its board this evening a temporary accommodation has been reached with the Manitoba Jockey Club that will see simulcast betting continue for the time being. MHRC and MJC have agreed to let the issue of our request to review the joint venture agreement be determined by the courts. A hearing will proceed on February 25th, 2014," said commission chairman Tom Goodman.

The commission has agreed to issue a temporary race licence, which will expire on Feb. 28.

"Construction of the proposed development at Assiniboia Downs will not commence until the matter has been resolved," the commission’s statement said.

"MHRC is proud to have been able to structure a means to begin addressing our serious concerns, while allowing simulcast wagering to continue for the benefit of the racing industry in Manitoba," Goodman continued.

"MHRC takes no position on the merits of the proposed joint development at the ASD site," the commission said regarding a joint venture between the jockey club and Peguis First Nation to erect two hotels and convention and retail space at the Downs.

The two equal partners have formed a company, FN Developments Inc., to carry out the development.

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Updated on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 9:21 PM CST: photo added

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