South Dakota might host horse races again in 2020

Shane Kramme said Fort Pierre may host horse races in the fall of 2020. Photo courtesy Shane Kramme

Horse racing may return to South Dakota after a hiatus in 2019.

Fort Pierre race track manager Shane Kramme reported that the South Dakota Commission on Gaming has approved the Verendrye Benovolent Association’s request to hold horse races Oct. 3 and 4, 2020.

Fort Pierre’s horse races were previously held in the spring, so the fall schedule will be a change.

More than 10 races featuring Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds are expected, that will offer around $110,000 in price money, he said.

Neither Fort Pierre nor Aberdeen hosted horse races this year due to lack of funding, wet weather and other issues.

The Verendrye Benevolent Association, submitted an application to the SDCG by the October 31st deadline, Kramme said.

While the group was granted the requested dates, their request for allocated funds will not be addressed until March.

The VBA has requested that approximately 50 percent of available funds that have accumulated in the live racing accounts be issued to conduct a 2020 race meet, he said.

“The other half would remain in the accounts and would continue to accrue, providing some amount of stability for SD Horsemen as we plan on producing another race meet in 2021,” said Kramme.

$120,000 of these funds were derived from SB 128, which was passed and signed during the 2019 legislative session, said Kramme. “These funds are vital to SD Horse Racing and ultimately SD Ag as they provide short term stability for this historical SD industry and its showcase event.”