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Northlands Race Regulation Bodies

The Western Canadian Racing Association (WCRA) was created as a regulatory body in 1957, during the same year as the Canadian Derby saw its first races in Edmonton. From a brick building on the Exhibition grounds, the WCRA met its primary obligations by setting rules and addressing certain divisions in the racing community.

The organization’s duties were soon expanded to include the provision of breeding advice, and control over race dates across the Western Canadian circuit. This circuit, including Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg, was then introduced to morning racing and other innovations through their membership. Rule from afar was not for everyone, though; the Association had its detractions.

Certain rules that governed the racing of two-year-olds, as opposed to waiting until they were three, touched off controversy. Eventually, the WCRA chose to withdrawing from the Prairie Thoroughbred Racing Association. That group nonetheless supported and oversaw the innovative use of new tests among the animals.

The WCRA regulatory body was eventually supplanted by the Alberta Racing Corporation, which itself was replaced by Horse Racing Alberta (HRA) in 2002. Like its predecessors, HRA has a licensing office on the Northlands grounds.

This organization is committed primarily to ensuring races are run fairly and judged equitably. Official duties also extend into exacting penalties against rule-breakers, and into breeding protocols.

Further, HRA has been given the task of reinvigorating the racing industry in Alberta by championing the need for greater participatory benefits for all parties including breeders, who are themselves of dwindling stock.

With offices both in Edmonton and Calgary, the HRA keeps tabs on the action. Along with a variety of breeders’ associations and other regulatory bodies, this organization is working with tracks like Northlands to keep racing alive.

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