Once again, Playfair Race Course has postponed the opening of the Spokane horse racing season, this time to 1997.
The latest postponement was announced by track spokesman Tom Harris, who said the new opening day will be Friday, Jan. 3. Reportedly, a team of Washington Horse Racing Commission representatives has not yet inspected Playfair’s new safety rail. The inspection is expected to take place late this week.
Safety rail issues have twice previously delayed the beginning of Playfair’s 60th season. What would have been a 50-day season, spanning 16 weekends through March 23, originally was scheduled to begin Dec. 6. Twelve dates have been canceled.
Initially, the first winter season in track history was postponed one week, to Dec. 13. Then, when the WHRC failed to approve a temporary rail installation, opening day was set back to this Friday.
As a result of the new postponement, Playfair will complete the year without a single day of racing. The Spokane track had not gone a full year without racing since the end of World War II.
Playfair and Emerald Downs, the new King County track in Auburn, had been scheduled to conduct more than three months of dual-card racing on a trial basis. When implemented, the plan will have the tracks alternating races, all of which will be simulcast to off-track locations around the state.
Emerald Downs opened its fall season as scheduled Dec. 6. However, the West Side track called off its Friday programs for the rest of the month because of what track officials termed a shortage of entries.