World Driving Championships Cap Off the First Annual Calgary Racing Festival

Aug 19,2017 Krystle Frisky

Last week was nothing short of amazing when Century Downs Racetrack and Casino packed seven events in seven days from August 6-12 to celebrate the sport of horse racing in Alberta. Century Downs worked with Century Casino Calgary to give guests and spectators the ultimate week of excitement.

To start the week off on Sunday, August 6th, Century Downs hosted Industry Day in the backstretch, on the Apron and in the event tent. A gorgeous mare and foal could be found on the south side of the building, and Angie Benson came with her harness racing antiques for guests to enjoy. Various organizations, such as the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association (ASHA), Olds College,4H, Moore Equine, Performance Standardbred, University of Calgary, could be found in the event tent, providing information on what they do, and how others could get involved.

On Monday, August 7th, the Apron was packed with people for the Mid Summer Classic! Ladies and gentlemen dressed to the nines for this Kentucky Derby-esque holiday Monday. The Store Upstairs from Airdrie could be found in the event tent selling fascinators, hats, bow-ties and various other men’s and ladies fashion wears. Guests lined up on the Apron for the red carpet photo booth to show off their newest fashion items. The real show-stopper was DA MAGICIAN and Serge Masse in Race 10 for the Ralph Klein Memorial. DA MAGICIAN took an early lead and managed to stay at the head of the pack for the duration of the race. In the final stretch, DA MAGICIAN battled it out with MATEO (Marino) and won the race in 1:55 flat.

Century Casino Calgary hosted the Charity Bowling Tournament on Tuesday, August 8th in their updated bowling centre. All lanes have been refreshed with a synthetic surface, and all ball returns have been replaced. Registration began at 6:30PM and guests got to enjoy pizzas and appetizers, bowl with the Outriders cheerleaders, bid on silent auction items and buy 50/50 tickets. “It’s fantastic to see our community come out to support such a great cause,” said Stephanie Tang, marketing coordinator at Century Casino Calgary. “We are excited to see the bowlers play on our new synthetic lanes and use our new ball returns.” Proceeds benefiting Dreams Take Flight.

Registered guests then took a break to be in the sun for the Century Downs Charity Bowling Tournament at Woodside Golf Course in Airdrie, AB on Thursday, August 10th. The tournament started with 1PM shotgun start, and all registered participants played through 18 holes of fun. Throughout the course there was a Plinko game, a spin-wheel and a “hit the green” game where participants could play if they made a donation to the charity. The day ended with a fantastic AAA Prime Rib dinner, catered by the Woodside Golf Course. All proceeds went to the Airdrie Women’s Shelter Campaign through Airdrie P.O.W.E.R.

On Friday, August 11th local media was invited to the Homestretch Room at Century Downs for a media event, with the 11 participating drivers in the World Driving Championship. The drivers were introduced by Jackson Wittup, Vice Chair of Standardbred Canada and Racing Secretary at Century Downs, and Paul Ryneveld, General Manager of Century Downs. The drivers were presented with limited edition jackets, and were made honourary Calgarians during a special White Hat Ceremony conducted by Elaine Bowman.

After a few hours, the Homestretch Room was transformed to exhibit a night of elegance for the Century Downs VIP Charity Gala. Guests were welcomed into the room with a glass of champagne, and Paul Ryneveld, General Manager of Century Downs, guiding them to their seats. The night began with a cocktail hour, with live music from violinst, James Desautels. At 7PM dinner was served. Executive Chef, Josef Schroeder and his food and beverage team prepared a delicious four-course meal for all guests in attendance. At 8PM the room went silent as Hayley Wickenheiser poured inspiration into the crowd. The evening capped off with good time to prepare for the first leg of the World Driving Championship.

To end the week of excitement, Century Downs hosted the first leg of the World Driving Championships on Saturday, August 12th. Fans could purchase tickets to sit in the infield for an Exclusive World Driving Championships experience. The day started off with live music in the event tent from The Dungarees at 3:30PM. Following the band, ASHA hosted a flag parade with all of the drivers, followed by Lori Kole singing the Canadian anthem. Guests were then welcomed into the event tent for an autograph session will all of the participating drivers. Races 4-8 were the races to watch for the World Driving Championships. Canadian representative, James MacDonald, was the crowd favourite and ranked second, following Marcus Miller of USA.

Thank you to everyone for supporting the Calgary Racing Festival, and we hope to see you back at the track next year!