SASKATOON -- On Friday Moosomin First Nation Economic Development Corporation announced plans to build a horse racetrack northwest of Saskatoon, giving new life to the sport in the province. The racetrack will be named Moosomin Downs.

“Overall it’s good to see that there is an interest to bringing life ... or rescuing the horse-racing industry from its demise here in Saskatchewan,” apprentice jockey Nicole Hein said. 

Moosomin Downs will consist of 124 acres of land northwest of the city near Highway 16, in the Rural Municipality of Corman Park.

Neil Sasakamoose, a project member for Moosomin Downs, estimates the costs of the project will be $40 million.

“Horseracing is part of Saskatchewan. We’re an agriculture-based society, horse and livestock go hand-in-hand. It would just be shame for people if there was no place for people to have their horses,” Sasakamoose said.

He said he feels there’s a void that needs to be filled since Praireland Park decided to close Marquis Downs. The project is currently in its feasibility study phase.

“We're also finishing up some engineeering, in terms of access of water and sewer,” Sasakamoose said. “A lot of the design is after Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg.”

One of the next steps for the group is to look for partners to help fund the $40 million project. Organizers are hoping to begin working on the project starting in the fall and to be completed by the fall of 2023. However, Hein feels not having a track for jockeys to use now will affect the sport.

“The short term I guess (for the future) of horse racing, there is no horse racing until a track is built,” Hein said. “The interest in building a new track demonstrates there’s an appetite for horse racing.”

She said she feels without a place to race until the proposed Moosomin Downs is finished, the sport could still fade. Sasakamoose did give the potential for horse racing next summer at Moosomin Downs, but without a grandstand.