Less congested tracks compared to Rangeland Derby
Wider tracks and better rules are just some of the reasons why chuckwagon races at Capital Ex are much safer for horses and drivers than at the Calgary Stampede, says Northlands general manager Ken Knowles.
Knowles says the four corners of the track at the Edmonton Chuckwagon Derby are more banked to allow for “horses to better manoeuvre around turns,” and there’s little likelihood of a crash similar to the one that killed three horses and badly injured a driver last Saturday in Calgary’s Rangeland Derby
“We still have four chuckwagons in each heat, but we only have two outriders per wagon while Calgary has four outriders,” said Knowles.
“That means we have eight less horses and eight less riders covering the race track. That allows for less congestion.”
Knowles says chuckwagon fans will notice less congestion at the start of the race in the infield and after the chuckwagon riders make the first turn.
“These are all major differences and I think as an organization, we have taken a number of things to ensure that the race is as safe as possible,” said Knowles.
The Edmonton Voice For Animals Humane Society, however, says that despite the efforts made by derby horses are still at risk.
“While the likelihood of seeing a horse killed isn’t as high as it is in Calgary, it still happens,” said society executive director Tove Reece.
“Almost every year —whether it’s here or in Calgary — horses do get killed. This is completely unacceptable.”
Reece says the society wants to see an end to chuckwagon racing and will be planning a protest near the Grandstand tomorrow night.
In Calgary, chuckwagon driver Kelly Sutherland was suspended from Sunday night’s final at the GMC Rangeland Derby for “unsafe driving” that contributed to the accident.
Lindsey Galloway, senior manager of corporate communications for the Calgary Stampede, said officials thoroughly reviewed different angles and tapes from the accident to ensure the responsible parties were held accountable.