Edmonton’s chuckwagon track at Northlands is much safer than what’s seen in Calgary, suggests the park’s president.

Northlands president Ken Knowles says every chuckwagon race at the park — including the Edmonton Chuckwagon Derby in September — has eight fewer horses and eight less riders on the track in every heat compared to the Calgary Stampede.

“It makes for less confusion on the race track, for one thing,” said Knowles. “Our track is also banked better when it comes to the turns, which is safer.”

Knowles says the track at Northlands is better equipped to handle wet weather since it already has an “excellent drainage system.” Knowles says Northlands staff are monitoring the situation in Calgary to help them prepare for September’s derby.

A growing number of animal welfare organizations have already taken the Stampede to task for what they see as cruelty masquerading as entertainment.

Peter Flicker of the Vancouver Humane Society has called the deaths in Calgary “depressingly predictable,” noting more than 50 chuckwagon horses have died since 1986.

jeff cummings/with files from the canadian press

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