Dresden Horse Racing Track in Canada
Though there was no official racetrack at the time, harness racing was already in full swing by the late 1880s in the Dresden district. At that time, there were numerous ‘Trials of Speed’ which were sponsored by the ‘Dresden Driving Club’. Purses sometimes totalled as much as $850 over the course of a three-day meet and there would be roughly five heats per a race. Today things are quite different, but harness racing still proves to be a favourite pastime amongst the people of Dresden.
It was in 1919 that the future of harness racing in Dresden started to take on a more organised appearance. In that year, a group of fair board members for the annual Camden-Dresden Fair decided to lay out a new half-mile track for the purpose of providing a more suitable surface for the harness racing which took place at this time. And so the Dresden Raceway was born. Since they did not have access to professional surveyors and builders, the team of board members built the track themselves with whatever resources they had available to them. This original team was very successful and when the track was revamped in the 1980s, it was discovered that the layout of the oval was only six inches out. During these renovations the track was also widened by two feet. Some time later the sharper turns were eliminated and the track was resurfaced. Other improvements included a grandstand seating capacity for 2,300 spectators and a small parking area.
In the early 1950s the Dresden Race Association was formed to ensure that the races enjoyed decent purses and that the track subsequently would not fall into disuse. The effort paid off and before long a regular race meet was held in June. The meet was soon expanded to three weekends which were spread out throughout the year. Not long afterwards, more money was spent in upgrading the facility. A new grandstand was built on the north side of the track and pari-mutuel betting windows were part of the features. The track is currently capable of seating 3600 people and parking 1 600 cars. Though the track has been struggling with debt in more recent years, efforts are underway to increase revenue and remove the debt. There are plans to open a slot facility soon which will hopefully provide more financial stability for the track and ensure a brighter, better future.