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Action from the last day of Fort Pierre horse races in 2018. Pierre Capital Journal file photo

Fort Pierre to end longtime run of horse racing

FORT PIERRE, S.D. - No horse racing will be held in Fort Pierre in 2019, interrupting a tradition dating to just after World War II.

An official of the Verendrye Benevolent Association, which has organized the races at the Stanley County Fairgrounds along the Missouri River for decades, said on Thursday, March 27, that the Association wouldn’t be holding races this year.

In a news release, Shane Kramme, one of the directors of the VBA, said that decision not to host any horse racing events in Fort Pierre was “indescribably difficult,” given the 70-year history of the sport in the community.

According to published histories and news archives and racing sources, professional horse racing in Fort Pierre dates to 1948.

Racing in Fort Pierre is only one part of a state-wide debate regarding the sport, whose future may now rest on Gov. Kristi Noem’s desk along with Senate Bill 128. This bill provides for a $120,000 appropriation to the state gaming commission specified for horse racing. Thursday March 28 is the last day for Noem to either sign or veto the bill.