Need another sign that Spring is finally here? Horse racing returns to Fort Pierre next week. The races will be held Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29, and again the following Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6, at the Fort Pierre Fairgrounds.

It wasn't until late March that horse racing in Fort Pierre was definitely on the calendar. Members of the Verendrye Benevolent Association, which has organized the Fort Pierre races for the last 70 years, said back in November they couldn't do it again this year.

The reason given was the funding from the state's Commission on Gaming wasn't enough to keep the races going, and what funding was available came with strict stipulations and required bookkeeping improvements that couldn't be met.

But thanks to an outpouring of private donations from members of the South Dakota Horsemen's Association, the Verendrye Benevolent board voted in early March to make another go of it this year and run the horse races.

The group, however, still needed the Commission on Gaming to sign off on the bookkeeping improvements and release the already allocated funding. That decision came down on March 27 in favor of the VBA and the running of the races again.


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