KENNEWICK -- No contracts have been signed yet, but it looks as if the Tri-City Horse Racing Association will go ahead with the six-day spring meet.
"I'm sure there is going to be racing," said TCHRA board member Nancy Sorick, "because the county will come up with some contract."
Earlier this month, the Washington State Horse Racing Commission awarded Sun Downs the racing dates -- likely the last two weekends of April and the first weekend of May.
But a substantial increase in jockey insurance had put the races in doubt.
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Last year, the TCHRA paid around $3,800 a day for jockey insurance.
This year, it has gone up to $11,000 a day. That's an extra $43,200 for the meet.
Another board member, Cliff Schellinger, met with the Northern Quarter Horse Association on Thursday night.
"All the horsemen want to run," said Schellinger. "That's the plan right now. We've just about got all of the money put together."
People have stepped forward to donate to the cause to make up that difference for the jockey insurance, said Sorick.
"We feel reasonably sure we can come up with the additional amount," she said. "It won't be the easiest thing to do."
But by early March, racing secretary Shorty Martin should be at the track, working the starting gate to get the 2-year-olds used to running out of a gate.
"That first week of March, we're hoping as soon as they get the equipment, we can get the track in condition," Sorick said. "Portland Meadows closes down in the middle of March, so a lot of horsemen will be moving into here."
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Dean Reinke is expecting at least 300 competitors in Sunday's Tri-Cities Half Marathon. So be careful if you're driving around Richland that morning.
The race begins at 8 a.m. next to John Dam Plaza, goes north on Jadwin, then east on Spengler until it gets to Leslie Groves Park. The course goes through the park, then reverses itself all the way back to John Dam Plaza and the finish line.
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Prosser's Kellen Moore is at the NFL Player Combine this week in Indianapolis. The former Boise State standout may not be the biggest quarterback there, nor the one with the strongest arm. But I can't wait to find out how he does on the Wonderlic test.
That's the test scouts give college quarterbacks to help predict their potential success in the NFL.
Nobody works harder in the film room than Moore. Nobody.
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Sunday's Herald will feature our annual Motorsports Calendar that lists every race locally, nationally and internationally.
Included in that will be Columbia Motor Speedway Park in Hermiston.
The track held its 2011 season awards banquet last month in Umatilla, and the division winners were honored -- almost all of them from our area.
Late Models champ was Dennis Long of Plymouth, while Kennewick's Derek Ball was named Super Streets champion.
Larry Hodge of Athena, Ore., was the Hobby Stock titlist, while Kennewick's Dan Nelson was named Hornets champ.
Pasco's Ben Matheson was named Columbia River Legends champion, Glen Tipton of Helix, Ore., took the Mini Stocks title and Mike Atkins of Irrigon was Super Minis champ.
The track's season opener, featuring Hornets, Columbia River Legends, Late Models and stunt man Mr. Dizzy, is set for April 28.
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Warden High grad Dana Bates was named Frontier Conference women's basketball player of the week for scoring 18 points as Westminster College in Utah upset No. 8-ranked Lewis-Clark State College 78-56 last week.
It's interesting because Bates isn't the only Mid-Columbian playing for Westminster.
Chiawana grad Shelby Ellsworth averages 10.5 points and 6.1 rebounds for the 18-7 Griffins, while Cydney (Knight) Tibbitts, who played during her high school career for Connell, Pasco and Richland, is averaging 11.2 points and 7.1 boards.
Bates' numbers are 11.6 points and 6.3 rebounds.
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Whitworth's men's basketball team is 23-3 and will play in the Northwest Conference finals Saturday night. Richland High grad Colton McCarger has played a good part in the team's success, coming off the bench to average 4.9 points a game, while averaging almost 15 minutes a game of playing time. He's also sinking treys at a 48 percent clip (23 for 48).
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Kamiakin grad Maxx Garrett, who spent two seasons at Columbia Basin College, is in his second season playing baseball at Gonzaga. He's expected to be the starting catcher this season.
"Maxx had an outstanding fall, and he's only getting better," Gonzaga coach Mark Machtolf said. "Junior college players usually take a year to get acclimated, and I think that's what happened with him (last season). Plus, he played behind Cameron (Edman), who had a monster year. He's doing a good job."
Garrett also is shining in the classroom, making the dean's list for the fall semester.