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  Last season's top pacers, a healthy mix of native New Englanders, along with stables returning from other parts of the country, make up the first draws of the 2015 season at Plainridge. Fans will be treated to a newly renovated racing and simulcasting area that becomes the first step of a new era for harness racing in New England at Plainridge Park Casino.   Opening day at the Massachusetts track takes place this coming Wednesday (April 15) with a 4:00 P.M. post time. The nine race card is headlined by the return of Burkentine Hanover, the fastest pacer at Plainridge in 2014. Trained and driven by Jim Hardy, Burkentine Hanover is the likely morning line favorite in the $6,000 open event. Three challengers - Wheelaway, Western Victory and Trigger Finger - all notched multiple victories in the top class at Plainridge last season.   Perennial training and driving leaders such as Hardy, Steve Nason and Mike Eaton might face challenges from a pair of Maine horsemen returning to action at Plainridge. Ron Cushing, currently the top conditioner at Scarborough Downs, makes his seasonal debut on Thursday as well as Kevin Switzer Jr., who was the top driver in the PineTreeState in 2014 scheduled to drive on both Wednesday and Thursday. Eddie Davis Jr. is also slated to drive on the meet's initial programs.   Within the past few days several trainers from outside the six state region have arrived in the area, including Shawn Answeeney (New York), Bryce Fenn (Florida) and Scott Rollins (New Jersey).   The spring schedule at Plainridge features racing on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons at 4:00 P.M., and also on Sunday afternoons at 1:00 P.M. On June 24th Plainridge Park Casino, the state's first gaming facility, will open its doors to the public.                        

Boston, MA --- Standardbred horsemen in Massachusetts got another new lease on life after a statewide referendum to repeal the existing expanded gambling legislation was defeated emphatically on election night.  Question 3 on the statewide ballot failed 60.1 percent (1,252,179 votes) to 39.9 percent (832,025). Had the anti-casino forces prevailed, construction on the new $225 million Plainridge Park Casino would have come to a halt and a stake would have been driven through the heart of the state's racing and breeding industry. Penn National Gaming Inc. was awarded the state's only slots parlor license by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Feb. 28 after winning a three-way competition. PNGI then executed a purchase and sales agreement on the property with the previous owners, who had been deemed as unsuitable to hold a gaming license by the MGC the previous August, leaving the track's future very much in doubt at the time. Had the anti-casino forces prevailed on election night, Plainridge, which had experienced years of plummeting purses and handles as well as declining field sizes, would have been shut down and the horsemen would have been out of business as the track is the only harness racing facility in the state.  The referendum's defeat is a key victory for the horsemen as PNGI has pledged to revitalize the Massachusetts harness racing industry. Moreover, the casino bill was crafted with guaranteed protections for the state's Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries with the establishment of the Race Horse Development Fund. The RHDF will be fueled with five percent of the license fees and nine percent of the revenue from the slots parlor and three future resort destination casinos. The fund will be spilt 75 percent-25 percent, Thoroughbred to Standardbred, and therefore tens of millions of dollars annually were also at stake. From the 25 percent harness horsemen's share, 80 percent must fund purses, 16 percent is dedicated to breeders, and four percent is for backstretch welfare. The new Plainridge Park Casino is set to open in June 2015. PNGI said the project will create 1,000 temporary construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs. In the town of Plainville, Mass., where the track is situated, 80 percent of the electorate voted to kill the repeal. The town is projected to receive $4 million annually once the casino comes on line. by Lynne Snierson, for the USTA

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has approved an amended schedule requested by Plainridge Racecourse. Plainridge will close for the 2014 season on Wednesday October 22nd.   Live racing takes place at the Massachusetts track each Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday with a 1:00 P.M. post. The schedule change was granted with the consent of the Harness Horsemen's Association of New England. Earlier this year, Penn National Gaming, which owns Plainridge, was granted the first expanded gaming license in Massachusetts. Work continues at a feverish pace on the Plainridge Park Casino, which is scheduled to open in mid-2015. From the Plainridge media department  

Veteran amateur drivers, Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford, and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff along with newcomer Robert "Big Bob" Kenney, each won their respective divisions in the Billings Harness Driving Series this past weekend. Oldford scored a 1:57 triumph with Bold Strike in Midwest Region action at Scioto Downs on August 29 while Hechkoff and Kenney were victorious in the east at Plainridge Racecourse on September 1; Hechkoff with Tagmaster in 1:56.1 and Kenney with Rev Up The Spice in 1:59.3. No stranger to the winners circle, Steve Oldford visited that revered ground again when he scored his seventh seasonal triumph with his newly purchased Bold Strike. "I bought him from June Du Russel, who over the years has generously supplied horses for the Billings Series. "This was the first time I sat behind him and I like him a lot," Oldford explained. "He's a pleasure to drive and (he) did everything I asked of him. " Oldford and Bold strike left from the four hole as "Lawbook Larry" Farley hustled Margarita Man to the lead and they had two lengths on the field as the timer flashed :27.4. At that point Oldford had allowed Dave "Linemaster" Ehrenberg II to fall in second position in front of him with TK's Karma. When the leaders passed the halfway point in :57.3 Oldford was out and going with Bold Strike and they were nose to nose with Margarita Man at the three quarters in 1:26.4. Even though Farley's mount regained command on the final turn it was short lived as Bold Strike rallied back to score a two-length triumph over Margarita man. TK's Karma took home the show dough. "Now we're ready for the Billings at Delaware, Ohio, "Oldford added delightedly. Bold Strike paid $7.40 for win which was Oldford's seventh of the season and 90th of his amateur driving career. Meanwhile on Labor Day afternoon at the five-eighths mile oval in southern Massachusetts "Big Bob" Kenney scored his first lifetime pari-mutuel victory when he sat the pocket with Rev Up The Spice and then they trotted by 1-2 favorite CSI What's My Name and driver Dave "Steady As" Yarock in mid-stretch for a solid one length triumph to win the first of two Billings trots that day. Third place went to Catalyst driven by Mark "Wafefern" Schullstrom. Needless to say Kenney, who has driven just 27 times since he joined the amateur ranks in 2000, was a happy man and his fellow competitors were among the first to congratulate him. Bob and Linda Kenny co-own Rev Up The Spice who's trained by John Di Stefano. Sent off at odds of over 6-1 the 6 year old Revenue S gelding paid $14.40 for win. A second Billings division at Plainridge Racecourse was a laugher for driver Bob Hechkoff when his Tagmaster romped to a 1:56.1 wire to wire five-length triumph over Permanent Joy, driven by Bob "Rapid Rail" Krivelin. Third place went to Coin Collector and driver Jimmy "It's all In The Family" Marshall IV. Tagmaster, owned by Hechkoff's T.B.H Ventures Inc. and trained by James Hardy paid $9.60 for win. It was Hechkoff's sixth seasonal triumph and 50 driving victory of his career. A two-time winner of the Harness Racing Museum's Amateur Driver of the Year Award his competitors will have to hurry to derail him from that honor again this season. This coming weekend the Battling Billings Boys will head to the Canadian Maritimes for races at Charlottetown on Saturday, (Sept. 6) and at Summerside Raceway on Sunday. by John Manzi, for the Billings Amateur Driver Series

By Rick Foster for Gov. Deval Patrick has blocked legislation that would reduce the state’s take on simulcast greyhound racing featured at Plainridge Racecourse and the state’s two other race tracks. Patrick sent the bill back with an amendment knocking out a provision he said would drain $600,000 budgeted for the state Gaming Commission and create a continuing shortfall. The gaming commission’s racing division oversees live horse racing at Suffolk Downs and Plainridge Racecourse. The tracks, along with the former Raynham Park dog track, also feature simulcasts of races from other facilities. The bill, originally filed by state Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, applies only to simulcast greyhound events and would also reduce the number of live racing days the tracks would have to host in order to qualify for simulcasting. Dooley said the provision reducing the state’s revenue take was not part of his original proposal and was added by another House member. Dooley said he was “thrilled” by the governor’s action which would leave the other portions of the bill intact. Penn National Gaming, which won a state license for a slot parlor in Plainville, is currently constructing a new facility in that town while continuing its harness racing schedule. Suffolk Downs, located in Revere and Boston, is competing with Wynn Resorts for a full casino license. Raynham Park, which lost out to Plainridge in its bid for a slot license, continues to offer simulcast wagering. A statewide referendum scheduled for November asks voters to repeal the 2011 law legalizing casino gambling. If approved, the measure would also ban simulcast dog racing. Dooley said he expects the amended bill will be taken up next week in the House.

(Wyomissing, PA - August 19, 2014) Penn National Gaming, Inc., (PNGI) the largest operator of Standardbred racetracks in North America, will institute the new Trackmaster automated morning line system at all of its harness racing facilities effective immediately. PNGI owns and operates Hollywood Casino, Hotel and Raceway (Bangor, ME), the new Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, Plainridge Racecourse and Rosecroft Raceway. PNGI is also joint venture partner with Greenwood Racing, Inc. at Freehold Raceway. "This new morning line feature from Trackmaster should help bring consistency to our morning line process and also provide a reliable starting point for our wagering guests," said Christopher McErlean, Vice President of Racing for PNGI. "With the implementation of the USTA's on-line entry system at all of our harness tracks and the use of its automated post position draw system, the Penn Gaming harness tracks are using all the technology tools available to streamline our racing office processes and offer user friendly services to our horsemen and the wagering public," added McErlean. In addition, Rosecroft Raceway will institute a new simulcast graphics system with enhanced racing information and statistics generated by Trackmaster when its summer-fall meet begins September 13. "We think these informative graphic enhancements will help handicappers on-track and at all our simulcast locations," said McErlean. The upcoming Penn National Gaming harness meets include: Plainridge Racecourse: In progress Freehold Raceway: August 28 Rosecroft Raceway: September 13 Dayton Raceway: October 3 Bangor Raceway: October 6 Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PNGI) is the largest operator of pari-mutuel facilities in North America with 12 racetracks in 10 different jurisdictions featuring Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and Greyhound racing. PNGI conducts over 1,100 live racing performances a year with over $1 billion in pari-mutuel wagers processed annually. PNGI also operates five off-track wagering facilities and a regional Internet/Telephone account wagering system. PNGI is also one of the largest regional gaming operators in North America with 27 facilities in 18 different jurisdictions with over 31,000 gaming machines, 800 table games and 2,900 hotel rooms. From Penn National Gaming, Inc.  

(August 18, 2014 - Wyomissing, PA) Three racetracks operated by Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PNGI), the largest operator of harness racetracks in North America, will be active participants in the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) "Back to the Track" program over the next month. The "Back to the Track" program is an initiative to encourage on-track attendance at harness racetracks across the country through promotions and interactive events. More information on the program can be found at "Back to the Track is a great way to bring new guests to our tracks and also say 'thank you' to our loyal customers as well," said PNGI Vice President of Racing Christopher McErlean. "Plainridge, Freehold and Rosecroft each have come up with some unique events and activities for their guests to enjoy," he added. Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville, MA, the newest member of the PNGI racing family, will be hosting a full weekend of events and live racing on August 23 and 24. On both days the Hambletonian Trophy, Harness Racing's most prestigious prize, will be on display. The trophy was won by the locally owned and trained Royalty for Life in 2013. On Saturday, barn tours will be conducted from 12 noon to 2 p.m. with all participants to be entered in drawings to announce a post parade on either day, ride in the starting gate car and participate in an exhibition race on Sunday with top Plainridge drivers. Plainridge drivers will participate in a meet and greet on both days and serving customers in a special cook out area during both afternoons. Drivers will also give out commemorative "Back to the Track" t-shirts following each race. A free scratch off ticket will be given to all guests Sunday with a $50,000 grand prize. The "$50,000 Match and Win" promotion is sponsored by Mom's Motorcycles of Foxboro, MA. Post time Saturday, August 23 is 4 p.m. Post time on Sunday, August 24 is 1 p.m. Admission and parking is free at Plainridge every live racing day. For more information go to Freehold Raceway in Freehold, NJ will be hosting "Back to the Track" events on Labor Day, September 1 during its afternoon live racing program. All guests will receive a free "Back to the Track" baseball cap with the purchase of a Freehold live racing program (while supplies last.) Drawings throughout the day will be conducted for "Back to the Track" t-shirts and Season Parking passes. Fifty-cent ($.50) hot dog and soda specials will be offered as well as a driver autograph session. Post time Labor Day is 12:30 p.m. and admission is free. For more information go to Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD will celebrate "Back to the Track" as part of its summer-fall meet opening night on Saturday, September 13. The first 400 guests after 6 p.m. will receive a free "Back to the Track" t-shirt and guests will have a chance to enter losing tickets all evening for "Second Chance" drawings after races 5, 7 and 9 for $50 betting vouchers. In addition, a popular Asian Festival will be held all day Saturday, September 13 in the Rosecroft parking lots. Post time on September 13 is 6:4 0 p.m. with free admission and parking. For more information go to Christopher McErlean

This past week Massachusetts horseman Joel Wheeler took the Ice Bucket Challenge along with his employees at MOM's SOUTH Motorcyle in Foxboro. On Saturday Wheeler challenged his fellow horsemen at Plainridge Racecourse to do the same, and the response was overwhelming. A large contingent of Plainridge drivers, officials and employees took the challenge in the winners' circle following Saturday's card, all to benefit ALS. Tony Ristaino did the honors with a bucket of ice water from the track's John Deere front loader. Those accepting the challenges are allowed three of their own. Plainridge management and staff are challenging their fellow workers at Hollywood Slots in Bangor, Maine. Likewise, the horsemen at the Massachusetts track have issued a challenge to their counterparts in the Pine Tree State, the members of the Maine Harness Horsemen's Association. Finally the Plainridge drivers have challenged the Plainridge judges' stand. It has been a busy week for Joel Wheeler, who recently stepped up and sponsored a $50,000 scratch ticket promotion for the Plainridge Back to the Track weekend, which takes place next Saturday and Sunday. From Plainridge Racecourse        

The ability to get behind the harness racing starting gate in an actual race, the opportunity to send a driver into a dunk tank and a chance to win $50,000 are among the festivities when Plainridge Racecourse hosts Back to the Track weekend on Saturday August 23 and Sunday August 24.   Back to the Track weekend will kick off at noon on Saturday with tours of the Plainridge barn area, in which local fans can get a behind the scenes look at all that goes into the Massachusetts harness racing industry. All fans participating in these tours will be entered into drawings to join in the racing action. Eight lucky fans will be drawn to join Plainridge drivers in a pair of exhibition races. Other winners will have the opportunity to announce a post parade, and to serve as a ceremonial marshal for a race.   Before and during the Saturday card, there will be a cookout featuring specials on burgers, hot dogs and drinks. Prior to first post, several Plainridge drivers will be flipping burgers while meeting and greeting the fans.   Several events will be featured on both Saturday and Sunday. The 2013 Hambletonian was won by the Massachusetts product Royalty For Life, and the sport's premier trophy will be on display each day, allowing those in attendance the opportunity to see and have their picture taken with this prestigious award. A local vendor fair will also take place on both days, and the winner of each race will receive a cooler awarded by an area business. Between the races on both cards Plainridge drivers and trainers will be giving Back to the Track t-shirts to the crowd. Finally, there will also be a bevy of activities for all members of the family, no matter their age.   Three unique promotions highlight the Sunday afternoon festivities. One is the exhibition races, where the lucky fans will climb aboard two seater jog carts and go behind the gate accompanied by one of the track's leading drivers. Back to the Track weekend at Plainridge will also feature a new twist on losing wagers. Any fan presenting a losing ticket from the Sunday card will have the opportunity to send a Plainridge driver into the water of a dunk tank.   The highlight of the weekend is the scratch ticket promotion, sponsored by MOMS Motorcycles of nearby Foxboro, in which one lucky patron can win $50,000 in cash. The final event Back to the Track event will take place following Sunday's races when there will be a performance by the Berkshire Valley Boys band. Post time is at 4:00 P.M. on Saturday the 23rd and at 1:00 P.M. on Sunday the 24th. Planridge Racecourse is excited to be part of Back to the Track 2014, and urge fans to keep track of the entire schedule at                  

Plainville, Mass. Plans to open the state's first slot parlor are moving forward at a harness racing track near the Rhode Island state line despite a vote in three months on whether to repeal Massachusetts' 2011 casino law, which made the project possible. Penn National Gaming won the state's first gambling license for a proposed slot parlor at the Plainridge Racecourse in February and officially broke ground on the $225 million project in March. A construction crew of about 200 is working on the 100-acre property. The parlor is being built beside the racetrack's current clubhouse and simulcast betting facility. It will feature about 1,250 slot machines as well as video poker and video blackjack terminals. Jay Snowden, Penn National's chief operating officer, said the company is moving forward with its plans despite the November vote. "It's a risk, but it's a calculated risk," he said on a recent site visit with company officials, local politicians and labor union leaders. "We're confident we'll prevail in November." In the coming weeks, the Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based company will begin taking applications for about 500 permanent jobs at the casino. By November, it expects to have spent more than $100 million on the project and to have the exterior construction finished. The facility, which will be called Plainridge Park Casino, is set to open next June. Darek Barcikowski, campaign manager for the anti-casino "Repeal the Casino Deal" group, said Penn National is overconfident. He noted that other gambling operators — notably MGM Resorts International, which was granted a casino license for its $800 million Springfield development — have chosen to wait out the November vote before breaking ground. Casino supporters, however, see the construction activity at Plainridge as a critical piece in the run-up to November, providing voters a tangible example of the casino law's economic potential. "As we head toward November, people will be able to see a symbolic representation of exactly what this particular industry can bring to Massachusetts," said Senate Minority Whip Richard Ross, a Wrentham Republican. "People should get excited. The economic development here is real." Labor unions representing some construction workers on the site promise to hammer home that economic development message to voters in the weeks and months ahead. "When you bring organized labor into a political fight, it's about troops on the ground," said David Fenton, business manager for the Local 223 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Penn National, meanwhile, has joined with MGM and Mohegan Sun, which is seeking a casino license to open a $1.3 billion resort outside Boston, to finance a recently formed political organization to defeat the ballot question. It's called the Committee to Preserve Jobs Associated with Casino Gaming Law. Plainville Town Administrator Joseph Fernandes applauds the company for moving forward with the project despite the uncertainty. The town, which has just over 8,000 residents, stands to earn at least $1.5 million in annual property taxes from the slot parlor project, as well as roughly $2 million to $3 million a year in gambling profits through an agreement with Penn National that local voters overwhelmingly approved. That revenue, Fernandes said, will help pay for capital projects, such as a new town hall and public safety complex without burdening taxpayers. "There's an awful lot at stake. I'm about as nervous as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs on this thing," he said. "We're looking at getting a huge chunk of change for very little impact on (public) services." By PHILIP MARCELO Read more here: Reprinted with permission of the Associated Press

The C.K.G. Billings Harness Driving Series has been taking annual weekend treks to New England for many years now with races in Maine and in Massachusetts but this season the Scarborough Downs race slated on Saturday, June 28 was cancelled. Still a race went to post at Bangor Raceway in Maine on June 27 and at Plainridge Racecourse in Massachusetts on June 29. At Bangor "Sir Philip" Bo Sowers, who mostly trains and lets others do the driving, donned his driving colors and romped to an oh-so-easy victory with Motown Dreamgirl in a time of 2:01.1. Obviously the best on paper the 8 year old Keystone Nordic mare was sent off as an odds on favorite and she lived up to her billing when she took command early and then made every pole a winning one en route to victory, her fifth of the year. Although Peter "Sycamore Ventures" Gerry had a two-hole trip with Cantabmyway they had all the needed keeping Maine Muscle and Tony "the Capo" Verruso from getting second money in the event. Both trotters finished approximately two lengths behind the winner. Motown Dreamgirl is also trained by Sowers and owned by Standard Ventures. She paid just $2.20 for win. With the Saturday race cancelled the action moved to Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville, Mass. on Sunday afternoon. Six trotters went to past there that day and again the odds on favorite CSI What's My Name trotted to victory. His winning time was 1:58.3. Driver Dave" Steady as" Yarock sent the 9-year-old Tagliabue gelding toward the front and looked for a spot along the pylons which he found after the quarter pole behind the pace-setter, Rodeo Red and driver "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo. After following Faraldo past the half and up the backside Yarock moved CSI What's My Name out to challenge and they trotted to the front as they went by three quarters. Once on the lead Yarock's trotter rebuffed a late charge from LF Topaz and driver by "Tough Tony" Ciuffetelli to score a 1-1/4 length triumph. Rodeo Red faded and finished third. It was the fourth victory of the season for CSI What's My Name who's co-owned by Yarock, Dave Glasser and Joel Golub. The trotter returned a $3.60 win mutuel. On Saturday July 5 Billings action will be featured over Historic Track in the Cradle of the Trotter. by John Manzi, for the C.K.G.Billings Driving Series

BOSTON -- Penn National, which was awarded a license earlier this year to install slot machines at Plainridge Racecourse, expressed disappointment in the Massachussets Supreme Judicial Court's decision today to allow a casino repeal question on the November ballot, but said it was confident that voters would preserve the law. "While we are disappointed by today's decision, we remain confident that Massachusetts voters will want to protect the thousands of new jobs and the hundreds of millions in annual tax revenues that our new industry will generate, in addition to recapturing over $1 billion being wagered by Mass residents in neighboring states each year," Eric Schippers, senior vice president of governmennt affairs at Penn National, said in a statement. "Our fight to protect jobs and preserve this economic development opportunity for Massachusetts begins today. Construction on the Plainridge Park Casino remains full steam ahead and we continue to anticipate a June 2015 opening." Massachusetts’ highest court this morning cleared the way for a repeal of the state casino law to appear on the November ballot, setting up a fierce referendum campaign for the fall and placing the fate of the state’s nascent gambling industry into the hands of the people. “We conclude that the Attorney General erred in declining to certify, and grant the requested relief so that the initiative may be decided by the voters at the November election,” the court said in a 55-page decision written by Justice Ralph Gants. The casino repeal campaign this summer and fall is expected to draw significant national interest — and money. From the Massachusetts State House News Service

Scarborough, Maine (Friday, June 6, 2014) - Scarborough Downs is preparing to host overflow crowds on Saturday (6/7) as the focus of the world turns to Belmont Park and California Chrome's attempt at Triple Crown immortality. While awaiting the Belmont Stakes, the local fans will be treated to an afternoon of top-level harness racing excitement featuring two $10,000 invitationals; The renewal of the fabled Dirigo Pace and the Triple Crown Trot. Burkentine Hanover has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Dirigo despite being bested in his most recent outing in Open competition at Bangor Raceway. The four-year-old son of Cam's Card Shark, owned by Michele Nelson of Temple, Maine, looms off a convincing score at Plainridge Racecourse (1:51.4) just two starts back and a tantalizingly close third place showing in a leg of the Meadowlands' What A Baron series in April where he was raced timed in 1:49.3. Scarborough's leading driver, Drew Campbell, will sulky-sit for trainer Joseph Nelson and score from post two. Chief to contend will be the classy Art Of Illusion, who remains a perfect three for three in state of Maine competition, included therein, a three length besting of Burkentine Hanover just last weekend. Starting from post three and named the second choice on the morning line at 7-2 odds, this son of Real Artist will once again be handled by driver Kevin Switzer, Jr. for trainer Bo Sowers and cheered on by the Halifax, Nova Scotia contingent headed by owner David MacDonald. The $10,000 Dirigo Pace Invitational will be contested as race nine of the eleven race Scarborough program on Belmont Stakes Day and is made up as follows: 1. PRAMATIC LIFE ... (Driver TBA) ... 6-1 2. BURKENTINE HANOVER (Drew Campbell) 5-2 3. ART OF ILLUSION (Kevin Switzer, Jr.) 7-2 4. MAXINE'S MENACE (David Ingraham) 8-1 5 WESTERN VICTORY (Wallace Watson)10-1 6. COOL RUNNINGS (Eddie Davis, Jr.) 9-2 7. MR NICE GUY (Kevin Switzer). 5-1 Other events happening for Belmont Stakes Day at The Downs: The Downs Club will be open for a BBQ Chicken luncheon, catered by CVC Catering Group of South Portland, for $11.00, which includes meals tax and buffet gratuity. Reservations are recommended, call 207-883-3022. The Downs will also be giving away a $100 win wager to place on the Belmont Stakes race, along with many gift certificates donated by local businesses. Drawings are free to enter, and take place after race 9 on the live race program (must be 18+ to enter, and must be present to win). "We are so excited for this day to finally get here," said Susan Higgins, Scarborough Downs' marketing director. "Triple Crown races always bring us great crowds and give the local fans a chance to see the horse racing that is going on right in their own backyard. We've got an exciting line up on the track for Saturday, and if Chrome wins it, we want people to remember that they watched history here with us, at our iconic track. I'm already working on T-shirt artwork!" For more information, visit or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

A dozen solid races, including three separate open events, highlight this Wednesday's card at Plainridge Racecourse. There is little doubt that this program is the strongest collection of overnight events that Plainridge has presented in several years. Although the Massachusetts track was awarded the state's first expanded gaming license earlier this year, it will be mid-2015 before that facility opens. Nonetheless just knowing that the industry will survive has generated confidence among local horsemen. That is reflected in the quality of the Wednesday card. Three separate open events are the co-features. The top trot is headed by Doully, who is undefeated at Plainridge during his few appearances in 2013-14. He will likely face a stiff challenge from Winemaster Hanover,who rides a six race win streak, and A Megabuck, the track's 2013 Trotter of the Year.   The open event for pacers features a pair of horses - Wheelaway and Western Victory - who have each defeated the top class twice already this season. Both figure to face a stiff challenge from newcomer Burkentine Hanover, a 1:51 winner already in 2014.   The penultimate race of the afternoon is the mares open, led by Young American, who has scored victories at three different tracks within the past month,   First post for the Wednesday card at Plainridge Racecourse is at 4:00 P.M.   From the Plainridge Racecourse Race Office

So at 1:00 pm on Friday, May 10, where was Dave Cochrane? “I was on my computer looking for the live video feed for Harnesslink’s Name The Foal Contest,” Dave said. “I then realized it was not really live so I decided to take a nap and an hour later when I woke up I looked on Harnesslink and there was the name I picked! Beach Showoff!I knew there were others that came up with the same name so I started to read the story and then saw I had won. I was jumping for joy!” Dave has been a devoted Standardbred fan and an active participant in harness racing for most of his life. “I am semi retired now,” Dave said, “I had a 40-year career as a Training Seminar Developer and Speaker. Over the years I have owned more than 50 Standardbreds and drove most of them myself. I was also the backup announcer to the late Hank Fenno at Scarbourth Downs and did a simulcasting handicapping show with him for ten years. I also hosted a horse racing radio show at Plainridge Racecourse in 2001 for an ESPN station in Rhode Island. “I also loved competing in the CKG Billings Series for more than ten years and was a Vice President for the association,” Dave said. So what does Dave have planned for the prize money? “The $1,500 prize will enable me to take an immediate "extended" vacation trip to New England,” Dave explained, “and return to my love of jogging horses in the morning, and warming them up for some busy driver and trainer  friends  in the afternoon and evenings.  My plans include Scarborough Downs, Plainridge Racecourse and Bangor Raceway. All tracks where I was very present at in the years 1995 through 2006. “As you can imagine,” Dave added, “I am quite proud of having my name selected. I have sent out emails to many friends and acquaintances and in my email I gave them a link to Harnesslink to see the story and video. “I want to thank Richard and Joanne Young, the Somebeachsomewhere Syndicate, Hanover Shoe Farms and Harnesslink for sponsoring and coming up with this great contest,” Dave said. “I think events like this are great for promoting our sport and creating interest. I am glad that the name included both the sire and dam. Let’s now hope Beach Showoff will race as well as her parents did!” Here are the final winners in the contest. $1,500 Grand Prize Dave Cochrane, Mississauga, Ontario $250 prize Melissa Keith, Halifax, Nova Scotia $250 prize Blanche Satterfield, Wyoming, Delaware $250 prize Wayne Stapley, Christchurch, New Zealand $250 prize Richard Lease, Jr. Glenville, Pennsylvania By Steve Wolf, for

RAYNHAM, MA — After falling short in his application for the state’s lone slots parlor license, Raynham Park owner George Carney has sued the state Gaming Commission in an effort to block Penn National Gaming from opening its planned gambling facility in Plainville. The lawsuit, which was filed late Friday, calls for the state’s Supreme Judicial Court to revoke the slots license the commission issued in February to Penn National. Carney claims that Ourway Realty, the disqualified former owner of Plainridge Racecourse, will continue to profit once the slots parlor opens in 2015. Penn National said the lawsuit’s claims lack merit. The Gaming Commission banned Ourway from seeking a license last summer after state investigators accused Plainridge president Gary Piontkowski of pocketing more than $1 million from the track’s cash room over a 10-year period. Plainridge got back in the running after Springfield Gaming, a subsidiary of Penn National, struck a deal to buy the harness track from Ourway, then filed a new application. The commission awarded the slots license to Penn National in March on a 3-2 vote, with Raynham Park getting no votes. Carney’s lawsuit, however, claims the license was issued “in violation” of state law and that the purchase agreement between Ourway and Springfield Gaming calls for the disqualified former track owner to receive a percentage of the gambling operation’s earning “in perpetuity.” “Springfield Gaming’s failure to disclose Ourway’s interests, the nature of such interests and the names and addresses of all members of Ourway on its application rendered its application false and misleading…” the lawsuit states. A Gaming Commission spokeswoman said Monday that the panel had not yet been served with the lawsuit and was unable to comment. Springfield Gaming and Ourway are also listed as defendants. “Their claims are legally and factually deficient,” Eric Schippers, Penn National’s senior vice president of public affairs, said in a statement. “The Gaming Commission did a thorough and transparent job evaluating the applications and acted appropriately. Given that the Carney proposal did not garner even a single vote, I'm not sure what they're ultimately trying to accomplish.” Carney and his attorney, Matthew Kozol, did not return calls for comment. Penn National, which operates casinos and slots parlors in several states, plans to open the $225 million Plainridge Park Casino by spring 2015. The facility is expected to feature 1,250 slot machines, restaurants and entertainment space integrated with the existing harness racing track. When the Gaming Commission reviewed the applications and evaluation criteria during hearings in February, Raynham’s odds of landing the license grew longer as commissioners lauded the Penn National and Cordish Cos. proposals. “I believe we have two candidates who rose above the third in nearly every category,” commissioner Gayle Cameron said when Raynham Park was eliminated from the running. Reprinted with permission by Gerry Tuoti for the

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