Boston, MA --- The preservation of existing harness racing jobs and of the entire Standardbred industry in Massachusetts was a determining factor to award the state’s single slots parlor license to Penn National Gaming Inc., which will develop the project at Plainridge Racecourse and complete purchase of the track. “One of the things in the mandate (from the state legislature in passing the expanded gambling bill in 2011) was to save jobs and preserve industry. It doesn’t say anything about horse racing specifically, but that clearly had a factor in the conversation,” Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said at a press conference following the official awarding of the license on Friday (Feb. 28). On Thursday (Feb. 27) the five member commission voted 3-2 in favor of the PNGI proposal, and company officials were asked to return the following morning to give notice that they would accept the conditions of the license. After PNGI officials complied, the MGC voted 5-0 to make the award official. “Obviously, this gives harness racing in the Commonwealth a very bright future. We’re happy to be a part of it,” said Timothy Wilmott, the president and chief executive officer of PNGI, who added the company is eager to start creating new jobs and revenue for the state. Plainridge management had previously been on record that without the slots license, the track would be shuttered. PNGI’s proposal beat competitors The Cordish Companies and the partnership of Greenwood Racing, which owns Parx Racing and Casino, and its partner Raynham Park, a horse and dog racing simulcast facility which hosted live greyhound racing before it was outlawed in the Bay State. The Cordish Companies plan did not have any ties to racing or breeding, but Raynham Park owner George Carney had offered to host a 40-day live racing meet if it won the license. The Cordish Companies received two votes from the MGC while the Greenwood/Raynham plan garnered none. The awarding of the license to PNGI/Plainridge is a stunning reversal of fortune for the state’s harness industry, which was dealt a blow last August when the MGC ruled the track’s current ownership group as unsuitable to hold a gaming license after investigators turned up evidence that a senior executive had taken about $1.4 million in cash from the money room for personal use over time. PNGI, which had been derailed in its earlier attempts to secure one of the three destination resort casino licenses to be awarded, plus a slots license in a different part of the state, then teamed up with Plainridge. Wilmott, who planned to visit the track on Friday afternoon, said that officials will meet with their construction and design team on Monday and plan to have the permanent racino open in the second quarter of 2015. But if the MGC prefers, a temporary facility would be opened in the meantime. Under state law, the slots parlor may have a maximum of 1,250 slot machines. The cost of the license is $25 million and a minimum investment in the facility of $125 million is required. Nine percent of the facility’s revenue and a portion of the license fee will go to the MGC’s Race Horse Development Fund to benefit both the Standardbred and Thoroughbred horsemen, and the fund will also receive a portion of the gross gaming revenue from the development of three resort casinos. The MGC will award the first two casino licenses by the end of June. Thoroughbred track Suffolk Downs and gaming partner Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts are competing for the sole license designated for the Greater Boston area. Plainridge is scheduled to open its 2014 live meet of 100 days on April 15. by Lynne Snierson, USTA Web Newsroom Correspondent
Today the Massachusetts Racing Commission, with a 3-2 vote, has selected Penn Gaming’s harness racing track, Plainridge Racecourse, as the recipiant of the sole slot machine operators license in the state. “I believe the Commission will be issuing certain conditions to the license which we have until tomorrow to accept.” Said Chris McErlean, Vice President of Racing for Penn National Gaming, Inc., “I am not involved in that discussion but I would assume there will be no issues with our accepting whatever is required for the license. Officially I don’t believe the Commission awards the license until tomorrow.” The commission will take an official vote to award the license Friday. Commissioners Gayle Cameron, Enrique Zuniga and Bruce Stebbins said in individual statements that they slightly favored Plainville, which would be operated by Penn National Gaming, over a proposal by Cordish Cos. to build a slots parlor in Leominster. Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby and Commissioner James McHugh said they were leaning toward Leominster. Thursday’s vote came after two days of evaluation presentations and only a few hours of formal deliberations by the five-member commission. All five commissioners stated their positions on the license during the morning deliberation session. “This is an exciting moment and an energizing moment,” McHugh said prior to the vote. “We have two very strong applicants...I am happy that we have two applicants of this caliber.” Penn National must report to the commission by 9:30 a.m. Friday on whether it will accept the license conditions. If the company accepts the conditions and is officially awarded the slots license, it would install 1,250 slot machines in a new facility it would build to include restaurants and a sports bar, as well as harness racing. Plainridge had appeared out of the running for the slot license as late as last August when the state gaming commission ruled that the then owners of the track were unfit to hold a license. The track’s bid was resurrected when Penn National stepped in to purchase an option on Plainridge. Horsemen and others called the Plainridge application the last chance to save harness racing in the state. Penn National had said it would not continue racing if it did not receive the slot license. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Last week I did a column on racetrack management needing to do their homework on allowing harness racing people to compete at their tracks when they have a questionable history. It came about because of situations involving individuals who may or may not have been allowed to compete and to try and shed some light to readers on how tracks make these decisions and why. It’s a tough subject insofar as most tracks hold the key to allowing someone to continue working in our industry. Some say it is not right that tracks make a decision such as this, some say it needs to be done for the majority of horsemen and the betting public that do play by the rules and that many tracks are too easy to let a “bad boy” back in racing. The story created a bit of controversy and I received a lot of emails and calls from track managers, horsemen and even betting fans who gave me their pros and cons on the article. And I appreciate everyone who commented and hope others take the time to voice their opinions. The most interesting of the calls and emails I received was from one of the horsemen who I pointed out in the story was allowed to return to racing after a questionable past. His name is Marc Mosher and he is currently racing at Cal Expo in northern California. Here is his story. Let’s do some background first for the readers on how you came to get involved in harness racing. “I first lived in Maine and was introduced to harness racing by my grandfather, Merle Mosher,” Marc explained. “He was a dairy farmer and as a hobby he always had two or three horses that he trained and drove so I knew about harness racing early on. My brother Gary is nine years old than me and he was already helping on the farm and started with the horses. He developed into a top driver and has nearly 6,000 wins. “When I was in high school and during the summer Gary had a stable at the track and I would help out with the horses,” Marc explained. “After school and most weekends I would be at the track and I knew I wanted to work in racing.” Early in his career Marc became one of the youngest drivers in the sport to reach 1,000 career wins in 1993. When Marc started training and racing on his own in Maine he had some issues and fines with racing officials but attributed that to being young. “I was an immature young man who did not know better,” Marc laughed. “I would show up late to drive a horse, take the breathalyzer test after a couple of races. But I soon learned to settle down and show some respect to the officials. They were doing their job. I never drank or did drugs but I guess you could say I had a chip in my shoulder early on.” Marc then went on to a decent career in racing. He had more than 1,600 wins as a driver. Always had a stable of horse to train and was a sought after catch driver, but then his life in racing came to screeching halt after the events of February 20, 2001 at Monticello Raceway. According to the report from the New York Racing and Wagering Board “ You attempted to influence the outcome of a pari-mutuel race by authorizing, directing and causing a hypodermic injection of a prohibited substance to the horse Too Much Data and removed the horse from the track after it died without the required equine death certificate and written consent of the presiding judge.” I asked Marc to explain the events of that ill-fated day. “I have no reason to lie about anything that happened that day,” Marc said. “We had a horse in to go from my stable at Monticello Raceway. I had asked the veterinarian to give him something for his bleeding. It was not lasix but I told the vet to go ahead and treat him. Then afterwards the horse passed away. “I was going to do the right thing,” Marc said, “And inform the officials what had happened but the vet asked me to not do it. He wanted me to cover it up and get the horse off the grounds. From there it was a nightmare. “The last thing I would never do is abuse an animal,” Marc said. “You would not believe the stories that have come out about how I abused this horse. I wanted to take care of this horse’s bleeding problem but did not want to put him on lasix. I made a stupid mistake that has cost me my career in harness racing. I was not trying to fix a race. I was trying to help the horse so he could continue racing. “In this industry, I guess like all others, stories get changed around,” Marc said. “The rumors being spread about me were outrageous and people did not want to hear it from my side. They wanted to believe what others made up about the events that happened. “I can only blame myself for everything,” Marc added. “I should have never listened to the vet and just taken my lumps for treating the horse on race day and did the right thing. The commission at the time really did not want to hear what I had to say as much as they listened to the vet’s story. It was just a total disaster. A couple of months later the commission finally understood my side of the story. But you can’t change history.” Marc received a two-year suspension and did not return to racing until 2004 where he trained and drove at Rockingham Park and Plainridge Racecourse. He did not even try and get his license back in New York. “New York was not ready yet to give me my trainer/driver license back.” Marc said. “They said they would give me a groom’s license to start with so I went to New England where I could train and drive. Then in 2006 I had another incident when my vet had left medication for another trainer to pick up and the authorities said I was wrong in allowing this to take place and convicted me on a conspiracy charge. I have not and will not name the vets involved and again I told the authorities the truth, but when you have a past record they are very quick not to believe you. “I then just used my groom’s license and did not train or drive from 2006 to 2012,” Marc explained. “My wife was a trainer so the horses were in her name and we ran the stable. The officials knew all of this and they were fine with it. That is why you do not see me have any drives or trains for those years.” Then in 2012 Marc was able to get a provisional license to train and drive at Harrah’s Philadelphia, but things did not work out after just two weeks. “After the meet opened, I qualified a horse at the track.” Marc explained. “A few days before he raced I treated him with Banamine paste because he had problems with his stomach and ulcers. Then he comes up positive. So then they excluded me. They tried to fine me $1,000 but then after I got a lawyer they dropped it to $500 but still kicked me out because I was on a provisional license.” Marc packed up and was fortunate to have a friend in long time trainer/driver Syl King, Jr., who had one of the biggest stable of horses competing in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Fairs that are run all summer long throughout the state. King hired Marc on to help train and drive in the fairs where King led all trainers in wins and purses won this year. Marc had a great season with more than 20 wins and a universal driving rating of .350. From there Marc applied to the authorities at Cal Expo and they said they would give him a chance to train and drive again. What does the future now hold for Marc Mosher? What is he looking for after this season at Cal Expo? “I want to come back east next spring and drive in the fairs during the summer and help Syl again with his stable,” Marc said. “I want to get back to training a decent stable of horses on the east coast. I would concentrate on training and not so much on driving. I want to try and just train young trotters. I have always done well with them. Over the years now I have also learned a lot about shoeing and feel I can once again become a good trainer. “I came forward in doing this interview with you,” Marc said, “so I can tell people the truth in what happened years ago. I want to be a productive and active part of this sport again. I have served my time for the infractions I was responsible for and I want to be a positive force in the industry. I just want a chance to prove myself and help this industry to grow.” I thanked Marc Mosher for coming forward and telling his side of the story for everyone to read. He has admitted to making some major mistakes in his career, explained what took place and also that he paid his dues for years and is now seeking a chance to return. I would guess that if Marc completes the season at Cal Expo without any incidents that he may have a chance to return to pari-mutuel racing on the East Coast in 2014. If he does and there are no further incidents then I will be the first to congratulate him. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Columbus, OH --- Four Massachusetts Sire Stakes finals for 3-year-olds were contested on Monday (Oct. 28) at Plainridge Racecourse. In the $18,240 final for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, Christine Catabia's Master Of Puppets took over the lead at the three-quarter pole and went on to a three length victory in a time of 1:57.1. Jim Hardy was in the bike for trainer David Crochere as the son of Ashlee's Big Guy-Happy Chelsea defeated Everybody Lies with Murphy's Cyclone third. The $17,600 final for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters went to Glenn Harris' CBF Dart in 2:00, with a final quarter in :28.3. Trainer Ralph Andersen steered the RC Royalty-Tiaragenic gelding to a 2-3/4 length score over Race To Royalty. Welker picked up the show dough. In the $17,600 final for 3-year-old pacing fillies, KDK Standardbreds and Nelson Malin III's Lordy Miss Scarlet took advantage of a pocket trip to cross the wire first in a time of 1:56.4. Shane Taggart did the driving for trainer Kevin Switzer as the Shady Character-Movie Legend miss passed her stablemate Morrigan in the stretch for a one length victory. Snookie wound up third. The $16,960 3-year-old filly trot final was captured by Peter Goldberg and Michael Seidman's Mergatroid in a wire-to-wire, 2:00.4 score. Trainer Donna Marshall handed the lines to Jim Marshall III and he steered the Infinitif-Ornellaia lass to a 4-1/2 length triumph over Royalty Free with Eyes On Royalty third. Repritned with permission from www.ustrotting.com
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Gaming Commission was supposed to take up the mechanics of fusing old racing statutes with new gambling rules at a forum this week. But nervous horse breeders and racetrack officials wouldn't stay on track. Assembled in Hynes Convention Center Wednesday, they wanted to talk about a more basic issue: the uncertain future of horse racing in Massachusetts. "This year is so terrible because none of us know what's going to happen," said Anthony Spadea, president of the New England Horsemen's Association. "Most of our people don't have another place to go race." With applications in for the state's lone slot parlor, the commission, which will decide the winner, hosted a horse racing forum Wednesday to discuss matters such as distribution of purse accounts, tax withholding, congressional involvement in the industry and what would happen to purse money if horse racing founders in Massachusetts. But the uncertainty of whether Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville or another track would get the slot parlor go-ahead kept dominating the conversation, illustrating how the decision about a racino is seen as a life or death issue for racing in the state. "Most racing seasons are like a roller coaster ride," said panelist Steve O'Toole, the general manager of Plainridge. "There are ups and downs. This year has been one of those. Today, operating a racetrack is a gamble." O'Toole said Plainridge runs at least a million-dollar deficit each year operating races. Key to the track's survival could be the offer from the gambling corporation Penn National Gaming to buy the struggling harness racecourse if it wins the state's only slot parlor license. Without the license, the track would have difficulty staying in business. In the track's best years, about 125 horses were purchased (claimed), O'Toole said. "Last year, we had just half a dozen horses claimed," he said. As the conversation about the declining business dominated the forum, commission Chairman Steve Crosby kept trying to turn the subject back to the original intent of the forum, getting out "the information that would build a strategy that would sustain a horse racing industry in Massachusetts for a long, long time." But many panelists said that until they knew whether they would be racing next year, they couldn't discuss the future. "It looks like we're going to lose another breeding season in 2013," said George Brown, president of the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association. "It's a big investment - raising a foal for two years. We don't even know if we're going to be racing." Breeding has steadily declined in Massachusetts since early 2000, the horsemen said. Mike Tanner, CEO of the United States Trotting Association, said he believed lack of racino legislation, in which slot machines would help subsidize horse racing, was responsible for the drop in breeding numbers. "These are numbers that would affect our level of business," he said. "Indiana racino legislation passed in 2007, and their breeding numbers went up 50 percent after it passed. The numbers continue to trend in a positive direction." Plainridge officials have sought other forums to make their point. Last week, they posted a video on YouTube that extolled the positive impact expanded gaming and racino legislation would have on the Plainville track. The video featured Jolene Andrews, a trainer and driver from North Attleboro, who explained how her livelihood could be saved. "Year-by-year, the purses get lower and lower, and with Penn National coming, it gives us hope," she said in the video. The video narration also mentioned "hundreds of family farms and thousands of acres of open space," that would be saved if Plainridge was granted racino status. The video's message echoed the testimony of the nervous stakeholders at the commission meeting, despite efforts by commissioners to confine the conversation to issues of regulation. Jennifer Durenburger, the commission's director of racing, reminded panelists of the "gypsy lifestyle" they had chosen by working in the industry. "You're always looking three months ahead," she said. "We can all tolerate a certain amount of risk, or we wouldn't be in this industry." With forum members still focused on the uncertainty of racing, Crosby put an end to the meeting almost an hour ahead of schedule. "This is just not the time for all of us to be able to sit down and work out a macro fix to the horse racing legislation," he said. "We appreciate the way you feel about your industry. We'll be doing what we can to pitch in." BY LOREN SAVINI FOR THE SUN CHRONICLE reprinted with permission by www.sunchronicle.com
The C.K.G. Billings Amateur Driving Series saw action in both regions this past weekend with Kelly "Sky" Walker prevailing in the midwest at Raceway Park on Sunday September 1 and the following day Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin winning at Plainridge Racecourse in the east. Both sportsmen are previous Amateur Drivers of the Year; Walker in 2011 and Krivelin, 2012 and 2001. Walker's victory came at the expense of five others when he guided Love ignites to a come-from-behind neck victory in a time of 2:00.1 while a patient pocket-trip enabled Krivlein to prevail over seven others in 1:59. At Raceway Park, Walker, with Love Ignites, started along the pylons and played hardball parking both "Lawbook Larry Farley's and "Trader Bud" Hatfield's trotters by the quarter in :29. But neither Farley, with Rewrite the Rules and "Trader Bud" with Wolf's Jan, cleared and they remained two and three wide heading toward the halfway point which was timed in :58.4. After everyone settled in along the pylons, when the field headed up the backside "Marvelous Marv" Raber and Tabulator rallied from fifth position to the lead at the third stanza in 1:28.2 with Walker and Love Ignites in hot pursuit. In the lane, Love ignites was the strong horse and the 4 year old Sand Vic gelding collared Tabulator at the wire for a head victory in a time of 2:00.1. Dolea Delight and Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford took home the show dough in that one. Love Ignites , owned and trained by Walker, paid $4.80 for win. Walker, off to his best start in his relatively short amateur driving career, notched win number 11 to go along with 17 seconds thus far this year. And it was Walker's 83 winning drive in just 485 career starts. On Labor Day at Plainridge Racecourse, Bobby Krivelin had a picture perfect trip behind pace-setter Famous image and driver "Mike " I Ain't Finished" Eaton and in the lane he came calling. Eaton hustled Famous Image to the lead from the three-hole and once on top he kept the pedal to the metal and they trotted by the quarter in :28 and the half in:57.4. Krivlein, comfortable in the two-hole with Budlightning , was probably licking his chops as he followed the leader and waited patiently for the long homestretch to appear but once it did Famous Image didn't come back to Krivelin as much as he had hoped. Still Krivelin was able to strongly urge Budlightning through the stretch and the two-hole covered trip paid off as the veteran Sierra Kosmos gelding got up in the final strides to photo-out Famous Image in a 1:59 clocking. Budlightning, owned and trained by Diane Hellen, paid $7.00 for win. For Krivelin, it was seventh winning drive of the season and the 148th of his amateur career. by John Manzi
Royalty For Life is among the favorites for this weekend’s Hambletonian Stakes, harness racing’s most prominent race, and the entire Massachusetts standardbred industry should be cheering for him. Not simply because Royalty For Life is a locally bred, locally raised, locally owned and locally trained horse, with connections throughout the state. Not just because the colt’s principal owner Al Ross has helped to keep the Massachusetts harness racing industry alive for more than a decade through his role as a principal investor at Plainridge Racecourse, the states’ only harness track. The reason is actually much more basic than that; for Royalty For Life can be seen as a metaphor, a single horse whose story ultimately represents a much larger narrative which symbolizes the current state of harness racing in Massachusetts. So many of the elements of the Royalty For Life narrative – commitment and perseverance, hard work and overcoming adversity, the hope for national prominence - are common to both the colt’s experience and Plainridge Racecourse’s seemingly interminable attempt to achieve the expanded gaming which is a necessity to keep harness racing alive in the 21st century. Consider traits such as commitment and perseverance. Al Ross has been part of the Massachusetts racing industry since 1956. To put that in its proper historical perspective, one should realize that Al Ross entered the sport a few months after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that bus, and a few months before the Boston Celtics won the first of their seventeen NBA championships. He has invested in Plainridge Racecourse for fifteen years, and purchased Royalty For Life’s dam nearly a decade ago even as the harness racing industry in Massachusetts was cratering. Ross, along with partners Chip Campbell and Paul Fontaine, hung in there during the bleak times, continuing to participate in a sire stake program whose purses are paltry compared to other states. Their commitment and perseverance mirrors that of the overnight horsemen at Plainridge who hang in there on annual basis, racing for fewer purse dollars year after year. George Ducharme, Royalty For Life’s hard working trainer, is a local kid who has finally made good, after years of virtual obscurity on a small training center in Plainville, Massachusetts. A 35 year veteran of the industry, Ducharme represents the dreams and aspirations of all those Bay State horsemen and horsewomen who toil 365 days a year at a vocation they love, hoping against hope to some day have that one, special horse. Just as Al Ross put his trust in a trainer to prep his horse who would ultimately end up in the sport’s most high profile race, he has also put his faith in a management team at his racetrack in the hope that it too would achieve the ultimate prize. Then, when it appeared that Royalty For Life and his connections were finally on the cusp of something big they were dealt a bad hand. After Ducharme moved his stable to Vernon Downs for a summer campaign which was supposed to be full of promise, an outbreak of a extremely contagious disease quarantined the barn area. The trainer and his star pupil were essentially prisoners, their barn surrounded by yellow caution tape, prevented from doing their respective jobs. After Royalty For Life was finally freed from his shackles, shipped to the Meadowlands, and won the Dancer Memorial, Ducharme told the media “all the colt wanted to do was race.” That is how most of the Massachusetts horsemen feel today, as they tread water waiting for the license process to unfold, as the days pass since gaming was authorized there is an emotional battle every day for the Massachusetts harness horsemen who see the December deadline, when the slot parlor license is issued, as the beginning of a much brighter future or the end of their industry, their dreams, their livelihood. Like Royalty For Life, those associated with Plainridge merely want to be freed from their shackles and do their respective jobs, whether on the pari-mutuel line or on the backside. Win or lose in the Hambletonian, Royalty For Life has already achieved national prominence. That is a distinction that still eludes Plainridge Racecourse, though it remains a stated goal. A visit to the track’s website, where the company lays out a path for the future Plainridge Park, says as much. The three week wait between the Dancer Memorial and the Hambletonian has probably seemed like forever for Al Ross and Georege Ducharme, for Paul Fontaine and Chip Campbell. But just imagine what the wait until December 15th is like for all those associated with Plainridge Racecourse. The entire Massachusetts standardbred industry should embrace Royalty For Life, for his story is our story. by Robert Lieberman
As Royalty For Life chases Hambletonian glory, he carries with him the hopes of the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts, from South Dartmouth to Belchertown, from the Cape to the Berkshires. More important, he is also validating the vision of the state legislature. A dozen years ago, at the dawn of a new century, the Massachusetts Sire Stake program was moribund. Twice in a span of eleven years the track at Foxboro, which was the only racing venue in the state, had closed its doors. In both cases it was several years before racing resumed in the commonwealth. In 1999, Plainridge Racecourse rose from the ashes of that rubble, offering the local horsemen a racing venue for a hundred days a year.Stables that are structured around overnight horses can live three or four days at a time – no matter how inconvenient it might be there is always a draw taking place somewhere. But breeders, the backbone of the harness racing industry,the element which literally, as well as figuratively, pumps new blood into iton an annual basis and perpetuates its growth must take a longer view. Those investors can't live condition sheet to condition sheet. In 2001, with three seasons in the book at the new track,the Massachusetts legislature crafted an omnibus racing bill. Recognizing the commitment of Plainridge and its horsemen, the lawmakers sought to strengthen the state’s Standardbred breeding program, an initial step on the path towards stability for the harness racing industry. Focusing on mares rather than stallions, the new regulation allowed harness breeders access to any stallion, any where - with the caveat that the mare had to foal in Massachusetts,thus offering that traditional support for the state’s agricultural industry.This change allowed owners of mares to breed to the highest quality stallions,if they chose to, and at least in theory to increase the quality of the local breeding program's product. In essence, what had been a sire stake program became a futurity, and the focus on mares allowed more people to participate, returning harness racing to its more democratic roots. Within two years, a product of the restructured program,RC Royalty, made appearances in the Breeders Crown, as both a two and a three year old. Bred by Chip Campbell of Belchertown, the son of Credit Winner raced in the Massachusetts program, but is much better known for his appearances in events such as the Hambletonian. Now, his son Royalty For Life, repeats his father's story.While he was sired in New York, he is a product of the Massachusetts breeding program, bred by Al Ross of South Dartmouth, along with Chip Campbell and Paul Fontaine, and is considered among the pre-race favorites in the Hambletonian. It only seems appropriate that a horse bred in a state known for its “City of Champions,”competes in the “Super Bowl of trotting.” Might there be more Royalty For Life’s in the years tocome? Perhaps. With expanded gaming on the horizon in Massachusetts, the breeding program in the state has caught they eye of at least a couple of other successful owners whoare no strangers to the sport’s limelight. During the past couple of breeding seasons the powerful Lindy Farms, owner of such notable horses as Hambletonian competitor Crazed, has sent mares to the Bay State. There have even been inklings that the farm, located in nearby Enfield,Connecticut, might eventually build a wing in a Massachusetts locale. Bill Varney, who has demonstrated success in sire stake programs in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maine and Canada has also sent mares to Massachusetts during the past two seasons,with an eye toward the future. “It looked like an opportunity close to home,”said Varney, who hails from Bangor, Maine, noting that the monies he pays to farms, veterinarians and blacksmiths all contribute to the Bay State’s economy. A little over a decade ago a proactive legislature tookthat first step, and the local sire stake program has grown. Still, the Massachusetts harness racing industry remains at a crossroads. While that expanded gaming seen on the horizon potentially gets a bit closer everyday, how much of that revenue willfind its way to the industry is an open question. The answer to that questionwill decide if Royalty For Life – a Massachusetts eligible racing in the sport’s premier event - is merely an exception, or if in the future, locally bred horses of that caliber in events such as the Hambletonian might become the rule. by Robert Lieberman
Marlborough, Ma. --Plainridge trotter A Megabuck is making his presence felt at the 'Ridge.' After three mediocre starts in open company, he responded Tuesday with his stylish come from behind stretch burst to defeat his six rivals in a $3,000 event. Owned and driven by Donald Gaudette and trained by Nancy Gaudette of Winchester, N.H.,their trotter now has son six of his last eight starts and banked more than $150,000 during his career. Plaintalk: Ater this month (July), the August racing schedule programs will be run on Monday, Tuesday snd Saturdays. Post time will be 4 p.m. (Est.). The first Saturday race card will be run August 3. By Jack Ginnetti dona
Plainridge Racecourse became on Monday the fourth casino applicant to complete negotiations with its host community, reaching a deal for a slot machine parlor that would pay the town of Plainville more than $4 million the first year the facility is open, according to a statement from the track.
Driver Kevin Switzer and members of the Harness Racing community present Dr. Lynn M. Bak of Make A Wish Maine, a check for $6,165.40, the total amount raised for "The King Drives for The Kids" fundraiser.
It wasn't an easy trip and at several points in the mile, Bob" the Headhunter" Hechkoff thought his venerable trotter, Tremendous Hit was going to get beat but when they crossed the finish line a neck ahead of Current Crisis and driver Bobby "Rapid Rail" Krivelin all thoughts were unfounded as Tremendous Hit hung tough and won the harness racing Billings Trot at Plainridge Racecourse in a time of 1:59.2 , June 24th.
Don Guidette Jr.'s trotter A Megabuck is climbing the harness racing trotting charts at Plainridge Race course.
Silverton Casino, a Las Vegas gambling company, has joined a slot parlor proposal at Plainridge Racecourse, a harness racing facility in Plainville, MA, as a design and operational consultant, track management at Plainridge Racecourse said today.
Harness racing driver- trainer John Sears made the local history books Memorial Day, guiding Premium Bliss, at odds of 280-1 to the winners circle at Plainridge Racecourse.
The young and racing's elder stateman put on an offensive driving skills Thursday at Plainridge Racecourse.