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Scarborough, Maine - June 8, 2019 ... When last seen at Scarborough Downs, harness racing driver Drew Campbell was busy piecing together a dominant six-win performance last Sunday, an effort that left the man in orange and black six wins shy of registering the 5000th victory lap of his prodigious career. After a week spent campaigning at Bangor Raceway and Plainridge Park, Campbell fittingly reappeared at the Downs, the venue where he has enjoyed the majority of his successes, needing just one win more to cross the magical threshold. With drives in ten of Saturday's (6/8) twelve races, Campbell seemed destined to record the benchmark win in front of the home fans, but he dramatically kept the large Belmont Stakes Day crowd in a general state of suspense until breaking through to the winner's ranks with an eighth race victory behind a recent Maritimes import named Woodmere Nightlife. Campbell, whose lineage is also steeped in the harness racing traditions of the Maritimes, sat off the pace with his charge before tipping three-deep up the backstretch and powering to an open length romp, as the fans roared their approval. A perennial powerhouse at the Downs and a regular contender for the North American UDR Championship, Campbell, who counts multiple local driving championships among his accomplishments, was joined in the winners circle by a multitude of his fellow drivers and horsemen, as is the tradition in Maine, to celebrate his latest accomplishment. Drew Campbell wasn't the only headliner on the Scarborough Downs card on Saturday as a trio of Invitational class events were carded, charged with the goal of showcasing the crème de la crème of the local harness scene in front of the large crowd expected on Belmont Stakes Day. The goal was surely exceeded when driver Ron Cushing steered Bettors Fire N to a brilliant victory in the $10,000 renewal of the historic Dirigo Pace, stopping the clock in blistering 1:53, while equaling the third fastest mile ever recorded in the 70 year history of Scarborough Downs. The effort was just 2/5th of a second off the all time track record recorded by JJs Jet (D. Campbell) in the 2018 edition of the Mid-Summer Classic and just 1/5th off the only other horse to ever eclipse the 1:53 mark, Hotrod Falcon (W. Case, Jr) who set the longtime overall standard in 1993's Presidents Pace. Zack Lee (D. Deslandes) who set torrid fractions throughout the mile placed second while All Artist (D. Campbell) rallied for third. Bettors Fire N Not content with a mere one win day, Cushing continued his domination of the local invitational scene on Saturday, scoring a convincing victory in the $10,000 Shady Sabrina Distaff with ShezSugarSweet A, who stepped away to a zippy 1:57.1 top-class score. The win was the 7th of the season for the Heidi Gibbs trained mare who now boasts 4 wins and 4 runner-up placings from her last eight starts, all coming since rejoining the New England circuit in mid-April. Western Stepp (D. Campbell) settled for the bridesmaid share after cutting reasonable fractions, while Amethyst Seelster (D. Deslandes) finished third. ShezSugarSweet A A Maine-bred trotter claimed top honors in the inaugural edition of the $10,000 Obrigado Trot, as Pembroke Castaway and driver Heath Campbell expertly controlled the tempo and tenor while piking the course and eking out a narrow final advantage over a hard charging Cherry Crown Jewel (M. Athearn) who fell a mere neck short at the wire. Northern Skyway (B. Ranger) finished third. Named for a native-bred trotter who went undefeated in Maine Sire Stakes action and then went on to make a name for himself in major North American stakes, the Obrigado Invitational produced a mile that was timed in 1:57.2, just 2/5th of a second off Scarborough's overall track record. Pembroke Castaway Live harness racing now expands out to a three day a week format at the Downs with 4:30 pm (EDT) twilight cards slated for Thursdays and Saturdays while the popular Sunday matinees go to post at 1:30 pm. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs    

Drew Campbell put on a clinic of harness driving prowess on Sunday (6/2) winning 6 races on the 10 race program while inching closer to the latest milestone in his sights - Membership into the 5000 career win club. The perennial powerhouse and current leading driver at Scarborough Downs now sits with 4994 lifetime trips down Victory Lane and with a full slate of drives at Plainridge Park and Bangor Raceway scheduled for the coming week, chances are that Campbell will become enshrined as Mr 5000 well before live racing returns to the Downs next weekend. En route to claiming victory in the first five races on the card, Campbell opened the day with a 1:54 front-running score behind Lioness Hanover who, in the process, registered the fastest win time of the 2019 Scarborough Downs meet. He followed that speedy trip up with a pair of off-the-pace journeys with Explosiveafternoon (2:02) and Western Stepp (1:56.4), before returning to the pike-route strategy with the 14-year-old Anderlecht (1:56.3) and CJ Marshall (1:58). Campbell then reverted to the rally-method to secure Thomas B Hanover’s (1:58) third career victory to close out his phenomenal six-pack performance. Live harness racing will resume on Saturday (6/8) at Scarborough Downs with a special 2:00 pm (EDT) post time on the Belmont Stakes Day program. The card will feature three $10,000 invitational events; the renewal of the historic Dirigo Pace, The Shady Sabrina Distaff Pace and The Obrigado Trot, all leading up to the simulcast of thoroughbred racing’s third jewel of the Triple Crown season. Buffet dining will be available in the elegant Downs Club Restaurant for $21 (inclusive) on Belmont Stakes Day and reservations are recommended. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page.   By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

SCARBOROUGH, Maine, April 29, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Downs development team, Crossroads Holdings LLC, today announces that ESG Associates Inc., a company specializing in recreational developments, has signed an agreement to pursue an athletic venue at The Downs. The Scarborough facility could include pools, ice rinks, indoor and outdoor fields, spectator areas, and other activity space. Currently, EDGE Sports Group (ESG) is conducting a feasibility study to determine what type of amenities should be included within The Downs facility. "This is particularly exciting for us because we've long known that our community wants these types of athletic and recreational amenities," says developer Roccy Risbara. "The Town is pleased with the progress of The Downs project, particularly the accelerated pace of the non-residential buildout," says Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall. "The involvement of the Edge Sports Group and the construction of a commercial recreation center could serve as a catalyst to anchor the downtown portion of the project. We are eager to participate in the feasibility analysis and see if there is an opportunity for the project to meet the long-standing recreation needs of the community," Hall says. Founded in 2008, Massachusetts-based ESG has consulted on and created athletic venues, sports programs and organized league play throughout New England. The company creates "sports ecosystems" that are geared to meet the unique recreational goals of communities and deliver on unmet needs. "Greater Portland is a growing region and is currently underserved in this capacity. We see a bright future for this type of athletic complex in Scarborough," says Brian DeVellis, President of ESG Associates, Inc. "We look forward to this process and plan to design something specific to the recreational needs of the community and the region," DeVellis says. In early 2018, two lifelong Scarborough families purchased the 500-acre property at Scarborough Downs. Two sets of brothers – William, Marc and Rocco Risbara III, of Risbara Bros., and Peter and Richard Michaud, formerly of Michaud Distributors, purchased this property for $6.7M, after it had been on the market for nearly two decades. The vision for the project is to create a mixed-use community that provides the right balance between residential, commercial and light industrial development in Scarborough. The master plan for The Downs preserves 200-acres of open space and creates ten-miles of recreational trails and sidewalks that will carry pedestrians from one end of the property to the other. The center of the project will be anchored by a downtown district, where the sports complex will be located. This venue will not disrupt or displace harness racing at Scarborough Downs, instead could act as a catalyst to increase visitors to the track. The first phase of residential development at The Downs is underway, which includes 30 single-family homes, 48 condominiums and 48 apartment units. Within weeks, more than 50-percent of the units were sold or under contract. A residential-scale memory care facility will also be under construction later this year as part of this area. The second phase of development, the Innovation District is designed to attract light industrial, technology, manufacturing and retail end-users. This part of the project recently received preliminary subdivision approval from the Town's Planning Board. Development will begin this July, following final State and local approvals. ESG intends to complete its due diligence this summer, with design and permitting immediately following. The facility could be open in Spring 2021. PR Newswire

SCARBOROUGH — A Massachusetts company has signed an agreement to design a sports complex for a proposed village center that’s being developed near the harness racing track at Scarborough Downs. The Edge Sports Group, a company specializing in recreational properties, has signed a letter of intent with the developers of The Downs, a $621 million residential, commercial and light-industrial project that’s under construction at the 500-acre harness-racing venue off Route 1 and the Maine Turnpike. ESG is conducting a feasibility study to determine what amenities would be included at the complex, according to a written statement from The Downs developer Rocco Risbara. It could include swimming pools, ice rinks, indoor and outdoor playing fields, spectator areas and other activity spaces. “This is particularly exciting for us because we’ve long known that our community wants these types of athletic and recreational amenities,” Risbara said. The sports complex would anchor the downtown area that The Downs developers plan to build near the racetrack and grandstand, Risbara said. However, it wouldn’t disrupt or displace harness racing at Scarborough Downs, he said, and it could act as a catalyst to increase visitors to the track. Exactly how the sports complex would be developed, built, owned and operated are details that must be negotiated before ESG finalizes a deal with The Downs, Risbara said, leaving open the possibility that the two companies could form some kind of partnership. Risbara said the sports complex would be a private, for-profit, fee-based facility offering various types of memberships, such as individual, group, league and municipal. “Our goal will be to make it as accessible and inclusive as possible,” said Risbara, whose family operates a construction company that is general contractor for The Downs project. The sports complex would be built where Risbara suggested the town could build a community recreation center when his company was seeking a property tax break from the Town Council last year. Risbara said the complex could address a majority – but not necessarily all – of the town’s recreational and sports needs. Town Manager Tom Hall said he’s pleased with the progress of The Downs project, especially the accelerated pace of nonresidential development. “The involvement of the Edge Sports Group and the construction of a commercial recreation center could serve as a catalyst to anchor the downtown portion of the project,” Hall said in the statement. “We are eager to participate in the feasibility analysis and see if there is an opportunity for the project to meet the long-standing recreation needs of the community.” Based in Bedford, Massachusetts, ESG has consulted on and developed several athletic venues and sports leagues throughout New England. The company aims to design “sports ecosystems” that meet the recreational goals of surrounding communities. It isn’t affiliated with The Edge Academy baseball training facility on Warren Avenue in Portland. “Greater Portland is a growing region and is currently underserved in this capacity,” ESG President Brian DeVellis said. “We see a bright future for this type of athletic complex in Scarborough. We look forward to this process and plan to design something specific to the recreational needs of the community and the region.” ESG intends to complete its feasibility study this summer, then move forward with the design and permitting process. The sports complex could open as early as spring 2021. Sheila Brennan Nee, strategic director of the Maine Sports Commission, said the proposed sports complex at The Downs would complement the current regional inventory of athletic facilities and create the opportunity to bid on larger sports tournaments. “The possible development of new fields and facilities in Scarborough will be exciting to watch as Maine continues advancing as a four-season sports destination,” Nee said. “More amenities better position Maine to attract event owners whose checklists include multiple fields or more than one sheet of ice on the same site or within close proximity when considering a proposal.” Scarborough Downs was purchased last year by two sets of brothers – the Risbaras and the Michauds. The longtime town residents, friends and business owners paid $6.7 million for the sprawling property at the center of town. The racetrack had been struggling for years and on the market for nearly two decades when the brothers stepped forward. The Downs pitched the project as a mixed-use community that would balance residential, commercial and light-industrial development. It also would preserve 200 acres of open space and create 10 miles of recreational trails and sidewalks. Residential construction at The Downs is underway off Route 1, including 30 single-family homes, 48 condominiums and 48 apartments. Construction of a residential facility specializing in dementia care is expected to start later this year. The planning board recently gave preliminary approval for a light-industrial innovation district at The Downs, off Payne Road and Exit 42 of the Maine Turnpike. Site development is expected to start in July, following final state and local approvals. By Kelley Bouchard - The Portland Press Herald Reprinted with permission of The Journal Tribune

Scarborough, Maine - March 29, 2019 ... Saturday and Sunday's live harness racing cards have been cancelled at Scarborough Downs. Track management and representatives of the Maine Harness Horseman's Association both concur that incoming weather coupled with the winter thaw have combined to create adverse track conditions, necessitating the postponement of the Opening Weekend of Maine's harness racing season. Racing is scheduled to resume on Saturday April 6th with a 12:30 pm post time. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 PM (EDT) through the month of April. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page.   By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - March 29, 2019 ... Scarborough Downs will swing open it's gates for the 70th consecutive year on Saturday (3/30), welcoming the multitudes of fans and horses back to the track, and heralding the start of the 2019 harness racing season in Maine. The Downs will open the race meet on a two day a week schedule, racing Saturday and Sunday afternoon cards with a post time of 12:30 p.m. (EDT). Admission to the races is once again free of charge at the Downs, and with twin 8-race programs carded for both Saturday and Sunday, the fans will have ample opportunity to witness the excitement and pageantry of harness racing from a close-up, rail-bird's seat. In addition to a season full of top harness racing action, the track is pleased to promote exciting events all season long. The Kentucky Derby, which kicks off thoroughbred racing's chase for the Triple Crown, falls on May 4th this year and will once again be the Downs' biggest party of the year. On the local side, the $25,000 Mid-Summer Classic, scheduled for July 13, will attract and showcase the finest pacers in New England while the $25,000 Joseph Ricci Memorial (August 24) will be the highlight of the trotting scene in Maine. The Maine Sire Stakes program will once again anchor the action at the Downs this summer as the regal Maine-bred pacers and trotters launch their season-long campaigns beginning on June 25, culminating in the highly anticipated Festival of Champions on October 12, where they will be racing for championship glory and combined purses that will exceed $600,000. The local harness racing season, packed with heart pounding excitement and the chance to win big, gets underway as the bugler sounds the first "Call to Post" at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Get Back to the Track to experience it all! Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 PM (EDT) through the month of April. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page.   By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - December 7, 2018 ... With just two days remaining in the 2018 harness racing season at Scarborough Downs, Year End Award recipients were announced on Friday (12/7) as the staff at the seaside oval continued with the tradition of honoring achievement, while recognizing the excellence of the many performers who made the meet one of the most successful in recent years. Drew Campbell once again walked away with Scarborough's Leading Driver title as the perennial powerhouse's tally of 148 wins easily outdistanced the 80 scores amassed by runner-up Mitchell Cushing, who in his breakthrough season, is generally recognized as one of the industry's rising stars. Campbell's dominance extended through all driving categories. From 487 starts, he topped out with; the most wins (148), highest purse earnings ($487,489), the gaudiest Universal Driver Rating (.473) and the leading win percentage after visiting the winners circle with 31.7% of his drives. Top Trainer honors went to Bo Sowers, who served notice from the earliest portions of the meet that his roster would be a force to reckon with. His unprecedented blitz of five wins on the opening day card elevated him to the top of the Leader's Board, a position that he would never relinquish throughout the entirety of the meet. From 192 starts, Sowers scored 42 wins while boasting a hefty .351 Universal Trainer Rating. His horses' earnings totaled $126,460 on the year. The Freeman Parker Award which recognizes the Up-And-Coming Driver of the Year goes to McGwire Sowers in 2018. The 18-year-old sensation wasted little time in making an impact at the Downs, piloting five winners down Victory Lane on Opening Day, catapulting himself to an early lead in the driver's standings, a position that he held for much of the first month of the meet. Sowers closed out his Scarborough season with 44 wins from 255 starts, finishing 5th on the year end Leader's Board. The Loring Norton Award which recognizes the Up-And-Coming Trainer of the Year belongs to Christopher Petrelli. The 19-year-old conditioner won the very first race of the 2018 meet with Fox Valley Bailey (one of two wins from his roster on the Opening Day program) and closed out the season in 7th place on the Leader's Board with 19 top tallies. JJs Jet was named Pacer of the Year for 2018, on the strength of his track record performance in Scarborough's $25,000 Mid-Summer Classic. During a year when the big invitational horses seldom graced the seaside oval, the 9-year-old son of Jereme's Jet-Northern Desire made the biggest splash, touring the raceway in a new track record of 1:52.3 with Drew Campbell at the helm, eclipsing the previous benchmark of 1:52.4 established 25 years ago by Hotrod Falcon and Walter Case, Jr., way back in 1993. JJs Jet, a winner of 3 races from 4 seasonal starts at the Downs, is trained by James Dunn for owner Bruce Maxwell. Nathaniel capped of a strong 2018 meeting at the Downs by securing Trotter of the Year honors. The 5-year-old son of Lear Jetta-Ponytail Express secured five top-level wins from 10 local appearances, including a 1:57.4 score in the $16,200 renewal of the Joseph Ricci Memorial. The handsome chestnut trotter is trained by James Dunn for owner Linwood Higgins. The leading lady of the meet was a mid-level pacer named Rockintheniteaway. A nine-time local winner, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Best Of Ball was a gimmicks player's dream come true throughout the entire season in 2018, factoring in the Scarborough pari-mutuels at an astounding 23 for 29 clip. The Distaff Pacer of the Year is owned and trained by Gordon Du Bois Sr. A battle tested veteran was named Claimer of the Year as Kid Courageous A continued to defy age all season long. The 14-year-old war horse scored an eye-popping 1:56.1 open-length victory on Opening Day at the Downs (a speed standard that was not eclipsed until well into the second month of the meet) and with one local start remaining on Saturday (12/8) amassed a record of 6-1-3 from 14 appearances. The son of Bettor's Delight-Talilia is owned and trained and driven by Dan Deslandes. Live harness racing will be featured this coming Saturday and Sunday during closing weekend at Scarborough Downs with the 12th annual Standardbred Retirement Ceremony taking center stage on Saturday (12/8). Post time for both performances will be at 12:15 pm (EST). The Downs will remain open for simulcast wagering on a seven day a week schedule throughout the winter months with opening day of the 2019 live harness racing meet set for March 30th. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - November 25, 2018 .... Due to the effects of this weekend's winter storm, Sunday's (11/25) harness racing card and Standardbred Retirement Ceremony were canceled at Scarborough Downs. Racing is scheduled to resume on Thursday with a 12:15 pm (EST) post time. A decision will be forthcoming regarding rescheduling the Retirement Ceremony. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - October 13, 2018 .... Festival of Champions Day, a showcase for the Maine Sire Stakes Championship Round started out cold and wet on Saturday (10/13) but quickly heated up and the sun finally made an appearance half way through the harness racing program. The large crowd at Scarborough Downs was treated to a live band along with many giveaways. The first of Eight Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes races, the $89.007 three year old colt & gelding final trot, was won by the 20 year old driver that is affectionately called "Matty Ice" guiding Mouthpiece into the winners circle. Matt Athearn steered the 3 year old son of Noble Venture-Beluga to a wire to wire performance in a time of 2:02.4 on a track rated as good. The heavily favored entry was on the lead at the quarter, parked to the outside, but when he cleared it was all over as he stormed home with a 5¾ length victory, that could have been a lot more. William Phipps of Yarmouth, Maine owns the winner and the entry mate He'salittlenoble, who couldn't keep his footing heading to three quarters and broke, but still managed to finish third. The trainer for Mouthpiece was as happy as happy could be and smothered her driver/son with hugs and kisses. Next the $89,278 three year old filly trotting final took center stage with all eyes pinned on favorite June Carter Cast who was having a near perfect season with 11 wins in 12 starts. Pembroke Dancer with driver Nicholas Graffam had the benefit of the rail though and used it to his advantage to pull off the minor upset. Trainer and the drivers' father, Mike Graffam, credits the victory to the early scrum between Pembroke Dancer and June Carter Cast. The daughter of Cr Power Glide-Spring Laughter stretched out June Carter Cast in an opening quarter of 29.4. Pembroke Dancer picked up the fight again at the three quarter pole and from there went on to a four length victory in a time of 2:06.3 for the Ben, Bill and Will Stable of Carmel, Maine. Two year old fillies, racing for $56,454 went to post in their respective final with the leading point earner JustCallMe Bets going off as the favorite. JustCallMe Bets grabbed the lead but had company all away around the seaside oval. Cominrightatyou and driver Ron Cushing hampered the favorite throughout the mile and managed a very game second but the outside route was costly. It was the daughter of Deuce Seelster- Guard The Rose, Moonlightandroses and driver David Ingraham that took home the big prize as Ingraham traveled on the outside following Cominrightatyou and picked up the pieces in the stretch with a four length victory for Canadian owner Clark Bustard of Elmwood, New Brunswick and trainer David White. Moonlightandroses won her fifth race in eight starts timed in 2:06.4. The $56,437 two year old fillies trot final saw Lady Victoria, the daughter of Victor Blue Chip-AJ's Baby, wait out a long photo as she and Buena Vita Bebe and Ron Cushing, who attacked on the inside, were noses apart at the wire. Cushing came back to the winners circle but the photo ultimately gave the win to Lady Victoria. Trainer/Driver Ivan Davies started from post eight and after a couple of missteps by the competition found himself grabbing the lead by the quarter with Lady Victoria. Lady Victoria had enough at the wire to hold on recording her seventh win in nine starts for owner Stephan Hall of Newport, Maine in a time of 2:08.4. The other half of the Davies/Hall Entry, Victor's Secret, finished fourth. The combination of driver Drew Campbell and trainer Jim Dunn captured the $15,000 Fillies and Mare Free For All Pace in 2:01.1 with Western Stepp. Campbell who charged from the back of the pack to record a head victory said in the winners circle that the track was heavy and was fortunate that he managed to get the victory. With the knowledge of the track being heavy Drew Campbell tried a different strategy in the $89, 311 three year pacing fillies final. Campbell left with Gonna Hear Me Rohr, the daughter of Western Maverick-Heather K and settled in behind pacesetter Saratoga Liz who was driven by long time veteran Bruce Ranger, who hasn't raced since 2015. Campbell at the three quarter pole tipped and went by Saratoga Liz and coasted home a 13 length winner in 2:01.4 for owner Bradford Veilleux of Greene, Maine and trainer Jim Dunn. Owners Thomas Dillon of Anson, Maine and Walter Hight of Skowhegan, Maine have teamed up year after year and have owned some of the best racehorses that Maine has offered. Ally Way Cast is another outstanding trotter for this pair and one that Tom Dillon said in the winners circle was one of the best that the team has ever owned. In a very uneventful win, Ally Way Cast, son of Current Cast-Ally-Gal Ridge, easily won the $56,426 two-year-old trotting final in a leisurely 2:06.2, ten lengths the best. Dillon credited his success to driver veteran reinsman Gary Mosher and the Maine stalwart trainer Donald Richards. The $56,460 two year old colt and gelding pacing final saw driver David Ingraham and trainer David White team up for another over the road victory. Bait A Hook from post position eight, saw Ingraham take the son of Deuce Seelster-Josie Plumstead to the outside going past the half and from there he grinded past the competition winning in a time of 2:01.2. When asked in the winners circle about his luck from the outside post positions Ingraham stated that the luck wasn't with him on the draw but he managed to overcome the poor positions. The win with Bait A Hook was the second stakes victory of the day for owner Clark Bustard of Elmwood, New Brunswick Canada. The $15,000 Free For All Trot was won in the same fashion that David Ingraham had demonstrated all day. From post position seven, Ingraham had BJ Anthony out and going at the half and he crossed the wire 11½ length victor in 2:02.2 for owner/trainer Dustin Ingraham. The final of the eight Breeders Stakes races saw the three year old pacing colts go to post battling for a purse of $89,321. Race favorite Pembroke Pharoah got away slow and had problems breaking as the field headed towards three quarters. The outside flow was active and Stormyweatherahead came like a thunderbolt with driver Matt Athearn guiding the son of Luckcamotion-Wolf Creek Cupid into the winners circle finishing off a day that the young driver will never forget. Stormyweatherahead won in a time of 2:00.3, seven lengths the best. Matty Ice, the son of Mark & Gretchen Athearn, started his racing career in 2014, and is now the sports newest millionaire with his driving purses now totaling 1,004,673. Stormyweatherahead is trained by Marc Tardif for owner Leighton Property of Waterboro, Maine. With the Maine Sire Stakes season now concluded, racing action in the PineTreeState will be controlled by the overnight ranks, with live racing action continuing at Scarborough Downs every Saturday and Sunday afternoon through December 9th. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page. By William Ellis for Scarborough Downs and the New England Harness Writers Association

Coral Springs, FL – Harness racing driver Bruce Ranger was once the King of the Pompano Park track in south Florida and before that was the top driver in Maine for years. During his illustrious career he competed in nearly 50,000 races with 8,916 wins and purses won at $36,453,179. Then on June 27, 2015 after he finished fourth in the last race with Master Of Puppets at Pompano Park, Bruce Ranger walked away from harness racing. “I was beat back then,” Ranger explained. “Too many accidents, too many mornings jogging or training 15 to 20 horses, then driving in ten or more races at night. My back especially was so sore that I knew it was time to stop.” Ranger returned to his home state of Maine and began rehabilitation, living in Lewiston. He rested up, started to heal and even got married on September 23, 2016 to Mary Beth Beauregard. Now enters Joe Morris in the picture. “My cousin Joe Morris is the one who owns the starting gates up here and it was him that helped get me to get my license and get the job starting the races on the Maine Fair Circuit,” Ranger added. “If It was anyone else other than him I would have said no thank you,” Ranger said. “If anything, it gave me a reason to see him more often. He is my favorite cousin since I was a kid and has helped me in the past.” Now, gone from competing in harness racing for more than three years, Bruce Ranger is returning to the races once again as a driver. His first appearance will be aboard Miss American Bi in the fourth race trot at Scarborough Downs in Maine on Saturday. It’s the $56,437 Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies. He has one other drive on card in the sixth race, with Saratoga Liz (post two) in the $89,311 Maine Standardbred Breeders Stake for three-year-old pacing fillies. Both horses are trained by Kim Ireland. “Here comes cousin Joe Morris again,” Ranger said. “He owns Saratoga Liz and put me down to drive and I also got another one of Kim’s (Ireland) horses.” After being away from racing for more than three years, Ranger is making his comeback with a bang in a couple of major stakes races.  “I got the itch,” Ranger said. “I was very fortunate to get the chance to learn and become a starting judge and then was able to get hired as the starter for the Maine Fair Circuit this summer. “I really enjoyed being the starter for the Maine Fair Circuit,” Ranger added. “It peaked my interest to get back on a sulky and drive. But, first I had to get back in shape again. I ate too much of that great Fair food every weekend.” Getting back in shape for Ranger has been enjoyable. “During the winters I do a lot of skiing,” Ranger said. “And when not working during the summer I love to go biking. It has really helped me get back into shape and both the skiing and biking is great fun. “I had really missed the changing of the seasons and wintertime,” Ranger said. “I’d rather be working a snow blower than jogging horses. So, what are Bruce Ranger’s plans for his return to driving? “Since I got the itch,” Ranger said. “I’ve been considering driving at Plainridge. They have some green now and their purses are much better than what is available in Maine. “Why not go down there and race for real money,” Ranger added. “I’ve been there before when they did not have any decent purses. It’s not that far away that I can make the trip. “I have to see how things go on Saturday,” Ranger said. “I could get behind a horse and right afterwards say “no more” and walk away again. I could also love it and want to do more. We’ll know after Saturday for sure.” When asked about returning to Pompano Park in Florida where Ranger won more than half of his 8,916 career wins, Ranger said “No thank you. I don’t want to race in the heat ever again. I was born and raised up here in New England and want to say around here.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Scarborough, Maine - October 11, 2018 .... The Maine Sire Stakes Championship round takes center stage during Festival of Champions Day on Saturday (10/13) at Scarborough Downs, and with over $600,000 in purse money on the line, this will be the richest day in Maine Harness Racing history. Eight Maine Sire Stakes Championship races will anchor the eleven race program which is slated to get underway at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) while a festival atmosphere overtakes the historic grandstand at the southern Maine racing venue. Fans will be welcomed at a special trackside tented pavilion area that has been created specifically for the event. Country Roads, one of Maine's premier country music bands will perform in between races, local food trucks will provide tantalizingly delicious food offerings, and a trackside beer garden will be featured. Local radio station WPOR will be broadcasting live from the Downs throughout the afternoon, registering attendees for a grand prize flyaway trip for two to the CMA Awards Show in Nashville (provided by EMI Records - Nashville). The only place to register for the trip will be at Scarborough Downs on Saturday and the winner will be drawn trackside at 4:30 pm. Admission and programs are free on Festival of Champions Day, and fans will also have the opportunity to enter to win a $1000 Cash Giveaway. Face painting and trackside games will delight the kids on Saturday while everyone will enjoy meeting Luigi, the ice cream eating horse, as he joins the festivities in his trackside pen. "This is the harness racing party they'll be talking about for years to come" said Wendy Ireland, president of the Maine Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association. "We wanted to create a festive atmosphere to help showcase these championship races, and with the help of the Downs, I think we've come up with the perfect mix." Scarborough Downs features live harness racing every Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 pm (EDT) through December 9th. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - September 6, 2018 .... Maine Sire Stakes action returned to Scarborough Downs on Thursday (9/6) as the three year old filly pacing division took center stage. Split into twin 6-horse fields for purses of $11,606 and $11,605 respectively, the sophomore stakes stars anchored the twilight program. Shes A Maverick fired the opening sire stakes salvo on Thursday as driver John Nason rifled his charge off the gate, gained the lead before reaching the 1/8th mile marker, and from there enjoyed an advantage which the tandem never relinquished. The filly survived a determined first-over, mid-mile attempt from the eventual third place finishing Perfect Maverick (Ron Cushing), only to drift wide into the stretch where she held off (by a matter of whiskers) a fast closing, inside bid from the post time favorite, Gonna Hear Me Rohr (Drew Campbell). Trained by John Nason for owner Carolyn Corso, the win was the second consecutive score for Shes A Maverick, who put an end to the imposing five-race win streak of Gonna Hear Me Rohr with her effort. In the day's second division, Saratoga Liz blew up the tote board, scoring an imposing win at 11-1 odds, as catch driver Matthew Athearn put the sophomore lass on the lead for the first time this season. From that coveted perch, the duo repelled all challengers en route to securing the second lifetime win for the daughter of Western Maverick-Laughs Last, in a career best 2:00.2 clocking. Tip Em Off (Dan Deslandes) rode the outer rim throughout, yet still held firm for the runner-up placing, while Luck Of The Deal (Eddie Davis, Jr) rallied from last to third to secure the show dough. Maine Sire Stakes racing returns to Scarborough Downs on Saturday (9/9) as the three year old colt pacing division will anchor the twilight program. The three year old trotters invade the Seaside Oval on Sunday. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing during the coming week on Thursday and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 1:30 p.m. Closing Day of the summer meet is slated for September 15th. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs  

Scarborough, ME - September 1, 2018 ... The two-year-old harness racing filly pacing division of the Maine Sire Stakes program made its first appearance of the 2018 season at Scarborough Downs on Saturday (9-1), with twelve entries divided into twin $11,327 splits. The occasion marked the fourth time that the divisional battle call had sounded this year, as the freshmen gals reached the midway point of their sire stakes season. ComingRightAtYou took top honors in the first split, throwing in a steady effort in juxtaposition to some recent appearances, in which the filly had twice failed to maintain stride before and/or after the start. Driver Ron Cushing confidently steered the daughter of Western Maverick-Express Ball N swiftly off the car on Saturday though, putting the competition quickly in line and securing a rather unhurried journey. The strategy enabled them to hold a determined field at bay as they marched through a nifty 59.4 back-half, ultimately reaching the wire under wraps, timed in 2:01.4 for the mile. Trained by Heidi Gibbs for the ownership partnership of Kevin Sywyk and Ron Cushing, the win marked the third career victory lap for the Maine-bred lass. MoonlightAndRoses (David Ingraham) steered an overland course to grab runner-up honors, while Wicked Wanda (Gary Mosher) drafted second-up for the show - both fillies beaten a well-measured half-length by the ultimate victor. The second Sire Stakes division of the day saw JustCallMeBets looking every bit the 1-9 shot that she was sent to post at, as the ferocious freshman dominated the competition while securing her fifth career victory from six lifetime starts. Driver Mark Athearn sent his charge merrily on her way from the get go, gliding to an opening quarter timed in a leisurely 31.4, before sealing the deal at the half as the tele-timer announced a demoralizing 1:03 clocking. The competition chased in vain from that point on as the daughter of Deuce Seelster-JustCallMeRosie coasted toward a 2:03.2 jaunt in the park sort of effort, finishing well in-hand and under wraps, much to the delight of the wagering public and to the chagrin of her co-combatants. The precocious youngster, ever popular at the mutuel windows, is trained by Gretchen Athearn for owner William Phipps. Ms Downeast (Gary Mosher) sat second throughout the mile, ultimately finishing in that position, while we Love Western (John Nason) raced third best. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing during the coming week on Thursday and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 1:30 p.m. Maine Sire Stakes racing will be showcased on all three of those days as the three-year-old divisions revisit the raceway. Closing Day of the summer meet is slated for September 15th. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - August 11, 2018 ... A large crowd witnessed the return of Maine Sire Stakes action to Scarborough Downs on Saturday (8/11), bolstered by legions of tourists who flocked from the beaches on the overcast weekend afternoon, as they cheered on twin splits of the sophomore colt pacing division of the state-bred program. ThankYouAllMyFans revved up his engines from the get go in the $10,611 first division, as driver Eddie Davis, Jr attempted to secure the customary front end seat for his home-bred steed, a pacer who had been sent merrily down the highway in each of his last five starts. The Ron Cushing piloted Hoppi would eventually thwart that endeavor though, as the pair of speedball sophomores jockeyed for early position to the quarter, at which point it was ordained that Hoppi would lead the charge from that pole onward, with ThankYouAllMyFans' nose glued right to Cushing's helmet. A rousing, yet strategic game of catch-me-if-you-can then ensued, until the battle was re-joined at the top of the lane. ThankYouAllMyFans pulled to the outside of Hoppi at that point in the mile, as the tandem quite literally matched strides to the wire, before eventually dead-heating for the win in a sizzling 1:57 clocking; a brand new lifetime mark for both. Hoppi, while making his first start of the 2018 season, extended his undefeated streak to a perfect 10 for 10 on his career. The son of Western Hanover-Barbra Ann is trained by Heidi Gibbs for the ownership group of KDK Standardbreds and Florence O'Keefe. ThankYouAllMyFans secured his first win of the 2018 season and has now hit the board in 17 of 19 career starts. The son of Baron Biltmore-Holme In A Moment is trained by Eddie Davis, Jr for the ownership consortium of Janet and Eddie Davis, Jr and Janice Watkinson. Pembroke Pharoah's (Heath Campbell) settled for third best in the contest, as his three-race win streak came to an end. Long shot fever then struck at the Downs in the $10,610 second division as the 14-1 shot, StormyWeatherAhead and driver Matty Athearn wore down the front running combination of Eddie Davis, Jr and the pacer Twelve, in an epic display of strength and stamina. Guided to the outside just past the 3/8th's pole, StormyWeatherAhead appeared to be in uncharted territory as he began his assault on the streaking Twelve, who to that point had not tasted defeat in five consecutive appearances. Stride for stride they duked it out all the way to the wire, with Twelve appearing to hold the upper hand, until a desperate late burst of speed propelled StormyWeatherAhead past his foe at the wire, with mere whiskers separating the two at the finish. StormyWeatherAhead, a son of Luckcamotion-Wolf Creek Cupid, owned by Leighton Property and trained by Marc Tardif, stopped the clock in a career best 1:57.2, while returning a hefty $31.20 for a $2 win ticket. Twelve finished a dead-game runner-up while MyLastDime (David Ingraham) rallied for the show. Maine Sire Stakes action now heads out on its weeklong Skowhegan Fair swing before returning to the Downs in one week's time on Sunday August 19th. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing throughout the summer season on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page. by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs         #       Virus-free.

Scarborough, Maine - July 26, 2018 ... The Gretchen Athearn roster ran roughshod over Maine Sire Stakes competition at Scarborough Downs on Saturday (7/28) as the Cumberland Fairgrounds-based, family staffed outfit, sent three stakes winners down Victory Lane; two in the very same race! The dominant stable performance was highlighted by a dead heat finish in a $10,589 split of the sophomore filly trotting division, in which ShesAHarleyGirl (Matthew Athearn) doggedly tracked down her stable-mate, DualPatWitchyWoman (Eddie Davis, Jr.) at the wire, to stop the clock in 2:05; establishing brand new lifetime speed records for both. ShesAHarleyGirl, a daughter of Noble Venture-Dynamic Kid is owned in partnership by Joan Harmon, Normand St. Clair and Gretchen Athearn. Not to be denied her fair share of winners circle glory, DualPatWitchyWoman, a daughter of Boy Band-Hs Hallsdeckedout is owned by the tandem of Linwood Higgins and Dual-Pats Farm. American Flambé (Ron Cushing) finished third. The Athearn stable magic worked equally well on both genders of Standardbreds on Saturday as Mouthpiece, another enrollee in the Athearn honors program, continued to state his case for prized student of his class in the three-year-old colt division, which went post-ward for the purse of $10,657. The son of Noble Venture-Beluga who is owned by William Phipps, threw in a strong rally bid en route to securing his fourth win of the season with driver Matthew Athearn guiding the gelding to a steady 2:00.3 clocking, effectively setting the table for the ultimate Gretchen Athearn hat trick. Cinamatic Venture (Gary Mosher) charged hard late to gain the bridesmaid share while Pembroke Boss Man (Nick Graffam) overcame an early misstep to finish third best in the split. Just to spread some of the success beyond the boundaries of the Athearn barn, earlier in the day, June Carter Cash continued to prove an unstoppable force in Maine Sire Stakes action as the push-button filly strode to her fifth win in a row while keeping her seasonal undefeated record intact, in a $10,589 non-betting split of the filly trotting ranks. Driver Gary Mosher never felt pressure as he hustled the sophomore daughter of Current Cast-Celebrity Image confidently off the car, ultimately extending to a 13-length margin at the wire, timed in a career best 2:01.1. June Carter Cast was trained to her 9th career victory by Hall of Fame conditioner Donald Richards for the perennially powerful partnership pair of Thomas Dillon and Walter Hight. Sweet Amy O (John Beckwith) just got up at the wire to secure runner-up honors in the non-betting dash, while Sister Longwood (Heath Campbell) rode the pylons to third. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing throughout the summer season on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page. by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - July 26, 2018 ... Some things just were made to stand the test of time, and after 25 years of being held as the gold standard, Hot Rod Falcon's track record of 1:52.4 was beginning to seem like it would never be supplanted. Many horses came - good horses came - tasked with the purpose of etching a new benchmark into the Scarborough Downs record books, but year after year, time after time, all challengers fell short of the goal, as the near-mythical speed legend of Walter Case, Jr and the handsome, white-footed chestnut, refused to be toppled. But then JJs Jet touched down in Saturday's (7/28) $25,000 Mid-Summer Classic and the saga of a new legendary pairing was born. Riding a three-race win streak and fresh off a determined score in Bangor Raceway's Paul Bunyan Invitational, driver Drew Campbell scalded JJs Jet smartly off the car to claim first blood, hitting the 1/4-pole timed in a smart 27.4 before catching a breather to a half timed in a more moderate 57.1. "I wasn't going for a track record today" Drew Campbell explained, "Especially after stealing the first half, my aim was entirely on winning this big $25,000 race. But with my brother (Heath Campbell) and StarzNHeaven breathing right down my neck, I knew it was going to be time to boogie pretty soon." And boogie they did as the pacesetting duo sped through a closing half of 55.2 while furiously driving through a final panel of 27.4 to hold off the stern sibling challenge, en route to establishing the brand new track record by a glorious 1/5th of a second - A tick of the clock that had eluded so many over a span of 25 years. "We've raced JJs Jet for five years now and he always seems to get extremely sharp this time of year" Campbell continued, "He's everything you'd want in a good horse. He can leave, he can close, he loves first up - And for such a big horse, he absolutely thrives on the half-mile tracks here in Maine." "It's a shame there aren't more top class horses here in Maine because we'd love to race him more often in front of the local fans. Thanks go out to the Downs for putting the Mid-Summer Classic back on the calendar this year and thanks also go out to Jody Arnold and the track crew for creating such a great surface for us to race over. The whole day was one big success." JJs Jet, a 9-year-old son of Jereme's Jet-Northern Desire is trained by James Dunn for owner Bruce Maxwell of Saint John, NB, Canada. Saturday's win marked his 49th career winners circle appearance and pushed his lifetime bankroll over the quarter-million-dollar mark. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing throughout the summer season on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit or visit our Facebook page. by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs  

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