BANGOR, Maine — Laurie MacKenzie of Plymouth has been involved in the harness racing industry her whole life. Her husband, Gerald “Butch” MacKenzie Jr., was a longtime trainer and driver. Her father, Elmer Ballard, is still involved with racing at Scarborough Downs at age 80. MacKenzie’s daughter, Liz, works as a groom in Bangor and is married to successful driver Kevin Switzer Jr. Despite her deep connections to harness racing, she is concerned about the future of the sport in Maine. “My worry for the people in the state of Maine is that it may not be here some day,” Laurie MacKenzie, who along with her husband gave up the sport in 2010 to work other jobs as they approach retirement, said. “It’s tradition. It has to be here. It can’t go away,” she added. To read the rest of this story click here.
Scarborough, Maine (Sunday, November 30, 2014) - Who's that alien-ish looking guy riding the UFO at the Scarborough Downs on Sunday (11-30)? Why under all that mud its none other than 2012 driving champion, Shawn Thayer! He's seen here leaving the winners circle after getting Devil May Care home on top for her third consecutive win and the 42nd of her illustrious career! Looks like it'll be a 3 bucket day for both mare and man back in the paddock here but the mud is always a bit easier to take after a victory lap! - photo by Derek Davis. Live harness racing is now featured three days a week at Scarborough Downs with first post scheduled at 12:05 PM (EST) on Friday through Sunday. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs
Scarborough, Maine (Friday, May 2, 2014) - The eyes of the world are rightly focused on Louisville, Kentucky as Churchill Downs prepares to host the 140th edition of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday (5/3), but here in Maine the local horseplayers will once again be flocking to Scarborough Downs to bask in the Derby Day experience with a down east twist. The gates at the Downs will swing open bright and early at 10:00 AM with pre-wagering on the Derby available all day long. A special live harness racing program gets under way at 2:00 PM culminating with the simulcast of the Run For The Roses, which is scheduled to go to post at approximate 6:25 PM. The live Scarborough race card will be headlined by the $8,000 Free For All pace which is slated for race five on the program, and Art Of Illusion, a newcomer to the state of Maine harness scene, will be gunning for his 2nd win in a row. Drew Campbell has been listed to drive the classy son of Real Artist by the meet's current top trainer, Bo Sowers, as the combo will look to match or exceed last week's dramatic local debut which resulted in the fastest mile so far this season with the clock stopped in a torrid 1:55.3 when the dust had settled. Art Of Illusion will line up against an accomplished field which includes; Cool Runnings (Eddie Davis, Jr) who will ride a 2-race win streak into battle, Mr Nice Guy (Kevin Switzer) a 2-time winner in Free For All competition already this season, Panchester United (Kevin Switzer, Jr.), who finished 2nd behind Art Of Illusion last weekend, and A Fool For Mark (Shawn Thayer), who will ride a 2-race win streak of his own to the races on Saturday. The Free For All anchors an extremely strong eleven race program on Saturday. Other events happening for Kentucky Derby Day at the Downs is the annual "Belle of the Derby" hat contest, where ladies vie for the title of "Most Creative" and "Most Elegant" hats in their Derby day attire. Registration is from 1 - 5 pm in the Downs Club. Special guest, fashion designer and judge of Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe, Miss America, Miss World and Miss International, Ashley Lauren, will be one of three guest judges. The Downs Club is open for a dining buffet, catered by CVC Catering Group of South Portland. The Downs will also be giving away a $100 win wager to place on the Kentucky Derby. Drawing takes place after Race 10 on the live race program. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or our Facebook page. by Mike Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs
Scarborough, Maine (Saturday, March 29, 2014) - On the first spring-like day following a long and dreary winter, a large and enthusiastic crowd welcomed the return of harness racing to Scarborough Downs on Saturday (3/29). Drew Campbell wasted precious little time as he mounted the defense of his 2013 driving title, winning the first race of the season with JJS Jet, stopping the clock in a sizzling 1:57.2, the fastest clocking of the afternoon. As a precursor to what promises to be the deepest driver colony in years, eight different drivers took their turn in the winner's circle. Of particular note, one of those winning drivers, Eddie Davis, Jr., was making his first state of Maine appearance in over fifteen years. The former Scarborough driving champ is setting up summer residency returning to the scene of former glories after campaigning successfully on the Delaware circuit in recent years. His name, combined with the Campbell brothers (Drew and Heath), former track driving champions Gary Mosher, Shawn Thayer and Kevin Switzer Sr., and with the up-and-coming talents of Dan Deslandes, Kevin Switzer, Jr., and Steve Nason, should provide plenty of thrills for the Scarborough fans this year. In other news, Scarborough Downs completed a test of its new simulcast uplink capacity, successfully sending the video and audio signal by way of closed circuit internet system to all state of Maine off track betting locations. Phase two of the process will involve a nationwide roll-out, which should be completed within the next two weeks. Live racing resumes Sunday afternoon with a 1:05 pm starting time. Next weekend, the live racing schedule expands to three days a week, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; each going to post at 1:05 pm. by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs
The gates swung open for the 63rd consecutive season at Scarborough Downs as Maine harness racing sprung to life on Saturday in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
The Scarborough Downs staff is busy gearing up for Opening Weekend as the 108-day, 2013 live harness racing meet gets underway on Saturday, March 30th at 4 pm and Sunday, March 31st at 1:05 pm.
Class came through on Saturday at Scarborough Downs as the harness racing veteran pacer, Mattdultery, crossed over the half-million-dollar mark in career earnings while recording his 28th lifetime win. Now owned by Kevin and Alec Gee of Falmouth, Maine, the 8-year-old son of Real Desire ground out the well-earned victory, racing first over and pouncing late with driver Shawn Thayer calling the shots.