Day At The Track

Scarborough Downs set to re-open

09:40 AM 04 Aug 2020 NZST
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Scarborough Downs, harness racing
Sunset at Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, ME - August 3, 2020 ... Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the state of Maine harness racing industry is once again on the ascendancy as Scarborough Downs will restart its 2020 season on Tuesday (8/4), kicking off a late summer meet that is scheduled to extend through the month of October.

The Downs will race on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday with post time slated for 1:30 PM (EDT) for the next two weeks, before establishing a Tuesday, Saturday schedule beginning on August 18 when Bangor Historic Track will join the mix by hosting racing on Wednesdays and Sundays.

After racing came to a conclusion in early July at the Downs, an historic agreement between the Maine Harness Horsemen's Association, The Maine Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association, The Maine Harness Racing Commission and the two commercial tracks has created a funding vehicle to help provide operational revenues to the racing venues, enabling Maine's harness racing horsemen and women and other industry participants an opportunity to get back to work.

In the midst of their 70th season, Scarborough Downs was forced to relinquish their customary April and May dates in compliance with emergency declarations from the state of Maine but then received special permission to open for racing on June 5th. Operating revenue dried up after 17 performances though as the industry attempted to function on a spectator less basis, and the Downs was forced to close their doors on July 10th.

Track revenues will now become partially reestablished as new guidelines allow up to 150 spectators to attend the live harness racing cards with attendees spaced and socially distanced throughout the massive grandstand apron and new outdoor trackside beer garden. Additionally, simulcast wagering is now being conducted on a Tuesday through Saturday schedule from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM in the Winner's Circle Lounge, with simulcast attendance capped at 50 customers.

Mask wearing and social distancing will be required and strictly enforced at all times at the Downs.

"It's tough to overstate the Herculean effort that was put forth by the entire industry to get harness racing back up and running this year" said Denise Terry, President and Treasurer of Scarborough Downs, "The agreement that was worked out coupled with the fact that our revenue streams have been partially reestablished, gives us hope as we head back to the races on Tuesday. All industry participants will now pledge to work cooperatively to provide a safe and exciting racing experience, both in the paddock for the horsemen and women and in the grandstand areas for our patrons."

In addition to the live on-track experience, people may also watch and wager on the Scarborough Downs races at Maine's OTB parlors, and online at dayatthetrack.com (Maine residents must wager at hollywoodraces.com).

For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page.

by Mike Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

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