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Plainville, MA---Starznheaven remained undefeated at Plainridge Park after scoring his third consecutive top-class win when he went from worst to first in the blink of an eye to win the $16,000 Winners-Over Handicap pace on Monday afternoon (June 18). Starting from post eight, driver Greg Merton hit the pylons last while Mysharona Bluechip (Eddie Davis Jr.) and Kenrick N (Ron Cushing) were engaged in a knock-down, drag-out fight for the lead. Those two went at it to the quarter in :26.1 and the half in :53.3 before Mysharona Bluechip pulled away from Kenrick N up the backside while Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) and Starznheaven moved up on the outside at the three-quarters in 1:21. At the top of the last turn Starznheaven tipped three-deep around Quick Shot and was under a full head of steam. With a high-line in the left hand and minor urging with the right, Merton gave Starznheaven his head and the horse responded by scooting away from the pack to a four-length victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:49.4. It was the eighth win of the year and 30th lifetime for Starznheaven ($4.20) who has now banked $79,375 this year for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Donald Emond and Lawrence Karr. The 6-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven is in the midst of a career year. The time of 1:49.4 was the fastest race at Plainridge Park since Givenupdreaming won by three lengths in 1:49.3 on July 5, 2016. Givenupdreaming was also owned by Burke-Weaver-Bruscemi. In the co-featured $15,000 conditioned pace, Moonlight Artist (Mitchell Cushing) turned a two-hole trip behind J J S Jet (Drew Campbell) into a hard-fought one-length victory in 1:51.3, which was a new lifetime mark. Andrew Adamczyk owns the winner that is trained by Jaymes McAssey. The $10,000 claiming series named the "The 2007 Sox" kicked off with three legs on Monday, each being contested for a $10,000 purse. The first leg went to Grand Gallup Semalu (Drew Campbell) who went gate to wire and romped by six lengths in 1:53. Grand Gallup Semalu ($2.60) is owned by William Mc Elvain Jr. and is trained by James Dunn. The second division saw Upfront Lorne (Shawn Gray) come first-up from fourth at the half to out-muscle SB Mike's Hot Beach (Steve Nason) at the wire and win by a head in 1:53, which was a new seasonal mark. Upfront Lorne ($6.40) is owned by Andrew Adamczyk and trained by Jaymes McAssey. And the final leg was won by Mom's Crossroads (Shawn Gray) who got the lead past the quarter and never looked back, winning by a length in 1:52.4. Mom's Crossroads ($4.00) is owned by Andrew Adamczyk and trained by Jaymes McAssey, giving them the owner/trainer hat trick. Mitchell Cushing closed out the card by making some noise in the eleventh race. In a spirited drive from the back of the pack, Cushing urged BP Diet Food up the outside and down the lane to catch BJ's Guy (Shawn Gray) at the wire and win in 1:52.2 at 70-1. BP Diet Food paid $156.20 for the win and triggered a 3-6-7 trifecta that returned $10,726.20 for a two-dollar wager. The drive also gave Cushing a driving double. Other drivers scoring multiple wins Monday included Shawn Gray with three and Drew Campbell and Greg Merton with two apiece. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (June 19) at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

Plainville, MA---After getting beat on the front end the last two weeks, Western Stepp switched strategies and found her way back to the winner's enclosure on Tuesday afternoon (June 12) after capturing the $14,000 Fillies and Mares Winners-Over pacing feature in a blanket finish at Plainridge Park. Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) found herself in a familiar position at the start; that being on the front end again. But Campbell changed things up this week allowing Show Runner (Shawn Gray) and Hidden Land (Greg Merton) to go ahead while he was content to sit third. Hidden Land then took the field to the half in :55.4. As the girls paced their way up the backside, Western Stepp pulled from the three-hole and Angel Or Terror (Eddie Davis Jr.) followed in suit from fifth and both started the march towards the leader. At the three-quarters, Western Stepp and Hidden Land locked up on top and were in an all-out battle for the lead. They paced side by side and stride for stride around the last turn when Western Stepp got a slight advantage at the head of the stretch. However Hidden Land wasn't done and Angel Or Terror came flying on the outside while Show Runner rallied up the pylons. But Western Stepp stood tall and held her ground to the wire, winning in 1:52.1 by a mere nose in a finish that saw only three-lengths separate the entire field. The win registered a new lifetime mark for Western Stepp ($19.40) who is owned and trained by James Dunn. It was the 21st lifetime score in only 64 lifetime starts for the 5-year-old daughter of Western Maverick. In the $12,000 distaff co-featured pace, Iced Out (Greg Merton) yielded and early lead before turning a first-over trip at the half into a neck victory in 1:54.3, but only after out-dueling No Shadows (Wally Watson) twice during the last half-mile to get it done. It was the third win of the year for Iced Out ($9.40) who is owned by Little Bapa LLC and is trained by Eric Beach. Drew Campbell had a driving grand slam on Tuesday while Greg Merton hit the circle three times. As a result, Campbell remains in the dash driving lead for the meet with 59 wins on the year, ahead of Merton in second with 55 wins and Shawn Gray who is third with 47 victories. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (June 14) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---It might be that fresh New England air or the fact he's been back on a five-eighths mile track where he seems to do his best work. Either way, the razor-sharp Starznheaven has now registered back-to-back feature race victories at Plainridge Park after winning the $16,000 Winners-Over Handicap pace on Monday afternoon (June 11). Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) left sharply and grabbed the lead from He's Marvelous (Nick Graffam) around the first turn. Maintaining a gapped advantage on the point, Campbell set fractions of :26.1, :55.4 and 1:23 with only a mild bid by One To Draw To (Shawn Gray) during the middle half. Starznheaven (Greg Merton), who had gotten away seventh, pulled before the half and was following One To Draw To second-over up the backstretch and when that one's bid failed around the final bend, Merton swung three-deep coming into the lane and had his charge pacing with conviction as the race headed towards home. Starznheaven drew alongside and then passed Quick Shot before hitting the wire a length in front in 1:51. It was the seventh win in 17 starts this year for Starznheaven ($5.40) who has now amassed a single season high $71,375 in earnings for owners Burke Racing LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Donald Emond and Lawrence Karr. The 6-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven is trained by Jim Nickerson. In the co-featured $12,000 fifth race, Mysharona Bluechip (Greg Merton) took no prisoners for the fifth time in the last six weeks, going gate to wire in impressive fashion stopping the clock in 1:51, which was a new seasonal mark for the winner. Owned by a Piece of the Action LLC, Mysharona Bluechip ($2.40) scored his sixth victory of 2018 and pushed his earnings to $39,175 for the year under the tutelage of trainer Eric Beach. Mysharona Bluechip was also claimed out of the race by Richard Knight for $20,000. Greg Merton and Shawn Gray each had three driving wins on Monday. It was a big payday for the owner of the winning ticket in the sixth race Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta. The combination of 1-5-4-3-2 returned $21,770.20 for a one-dollar wager, with the even money favorite winning the race. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (June 12) at 4 p.m. by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts Publicist  

Plainville, MA---Caviart Shelly was razor-sharp in May and she kicked off June the exact same way, tripping out to a big win in the $14,000 fillies and mares Winners-Over Handicap feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (June 5). Driver Drew Campbell found himself smiling for pictures five times on Tuesday as he put on a show for the fans. Campbell won with Acefortyfour Alex (1:54, $3.00), Briar's Creek Angel (1:56, $3.00), Paradise Skies (1:55.4, $6.00), Mc Attagirl (1:53.4, $5.20) and Rock Market (1:55, $4.60). Campbell's pentad of pay dirt now gives him 52 wins for the meet, six ahead of the second place Merton. in the feature pace, Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) was fleet of foot leaving from mid-pack and grabbed the lead quickly. Iced Out (Greg Merton) was second until she made an uncharacteristic break before the quarter, allowing Caviart Shelly (Wally Watson) to move into the garden spot where she stayed until the stretch. The two front-runners played follow the leader through fractions of :27, :56.1 and 1:24.2 without anyone else getting close enough to challenge. At the top of the lane Western Stepp had a two length advantage but Watson pulled Caviart Shelly off the pylons and she found another gear; blowing right by the leader to easily win by a length in 1:52.3, which was a new seasonal mark. It was the second win in nine starts this year for Caviart Shelly ($11.80) who now has $20,195 in the bank for owner Fox Ridge Stable. Lisa Watson is the conditioner. In the $12,000 fillies and mares undercard, Hidden Land (Greg Merton) shipped into Plainridge from Yonkers and wasted no time flashing her back-class when she led from the gate to the wire in a swift 1:52.3, winning by four lengths. The time was a new seasonal mark for Hidden Land ($4.60) and the fastest win time for the mare since October 22, 2016. The 7-year-old Badlands Hanover progeny is owned by the Jesmeral Stable and is trained by Monique Cohen. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (June 7) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts      

Plainville, MA---After making a break over an off-track in his last start at Yonkers Raceway 23 days ago, Starznheaven shipped into Massachusetts and regained his winning ways in taking the $14,000 Winner-Over pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (June 4). Starznheaven (Greg Merton) got away sixth in the field of seven as Pretty Boy Hill (Ron Cushing) seated One To Draw To (Shawn Gray) and took the group to the quarter in :26.4. At that station Electric Western (Mitchell Cushing) came with a rush and an outer flow in tow that consistied of Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) and Starznheaven. Now with four in and three out stacked up on the backside, Pretty Boy Hill gave way at the three-quarters and the outside horses took turns taking the lead. First Electric Western cleared and then Quick Shot drew alongside and went by him at the top of the lane. But Starznheaven was next to challenge for the lead, coming three deep on the outside to do it. Campbell and Merton were rocking and knocking Quick Shot and Starznheaven all the way down the stretch before Starznheaven got a slight advantage and won by a head in 1:51.2. It was the sixth win of the year and fourth in the last seven starts for Starznheaven ($5.20) who now has bankrolled $63,375 in 2018 for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Donald Emond and Lawrence Carr. Jim Nickerson trained the winner. In the co-featured $12,000 condition pace, Mysharona Bluechip (Greg Merton) left like a rocket off the gate and led at every station after that to win again easily by two lengths in 1:51.3. It was the fourth win in the last five starts for Mysharona Bluechip ($5.00) who is owned by A Piece of the Action LLC and trained by Eric Beach. Greg Merton, Shawn Gray and Nick Graffam each had a driving hat trick on Monday afternoon. Whereas Merton's winners were not unexpected by the betting public, Gray and Graffam opened some eyes by posting big payouts in two separate races. In the second race, Gray urged Sounder Hanover from worst at the half to first at the wire in 1:55.1 at 39-1. Owner/trainer Don Billingsley Jr. saw his Sounder Hanover set a new lifetime mark, return $80.00 for the win and top the 7-8-3-2 Superfecta that paid $18,911.20 for a two-dollar bet. And not to be outdone, in the fourth race Graffam steered Mic Woodrow in the exact same fashion to win in 1:55 at 67-1! Mic Woodrow, who is trained by Mike Graffam that co-owns with TFD Shadewood LLC, took a new lifetime mark for himself while returning $137.80 in the upset. The win also triggered a 9-3-5-8 Superfecta payoff of $20,650.80 for a two-dollar wager. The dash driving leaderboard looks like this after Monday's card of racing: Drew Campbell-47 wins, Greg Merton-44 wins, Shawn Gray-42 wins and Nick Graffam-23 wins. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday (June 5) at 4 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Breeders of Massachusetts        

Plainville, MA---Thursday afternoon in the Commonwealth means an all-trot card at Plainridge Park and today (May 24) was no exception. Highlighted by two late-closer series, favorable weather and a lightning fast track, seven lifetime marks along with two seasonal best efforts were registered during the 10-race program. Two second division legs of the $10,000 Ralph Waldo Emerson late closer series for non-winners of $35,000 in 2017 went in race one and nine and strong performances were turned in by both winners. Jericho (Joe Di Stefano) sat third for a half-mile before pulling out at three-quarters to overpower Dominus Hanover (Greg Merton) and My Little Susie (Drew Campbell) at the wire to win by a length in 1:54 flat, which was a new lifetime mark and the fastest mile of the day. Jericho ($4.40) is owned by Linda Kenney, Robert Kenney and the Di Stefano and Son Stable. John Di Stefano is the trainer. In the second set, Massachusetts-bred and Sire Stake eligible Pirate (Drew Campbell) showed he will be a contender in that series this year after he was parked for a half-mile and still out-battled The Lindy Treaty (Shawn Gray) all the way to the wire to win by a length in 1:55.1, which was a new lifetime mark. Pirate ($13.60) is owned by Kathy and Earl Beaman; the latter also trains the winner. There were also two, second division legs of the $12,500 Highland Light late closer series for 3 and 4-year-olds who are non-winners of two races or $15,000 lifetime. Those events went in races two and four. Quicksilver Kemp (James Tomaso) rode the pylons fourth avoiding a breaker and two horses parked-out most of the mile to find racing room late and close strong in deep stretch to catch the favored Haulin Banc (Shawn Gray) and win by two in 1:56.3, which was a new lifetime mark. Overlooked by the betting public and sent off at 17-1, Quicksilver Kemp ($37.80) pulled the upset for owner/trainer Joel Wheeler. The second leg went to Now's The Moment (Mike Stevenson) who took the lead at the quarter and ran off like a loose horse, winning by a wrapped-up five lengths in a lifetime best 1:55.3. Now's The Moment ($2.60) is owned by Sonya Mac Donald and is trained by Allison Mac Donald. In the $12,000 overnight feature trot, Nathaniel (Drew Campbell) turned his back on the competition, going gate to wire by a gapped advantage, eventually winning by a length in 1:54.4, which was a new lifetime mark. Nathaniel ($5.80) is owned by Linwood Higgins and is trained by James Dunn. Drew Campbell visited the track photographer four times on Thursday as he registered the grand slam for the day. Besides winning with the aforementioned Pirate and Nathaniel, Campbell also rang the bell with Angel Assault (1:56.3, $16.40) and Bruizn (1:55.2, $3.80). With his four wins on Thursday, Drew Campbell has vaulted both Greg Merton and Shawn Gray (who were both shut-out Thursday) in the standings to take the dash driving lead at Plainridge Park for the meet. Campbell now has 35 wins while Merton and Gray are tied for second with 33 wins apiece. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 25) with post time at 4 p.m. There is a $4,529 carryover pool for the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta wager in race six on Friday. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts        

Plainville, MA---A full field of nine of the best pacing mares on the grounds lined up for the $16,000 Winners-Over distaff pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (May 22) and after a thrilling stretch drive, Angel Or Terror proved she was the best of the bunch. Driver Eddie Davis Jr. took Angel Or Terror off the gate and settled in fourth as Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) made a decisive bolt for the lead where they would then dictate the pace. After getting to the quarter in :26.1, Western Stepp had little pressure to deal with other than Shesgotthebeat (Nick Graffam) who got parked and was floating on the rim third. Campbell slowed the half to :55.1 before trying to get away from the pack in the third panel with a :28 flat split. Under heavy urging around the far turn, Western Stepp opened up a two length advantage and was looking like a winner at the head of the stretch. But the pace must have gotten to the leader as Angel Or Terror came off the pylons from third, tipped three-wide around Caviart Caterina (Mike Stevenson) and collared Western Stepp at the wire to win by a neck in 1:53.1. Owned by Eric Prevost, who claimed her for $15,000 after her first Plainridge start on May 1, Angel Or Terror ($8.80) registered her second 2018 win and a new seasonal mark for trainer Elisha Lafreniere. Three drivers scored two wins on Tuesday. They were Shawn Gray, Drew Campbell and Mitchell Cushing, who lit up the tote board in the ninth race when he won with Freetime at 31-1 and paid $64.40. It also triggered a 3-4-7 Trifecta that returned $2,339 and a 3-4-7-1 Superfecta that paid $4,315.40, both for a $2 bet. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 24) at 4 p.m. where there will be a $3,363 Wicked Hi-5 carryover pool available in the sixth race. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Plainville, MA---Elliesjet N came to Plainridge Park fresh off a seasonal best 1:52.1 victory at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and the public took notice of that outing. Going off the 1-5 harness racing favorite, Elliesjet N did not disappoint her backers as she captured the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap on Tuesday afternoon (April 17).   Stylish Beachwhere (Ron Cushing) smoked off the gate and took the girls through a :26.4 opening panel. During that span, Elliesjet N (Greg Merton) languished a parked third for an eighth before finding her gear and overtaking just past that first station.   From there she proceeded to call all the shots.   Merton slowed the half to :55.3 and the three quarters to 1:24.3 and enjoyed a comfortable lead around the final bend. Coming down the lane Stylish Beachwhere, Ask Queenie (Shawn Gray) and Happy Heart (Chris Long) all made strongs bid to collar the leader but Elliesjet N was not to be caught and was a wrapped-up, two-length winner in 1:53.2.   Owned by the Foulk Stables Inc. and trained by Lance Hudson, Elliesjet N ($2.60) posted her fifth 2018 victory in only nine starts and has bankrolled $30,100 for her efforts.   Greg Merton scored a driving triple on the card to lead all reinsmen for the day.   Racing resumes on Thursday at Plainridge Park with the first race post time of 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

"Clearly visible from the regulator’s reports, harness racing is not particularly popular within the state, with monthly earnings of a little more than $1 million generated at Plainridge Park Casino." The State of Massachusetts has collected $5.5 million from slot taxes in February, 82 per cent of which is intended for the Local Aid fund. In its monthly revenue report for Plainridge Park Casino released Thursday, the state gambling regulator announced that since the opening of the venue in June 2015, it has received nearly $212,9 million in state taxes. Gambling fans spent $163,7 million while playing slot machines at Plainridge Park Casino last month which is an increase of more than $5 million from January. The gambling venue generated nearly $13.9 in Gross Gaming Revenue from its Slot Parlor, while $1,25 million was collected as race horse assessments. The figures show positive growth for the Category 2 Slot Parlor after a four-month plunge in revenues from slots. The state receives 49 per cent of the slot gross gaming revenue generated by Plainridge Park Casino and 82 per cent of this total taxed amount goes to the Local Aid fund. The other 18 per cent of this amount is paid to the Race Horse Development Fund, which was created to support the horse racing industry in Massachusetts. Clearly visible from the regulator’s reports, harness racing is not particularly popular within the state, with monthly earnings of a little more than $1 million generated at Plainridge Park Casino. Currently, there are no functional casinos in Massachusetts as Plainridge Park Casino is defined as a harness racing track with a slot machine parlor of Category 2, which was added in June, 2015. The facility, located in Plainville, Massachusetts, is owned by Penn National Gaming. A couple of casino projects are underway, MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor. Several tribal casinos are also planned. $212,9 Poured in State Coffers for Less than 3 Years According to the latest Plainridge Park Casino revenue report, the gambling facility has contributed to the state economy nearly $212,9 million since the official opening of the Slot Parlor in June 2015. This figure represents the taxes from the slot machines and the race track collected over a period of two years and a half. At the same time, customers have spent $5,4 billionat Plainridge Park Casino since the Slots Parlor has opened, with nearly 434,5 million of this amount kept as Gross Gaming Revenue from Slots. Currently, this is the only gambling venue operating within the state borders, although several properties have been planned and construction has commenced on some of them. The State of Massachusetts requires casinos and other gambling facilities to file monthly detailed revenue reports, which serve as a basis for the state tax. Venues from Category 1 – casino resorts, are taxed 25 per cent of the gross gaming revenue and in addition, the license tax they need to pay is $85 million. Although there are still no casino resorts in the state, the collected taxes from them will go to several funds, including the Healthcare Payment Reform Fund and the Community Colleges Fund. Gambling facilities from Category 2, such as Plainville’s Plainridge Park Casino are taxed on 49 per cent of the gross gaming revenue. The single-time fee they need to pay for receiving such a license is considerably lower at $25 million. State officials expect that the Commonwealth would receive $250 million annually in direct revenues from Category 1 facilities, once they become operational. Until then, however, they can rely mainly on taxes collected from Plainridge Park Casino. Reprinted with permission of The Casino News Daily

Plainville, MA - The 2018 racing season gets underway at Plainridge Park Casino on Monday April 16th, with a projected purse range from 4,000 to $18,000 for overnight events. Plainridge Park Casino and the Harness Horsemen's Association of New England have developed a number of special events designed to enhance participation at the Massachusetts harness racing track during the upcoming meet.   An integral part of the package will feature a return to the variety of claiming series that were a staple at Plainridge during the early 2000's. Ten different claiming events are planned, each three weeks in length. Starting with a series for $5,000 claimers in early May and escalating in price throughout the season, the finals for these events will range from $7,500 up to $25,000. There will also be two separate claiming series each for pacing mares and for trotters.   Recognizing the substantial investment in young horses, at least three different series for Non- Winners of 2 Races or $15,000 Lifetime will be conducted during the month of May. Contested for legs of $12,500 and $20,000 finals these events will be written for 3 and 4-year-old pacing horses, mares and trotters. Should sufficient entries allow, the trotters will be divided by gender. There are also a pair of open events for two-year-old pacers and trotters planned during the late summer which will each compete for a $20,000 final.   Three more series are scheduled for aged pacing horses, pacing mares and trotters that were Non- Winners of $35,000 in 2017. Contested over a period of three weeks, these events will race for $10,000 in each of the legs and $20,000 in each final.   There are no nominations or fees required for any of these series. Each will close with the draw for the first leg of the respective series. A fully detailed schedule of these events will be posted on the Plainridge website in the near future.   Plainridge Park will race Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in April with a 4:00PM post time.        

According to the new report, the harness racing track and slot machine parlor in Plainville owned and operated by Penn National Gaming, has helped to keep the state’s gamblers’ money from traveling out of Massachusetts. A recent survey of Massachusetts gamblers has shown that had the Plainridge Park Casino not opened, the lion’s share of money spent there since it opened in June 2015 would have been spent at gambling facilities located out of state. In a statement on Thursday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission said the “Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts,” is a comprehensive, multi-year study conducted in 2016 by a team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, reports The Boston Globe. The Boston Globe reports that patrons of Plainridge Park Casino were asked by the research team about both their non-gambling and gambling spending habits during their casinos visits so that information could be gathered about money brought in by the casino. Information included how much of patron’s spending at the casino was “reallocated” in state from other services and goods and how much of it was “recaptured” from individuals who would have instead spent their money at casinos located beyond the borders of Massachusetts. The team reportedly estimated that 58.3 percent of all gambling spending by residents of Massachusetts was recaptured, while just 16.3 percent was reallocated. In the statement, a lead researcher on the team, Mark Melnik, said, “We were able to use the survey results to estimate that the majority of the money spent at PPC would have been spent out of state if gambling had never expanded in Massachusetts,” according to the news agency. Furthermore, the survey found that the year prior to the June 2015 opening of the Plainridge casino, nearly 90 percent of the patrons surveyed had frequented casinos in other states, with the majority having reportedly traveled to Rhode Island and Connecticut to gamble. Other results of the survey found that most of the patrons who gambled at the casino were older than the general population of the state, were likely to be white, with a higher education that many and an annual household income of between $50,000 and $100,000. Most patrons, the survey found, were from Massachusetts, with residents of Plainville and nearby communities accounting for 11.4 percent and 66.5 percent from other parts of the state. Of all of the casino’s attractions, slot machines are the most popular, with 87 percent of those surveyed saying they played them. A smaller percentage of the gamblers surveyed reportedly said they bet on horse races and played electronic table games at the casino. The Boston Globe reports that according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the results of the survey were shared by the researchers in order to help the commission understand better the economic effects of new gaming facilities. One of the team’s lead researchers, Rachel Volberg, who is also a professor of epidemiology at UMass Amherst, said in the statement, “The survey is a tool that allows us to collect data from patrons about where they come from and how much they spend, which is important for understanding the economic impacts of the casino.” While Enrique Zuniga, the Gaming Commissioner, said in the statement, “No other gaming commission in the country has this type of information at their fingertips to inform policy and make data-driven decisions,” according to The Boston Globe. Massachusetts finally enacted casino legislation in 2011, authorizing up to three resort-style casinos and one slots-only facility. After the license was approved in February 2014, ground was broken March 14th for the Plainridge Park Casino at the Plainridge Race Course. By K Morrison Reprinted with permission of World Casino News

Plainville, MA---After being claimed for $12,500 on July 20, Prince Aston's performances merited a start in the Open at Plainridge Park two weeks ago. But stepping back down in class proved fruitful for his connections this week as he won the $12,000 harness racing pacing feature at The Ridge on Monday (Sept. 11). Prince Aston (Shawn Gray) got away a gapped sixth while He's Marvelous (Nick Graffam) took the field to the quarter in :26.4 and after a lead change, American Rock (Jim Hardy) led them through the second panel in :55.1. An outer flow formed at that point and Prince Aston was third over in the line as the group passed the three-quarters in 1:23.2. As the field bunched in the turn, Gray tipped Prince Aston three-deep around Vegas Dream (Greg Merton) and continued to advance despite American Rock's solid pace. With these three horses now even across the track at the head of the stretch, American Rock seceded and Prince Aston and Vegas Dream continued in an all-out battle. Going stride for stride all the way to the wire, Prince Aston got the last call and won by a half-length in 1:52.1. Prince Aston ($9.80) now has four wins and $36,773 earned this year for his owner Jeffrey Kaylor. The 5-year-old gelded son of Four Starzzz Shark is trained by Joe Therrien. In the co-featured $10,000 conditioned pacing event, Lindy Beach (Greg Merton) seated fifth briefly before charging for and getting the lead at the quarter. From there he led every step of the way en route to an easy three-length victory in 1:51, which was a new seasonal mark. Lindy Beach ($3.00) is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Frank Baldassare and is trained by Frank Antonacci. Greg Merton just keeps rolling along at Plainridge Park as he scored five more wins on Monday afternoon. The day's tallies included Life Isa Shortwalk (1:54.1, $3.40), Jus' Like A Virgin (1:54, $4.20), Lindy Beach, Beachchip Hanover (1:53.3, $3.40) and Superbowl Party (1:52.4, $13.60). Also, Shawn Gray had a hat trick of his own during the proceedings. Racing resumes on Tuesday (Sept. 12) at Plainridge Park with first race post time set at 2:30 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

PLAINVILLE — The state Gaming Commission endorsed a plan Thursday to send more money from a racehorse development fund to the harness racing track at Plainridge Park Casino. The move is expected to speed up the revival of harness racing at Plainridge, which has been underway since the facility got slot machines last year. The commission voted 3-2 to approve a move by the state Horse Racing Committee to give Plainridge 55 percent of the fund of about $15 million. The change was made retroactive to Jan. 1. Plainridge was receiving 25 percent of the fund, with thoroughbred racing getting 75 percent under a system approved before Suffolk Downs closed to thoroughbred racing. Plainridge now runs more than 100 races per year, with plans to increase to 125. Horsemen at Suffolk only hold six races a year, down from 90 at the track a few years ago. All five commissioners said they agreed Plainridge should get more money because the vast majority of races are held there. The only disagreement was whether to make the new percentages retroactive. Commissioner Gayle Cameron argued the change in the percentage would have taken effect in January, but was delayed because the Horse Racing Committee was short two members. It could not vote until the vacancies were filled, she said. She said Plainridge should have been getting more money all year. The commission’s legal council, Catherine Blue, said the situation could be rectified by reducing payments to thoroughbred breeders for three months. But, commission members Bruce Stebbins and Lloyd MacDonald said that would be unfair to the breeders. Chairman Stephen Crosby and member Enrique Zuniga disagreed, saying it was Plainridge that had been hurt by the delay in the new percentages. Crosby said the thoroughbred industry got a “windfall” from the delay in filling the vacancies at the committee. Attorney Peter Goldberg, representing standardbred horse owners at Plainridge, said the new arrangement is fair because the state’s racing landscape has changed, and Plainridge is now dominant. He also said standardbred owners and breeders need the extra money now. The situation at Plainridge has changed from “running on fumes,” before slot machines were introduced last year, to healthy now, but Plainridge still has some of the smallest purses in the region, he said. The horse fund comes from a 9 percent tax on slot machine revenue at Plainridge. About 80 percent of the fund goes toward higher purses while 16 percent goes to breeders and the balance to help pay for health insurance. Since Suffolk Downs has almost no races, its share of the purse money has been “sitting around” doing nothing, Goldberg said. He said the unused money is an inviting target for the Legislature, and there were two proposals last budget session to dip into it for non-racing items. That extra money should go to Plainridge immediately to continue the process of rebuilding the harness racing industry, he said. Goldberg and Cameron said the split between the thoroughbred and standardbred industries will continued to get reviewed every fall with more changes possible. By Jim Hand Reprinted with permission of The Sun Chronicle    

Joe Therian has been in the horse racing business all his life, but the industry got so bad in Massachusetts he moved to Saratoga, N.Y., in 2003. There, he saw the positive impact slot machine revenue had in reviving harness horse racing, a sport many thought was dying. Now, the Foxboro native is back in Massachusetts and seeing the same revival at the racetrack at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, which opened with 1,250 slot machines a year ago Friday. Therian said he moved back to the area because he missed home, but the trainer, driver, blacksmith said he had only two horses in his stable. Now that slot machine money is being pumped into the horse-racing industry in Massachusetts, his stable is at eight horses. Investors have not only bought six new horses since March, they are on the lookout for more. Some of those investors had been out of the business for years because it was not profitable, he said. “It was very tough to make a living,” he said. “The difference now is like night and day.” The constant fear horseman had that Plainridge was about to go out of business is also gone. Therian said farms that board horses and suppliers who sell feed and equipment are also seeing a revival. It’s all about money. Nine percent of slot machine revenue goes into a horse racing development fund. As of May, that amounted to $13.8 million. Fifty-five percent of that goes toward purses at Plainridge. Therian said the infusion of cash means horse owners, drivers and suppliers can now make a living in the sport they love. Minimum purses, or winnings, for horse owners, used to be $2,000. They are now $3,200, he said. Purses for the open class, or top-of-the-line horses, are up from $4,500 to $10,000. According to Plainridge, the average racing day handle, or amount bet by customers, is up 28 percent over last year, going from $132,746 to $170,275, a difference of $37,529 per day. The number of days of racing is now at 115 for 2016, up from 105 days last year. Purses have increased 35 percent. “If it wasn’t for the slots, we wouldn’t be here. It’s like soup and sandwhich or horse and buggy. They go together,” said William Abdelnour of the Harness Horsemen’s Association of New England. Racing General Manager Steve O’Toole, who has worked in the industry since high school, said the casino is also bringing in more customers to the track. He said slots players get curious about the horse races, and walk over to the nearby track. Plainridge has developed simplified programs describing the horses and drivers in terms newcomers can understand, he said. The programs uses a star system similiar to movie reviews to rate horses and drivers. The influx of money from the slots is also attracting a higher quality of horse to Plainridge, and that in turn draws in more customers. Therian said dedicated horse racing fans follow the top horses around the country. When one comes to Plainridge, the fans turn out. O’Toole said horse owners are not only buying more horses, but they are trading up for faster horses because they can make more money with the higher purses. Meanwhile, top-notch drivers from other tracks are also coming to Plainridge to race on Mondays and Tuesday, when most other tracks don’t have live racing, O’Toole said. “That adds to the variety and competition,” he said. Therian said the atmosphere at Plainridge has changed dramatically. Facilities have been upgraded, and there is a new optimism. To add to the good feelings, parents are bringing their children to the track in the morning to watch the horses work out. “We’re getting a chance to put on a show,” he said. By Jim Hand Reprinted with permission of site  

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