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Scarborough, Maine - July 1, 2018 ... The three-year-old trotting divisions of the Maine Sire Stakes program made their initial appearance of the 2018 season at Scarborough Downs on Sunday (7/1), sporting twin 6-horse splits of fillies contesting purses of $10,589 apiece while the boys were grouped together in one 8-horse bunch, vying for their share of the $11,107 prize. The first filly brigade changed complexion even before the starting gate released the field as last season's freshman champion and this week's 4-5 favorite, Pembroke Dancer, rolled off stride for the first time in her career. Taking advantage of circumstances, driver Drew Campbell sent Sweet Amy O smartly to the lead while walking the field to the half timed in 1:03.3. Sensing the lack of pace, Ron Cushing sent American Flambe to battle in first over fashion, with these two trotter's matching strides through an accelerated 30.1 third panel, before the front-runner succumbed to the persistent pressure and rolled off stride midway through the final turn. Loose on the lead now, American Flambe appeared home free, but then a late burst of speed from Peregrine Elanas and driver David Ingraham changed the complexion of this race once again, as the duo raced wide into the stretch to reach the wire, ultimately 1-1/2 lengths the best. Trained by Eric Bickmore for owner Kemit Allen, Peregrine Elanas, a daughter of Lord Valentine-Elanas, stopped the clock in a maiden establishing 2:04.3. American Flambe's game bid resulted in runner-up honors while Pembroke Dancer (N. Graffam) recovered from her early misfortunes to rally for third. The second filly division began with some level of uncertainty too, as the heavily favored June Carter Cast made a not so rare break before the start, spotting the field an advantage of multiple lengths in the early going, as she was left in their wake attempting to regain a confident stride. Once back in gear though, she and driver Gary Mosher wasted precious time establishing a dominant position as they hustled to the lead while approaching the quarter mile marker. Once on the point, Mosher throttled down his charge, coasting to an unhurried 9-1/4 length margin of victory, timed in a career best 2:03 flat. The daughter of Current Cast-Celebrity Image is trained by Hall of Fame conditioner, Donald Richards for noted state of Maine owners Thomas Dillon and Walter Hight. DualPatWitchyWoman was second at every pole en route to securing the runner-up placing while Lilly Longwood overcame an early misstep to rally for third. The colt division saw a powerful mutuel entry sent to post by the Gretchen Athearn Stable, with the combination of He'sALittleBitNoble and Mouthpiece being backed to the tune of 1-5 odds by the patrons assembled. The patrons were forgiven for uttering an early startled gasp though as He'sALittleBitNoble rolled madly off stride while Mouthpiece scored multiple lengths off the gate before the word go was even given. Never one to disappoint the fans though, driver Matt Athearn quickly regrouped, shifting Mouthpiece into gear, and steering him into a first-over assault through torrid fractions of .30/1:00.1/1:29.3 before gaining the pylons entering the final turn. The son of Noble Venture-Beluga then coasted through the lane to stop the tele-timer in a lifetime best 1:59.3 for owner William Phipps. Pembroke Boss Man (N. Graffam) drafted in second-over position to rally for the runner-up honors while Myreh's God Son (R. Cushing) saved ground to grab the show dough. The sophomore Stakes Stars will be absent from Scarborough Downs for a two week period, but the Downs is pleased to present a program of Maine Sire Stakes Preview races for two-year-old state-bred hopefuls on Sunday July 8th. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Thursday and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - June 30, 2018 ... The Mid-Summer Classic Series made a triumphant return to Scarborough Downs on Saturday as a dazzling field of six invitational class pacers answered the call to post for an event that had been absent from the racing calendar since 2012. None shone brighter than StarzNHeaven though, whose game rally bid resulted in a divisional track record timing of 1:53.1, as he laid claim to the title of fastest aged stallion winner in the 68 year history of the seaside oval. The effort supplanted the oldest pacing record on the books, an honor held by Prince Ebony and driver Ron Pierce since they won the 1990 edition of Scarborough's iconic Presidents Pace. The former record was equaled in 2009 by On A Tear and driver Shawn Gray. As the race unfolded, Hickory Icon and driver David Ingraham set blazing early fractions leading the field past the first three poles through torrid clockings of 27.4, 55.4 and 1:24 flat. JJs Jet (D. Campbell) took dead aim on the pacesetter just past the half, pulling to lead the overland charge and providing perfect cover to his brother Heath Campbell who was piloting the heavily favored StarzNHeaven. The perfect cover nearly turned into a nightmare scenario though as JJs Jet rolled off-stride just past the ¾-mile marker, scattering the trailers, including StarzNHeaven who appeared to lose most of his forward momentum. Class showed through though as Heath Campbell and his charge quickly regained their composure, made up all that lost ground in a matter of seconds, and stoically engaged Hickory Icon at the top of the stretch. The six-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Dancinwiththestarz coasted through a hand-driven tour of the lane to post the ¾-length margin over Hickory Icon, while Kenrick N (R. Cushing) rallied for the show. Owned in partnership by Burke Racing Stable of Fredericktown, PA and Donald Emond of Taunton, MA, StarzNHeaven scored his fifth consecutive win during what turned into a triumphant homecoming for trainer Jim Nickerson, a state of Maine native who now plies his trade at Saratoga Raceway. The 2nd elimination leg of the Mid-Summer Classic Series will be held on July 7 with the $25,000 final scheduled for Saturday July 14th. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Thursday and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

The first phase of a proposed housing development at Scarborough Downs was granted preliminary approval by the Scarborough Planning Board. The harness racing track might be retained. The Forecaster reported the project will come before the board again for final approval, pending permits from the Department of Environmental Protection. Dan Bacon, a planning project manager, said Phase 1 includes 56 multi-family apartments, 24 condominiums, 24 duplexes, 30 single-family homes and a memory care facility. He added that the focus of the project will likely change over time to line up with market forces. In April, the board approved a master plan for the 500-acre Scarborough Downs property for a mixed-use community with housing, retail and green space. At that time, Bacon told The Forecaster that sections are being considered for commercial and industrial activity, additional mixed-use and residential development, and a shopping center and office campus. Crossroads Holdings LLC — consisting of two sets of brothers in Scarborough — William, Marc and Rocco Risbara III of Risbara Bros. and Peter and Richard Michaud, formerly of Michaud Distributors — bought the property for $6.7 million in a deal announced last December. The Scarborough Downs track will remain open and will continue to be operated by the Terry family, the sellers, as it has for 38 years. The 60-plus employees at Scarborough Downs will retain their jobs. Betting on harness racing in Maine fell from about $70 million in 1999 to $26 million in 2016, mirroring the sport's decline nationwide.

Scarborough, Maine - June 24, 2018 ... The Maine Sire Stakes program made its second seasonal appearance at Scarborough Downs on Sunday (6/24) with the three-year-old colt pacing division taking center stage at the raceway. Thirteen state-breds were divided into two splits which raced for purses in excess of $10,600 per dash. Speed was the order of the day in the $10,605 first stakes division as driver/trainer Eddie Davis, Jr briskly hustled the pacer, Twelve, out to the early lead while simultaneously taking determined air to a quarter timed in 28.1. Despite the torrid opening panel, the son of Shady Character-Sabine Hanover continued to add to his lead at every successive pole, before stepping out to an in hand margin of 5-1/2 lengths at the finish line, stopping the clock in a seasonal best 1:57 flat. Owned by Dean Malin of Gilbertville, MA, the win marked the fourth triumphant effort for the sophomore campaigner. StormyWeatherAhead (M. Athearn) skimmed the wood to finish second, while The DeuceMeister (D. Deslandes) rallied strongly to grab the show dough. As impressive as Twelve was in the opening split, Eddie Davis' bid to claim victory in both stakes divisions was thwarted at the wire, as no fewer than four challengers came flying late after the pacesetting duo, with the stampede ultimately separated by less than two lengths when the dust had settled. As starter Bruce Ranger released the field, Davis sent ThankYouAllMyFans smartly to the lead as MyLastDime and driver Shawn Gray settled solidly in second. With motion coming from the back of the pack approaching the half, Gray calculated that the pocket was not the proper place to be, and he quickly pulled alongside Davis to engage. The duo battled toe to toe throughout the second navigation of the oval, only to be separated by mere whiskers as they crossed the wire in lockstep, with MyLastDime ultimately declared the winner after a careful examination of the photo-finish print. Owned and trained by Alicia Gray, MyLastDime, a son of Baron Biltmore-Twin B Candy took a brand new lifetime mark of 1:58.4 in only his first start of the 2018 season. ThankYouAllMyFans held on for the runner-up placing by the official margin of a nose, while HeyThePartysOver (D. Ingraham) finished third by a scant half-length measure. Maine Sire Stakes action returns to the Downs on Sunday (7/1) when the three-year-old trotting divisions take center stage with post time slated for 1:30 pm (EDT). Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Thursday and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - June 23, 2018 ... The Maine Sire Stakes action got underway at Scarborough Downs on Saturday (6/23) with the three-year-old filly pacing division making its initial harness racing appearance of the 2018 season. Sixteen sophomore hopefuls divided into twin 8-horse fields, contested miles for purses in excess of $11,000 per split. Like a fine wine, Cab Bearnaise has clearly improved with age, as the daughter of Shady Character - Get A Cab seems to have reached her peak vintage as she embarks on her 3-year-old season. Like an expertly crafted culinary masterpiece, she patiently followed a tried and true recipe for success on Saturday while claiming victory in her first foray into Maine Sire Stakes action in 2018. Guided in the $11,055 split by regular pilot Mitchell Cushing for the ownership consortium of Linwood Higgins and John Korhonen, the Charlene Cushing trainee, secured a picture perfect picket trip behind the heavily favored She's A Maverick (John Nason). She then followed the punter's darling twice around the oval before pouncing to a 1-1/4 length margin of victory at the wire, claiming a maiden breaking clocking of 2:01.4. She's A Maverick who finished second, has now finished top-two placed in all of her 11 career appearances. Poocham Magic (N. Graffam) raced tidy at the rail to finish third. JustCallMeDee extended her seasonal undefeated streak to two-a-row by claiming victory in the $11,056 second division on Saturday with driver Mark Athearn plotting the winning strategy. The duo tussled with Top Em Off (S. Thayer) to the quarter before establishing a dominant front-end position that they would ultimately never surrender despite a full field cavalry charge at the finish. The daughter of Deuce Seelster - JustCallMeRosie is trained by Gretchen Athearn for owner William Phipps. The win marked the 4th training win on the program for the Athearn Stable. Tip Em Off fell a mere 1-1/2 lengths short after parlaying a pocket trip into the runner-up placing. Pembroke Passionly (H. Campbell), last season's freshman divisional champion, ground out a determined first over attack to finish third. Maine Sire Stakes action continues on Sunday (6/24) when the three-year-old colt pacing division takes center stage with post time slated for 1:30 pm (EDT). Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Thursday and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. by Michael Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - June 17, 2018 ... A large contingent of family and friends gathered in the Scarborough Downs winners circle on Sunday (6/17) to honor the memory of the popular state of Maine horseman, Bobby Gray, who passed away unexpectedly while tending to his horses at Saratoga Raceway last week. The memorial was won by the 14-year-old veteran racehorse, Malek Hanover with driver Bo Sowers at the helm during a Maine Amateur Driving Club event; fittingly so as Bobby was a member and regular participant in the club during his tenure at Scarborough Downs. Bobby Gray may be gone, but he will never be forgotten along the state of Maine and Northeast circuits - A good man was taken from us far too soon. Of further note on Sunday, Drew Campbell held the hot hand at the Downs, teaming 5 winners down Victory Lane, including the pacer Briar Creeks Angel who scored her 6th win in a row. Campbell, North America's top-rated percentage driver, remains at the top of the Scarborough Downs leader's board with 65 wins thus far though 26 race dates this season. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Thursday and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) with the popular Sunday matinees getting underway at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. by Mike Sweeney, for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - May 13, 2018 ... Air Force Grad, a 7-year-old standardbred, is on quite a roll right now. The striking steed has now won 4 straight races at Scarborough Downs this year and remarkably has done so with 4 different drivers teaming him home! Owner/trainer Charlene Cushing took her turn in the sulky on Sunday (5/13), and fittingly (as the only woman and only mother driving on the card) earned top honors at the raceway on Mother's Day! Cushing, who just this month graduated from college, couldn't have been any prouder of her beautiful gray, and while she'll soon be putting her recently earned degree to work by launching a new career as a Registered Nurse, she vows that she'll still make time to Get Back to the Track! With a winning horse like Air Force Grad, who can blame her? Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing next Saturday (5/19) with a special 2:00 p.m. (EDT) post time on Preakness Stakes day. Racing will resume on Sunday (5/20) at 1:30 p.m. as the Downs hosts their first annual College Day at the races, featuring $1.00 hot dogs, $2.00 draft beer, $4 Bloody Marys and free programs for all college students. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - April 22, 2018 ... Mitch Cushing held the hot hand on the first spring-like day of the harness racing season at Scarborough Downs on Sunday (4/22), the 20-year-old teamster turning up just as torrid as the temperature, while guiding four winners down Victory Lane. Included in the tally was an open-length victory with the trotter, Prince C Hall, fittingly symbolizing Mitch's regal day at the races. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 PM (EDT) throughout the month of April. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs    

Scarborough, Maine - March 31, 2018 ... Scarborough Downs swung open its gates for the 68th consecutive year on Saturday (3/31) and was graced by a large and enthusiastic crowd which turn out to witness the splendor and spectacle of harness racing and to cheer the winners home. While defending driving champion, Drew Campbell, won the first race of the 2018 season with Fox Valley Bailey, it was rookie driver, McGwire Sowers, who stepped into the limelight on Saturday, claiming victory in five of the ten races programmed, and at one time posting wins in four consecutive races on the card. Sowers' quintuple performance kicked off in the third race of the day as he cut brisk fractions aboard Falcon's Luke to stop the clock in a blistering 1:57.1, which was at the time the fastest clocking of the young meet. He quickly extended his win streak with front running scores behind Jus' Like A Virgin, Keystone Camaro and Bliss And Luck, before closing out the day by engineering another pike effort with Northern Ideal in the finale. All five of Sower's winners hailed from the family stable headed by Bo Sowers, the young teamster's father. In other notable action at the Downs on Saturday, the fastest mile of the young meet was recorded by the 14-year-old veteran, Kid Courageous A, who stopped the tele-timer in a brisk 1:56.1 effort while coming from off the pace for owner/driver/trainer Dan Deslandes. The win was the 55th career score for the veteran pacer. Live harness racing will resume on Easter Sunday (4/1) at Scarborough Downs with a ten race program swinging into action beginning at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 PM (EDT) throughout the month of April. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

Scarborough, Maine - March 30, 2018 ... Scarborough Downs will swing open it's gates for the 68th consecutive year on Saturday (3/31), welcoming the multitudes of fans and horses back to the track, and heralding the start of the 2018 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 1:30 p.m. (EDT). The response to Opening Weekend has been exceptionally keen among the harness racing community this season with 170 horses entered in to race this week, resulting in full fields and ten race programs carded for both Saturday and Sunday's performances. Admission to the races is once again free of charge at the Downs, and with a seasonally warm and sunny day forecast for Saturday, the fans will have ample opportunity to witness the excitement and pageantry of harness racing from a close-up, rail-bird's seat. Featured alongside the harness races themselves, drawings for fun prizes will be conducted throughout the afternoon on Saturday with one lucky patron set to walk away with a free betting voucher good for $100 worth of wagers. 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 falls on May 5th this year, is the Downs' biggest party of the year, while the $25,000 Mid-Summer Classic, scheduled for July 14, will attract and locally showcase the finest horses in New England. 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 23, culminating in the Festival of Champions on October 13 where they will be racing for championship glory and combined purses that will exceed $500,000. 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 1:30 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 1:30 PM (EDT) through the month of April. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs  

Scarborough, Maine – March 14, 2018 … Opening Day of the 2018 harness racing season at Scarborough Downs has been postponed as southern Maine continues to dig out and recover from a fierce succession of nor’easters and blizzards, The opening of the season, originally scheduled for March 24th, has now been pushed back one week to Saturday March 31 with post time slated for 1:30 PM (EDT). Qualifying races scheduled to be held on Saturday March 17 have also been cancelled. “Two major storms with-in the past five days, both loaded with heavy, wet snow have forced the cancellation of pre-meet qualifying races” said Stephen Cobbett, Scarborough Downs Director of Operations, “Without these qualifying sessions it would be impossible to card races for next weekend. Track employees are doing all that is humanly possible to prepare the facility and we are hopeful that Mother Nature will begin to cooperate so that the season can finally get underway next weekend.” Qualifying races have rescheduled for Wednesday (3/21), Saturday (3/24) and Tuesday (3/27) at 10:00 AM. A double draw for the new Opening Weekend will be conducted on Wednesday March 28. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 PM (EDT) through the month of April. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. Mike Sweeney Director of Publicity Scarborough Downs

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (AP) — A pair of Maine suitors is trying to lure Amazon to the Pine Tree State, although one of them is using the bidding process to the make the case for the technology giant to build a smaller project and not the second headquarters itself. The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority and the town of Scarborough are relying on New England's charm, the state's affordable cost of real estate and a litany of incentives. Both have submitted proposals to the retail giant touting coastal Maine as the ideal place to locate. The redevelopment authority's letter states that it sees its proposal as a satellite facility as opposed to a location for the whole project. "We believe that we could support a large satellite facility for the New England region, as well as a research and development site for drone operations," the proposal states. Amazon's request for bids has unleashed a race by governments around North America to see who can make the biggest promises and offer the largest economic incentives to draw a project that promises to create 50,000 new jobs. More than 15 states and cities, including Chicago, Cleveland and Las Vegas, refused requests from The Associated Press to release the offers they made to the company. Bidders who refused to release information cited reasons such as confidentiality and "trade secrets." But others, including Maine, were more forthcoming. Scarborough, the other suitor, is a town of about 19,000 just south of Portland, the biggest city in the state. The town's proposal states that Amazon could set up at Scarborough Downs, a venerable horse racing track in town. A local group of investors bought the Downs for a little less than $7 million this month and is planning a large-scale rebuild of the property. Scarborough Economic Development Corporation said in its proposal to Amazon that the new owners, Crossroads Holdings, are open to working with Amazon on developing the 479-acre site. Scarborough is touting the location as ideal for Amazon because of the popularity and affordability of nearby Portland with workers. But it's also proposing use of a state business equipment tax exemption, which provides 100 percent property tax exemption for eligible properties. "With Scarborough you will find a progressive community receptive to a transformative project," wrote Tom Hall, Scarborough's town manager, in the proposal. The redevelopment authority's proposal would bring company facilities to Brunswick, a coastal city of about 20,000 that is home to Bowdoin College. The authority was created by the Maine Legislature to convert the closed Naval Air Station Brunswick to new uses. The proposal hinges on the concept of Amazon anchoring the former station as a high tech business complex. The proposal boasts that Amazon would be within 50 miles of two-thirds of Maine's workforce and could get its non-locally produced power from 100 percent renewable energy sources. It notes Amazon employees could take advantage of world-class skiing, beaches and an emerging food scene. The proposal also states that a Maine Department of Economic and Community Development "business assistance package" would have "no legislative hold ups" and include some $200 million in incentives. The AP also sought details on how much states and cities spent to create their bids and then promote them. Both bidders said they prepared their materials using existing staff resources and did not incur outside costs. Officials with both said they haven't heard back from the company. Patrick Whittle Reprinted with permission of NewsTime

One of southern Maine's largest parcels of centrally located undeveloped land has officially changed hands, with immediate plans to invest $20 million in infrastructure upgrades.  Scarborough Downs has been sold to two Scarborough families for $6.7 million. The deal was first announced in December. The 500-acre property at Scarborough Downs was purchased by two sets of brothers — William, Marc and Rocco Risbara III, of Risbara Bros., and Peter and Richard Michaud, formerly of Michaud Distributors — under the business name of Crossroads Holdings LLC. "This is a defining moment in Scarborough's history," Rocco Risbara said in a news release. "We look forward to creating something that brings people together, creates economic growth and builds a sense of hometown pride." The harness racing business has also been sold to Crossroads Holdings LLC for an undisclosed sum. The Scarborough Downs track will remain open and will continue to be operated by the Terry family, the sellers, as it has for 38 years. The 60-plus employees at Scarborough Downs will retain their jobs. Crossroads Holdings LLC expects to invest about $20 million to make infrastructure improvements to get the land for development, according to the news release. Zoning on the property allows a wide range of uses, including the creation of a town center, mixed housing, active recreation and entertainment, as well as retail, commercial and industrial use. New owners partnering with others in redevelopment planning Crossroads Holdings LLC is working with Scarborough's former town planner, Dan Bacon, who is now at South Portland-based Gorrill Palmer Consulting Engineers Inc. It also retained Jim Damicis from Camoin Associates to conduct market research that will determine cost benefits to the town and to assess the positive economic impact that the project will have on the local and regional economies. Crossroads Holdings also is working with commercial real estate partner, Drew Sigfridson, of CBRE/The Boulos Co. for sales, leasing and marketing for the mixed-use property. Reprinted with permission of MaineBiz

The sale of the struggling harness racing racetrack Scarborough Downs, and its 500 acres of land, is now complete. That’s according to Crossroads Holdings — managed by two sets of local brothers, William, Marc and Rocco Risbara III, of Risbara Bros., and Peter and Richard Michaud, formerly of Michaud Distributors — which closed on the land and existing buildings last week for $6.7 million. “This is a defining moment in Scarborough’s history,” Rocco Risbara said in a statement. “We look forward to creating something that brings people together, creates economic growth and builds a sense of hometown pride.” Scarborough Downs harness racing business also has been sold to Crossroads, though the company is not disclosing the purchase price for that piece. Crossroads said the longtime operators of the facility, the Terry family, will continue to run it, and retain the track’s 60 employees. Crossroads officials said they plan to invest more than $20 million in infrastructure improvements as part of a vision for the property that includes a town center with retail and commercial opportunities, along with mixed housing and other facilities. A public meeting with Scarborough’s planning board on the proposal is scheduled for Monday. Reprinted with permission of The Bangor Daily News  

Scarborough, Maine - December 8, 2017 ... The curtain will fall on the 2017 harness racing season at Scarborough Downs with the final two performances of the year slated for Saturday and Sunday this weekend, but before the horses retire to the comfort of their winter stables, the members of the Maine Amateur Drivers' Club (MADC) will make one more charitable splash at the raceway on Saturday (12/9). The MADC hold races on a weekly basis at Scarborough Downs and bankroll their driving commissions in a fund dedicated to philanthropic donations. With the Christmas season fast approaching, the members of the MADC felt that Toys For Tots would be the logical beneficiary for their final 2017 disbursement of funds. "Toys For Tots and the United States Marine Corps have a long history of bringing holiday cheer to children all across the United States and have been extremely active for years here in the state of Maine" said MADC president, Omer Burke, "The members of our club are delighted to be able to contribute $1750 toward helping their organization ensure that less fortunate children in the community experience a happy Christmas." Major Thomas R. Wallin, Company A, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines will be at the Downs to accept the donation following the third race of Saturday's program. Major Wallin is the senior ranking active duty officer in the state of Maine. Scarborough Downs will proudly feature live harness racing on Saturday and Sunday at 12:15 PM during closing weekend. The 2018 harness racing season is scheduled to commence on March 24. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or visit our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs  

SCARBOROUGH — A group of well-known local business owners Thursday confirmed they have a contract to purchase the 480-acre harness racing Scarborough Downs property. The sale to Cross Roads Holdings, which was first revealed in October, is not expected to be finalized until early January. What was not revealed until Thursday is that the principals of Cross Roads are the owners of Risbara Bros. Construction, longtime developers in southern Maine, and Peter and Richard Michaud, former owners of Michaud Distributors. All have deep roots in Scarborough. In a press release, Rocco Risbara III said, “We care about our town’s future and it (will) be a privilege for us to develop this land.” Few details were available about possible redevelopment plans for the Downs. But the partners said they expect it to be a long-term project, and plan to keep the historic race track open, at least for now. As part of the agreement, Cross Roads Holdings will lease the track back to its current owners and, in the process, preserve more than 60 track jobs. “For years, we sought after prospective buyers that were connected to the community and willing to work toward the preservation of our heritage,” Scarborough Downs owner Denise Terry said in the press release. “The Risbara and Michaud families present a perfect match (and) our family and employees are excited to work with (such) respected, local business owners,” Terry said. Scarborough Downs has hosted harness races since 1950. It also offers off-track betting and holds various special events throughout the year. The Downs has long sought to be allowed to offer other forms of gambling, but a series of referendums that would have allowed slot machines were all defeated. Last spring, Thom Powers led a group of Massachusetts-based developers that specialize in distressed properties and mixed-use projects in a bid to buy Scarborough Downs. That deal fell through, leaving the way open for the Risbaras and Michauds. No purchase price was announced, but according to published reports, Downs owner Sharon Terry had previously asked $7.5 million for the property, which includes a grandstand and clubhouse, barns, half-mile racetrack and outlying land. In speaking of the team behind Cross Roads Holdings, Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall said it “has a great track record and I’m confident that they will have Scarborough’s best interest in mind as they redevelop this property.” The town is developing a new Comprehensive Plan and redevelopment of the Downs property is a top priority, Hall added. The town’s Long Range Planning Committee was scheduled to have an initial meeting with Cross Roads Holdings on Friday morning, after The Forecaster’s deadline. At Wednesday’s Town Council meeting, Hall called the presentation to the Long Range Planning Committee “the first step in the creation of a master plan” for the Scarborough Downs property. On Thursday, a spokeswoman for the team of developers said it’s their intent to make the master planning process inclusive and open, and they want to get input from residents and town officials. In 2013, Scarborough approved a new development zone for the Downs property, which allows several different uses, from residential to commercial to municipal. “Cross Roads Holding will work collaboratively with the town, residents and end-users to determine the most successful and desirable ways to develop the large portion of land in the center of town,” the press release said. Meanwhile, Scarborough Downs is still part of a long-shot bid by the town to get Amazon’s new headquarters. Amazon, based in Seattle, asked municipalities or regions to submit proposals to build a second headquarters, known as HQ2, that would eventually employ 50,000 workers. Cross Roads Holdings “is currently performing inspections and surveying the land as part of the due diligence process,” the press release said. “When that work is complete, the (sale of the) property will close.” In an introduction letter to the Long Range Planning Committee, the consultant for Cross Roads Holdings, Gorrill Palmer, said it would “be a long-term development project with a 15- to 30-year build out.” The phased development is designed “to incrementally deliver a return on investment, capitalize on market demand and steadily build out a diverse, mixed-use community,” the letter said. By Kate Irish Collins  Reprinted with permission The Forecaster

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