Progress: Another Racetrack to Close – For Good

When its current meet ends on November 28, Scarborough Downs, a harness track in Maine, will be closing – for good. This will leave one active racetrack in Maine (Bangor Raceway) and but two in the whole of New England (the other, Plainridge Park in Massachusetts). Relatedly, both of the remaining tracks are racinos, meaning they are being wholly propped up by government subsidies.

Scarborough opened in 1950 as a Thoroughbred track, but it eventually (1970s) went exclusively harness. Like most of horseracing in general, and virtually all of the harness variety, Scarborough has been in incessant decline for decades. To make matters worse, back in 2016 the track was forced to remove all its horse barns because manure was seeping into local groundwater. The final nail came in 2018 when the massive property was sold to a developer with an eye, the Press Herald reports, toward “a town center with housing, shopping, dining, offices, an interconnected road network, trails, recreation facilities and more.” Yeah, I’d say that’s a whole lot more appealing – not to mention economically stimulating – than an archaic, decrepit racetrack. And an added bonus of a little something called moral progress.

Shuttered U.S. Racetracks (Since 2000)

The Redevelopment of Shuttered Tracks

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  1. Sadly, the state has transferred the license to the county fairgrounds and approved racing dates. They’ve just moved the debauchery to a site that won’t get sold.

    • I wondered about that type of thing happening, Alan. Several weeks ago I read about the New York Racing Association’s plans to close Aqueduct Racetrack at some point in the future. They are also planning to expand horse racing at Belmont with features to attract more people and keep people entertained and spending their money at Belmont.

  2. For once, some GOOD NEWS — THANK YOU to all who made this happen — let’s KEEP AT IT until the SHUTDOWN of ALL Racetracks for good — no more violent torment, abuse and death for the Horses.

  3. In reality, then, nothing has been accomplished, according to Alan. That is heartbreaking. i don’t see any progress in the protection of horses, race horses, and other horses who are killed in a violent way for food. And, of course, the horrendous treatment of our wild horses and how they’re sterilized by the BLM. The suffering goes on and on and on.

    • Rosalind,
      There might be fewer Standardbreds bred and used for harness racing in Maine as a result, but I don’t have the figures to prove it.
      I believe there are fewer Thoroughbreds and fewer Quarter Horses used for racing in Idaho, since the racetrack, Les Bois Park, in Garden City was no longer used by Treasure Valley Racing. However, they continued racing activities at the different fairground locations. I can only hope there are fewer horses being exploited for racing. I’m not sure but I think there might be fewer racing days in Idaho and possibly Maine. I don’t have all of the information to know for sure.

  4. PROGRESS – knew this one was coming.
    Churchill Downs is selling Arlington Park in Chicago to developers I’ve heard and confirmed via news outlets.
    The property is worth millions and instead of the extensive business liabilities and demands from “horsemen groups” for millions in casino profits CDI can move forward WITHOUT them.
    The downside is that they vow to stand by horsemen and horse racing by applying for a horse racing track license at another location in the state of Illinois.
    However, they didn’t commit to any timeline so let’s just hope they decide to scrap this idea and diversify their business holdings in things other than horse racing.
    As I’ve stated on another comment, when I attended shareholder meetings CDI wanted to get out of horse racing years ago because very smart business projections predicted that horse racing was on the way out.
    Shareholders want to see profits while our politicians have no problem doling out billions in taxpayers money and/or casino profits at the expense of our communities.

    • Gina.
      The PR covered this story and there are lots of pro and con comments about this going on there. If the other states would take note how beneficial sales would be of their prime properties (NJ Monmouth Park, sea breezes and shore life)NY, Florida.

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