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

The Equibase note for Moochie in the 6th this afternoon at Laurel: “MOOCHIE vied
towards the rail, gained a short lead leaving the far turn, raced in the two path battling between horses past the five sixteenths, lost her rider after sustaining
an injury near the quarter pole and was euthanized on the track.” And just like that another young (two) life snuffed. This is horseracing.

This from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, 1st race at Ellis, August 28: “Market Garden was pulled up quickly shortly past the finish and required the assistance of the KHRC veterinarians who attended to the horse and loaded him into the horse ambulance. Right hind, closed, comminuted, biaxial sesamoid fractures, comminuted; tearing of the sesamoidian ligaments and failure of the suspensory apparatus. The decision was made to euthanize due to the extent of his injuries.”

Last week on U.S. flat tracks (racing only).

“Vanned Off”: horse required an ambulance to get off the track; while not all the “vanned” end up dead, most do, as borne out by my FOIA reports

“Bled”: typically indicates pulmonary hemorrhage

Papa Said Ya “vanned off” at Grants Pass
Mr McGuerty “vanned off” at Mountaineer
Orbert “in distress, vanned off” at Parx
Wascallywittlewabbit “vanned off” at Zia
Street Trust “vanned off” at Gulfstream W
Winning Impression “broke down,” dead at Churchill
Reagan’s Heart “hit the starting gate, vanned off” at Gulfstream W
Titan’s Revenge “vanned off appearing lame” at Remington
Littlebizooms “fell, DNF” at Evangeline
El Aracada “vanned off” at Los Alamitos
Lucky Lorretta “fell to the trackā€¦apparent catastrophic injury” at Hawthorne
Bears Mafia “vanned off” at Aqueduct