Scarborough Downs Harness Race Track and its famous Maine horse racing events have been talked about extensively. But what history does this old establishment have? And what does the future hold for it? Read our Scarborough Downs review and discover more!
Scarborough Downs History
The Scarborough Down was founded in July 1950 by businessman Fred Snow and Robert Verrier. Nine years later, in 1959, Scarborough Down broke the record for the largest horse racing attendance event. During that era, it hosted a total of 260,000 people.
This large crowd had come to witness the largest and most competitive harness racing event. It brought together some of the best horses during that era.
In 1969, the venue was sold to Ogden Corp. of New York. This was also the same year that Scarborough Down started hosting thoroughbred racing and harness racing. Three years later, however, a half a mile oval track was built. Scarborough Downs switched to offering harness racing exclusively.
The new owners were overwhelmed with the management of the racing track. They had to sell it to a 33-year-old businessman Joseph Ricci for $990,000. This was in 1979. Almost 30 years later, Joseph Ricci passed on leaving the widow, Sharon Terry, as the owner of the track. Under her leadership, the track has improved significantly and records annual profits of between $200K and $300K.
Just recently, the Scarborough Downs got a new owner, who forked out a hefty sum of money. Even then, the venue is still being run by the Terry family, and it will perhaps remain so until the 500 acres of land is transformed into a state of the art sports complex.
Scarborough Downs Racetrack
Undisputedly the home of Maine Horse racing, Scarborough Downs and it’s month-long festival represents the pinnacle of horse racing in the United States. Put simply, there’s no horse in the United States that can be considered as a harness racing track ‘champion’ without proving itself at the biggest stage of all of the United States.
The Scarborough Downs Harness Race Track occupies 500 acres, featuring a 440 feet homestretch run and several facilities including a winner lounge, a VIP lounge, The Downs Club Restaurant, and Lower Club Bar.
Move To Introduce Slot Machines Within The Complex
In 2003, Sharon Terry put a vote to the Scarborough Downs members in a bid to see the introduction of slot machines within the complex.
However, the members rejected a referendum rejected the idea citing concerns that Scarborough Downs would lose its original goal. The bill was reintroduced in 2008. But just like the first time, Terry failed to convince the members to introduce slot machines at the track.
Maine Harness Racing
The onset of March every year usually comes with a lot of excitement to locals of Maine. To them, they know that the three-month-long harness racing events are just about to start. Scarborough Downs alongside Bangor Grounds usually hosts these events where millions of viewers from all over the United States will be following closely as the horses take to the track to prove their stamina.
Unlike Quarterhorse Racing and Thoroughbred racing, where the jockeys ride on saddles equines, Main harness racing usually involves a two-wheeled cart (a sulky) being pulled by a Standardbred trotting for a mile.
In Maine, Harness racing has a long tradition. This is why hundreds of thousands of horse racing fans throng the Scarborough Downs Maine to see different horses battle for supremacy.
However, the climax of harness racing is usually in May. Then, the fastest pacers and trotters alongside their elite racing teams go head to head, competing for glory, purses and bragging rights.
This event usually takes place at the Churchill Downs Racetrack. It constitutes of horses that have managed to qualify from the Scarborough Downs and Bangor Grounds qualifiers.
Betting Online In Maine – Is It Legal?
For a long time in the history of US gambling, legal sports betting was constrained to the state of Nevada and the bright lights of Las Vegas. However, more and more states can now participate in the game, and possibly bring in extra revenue. This is thanks to the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the PASPA law in May 2018.
The PASPA law barred states from offering online casino and sports betting services to residents of the state, with the exemption of Las Vegas and Nevada. However, with the law gone, more states have joined in on the train to legalize online sports betting. Notable ones include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Mexico, Mississippi among others.
This includes Maine, which has approved sports betting laws and is now awaiting the signature of Gov. Janet Mills. This means that land-based gaming facilities will be able to apply for sports betting licenses, including Scarborough.