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Plainridge Park the only racing applicant for '20

10th October, 21:03

BOSTON - It appears that 2020 will be a year without thoroughbred horse racing in Massachusetts. By the deadline to apply for live racing approval, the Gaming Commission received only one application, for harness racing at Plainridge Park Casino.

Thoroughbred racing has been on the decline for years and Suffolk Downs, which is bound for development, held the final races at the historic East Boston/Revere oval this summer. The group that operates the track suggested it could revive thoroughbred racing next year in the Berkshires, but it did not apply to host racing.

The application for Plainridge calls for 110 racing days at the casino's track and will be the subject of a Gaming Commission hearing in Plainville on Oct. 31. After hearing from the track operators and public, the Gaming Commission is expected to vote on the application at a meeting Nov. 7.

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, the company that operated the Suffolk Downs track, last year announced aspirational plans to hold up to 40 racing days at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds while still taking simulcasting wagers at Suffolk Downs, or possibly pairing race simulcasting with sports betting at the old Wonderland property in Revere.

But before that could happen, Sterling Suffolk would need the Legislature to pass a bill that would make some specific changes to the gaming laws and reshape the way racing and simulcast wagering are governed in Massachusetts, something the Legislature has been reluctant to do.