New Era Dawning At Plainridge

Last season’s top pacers, a healthy mix of native New Englanders, along with stables returning from other parts of the country, make up the first draws of the 2015 season at Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts.

Fans will be treated to a newly renovated racing and simulcasting area that becomes the first step of a new era for harness racing in New England.

Opening day at the Massachusetts track will take place Wednesday (April 15) with a 4 p.m. first-race post time. The nine-race card is headlined by the return of Burkentine Hanover, the fastest pacer at Plainridge in 2014. Trained and driven by Jim Hardy, Burkentine Hanover is the prohibitive favourite for the $6,000 Open. Three challengers – Wheelaway, Western Victory and Trigger Finger – all notched multiple victories in the top class at Plainridge last season.

Perennial training and driving leaders such as Hardy, Steve Nason and Mike Eaton might face challenges from a pair of Maine horsemen returning to action at Plainridge. Ron Cushing, currently the top conditioner at Scarborough Downs, will make his seasonal debut on Thursday, as well as Kevin Switzer Jr., who was the top driver in the Pine Tree State in 2014 and is scheduled to drive on both Wednesday and Thursday. Eddie Davis Jr. is also slated to drive on the meet’s initial programs.

Within the past few days, several trainers from outside the six-state region have arrived in the area, including Shawn Answeeney (New York), Bryce Fenn (Florida) and Scott Rollins (New Jersey).

The spring schedule at Plainridge features racing on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons at 4 p.m.., and also on Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. On June 24, Plainridge Park Casino, the state’s first gaming facility, will open its doors to the public.


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