Plainridge Concludes 2017 Meet

Published: November 24, 2017 04:25 pm EST

Plainridge Park concluded its 2017 season on Friday, November 24.

Greg Merton was the leading dash driver with 230 victories, compiling $1.509-million in purses. Both numbers were track records, smashing the same records Merton set last year. Merton was also the leading UDR driver (with a minimum of 100 starts at the meet) with a percentage of .475.

Jim Hardy was second for both wins and earnings with 109 tallies and $745,663 in the bank.

Monique Cohen was the meet’s leading trainer with 71 wins for the session, while Frank Antonacci led in UTR (with a minimum of 100 starts at the meet) with a .596 clip and in earnings with $467,917 deposited. All totals for both Cohen and Antonacci are track records.

There were 11 track records broken and two more that were tied during the course of the meet.

The biggest day of harness racing ever held at Plainridge Park, as well as in the State of Massachusetts, was responsible for two of those track records when some of the best aged trotters from the Grand Circuit convened on Friday, July 28.

The old standard of 1:53 for an aged trotter was first beaten by Gural Hanover in 1:52.1. And then, one race later, in Plainridge’s signature event, the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot, JL Cruze slid through the passing lane to win in 1:51.2.

The Massachusetts state-bred program distributed in excess of $1.44 million in purses, which was the highest amount ever, and the horses that participated in those events were responsible for breaking eight stake records and tying one.

In the track’s recent filing to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for next year’s racing dates, it indicated that from 2015 through 2017 purses have more than doubled and handle has gone up 34%.

The 2018 live racing meet will kick off in April and run through November with a total of 110 racing days. Year-round simulcasting continues without interruption.

(With files from Plainridge Park)

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