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New $250,000 Trotting Race Announced

Published: March 9, 2017 5:54 pm ET

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Plainridge Park Casino announced Thursday the inaugural $250,000 guaranteed Spirit of Massachusetts Trot that will take place on Friday July 28, 2017. The Spirit of Massachusetts Trot will be the richest race ever in New England harness racing history.

The success of Plainridge Park Casino, the Commonwealth's first expanded gaming facility, is the catalyst for such an event.

"The day in, day out racing program at Plainridge Park has been solidified over the past couple of years and we wanted to take the next step and create an event that let the industry know harness racing in Massachusetts was back on the map," said Steve O'Toole, director of racing. "This is a starting point, and in future years we anticipate adding other stake events around this race along with races for local participants while creating a fun atmosphere to build an exciting on-track experience for our racing fans as well."

Plainridge Park racing secretary Paul Verrette believes he has found a sweet spot in the national stake schedule for the race.

"The timing of the race fits well and should attract a very nice field. There is a need for a race for open trotters toward the end of July leading into the Cashman Memorial on Hambletonian Day the following weekend (Aug. 5)" said Verrette.

Nominations for the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot are being handled by The Hambletonian Society Inc. and will close April 15, 2017 with an initial $1,000 nomination fee. The race will be part of the season-long Grand Circuit series of major stakes races from tracks across North America.

The 2017 racing season at Plainridge gets underway on Monday, April 10. The track will host 125 days of live racing this year with the season concluding on Nov. 24.

(with files from Plainridge)

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