Abbreviated harness racing season ends

Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 1:44 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - The abbreviated harness racing season comes to an end tomorrow at Scarborough Downs. This was a challenging year for owners, trainers and drivers. We talked to Neal and Sharon Grass a couple of times this as they prepared for the start of the Bangor Raceway season and here is an update on their season.

Sharon Grass:” Considering everything that has been going on with COVID and everything on top of that the ten weeks we did race and it wasn’t to bad. I was actually quite happy with most of the horses performances.”

Neal Grass:” It was good to be able to get racing even though it was short. We had a lot of fun. It was nice to be able to travel just to Bangor and no where you are going. We enjoyed it.”

They started training their horses in March as they waited for the start of the season. Once Bangor was given the green light to begin racing they took all eight of their horses to Bangor to qualify. With Bangor only racing two days a week it became evident to them they should concentrate on racing fewer horses and getting them into the box to race.

Neal:” We started out with eight and we decided we would take our best ones and try to get them in more often so we could get them tight.”

Sharon:” That right there is the hardest part about racing. Trying to get your horses in. Trying to see what class they go in and can we get them in more than once a week. Do they go up in class or down in class.”

They had 59 starts this season and won 5 had six seconds and six thirds. The couple said they put a lot of miles on their vehicle and horse trailer

Neal:” Going to Bangor and back twice a week is 300 miles each trip making it 600 miles each week.”

That doesn’t include the 12 trips they made to Bangor for training trips.

Sharon says it was all worth it because she could see how much happier the horses were when they were racing

Sharon:” When they hit the track they are all business. They know that they are out there to do. That is what they were born and raised to do.”

It was a weird year for harness racing. None of the fairs hosted races this year meaning that the two commercial tracks in Scarborough and Bangor were the only racing venues in Maine. Neal says even though it was an abbreviated season he is just happy they had a place to race.

Neal:” It was nice to be able to get out and see our friends and get a little income coming in.:

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