What Will Best Serve the Sport of Harness Racing and the People Who Work in that Industry?

From Stephen D. Thompson

In late April 2017 I developed a survey that addressed the future of harness racing in the State of Maine. I urge each of you to read the findings of this survey and as you read highlight or take notes. Which of these findings agree with your thinking? Which of these findings do not agree with your thinking? I extend my thanks and appreciation to everyone who took the time to complete the survey. If others would like to take the survey it is still available on this web site.

My sense is that something has to change — radically change. The public’s perception appears to uphold the belief that $12,000,000 has been spent and the harness racing industry is still trouble. Maine casinos have brought funding to harness racing. In Bangor, the casino owns and operates Bangor Raceway. Is there fault? Can we identify corrective actions that will turn the tide in favor of Maine harness horsemen, women and their families.

It is my belief that the sport of harness racing needs a be part of a greater event — an event that brings people to the track. In the survey I offered the concept of finding investors willing to purchase a destination resort that would celebrate Maine’s agricultural heritage and the contribution of the horse to Maine’s way of life. In many ways Maine citizens are not connected to the horse as they were in the 19th and early 20th centuries. According to a newspaper article that I read in an Australian newspaper, the car finally replaced the horse. That love and passion that once existed for the horse needs to be brought back into the consciousness of Maine citizens. To accomplish this the sport of harness racing needs to be re-branded and a year-round plan of action needs to be created and implemented. The future is now or there just may not be a future.

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Click on the following link. By doing so you can download the survey results for your review and analysis.

Harness Racing Survey 2017 Report Final Copy PDF 102