Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On Location: Scarborough Downs

I braved Sunday's chilly weather to take in an afternoon of harness racing at Scarborough Downs. For the uninitiated, the racetrack can be an intimidating and seemingly complex experience. You've got to learn how to read the infield scoreboard, figure out what that cramped mass of information in the progam actually means. Never mind how to decide whom to bet on, or even how to place a bet.

Therefore, I've compiled an on-line collection of information, a Scarborough Downer's virtual toolbox, if you will.

Scarborough Downs
Obviously, this is the best place to start. The site features a history of the Downs, displays a calendar of live racing, lists the special events on tap for the 2008 season, and offers a quick tutorial on how to place a bet.

Maine Harness Racing Promotion Board
This site possesses pretty much everything you'd want to know about harness racing in Maine. Most helpful, though, is its 'Harness Racing Guide' section. There you'll find a glossary of harness racing terms, frequently asked questions, a guide to handicapping the races, an introduction to the codes that fill much of a race program, and another tutorial on the various wagers available to the bettor.

'Driver in Demand'
An excellent--if dated--profile of Drew Campbell, one of Scarborough Downs's top drivers. I suppose Menendez's piece gives you an idea of what the life of a harness driver might be like.

Opening Day
KeepMeCurrent.com's account of opening weekend at Scarborough Downs, courtesy of the Downs's Publicity Director (disclosure of Michael Sweeney's relation with the racetrack would be nice).

- John C.L. Morgan

P.S. For the record, I walked into Scarborough Downs with $20 and left with $25.75.

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