April 05, 2020

Free trip to Florida up for grabs for 10 Maine OTB players

Ten people from Maine will fly to Florida for three days in March to watch one of winter’s biggest thoroughbred races, The Florida Derby, at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale. And it’s all for free.

As part of a special winter promotion by the Maine Harness Racing Promotion Board, a group of Maine off-track wagering locations, and Scarborough Downs, 10 lucky “snowbirds” will fly to the warm, sunny south, for a three-day, cost-free weekend, according to Tom Kole, executive director of the MHRPB.

Kole, who initiated the special event, said this week the rules for entering “The Snowbirds Trip From Me.” on March 13-15 are quite simple. Anyone visiting OTBs in Waterville, Brunswick, Bangor, Lewiston, or Scarborough Downs will be eligible for the Florida vacation weekend. Each participating OTB location will sponsor one couple to Florida.

“Beginning this week and ending Sunday, March 8, anyone can win the Florida weekend by filling out a free entry blank available any race day at each participating OTB location,” Kole said. “It is not mandatory that you wager on the live races on Gulfstream Park. However, bettors who do wager at Gulfstream Park will gain an advantage and increase their chances of winning,” according to Kole.

“Any bettor who ends up with a losing Gulfstream ticket(s) may write their name, address, and zip code on the back of the ticket and deposit it in the entry box at each participating OTB,” Kole said, “but that’s only on Gulfstream tickets.”

Kole adds that a player must be 18 years old to be eligible. Any OTB employee or any member of their immediate family is not eligible to participate in the special promotion. Winners must be present at the OTB when the drawing is held on March 8 following the running of the last race at Gulfstream Park.

Winners will receive round trip airfare from Portland, excellent hotel accommodations, free car rental, and box seats for two days of racing at Gulfstream Park, which includes Florida Derby Day. Also, winners will have their pictures taken after a special race named for the simulcasting outlet they represent.

Here’s an opportunity to get away from the cold and snowy winter weather for a few days. All you have to do is enter.

PACING BITS – This is your last chance to enter the BDN Harness Horse of the Year. The balloting is tight between three fine horses. Your ballot could make the difference. The contest closes at midnight, Saturday, Jan. 10. The winner will be announced at the Down East Harness Horsemen’s annual meeting on Saturday, Jan. 17, at Miller’s Restaurant in Bangor.

The Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association, in conjunction with USTA District 9 directors meeting, will hold a joint winter business meeting and awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 10, in the north wing of the Augusta Civic Center. MHHA business meeting at 3 p.m., dinner and awards at 7 p.m., USTA annual District 9 meeting at 4:30 p.m.

A proposed OTB parlor at Verrillo’s Restaurant in Portland was tabled by the Portland City Council last Monday because the public had not been properly notified about the plan. The law requires the city to advertise and publicize an OTB license application 14 days in advance of its proposed hearing. The OTB request hearing is rescheduled for the council’s Jan. 21 meeting.

The meeting of the Maine State Harness Racing Commission, scheduled for last Tuesday, was postponed because of icy road conditions. The meeting, to examine the existing rules and to determine if any rule changes are necessary, has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the Augusta Civic Center.

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