A new year and a new century begin Saturday, so it’s time for the annual ritual of making resolutions for 1999 and wishes for the next millennium. This past week, I asked several individuals in the Maine horse business two questions: “What personal resolution will you make for yourself for next year? And, “What wish would you make for Maine’s harness racing industry?”
Richard Crabtree, chairman of the Maine Harness Racing Commission, says he’ll start the millennium by “spending more time listening.” And his future wish for the Maine harness industry – more cooperative dialogue.
Richard Duncan, Presque Isle businessman and former race commissioner, says, “for me, it’s not to have so many horses.” But Duncan said his wish was a kind of contradiction, “because I would wish that the industry figure out a way to increase the horse supply at Maine’s racing fairs.”
Ival Cianchette, Maine businessman and president of Bangor Historic Track, said his personal resolve will be to try to maintain good health and enjoy 2000. Cianchette is also excited about his stakes prospects for 2000.
He has an excellent 3-year-old trotter, Fiery Pilot, by Copter Pilot, out of Fiery Peach (a mare with a 1:58 lifetime trot mark). Fiery Pilot did not race last year.
Fred Nichols, Bangor Raceway manager, said in the self-help department, he would like to be able to do more community involvement to make the city more aware of Bangor Raceway. For the horse industry, Nichols says all the different elements of the industry must cooperate and get along. The Bangor race dates for 2000 have been increased and restructured, Nichols said, and his Christmas wish for next year is for more horses and full fields.
Walter Hight & Tom Dillon, businessmen, Skowhegan Fair directors and horse partners offered different ideas. “For myself, I want to find a fast horse,” Hight said.
Dillon says “I enjoy doing what I’m doing and I want to do more of it.”
In Maine, the horse partners have a 3-year-old staked Radiant Ruler colt and a staked Wilco’s Data colt, out of a No Nukes mare, that will start back next month. Both agree that during the millennium year at Skowhegan Fair, they want to see “good weather and large handles.”
John Miller, owner of Miller’s Post Time off-track wagering facility in Bangor, says his personal resolution is “to try to enjoy my life and get more free time for myself.” Miller’s wish for the Maine horse industry, “is what it’s always been. “I’d like to see people work together and make the industry stronger in Maine. That’s the key, working together,” Miller said.
Peter Martin, owner of Martin’s Manor and The Maine Event off-track wagering facility in Waterville, said his personal resolution for the millennium year is to lose 25 pounds. For the industry, Martin says his efforts will be directed toward two projects, first, to try to pass legislation for telebetting in Maine, “to corral it and keep it in the state.” The second project is the legalization of video lottery terminals which is already scheduled for the November ballot.
PACING BITS – Although the racing commission approved January race dates for Scarborough Downs, the seaside track will not operate live race days during January or February. They closed Dec. 26 and will re-open March 3, 2000.
Don’t forget, only two chances left to cast a ballot for the 1999 BDN Harness Horse of the Year. Results will be announced at the Down East Harness Horsemen’s annual winter meeting and awards banquet on Friday, Jan. 14, Miller’s Restaurant, Main St., Bangor. Tickets are $13 each for Miller’s salad bar and may be obtained from: DEHHA, P.O. Box 1963, Bangor, Me. 04412 or by calling Wendy Glaster at 848-5303, Joan Corbett at 942-6197 or Dot Ward at 989-4739 for reservations.
Happy New Year!