MGC works behind the scenes as Spirit of Massachusetts Trot returns to Plainridge Park Casino

The Spirit of Massachusetts Trot is returning to Plainridge Park Casino on Sunday, July 28. A team from the MGC Division of Racing will be on hand to facilitate racing operations and ensure compliance with all racing laws, regulations and licensing requirements.

This exciting stakes race will be held for the second time ever at Plainridge Park, the only Standardbred race track in the Commonwealth. The track’s signature race will feature some of North America’s top horses racing for a $250,000 prize, the richest in the history of Massachusetts harness racing. This year’s national racing event will also feature a new addition, providing others with a chance to compete for a smaller prize.

Exteriors of Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, MA

Plainridge Park Casino opened in 2015, giving a boost to the racing operations.

“This year, Plainridge has added another race, the Clara Barton Distaff Pace, for fillies and mares, with a purse of $100, 000,” MGC Racing Division Director and Chief Veterinarian Alex Lightbown said. “So, there will be two big races for racing enthusiasts to enjoy.”

Racing fans will also be able to enjoy other entertainment offerings at the venue on Sunday, with live and simulcast feeds, live performances from the Berkshire Valley Boys, a Virtual Race Simulator and caricature artists on hand.

As fans enjoy the action and atmosphere, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will be working behind the scenes to make sure the day runs smoothly.

The test barn at Plainridge Park Casino

Director of Racing Alex Lightbown (far right) stops in at the test barn.

MGC staff has a wide range of race day responsibilities. Those duties include the oversight of all licensing matters, working with the horses in the test barn, enforcing racing laws and regulations, and making race results official.

The licensing staff handles background checks and license approvals for trainers, drivers, grooms, racing officials, vendors and track employees.

Stewards watch closely to safeguard the integrity of the races and coordinate with the ambulance and marshal to ensure a safe environment for all involved.

A member of the MGC Division of Licensing veterinary staff acquires the signature of a driver ahead of racing participation

A member of the MGC veterinary staff acquires the signature of a driver ahead of racing participation.

Meanwhile, MGC’s veterinary staff is in the test barn collecting and processing blood gas samples from multiple horses for each race.

Learn more about the MGC’s racing division’s duties by clicking here.

Even with all of the racing division’s regulatory responsibilities throughout the day, those working behind the scenes are still able to take the time to enjoy the excitement of the sport.

“My favorite part of a big race day like this is seeing the elite equine athletes from around the country in their peak form,” Lightbown said. “This race draws national attention to Plainridge Park, and it brings a larger audience, also highlighting the local horses and horsemen.”

The video board and infield Plainridge Park Casino

Post time is set for 2 p.m. as Plainridge Park Casino, marking the first Sunday event for this year’s racing calendar. Live races will continue to be held on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays through the end of November. Sundays resume on September 29.

The MGC wishes the horsemen, racing fans and employees a good day of racing with lots of great racing luck.

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