Racetracks in Massachusetts could shut down Jan. 1, 2006, should they fail to strike a new agreement on simulcasts.
For the second time in as many years, Suffolk Downs has increased the minimum purses for stakes. And in another Massachusetts development, the Brockton Fair has expressed an interest in live racing once again.
Having failed to reach an agreement with Suffolk Downs and the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association on legislated revenue payments, Brockton Fair has scrapped its nine-day live meet this year.
Expanded gambling, including slot machines at racetracks, took a hit May 9 when the Masschusetts House voted against it, but legislators did establish a committee to make recommendations on the issue by the end of the year.
Hoping to recapture its popularity from nearly 30 years ago, the Brockton Fair in southeastern Massachusetts will open June 30 for a 30-day meet that will extend through Aug. 18. The meet originally was scheduled for 20 days.
Normally, the sounds of thunder cascading down the stretch of the two New England major thoroughbred tracks -- Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park emanate from horses. Now, the thunderclaps are coming from New England horsemen, who say they need a bigger share of the simulcasting pie to survive.
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