Will Rockingham Bag Thoroughbreds for Harness?

Live Thoroughbred racing at Rockingham Park may be a thing of the past, but there could be racing of another breed at the New Hampshire track in 2003.

"Harness racing is a real possibility," said Lynne Snierson, Rockingham's director of marketing and public relations.

Though Snierson said everything is speculation and nothing is concrete at this point, other sources claim a deal with Standardbred horsemen was signed earlier the week of Nov. 25. Rockingham vice president Edward Callahan could not be reached for comment.

Years ago, there was harness racing in New Hampshire at Rockingham and Hinsdale, which is now a Greyhound track.

Rockingham must let the New Hampshire Racing Commission know by Dec. 2 its intentions on racing dates and which breed may run. Snierson said 100 programs would be necessary in order to be able to simulcast other tracks at Rockingham. Any number above nine races on a live card could constitute a doubleheader.

Suffolk Downs has asked for and received 150 racing dates for 2003. However, when Suffolk management went before the Massachusetts Racing Commission Nov. 14, they asked for the ability to amend their dates should Rockingham not commit to a Thoroughbred meet.

Suffolk chief operating officer Bob O'Malley has stated that should Rockingham not reopen or switch to harness racing, Suffolk would keep racing beyond its June closing date, perhaps four days a week with a few short breaks.