Report: Brockton Fair Scraps 2002 Live Meet

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.

Thoroughbred racing returned to the Brockton, Mass., facility last summer after the Carney family invested about $3 million. General manager Chris Carney told the Brockton Enterprise the fair asked Suffolk Downs and horsemen to help change legislation that requires it to pay 3% of handle to Suffolk and horsemen, but the effort failed.

"We went to the deadline that the state allowed us to before we found out we wouldn't get support from the HBPA or Suffolk to change the law," Carney told the Enterprise. "It was probably too late to get it changed for this year anyway, but all we wanted was a commitment to go along with it."

The fair will attempt to get the legislation changed with a new petition to be filed by the Brockton City Council. The city would lose about $80,000 from a land-use fee the fair pays to run horse races.

The Brockton meet was scheduled for June 29-July 13. Last year, the meet catered to lower-level claimers during a scheduled 30-day session at which $600,000 in purse money was paid.

Carney told the newspaper the Brockton Fair would race again next year if the law is changed, and would be especially interested in a longer meet should Rockingham Park in New Hampshire close. Rockingham's owner has said the track may be in its last season because the New Hampshire legislation failed to permit slot-machine gaming at the facility on the Massachusetts border.

Brockton is one of several fairs that made for a circuit in Massachusetts years ago. Great Barrington Fair fell by the wayside in the late 1990s. Three County Fair in Northampton is the only racing fair in the state in 2002.