Rockingham Park, New England's first track which debuted with a Thoroughbred meet in 1906, has reached the finish line and will shutter its doors for good Aug. 31.
An official with Rockingham Park, which remains open for simulcasts but hasn't offered live racing since 2009, confirmed March 24 that the property will be put on the market.
The New Hampshire Senate voted Feb. 18 to table a bill authorizing one casino to be located at Rockingham Park, dealing yet another blow to hopes for the revitalization of the track and the return of live Thoroughbred racing.
Given the lack of political will to enact casino gambling in New Hampshire during the current legislative session, Rockingham Park appears headed to the sales block for redevelopment.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives, which has defeated every casino gambling bill brought to the floor over the past few decades, held true to form April 29 and voted down legislation to allow two casinos.
The New Hampshire Senate narrowly passed a bill 13-11 late in the evening March 12 that would allow the development of two casinos in the state.
The Massachusetts horsemen and breeders now live to fight another day after the referendum to repeal the bill authorizing three resort casinos and one slots parlor in the state was resoundingly rejected at the polls.
The owners of Rockingham Park, which debuted as New England's first racetrack in 1906, are selling the majority of the stable area to a real estate developer.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives said no dice to casino gambling again May 7, handing supporters their third defeat in two months and dashing hopes that live Thoroughbred racing might return to Rockingham Park.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives, which has killed every piece of casino legislation in modern times, again rejected expanded gambling March 13 by a vote of 173-144.
A New Hampshire House of Representatives committee voted 11-9 March 4 to recommend an expanded gambling bill be killed, although the bill moves to the full House for a floor vote expected as early as next week.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan delivered her first State of the State address Feb. 6 and once again urged passage of a bill that would authorize a single high-end and highly-regulated destination resort casino.
Though a measure to expand gambling in New Hampshire and open the door to the possible return of live racing at Rockingham Park failed in the state legislature in May, the prime sponsor of the bill said he will try again.
A bill to expand gambling in New Hampshire that would have also opened the door for the return of live Thoroughbred racing at Rockingham Park was killed in a roll call vote of the House of Representatives May 22.
The New Hampshire House subcommittee studying expanded gambling narrowly voted May 15 to recommend that the bill to allow one high-end, highly-regulated destination casino be killed, but the full House will have its say.
Millennium Gaming has upped its ante significantly for the casino project it hopes to develop at Rockingham Park, but the company hasn't decided whether live Thoroughbred racing will return should it win a gaming license.
Testimony on legislation that would authorize casino gambling in New Hampshire began April 16.
The New Hampshire Senate handily passed an expanded gambling bill with bipartisan support March 14 that would authorize one single, high-end casino along the state's southern border with Massachusetts.
New Hampshire edged closer to the expansion of gambling when the Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 4-1 on Mar. 5 to approve a bill that would authorize a single, high-end casino along the state's southern border.
While testifying first before the New Hampshire Senate Ways and Means committee and saying the time to move forward on expanded gambling is now, Gov. Maggie Hassan urged lawmakers Feb. 19 to support Senate Bill 152.
New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan ardently supported the expansion of gambling in the state when she included $80 million from a casino licensing fee in her budget proposal.
Suffolk Downs will face much stiffer competition for the sole destination resort casino license designated for the Greater Boston area now that Foxwoods Resort Casino has entered the crowded field in Massachusetts.
Even if Rockingham Park were to win a casino license, a return of live Thoroughbred racing isn't guaranteed. It does remain part of the plan, said an official with a company that would pursue a license if gaming is legalized.
Casino magnate Steve Wynn submitted a formal Phase 1 application with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Jan. 14, one day under a key deadline, to vie with the proposal of Suffolk Downs and partner Caesar's Entertainment.
The election of Maggie Hassan as the new governor of New Hampshire Nov. 6 makes expanded casino gambling and the return of live racing to Rockingham Park a real possibility.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives March 28 soundly rejected the expansion of gambling by a wide margin even though both supporters and opponents predicted that the vote would be razor thin.
Expanded gambling in New Hampshire edged one step closer to passage Feb. 21 when the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives passed BH 593, as amended Feb. 12, by a vote of 14-7.
The hearing room at the New Hampshire Legislative Office Building was filled to capacity Feb. 13 as amendments to an expanded gambling bill were fiercely debated.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives delayed action Feb. 8 on a bill that would expand gambling and open the door for the return of live Thoroughbred racing.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives will take up expanded gambling when a full vote on HB593 comes to the floor Feb. 8 and passage could bring the return of live Thoroughbred racing one step closer.
By a vote of 5-0, the New Hampshire Senate Ways and Means sent a bill that would authorize four casinos and up to 10,000 slot machines in New Hampshire to interim study on Nov. 8.
New Hampshire moved closer to the expansion of gambling when a House of Representatives committee advanced a bill calling for two casinos with a combined 10,000 slot machines and table games.
On the heels of a new poll that revealed 56% of Massachusetts residents favor the expansion of gambling, state senators on Sept. 26 opened debate on a bill that has already passed the House by an overwhelming margin.
Runnymede Farm, the New Hampshire nursery founded by prominent Thoroughbred breeder and owner Peter Fuller, has new owners, according to Seacoastonline.com.
The State of New Hampshire has repealed the onerous 10% tax on gambling winnings that drove bettors away from racetracks and caused a multi-million dollar drop in the Thoroughbred simulcast handle.
The New Hampshire Senate March 24 passed legislation authorizing video lottery terminals at six locations, including Rockingham Park.
After conducting racing for more than 100 years, Rockingham Park will not open for live racing in 2010, the track announced March 10.
Horsemen held a brainstorming meeting Aug. 16 to discuss the ramifications of a plan by Rockingham Park to offer Thoroughbred races Sept. 5 in partnership with the New Hampshire Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing Association.
- By Tom Precious
New York Racing Association officials said it appears losses were kept relatively low from a September incident in which at least a dozen wagering outlets failed to stop taking bets after a Belmont Park race had begun.
An extension of its current meet to compensate for the loss of Thoroughbred racing at Rockingham Park led Suffolk Downs to cancel this year's $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap, its premier event.
Rockingham Park, the New England Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association, and Suffolk Downs reached an agreement today, one day after hearings began in U.S. District Court in Concord, N.H., allowing simulcasting to return to the New Hampshire track.
Negotiations between the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Rockingham Park continued into the new year in the wake of a simulcasting dispute that has spilled over state borders.
Rockingham Park is switching from Thoroughbred to harness racing in 2003 after the track and horsemen could not reach an agreement concerning purse structure. The Salem, N.H. track will conduct a summer harness meet from May 24 through Sept. 1, with racing four nights per week. Harness racing has not been conducted at Rockingham since June 1980 when a fire destroyed the clubhouse and grandstand and closed the track for four years.
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.
- By Tom LaMarra
Elections in six states Nov. 5 may determine, or at least play a role, in the future of alternative gaming at racetracks.
Rockingham Park plans to close in a few years in what would mark the end of the state's first and only horse racing track. The owners of the 96-year-old track want to develop the 170-acre property in Salem for retail, office and residential use.
Racing will continue at Rockingham Park for at least two more years while the track works with a Massachusetts development company and the city of Salem on plans to develop the 170-acre property.
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.
Fourteen stakes, including the grade III New Hampshire Sweepstakes for 3-year-olds and up on the turf, will highlight the 2002 season at Rockingham Park.
Racing could cease at New Hampshire's Rockingham Park this year because a bill that would have allowed video lottery terminals at the Salem facility is dead.
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