SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A deal to purchase Scarborough Downs and hundreds of acres of land surrounding it has fallen apart.
Back in March, a deal was announced between the track’s owner Sharon Terry and a group of investors led by Massachusetts developer Thom Powers.
When the deal was announced there was window set for the specifics to be worked out and for the final agreement to be signed. The time period has expired and the deal is off.
The racetrack and 483 acres of land around it have been up for sale for years. This was the first time a deal to purchase it had been announced. The spokesperson for the track says within the past few weeks a deadline set for the agreement to be finalized came and went with a deal being struck.
"The track has not been sold. The track is still for sale," said spokesman Mike Sweeney. "We’re hopeful somebody will step up, buy the property for development with the idea of keeping harness racing as part of that development, but there is currently no purchase and sale agreement in place.
"There were people who were interested. That contract has expired."
At the time the deal was announced developer Thom Powers said he would look into the possibility of keeping the race track if it made economic sense. Since then the track has been trying to conduct business as usual with racing four days a week. But racing on Friday had to be canceled due to a lack of horses.
"Our schedule has forced us to go to four days a week so we can fit the days in we’re required to race," Sweeney said, "and there just aren’t enough horses or enough demand."
Harness racing is a tough game, especially these days. For many drivers and trainers, it's a struggle to survive. John Nason has been at it for more than 40 years. Uncertainty is something he has faced many times over his career.
"All we do is go with the punch," he said. "Whatever is put in front of us, we go with it. It makes it really tough to survive doing it that way."
Despite this latest setback, the track's owner is still hopeful a deal can be reached with the investors.
"I understand there still is some interest, but there is nothing firmed up on that whatsoever," Sweeney said.
We reached out to Thom Powers at his office in Cohasset, Massachusetts, but did not hear back from him. Racing is scheduled for both days this weekend and those races will go on as scheduled.