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Scarborough Downs off to the races one last time

Saturday was the last day of racing at Scarborough Downs. The property was purchased two years ago and will turn into a multi-use community.

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Horses have run their final lap at the Scarborough Downs race track. Scarborough Downs opened in 1950 and ended its 70 year run on Saturday.

"It's been a difficult go in the harness racing industry for a number of years now," Mike Sweeney said.

Sweeney has been the announcer at Scarborough Downs on and off since 1981. HE told NEWS CENTER Maine the harness racing industry in Maine has changed a lot since the Oxford Casino went online. Scarborough Downs lost 30% of it's revenue that year.

"It's the best time for us to just step aside and allow the industry to move forward in some other manner," Sweeney said.

While it may be the last day of racing at Scarborough Downs, the people in the stands on Saturday said the community will not forget the 70 years of racing.

"There's one thing that Mainers definitely don't do and it's forget," Reannon Wimert of South Portland said.

Wimert has been riding horses since she was 6-years-old but has never made it to Scarborough Downs until Saturday.

A handful of others said they visited the track for the first time on Saturday because they wanted to see if before it was gone.

But others have visited many times and just wanted to say goodbye.

"I love these creatures so much," Alice Jack of South Portland said. "It's so amazing to see all the incredible things that they can do and I guess I wanted to be here for the last day. Just, it felt right."

Saturday marks the end of an era, "when we shut the lights out today we're going to leave with our heads held high knowing that we did what we could," Sweeney said.

"It's the end of 70 years of tradition in Maine," Jack added.

The property was sold two years ago and according to its website, 'The Downs' will be a 524 acre mixed use community and construction is already underway.