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Welcome to Skowhegan Raceway!

Race Office opens Sunday August 13, 2017   ---   Phone: 207-474-9015

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"Home of the Fastest Race in Maine"

Achilles Blue Chip - August 16, 2014

2017 Race Dates August 13 through 19

August 13, 14, 18 & 19   ---   Post Time @ 1pm   ---   Pari Mutuels open @ 12pm

 August 15, 16 & 17   ---   Post Time @ 7pm   ---   Pari Mutuels open @ 6pm

2017 Results

Track Records

Pace:
In 1988 the first 2:00 mile record was broken at Skowhegan State Fair by Marc Mosher on Blizzbee. The time of the mile was 1:59:2. Blizzbee was owned by Walter H. Hight, II and Thomas Dillon.

On August 21, 2010 Rodeo Du Ruisseau set the State Mark during the Hight Invitational with a pace of 1:52.3, driven by W. Drew Campbell. The previous pace record was set in 1993 by Hotrod Falcon 1:52.4 at Scarborough Downs.

The State Record was once again broken at the Skowhegan State Fair on August 16, 2014 by Ron Cushing on Achilles Blue Chip with a pace of 1:51.4.

Skowhegan Raceway continues to hold the State Record as of August 2015.

Trot:
The current trot record is 1:57.3 broken on August 18 of 2005 by Pembroke Prayer driven by Heath Campbell. Previous records held by Pembroke Marvel in 2005 & Pembroke Spice in 2009, both driven by Heath Campbell.

Track History

Updated August 2015

Harness racing at Skowhegan State Fair has been a feature since the late 1800’s according to early fair brochures. In those days horse racing was a popular sport and everyone from farmers to businessmen would brag about who had the fastest horse in the area.
The information below was provided by S. Kirby Hight who has been a long time association member and supporter of Skowhegan State Fair.

Enoch Hight from Norridgewock, Maine who was S. Kirby Hight's grandfather, had a horse named Ino that raced at Skowhegan State Fair in 1877. He was one of the best racehorses in the country at the time. They would race for purses of $50.00 to $375.00.
There was no Pari-mutuel betting at that time as it was illegal. But this did not stop people from betting among themselves in some back room or out of the way spot.

There were many great Grand Circuit stables and drivers in Maine during the 1920’s and 1930's. There were stables names like Makwinney and Sullivan from Machias and Link Keene from Norridgewock who trained for the Woolworth Stable. Drivers Pierce Chappell and Avery drove many of the Woolworth stable's horses to victories. John Braden and Jackson Gratton were also great driving rivals during those years. Many of their best horses were raced at the fair which was a great treat for patrons in those days. The Woolworth family is still racing horses today on the Grand Circuit.

A local man named Fred Pooler built a horse barn on the fairgrounds in the late 1920's and kept his stable of horses there which consisted of a few Grand Circuit horses. In the 1940's and 1950's Walter H. Hight who was S. Kirby's father, kept a large stable at the fairgrounds under trainers Townsend and Ackerman. His horse Brewaway was 2nd in the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio and his horse Cynical Way was 5th in the Hambletonian which is considered the 'Kentucky Derby' for trotters.

Before the starting gate was introduced, horses used to start a race by lining up at the head of the stretch and then the judge would yell Go if they were lined up fairly and No Chance if they were not lined up. Sometimes they would have to score 6 or 7 times before the judge would let them go. What a mess sometimes! It would have been impossible to have pari-mutuel betting under those circumstances. It would look to the crowd like the judge was cheating!

In 1946 Walter H. Hight went to Lexington, Kentucky where the first starting gate was introduced. He had an engineer from Lexington design a starting gate and commissioned Smith’s Machine Shop of Skowhegan to make it and mount it to a 1946 Chevrolet pickup truck. One Sunday in July it was tried in Skowhegan and it worked fine. A local man who owned a horse with a record of 2:19 would not go behind it because he thought the gate was not fast enough. He soon found out differently!

The trial was a success and the starting gate was used at the fairs for the rest of the year and of course since then has been used continually. - S. Kirby Hight

In 1988 the first 2:00 mile record was broken at Skowhegan State Fair by Marc Mosher on Blizzbee. The time of the mile was 1:59:2. Blizzbee was owned by Walter H. Hight, II and Thomas Dillon. On August 21, 2010 Rodeo Du Ruisseau set the State Mark during the Hight Invitational with a pace of 1:52.3, driven by W. Drew Campbell. The previous pace record was set in 1993 by Hotrod Falcon 1:52.4 at Scarborough Downs. The State Record was once again broken at the Skowhegan State Fair on August 16, 2014 by Ron Cushing on Achilles Blue Chip with a pace of 1:51.4. Skowhegan Raceway continues to hold the State Record as of August 2015.

The current trot record is 1:57.3 broken on August 18 of 2005 by Pembroke Prayer driven by Heath Campbell. Previous records held by Pembroke Marvel in 2005 & Pembroke Spice in 2009, both driven by Heath Campbell.

In the spring of 1999 a fire destroyed the grandstand and pari-mutuel facilities. The new modern and larger grandstand will host Demolition Derby; evening shows and harness racing events. In 2001 new Archers, Signs and Quarter Poles were added to the racetrack. In 2002 a new Race Paddock was built, named the Forrest "Bud" Stevens Memorial Paddock, for his participation in events and his contributions to the fair.

Skowhegan State Fair is known all over the country as a great harness racing fair and many of the top horses and Grand Circuit drivers like Gary Mosher and Walter Case still love to race here because of the friendly and hospitable welcome they receive from the fans.

On behalf of Skowhegan State Fair, we would like to welcome you to stop by this August to ENJOY THE RACES!

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