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Proposed Lancaster Horse Track Waiting on Bill’s Outcome

November 12, 2018

BOSTON -- A bill submitted last week for consideration during the state Legislature’s next session would give the Massachusetts Gaming Commission more authority over thoroughbred horse racing and marks an essential hurdle for the proposed Stronach Group race track in Lancaster.

Submitted in a Nov. 6 legislative filing by the Gaming Commission, the new bill -- An Act Relative to Horse Racing and Wagering -- would allow the commission to oversee and regulate all aspects of horse racing and simulcasting in Massachusetts to “ensure the (state’s) horse racing industry is preserved.”

The bill would also give the commission the discretion to use the state’s Race Horse Development Fund to financially support the state’s horse racing industry.

“Either the bill would likely need to pass or there would need to be an amendment to current racing law ... in order for the Lancaster proposal to move forward,” said Massachusetts Gaming Commission Director of Communications Elaine Driscoll in a recent email.

State gaming officials had sponsored a similar version of the bill during the Legislature’s last session but it never cleared the House. The next legislative session begins in January.

It’s been over three months since representatives of The Stronach Group presented their plans for a proposed track on McGovern Boulevard to members of the public. Little development has been seen locally on the project since then.

Site plans submitted to the town in July show the track would take up approximately 100 acres of a total 350-acre site on land situated west of Route 70 and south of Route 2. It would be a part of a mixed use development that would include retail, commercial, and industrial uses.

The site would be large enough to hold up to 2,500 spectators and stable approximately 500 horses during the racing season.

Since the project’s plans were presented to the town, it’s been reported that Stronach Group founder Frank Stronach has filed a lawsuit against his daughter, current Stronach Group President Belinda Stronach, alleging she has mismanaged the company’s assets.

Though aware of the ongoing lawsuit, Lancaster Town Administrator Orlando Pacheco said in a recent email that he had not heard any indication from Stronach Group representatives that it would affect the company’s plans for Lancaster.

“What they have said is that the legislation needed would have the impact on moving forward,” he said.

The Stronach Group could not be reached for comment.

Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53

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