They call it the best-kept secret in racing, and why wouldn’t it be? A state with no horse racing pays out hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses to Thoroughbred racehorses registered in that state winning at tracks all over North America. It’s almost impossible to comprehend.

Paul Umbrello, the Executive Director for the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and a member of the board of directors for the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association says that their goal is to ensure that they not only let the cat out of the bag, but also do their best to keep an industry alive that was once the richest racing region in the country.

Dorchester, Massachusetts native Chris McCarron once said that when he was young, there were 17 different racetracks in the New England region, from Suffolk to Rockingham to the Three-County Fairs. My parents hit them all, and would tell us tales about seeing Decathlon run at Narragansett, or how they kept a $5 show parlay going for six months at Lincoln Downs. But now, since the sale and final closure of Suffolk Downs in 2019, that rich vein of racing has all but dried up.

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