The Sturbridge Agricultural & Equestrian Center (SAEC) submitted the first new application in decades to construct and operate a Thoroughbred racetrack with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission last Friday.
“The Sturbridge Agricultural and Equestrian Center is not your grandparents’ racetrack,” said Reed V. Hillman, Chair of the Sturbridge Racing Oversight Board. “It will be a safe, carbon neutral, digital, family friendly center, and economic catalyst built and run by horse enthusiasts. The SAEC’s mission continues the long New England tradition of raising horses and being stewards of the land. Our filing begins the process with the Commonwealth to operate a Thoroughbred racetrack that will enable us to have the resources for our facility.”
The Sturbridge Agricultural and Equestrian Center will be a state of the art, green complex with a racetrack and sports bar, farming programs and community amenities. It will be located on 298.54 acres off I-84 on the Massachusetts-Connecticut border. The racetrack will be one of the safest in the country and include a high-end equestrian center and Thoroughbred retirement and retraining farm.
The Center will bring $1 million in new annual revenue and benefits, and local jobs to Sturbridge, along with community gardens, sports fields, and trails through the woods. The complex is completely sustainable with turning farm and restaurant waste into energy, and a focus on preserving open space and wetlands.
To comply with statute and the deadline set by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the application was filed by Sturbridge Equine and Agricultural Center LLC. To read the application documents:
The SAEC will be governed by the newly created Sturbridge Racing Oversight Board. The Board contains individuals with a wide variety of experience and knowledge in public safety, horse welfare and retirement, medicine, and racing. The following individuals have joined the board:
- Reed V. Hillman, Chair, former Massachusetts State Police Superintendent and local elected official
- Michael Blowen, founder of Old Friends, a non-profit thoroughbred retirement facility in Kentucky
- Dr. Eric Dickson, CEO & President of UMass Medical and local horse breeder
- Robin Kalaidjian, local horse breeder and enthusiast
- Tammi Piermarini, 3rd leading female jockey of all time and inductee of the New England Racing Hall of Fame
The SAEC is focused on working with the Sturbridge community on developing a project that is quintessentially Sturbridge. It has held public forums and hearings to engage residents and has received votes of support from the Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, Recreation Committee and Sturbridge Tourist Association. The required Agricultural Entertainment Overlay Zoning District will be on the warrant for Town Meeting on Thursday, October 28.