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Hollywood Casino makes first contribution to Standardbred Welfare Fund

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BANGOR Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway, Bangor, has issued a check for $2,452 to the Maine Dept. of Agriculture's Animal Welfare Program to be used in the newly-established Standardbred Welfare Support Fund. Hollywood Casino earlier this year announced plans to contribute $1 per starter each racing season, starting this year. The $2,452 check represents $1 for each horse starting at Hollywood Casino's Bangor Raceway between May 4 and July 20, 2013.

"It feels good to be able to contribute to this fund," said Mike Hopkins, manager of Raceway Operations at Hollywood Casino, Bangor. "Standardbred horses are beautiful animals, and they are such an important part of this operation. It's a sad reality that these animals will sometimes need help finding a home that is safe and healthy. This fund will bring the animal to that home, and it's an awfully good cause."

The Standardbred Welfare Support Fund was established by the Maine Harness Racing Industry and is being implemented this year. The goal is to provide temporary financial support to registered Standardbreds that have been seized or surrendered to an animal welfare enforcement or governmental agency. This could include Standardbreds that have been abandoned, seized or abused. The fund will assist in the rehabilitation and placement of the horse in a secure and healthy environment. The commitment from Hollywood Casino represents the only ongoing contribution in the country by a harness racing track toward equine welfare that is tied to racing and the number of starters.

The Standardbred Welfare Support Fund will give a donation of between $500 and $1,000 per horse under the auspices of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food & Rural Resources Animal Welfare Department. Horses receiving support can be hosted by a variety of organizations such as local humane societies and approved horse rescue groups and farms. According to organizers, the end goal is simply to help a Standardbred in need.

In addition to Hollywood Casino's contribution, the Maine Harness Horseman's Association gave $5,000 to start the fund. Hollywood Casino expects to make an additional donation later this year, following the conclusion of the fall racing season.

Live harness racing returned to Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway for the 2013 fall season on Sept. 6 with a 6 p.m. post time. Race dates will also be held on Sept. 9 and 10 with 5 p.m. post times before resuming a regular schedule on Monday, Oct. 7. Live racing will continue through Friday, Nov. 15 on most Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

More information about the Standardbred Welfare Support Fund can be found online at www.mainehha.com.

All live racing dates at Bangor Raceway can be found at www.hollywoodcasinobangor.com.

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