The race will be held on the new fairgrounds track.

LEWISTON – Oxford County Fair officials announced Friday the establishment of a $25,000 invitational horse race to honor the late Charles E. Day.

Day was a well-known horseman in central and western Maine and owner of Spare-Time Recreation complex, where off-track betting is legal.

The Charles E. Day Memorial Invitational Race is scheduled to be held Sept. 13, which organizers have dubbed Maine State Derby Day.

The race will be held on the new fairgrounds track, which Fair Association President Suzanne Grover said was about 80 percent completed. She said that the Oxford track is the first racetrack built in New England since the 1940s.

“It is the next step to being financially stable to keep the agricultural part of the fair alive for our children,” Grover said.

Grover’s husband, Rupert, one of 18 fair directors, said the track and other associated costs would reach about $260,000.

The track will offer pari-mutuel betting.

Rupert Grover said that 31 of the 40 races planned already have sponsors.

Day, owner of the former Lewiston Raceway, co-owned horses with George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, including some of the fastest horses in harness racing. Day died in a car accident on his way home from Augusta last year.

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