SCARBOROUGH (AP) – Scarborough Downs is removing its track lighting system, and there’s no guarantee that it will be replaced.

The lighting will be eliminated because it’s held in place by a hub rail that’s being removed for safety reasons, according to officials at the harness-racing track. The lights and transformers will be eliminated in the first phase of the project.

There have been two accidents in which horses crashed into the rail, and one of them claimed the life of a $37,500 trotter.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Jason Bartlett, who was the driver in the Aug. 4 accident that claimed 6-year-old Highway Hanover.

The rail, which is similar to a highway guardrail, was designed to keep horses off the infield.

But tracks across the country have been removing them because they limit the ability of harness drivers to maneuver when there’s a problem.

Among 40 harness-racing tracks nationwide, only five of them still use hub rails, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The changes could mean earlier post times and an end to evening races under the lights. So far, there’s been no decision on installing new lights.

The remainder of this year’s racing schedule should not be affected by the project, and the work should be done by next season, said Sharon Terry, owner of Scarborough Downs. “It’s a pretty substantial job,” she said.

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