OXFORD – Officials with the Oxford Fair Association say a $5,000 bonus will be awarded to a record-breaking harness horse racing team.

The bonus will be split between Gerald Kilgore of Paris, the owner and trainer of standardbred gelding Joe’s the Best, and Shawn Gray of Sidney, the race driver.

The horse broke the 2005 track record of 1:56 in the one-mile Charles Day Memorial Pace at the Oxford Fair on Saturday with a time of 1:54:4.

The bonus was initially only offered to a team that beat the record in the Big “O” Invitational Pace, which also took place Saturday.

Jackie Young, vice president of the fair association, said Thursday that the finance committee voted to award the bonus to Kilgore and Gray on Tuesday morning.

Pete Doucette, a member of the fair association who works with the fair on publicity related to harness racing, said some of the promotions regarding the bonus were “a little ambiguous.” He said there was an assumption that the invitational pace, which offered a $25,000 purse as compared to the $5,000 Charles Day purse, would attract faster horses who would be more likely to break the record.

An anonymous individual contributed the $25,000 for the invitational’s purse as well as the $5,000 bonus associated with it.

“From the day that there was any confusion, we started to work on clearing it up,” said Doucette.

On Tuesday evening, the Western Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association passed a motion in support of Kilgore, which also called for the group to bring a complaint before the state’s agriculture commissioner if the checks were not delivered within two weeks.

Brenda Russell, the groom of Kilgore’s horse, said she had received the call from Doucette on Tuesday saying that Kilgore and Gray would be awarded the bonus. However, she said the decision of the horsemen’s association was a standby in case the checks are not delivered.

Gray said he understood that the bonus would be paid out to whichever team broke the record, but was glad that the bonus was being delivered.

“I guess there might have been a little misunderstanding,” he said. “They’re holding true to their word, so they’re going to pay it out, apparently.”


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