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Plainridge track boss to retire due to health concerns

Slot bid to continue

Gary T. Piontkowski, president of Plainridge Racecourse and the leader of the track’s long pursuit of slot machines, is retiring due to health concerns, the track announced this morning.

Plainridge, one of four applicants for the state’s sole slot machine license, will stay in the race for slots under new leadership. John Grogan, a consultant to the track since 2009, will take over as president.

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“I have known John for more than 25 years and there is no one else more qualified or suited to assume this responsibility and lead Plainridge’s operations moving forward,” Piontkowski said in a statement.

Piontkowski, a former chairman of the Massachusetts Racing Commission under governor William F. Weld, founded the Plainridge Racecourse harness racing track in 1997. He led Plainridge’s effort to become the state’s first applicant for the slots license in 2012.

He has been a fixture in the state racing industry for decades.

Piontkowski began owning and breeding harness horses 38 years ago. In retirement, Piontkowski will concentrate on his health with his wife, Cadi, young daughter Jalen, and daughter Alycia Eldridge, an assistant prosecutor for the state of Virginia, according to the track.

“This has been a long journey, requiring intense effort,” Piontkowski said. “I am deeply grateful to my business partners at Plainridge for their faith and support as well as for their understanding for this personal decision.”

Plainridge is competing for a slot license with applicants in Raynham and Worcester, and one that has not yet announced a site.

Mike Bello can be reached at mbello@globe.com.
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