Suffolk Downs can’t fill third card of live meeting

by | 05.23.2011 | 3:59pm

Only a few months ago, the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Suffolk Downs management were at odds over how many live racing days the East Boston, Mass., racetrack should run in 2011. Suffolk Downs wanted a reduction from 100 days to 67, and the horsemen wanted to increase the number to 125. They settled on a meeting of 80 live dates, contingent on the Massachusetts legislature passing a bill to reduce the number required by law.

The track opened on Saturday, Preakness Day, and raced its second live program on Monday. When the racing office tried to draw entries for Wednesday, however, it couldn't sufficiently fill the program, and the day's live card was scrapped until later in the meeting. Not sure how well thinge would have gone with 50% more live dates (120 vs. 80) and lower daily purses. Looks like they're having a hard enough time just filling the race days they currently have.

Here's the press release distributed by Suffolk Downs:

Suffolk Downs has postponed its card scheduled for Wednesday, May 25 due to insufficient entries.  The day will be rescheduled at a date to be determined later in the meet.

“While we have over 600 horses at the facility, the weather of the last few weeks has interrupted training and, in turn, put a strain on entries,” said Suffolk Downs' Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle.  “We anticipate that things will pick up over the next several days and we can resume racing as scheduled.”

The track will be open for simulcasting on Wednesday.  Live racing will resume on Saturday.  First post time is 12:45 p.m.

  • The Takeout is too Damn HIGH

    Go under please! No one wants to bet on your cheap goats.

  • Imagine if Suffolk Downs consolidated to 50 racing dates
    for the summer with a stronger purse structure. But “no” said the geniuses at the NE HBPA.

    When is common sense going to prevail among the horsemens groups. This is a new era and calls for innovation and flexibility from coast to coast.

  • Michael Cusortelli

    Suffolk Downs’ takeout rate for all exotic wagers — including exactas and daily doubles — is 26 percent.

    All I can say is, “Wow!”

  • george

    just wait till they get a casino and there will be plenty of horses, more races, and big purses like Philly Park

    Without a casino this year the track will close anyways

  • Concerned observer

    These comments are a great example of the depth of knowledge in racing. #1 and #3 what does takeout have to do with filling a racing card?

    What does impact filling a card is knowing that there will be racing at a certain track. Why would notheastern horsemen prep horses for a meet that is on- again off-again every year. Sure the big stables travel, but the little trainers, 30-50% of most regional meets horses, train for a specific location. Uncertainty makes life very difficult for the little trainers. Ask the guys in Michigan.

    #1, bet the breeding and form on these goats is about the same as Finger Lakes or West Virginia. If you don’t want to bet on Suffolk fine…simulast carries the big tracks. No need to be so disparaging.

  • Albert Tassone

    Get your facts straight before you put ii writing.

    The horsemen never asked for 125 days they only wanted what was law 100 days. If you take out the 140 horses that ran saturday and monday and the horses that are not ready because they were on the farm, you dont have many left out of six hundred. also the horse men were not given to many days to get there horse ready. so check out your story before you go to press.

  • Saratoga Sam

    Let’s see – do I bet on Saratoga or Suffolk Downs? Choices, choices. The track has struggled for decades. Why does the area not support the racing? They have the population and the $$$. They do the same thing over and over expecting a new result. Takeout at 26% – only the stupid need to go to the windows. Problem is most stupid people have no money. BOYCOTT.

  • Joe

    #5 Horses raced into the ground at gyp tracks are not goats but sacrificial lambs. Labor unions and “horsemen” are for drugs and against shorter meetings. They prevail but tank racing in the process. Horses loose.

  • Concerned observer

    Joe: You do not know that for a fact. I have raced at many of those gyp tracks and I think you would be surprised by the high level of care and treatment of most horses. But not all horses. But such is life. Most children in good neighborhoods are well treated…but not all. You paint with a broad brush, as if all regional tracks are populated by bums. Not really. Most of those trainers own their own horses. If they break the horse they reduce their own investmnent and ability to earn a living. You might be surprised to learn that the disposable horse is found mostly higher up in the chain. But, Ignorance is bliss.

  • Lisa welsch

    Response to Paulick: Your lack of knowledge amuses many who actually take the time to pay attention to this, However if you desire to knock Suffolk Downs Horsemen, at least get your facts correct. The horsemen’s position, throughout the negotiations with Suffolk Downs, was to adhere to the Massachusetts House of Representatives but was not enacted into law. That bill contained a change to the law from 100 race days to 125 race days over a three year period beginning one year after enactment of casino gaming in Massachusetts (105 the first year and ramping up to 115 days and 125 days over the following two years. The purpose of the 125 day provision in the 2010 bill was to apply a portion of casino revenue to enhance the agricultural aspect of horse breeding and racing in Massachusetts. That section of the bill was modeled after the Pennsylvania casino gaming law, which has proven to be a tremendous agricultural success preserving existing horse farms, establishing new horse farms, creating new jobs and related business oppurtunities. A reduction in race days will only destroy incentives and opportunities for potential investors to consider breeding/racing in Massachusetts and prevent any chance to follow the successful Pennsylvania path. It’s amazing that horsemen are criticized for their efforts to boost the agricultural aspect of the racing industry by trying to create jobs and business opportunities that enhance the Massachusetts economy while being anchored to Massachusetts. Give the horsemen credit for trying to improve the breeding/racing industry and the economy in Massachusetts.

  • susan miller

    the legislature won’t expand gambling in either mass or nh so why have horse racing. Rockingham park is a disgrace & is only hanging on by trade shows, poker and wrestling – the legislature in both states lives in l611 and not 2011 – the same bill was shot down in nh by the legislature (average age 100+ years) – we need the expansion of gambling to create jobs, promote the horse business & save what we have left of a dying sport – suffolk won’t last the season with 600 horses & why should the horsemen come back to new england, for what – there is just no money and no incentive for them to do so.

  • ratherrapid

    Suffolk is an interesting case, and Turf Paradise also. With regard to the smaller non-casino tracks #1 states the misconception, as if betting on “goats” as he puts it is any less lucrative than betting a boutique meet. I have been at small tracks–Blue Ribbon, Eureka–with some of the most entertaining racing experiences around. Horses very well cared for obviously. Those people are trying to win races also.

    It is easy to badmouth something because it is smaller or less spectacular. It’s still horse racing, and it’s as much fun as Saratoga where I am.

    Yet horse people at such meets do have a sense of entitlement that somebody else is going to pay for the meet. That’s probably the mindset that needs to change–adjusting purses to economics, even if purses are almost zilch. YOu then market your track and things presumably improve purse wise. Cart before horse.

    the small tracks also figure into the ongoing debate of those trying to shrink horse racing. small tracks extend horse careers Joe and keep them off the meat wagon. they also provide a market for deep pocket breeders and stallions, and serve to promote the sport in regional centers, if only we had an NTRA that could see to take advantage.

  • Rachel

    I hope Suffolk makes least they have a plan and vision.

    Re #11: The average age for the 424 members from 103 districts of the New Hampshire state legislature, who work for free (OK, $100 stipend), is 100? LOL…this huge body truly relects the dynamics of the entire state…they range in age from 20 somethings to octagenerians, students, business, industry, farmers, artists, professional politicians here…they live right next to us and live with the laws they pass…
    If horse racing has failed in this state it is racing’s (and Rock’s) fault for having no vision and no plan. It is not the burden of the taxpayer to babysit an industry…well, unless your ethanol…or the car industry…or electric cars waiting to crash the energy grid…OH, OK, c’mom government! Bail out racing! Do it for the horses and the children!

  • Tom Finneran DeMasi

    Easy Game
    Of course:

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