Live racing came to an end at Suffolk Downs on Sunday, with the historic track that straddles the East Boston-Revere line hosting some 21,000 guests for its final weekend in operation after nearly 85 years.
The penultimate day of racing at Suffolk Downs was cut short Saturday when severe thunderstorms rolled through the area after the seventh race. But track officials said more than 12,300 people turned out Sunday for last laps around the track.
The track said that the final race in its 84-year history was won by Catauga County and jockey Andy Hernandez Sanchez, who also won two other races Sunday.
"It was very gratifying to give live racing a fitting sendoff and we are amazed by what a wonderful and appreciative crowd showed up today to celebrate with us. We want to thank all the fans, our dedicated workforce, the horsemen and women who shipped in for the weekend and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's racing personnel who helped us with these festivals," Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer of Suffolk Downs, said in a statement Sunday. "Now we are looking forward to what's next and hopefully continuing Thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts next year at the Great Barrington Fair Grounds."
Suffolk Downs was sold in 2017 to the HYM Investment Group and was required to cease live racing by July 1. Suffolk Downs plans to remain open year-round to accept wagers on races simulcast from other tracks and the track's parent company is working on plans to return live racing to the Great Barrington Fairgrounds.
On Monday afternoon, the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure holds a hearing on a number of bills related to gaming and racing, including legislation that various racing interests have advocated for to revamp the racing and simulcasting process to grant the Gaming Commission greater power to make decisions about simulcasting and live racing.
~ Colin A. Young/SHNS