For some who’ve long been immersed in the horseracing culture, objectivity has all but vanished. As the Suffolk Downs era draws to an end, Ray Paulick offers this:

“It took the sweat and hard work of more than 4,000 workers to build Suffolk Downs. The audacious project, featuring what at the time was the world’s largest racetrack grandstand with 16,000 seats, was completed in a remarkable 62 days. It took three people – Massachusetts Gaming Commissioners Gayle Cameron, Enrique Zuniga and Bruce Stebbins – to shut it down with a simple vote.”

Mr. Paulick, to lay the blame for Suffolk’s demise at the feet of three racing commissioners is as shameful as it is plain wrong. Suffolk Downs is closing because its product – gambling on animal races – belongs in another time, the monopolistic, less sensitive 20th Century. The younger generations are rejecting your precious game; tracks like Suffolk Downs – which is to say, the majority of American racetracks – survive only through the slots welfare you speciously call a “partnership.”


So as the New England Thoroughbred people spin their tired tale of lost jobs and economic havoc, here’s hoping that region’s legislatures stay strong and let the market be what it will be. This is America: It is not within government’s charter to save obsolete industries.

A day after learning that the new Boston-area casino will not go to Suffolk Downs, that track’s COO, Chip Tuttle, announced September 29th as the final day of live racing. Suffolk, a losing proposition since 2006, will close for good in December. Tuttle (The Boston Globe): “The ownership has been very generous, very patient, investing money and losing money, over $50 million to date, probably closer to $60 million, to keep the racetrack running…with the potential promise of expanded gaming on the property. With that gone, it’s just impossible for racing here to continue.” This will leave the whole of New England without Thoroughbred racing.

Yesterday, at the terminal track:

In the 3rd race, “BRITISH GLORY hit the gate, rushed to press the early pace, had a small stumble after a sixteenth, stumbled hard near the quarter pole, lugged in near the final furlong and then bore out badly late.” That’s a “hit,” a “stumble,” another stumble (“hard”), and a “bore out badly.”

In the 6th, “FRANK BE COOL…fanned five-wide into the stretch, weakened, fell pulling up into the first turn, was revived, was walked around and then vanned off.” That’s “weakened,” fell, “revived,” and an ambulance ride.

In the 7th, “TURNAGAIN BAY popped at the start and rushed to press the pace, bumped the rail and PRETTY NELL, bumped CAROL ANN into the turn, then took up a moment later, clipped heels, fell and was vanned off.” That’s three “bumps,” “clipped heels,” fell, and an ambulance ride.

Good riddance, Suffolk Downs.


6-year-old (44 races) Tale of Lucknfame – trained and owned by Rebecca Johnston – broke down Friday at Belterra, bringing that track’s two-day fallen-horse total to three (Funnysman Dream, Kingliest). What’s more, Penn National also lost three horses in a two-day span this week: I Love Penny on Wednesday; Foxy Syd, Eddington Bay on Thursday. Two tracks, Wednesday-Friday: Six breakdowns.