View of the racetrack from Orient Heights.
|Location||525 McClellan Highway
East Boston, Massachusetts, United States
|Owned by||Coastal Development LLC|
|Notable races||Massachusetts Handicap|
Suffolk Downs is a thoroughbred race track in East Boston, Massachusetts, United States. The track opened in 1935 after being built by Joseph A. Tomasello for a cost of $2 million. A number of famous horses have since raced at this track including Seabiscuit, Whirlaway, Funny Cide, and Cigar. The Massachusetts Handicap or MassCap is an annual event held at the track, but has not been held since 2008. The track is a 1-mile (1.6 km) dirt oval with a seven-furlong inner turf track. Non-race functions are also held at the venue such as the Hot Dog Safari.
The track was founded in 1935 after parimutuel betting was legalized in Massachusetts. The first MassCap was held that year with Top Row taking first ever victory in the event. The track continued to hold races despite the advent of World War II from 1939-1945.
In 1986, Odgen Corporation sold the track to Buddy LeRoux, who subsequently closed it in 1989. Between 1990 and 1991, there was no racing at Suffolk Downs. In 1992, the track was reopened when a deal was agreed upon between Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park. In 1995, the MassCap returned from a six-year hiatus with a victory by Cigar.
In 2007, the track changed hands to new ownership, who vowed to improve the track and bring success to the future of Suffolk Downs. A year later, Suffolk Downs became the first race track in the country to implement a zero-tolerance policy towards horse slaughter. The policy states that if a horse from Suffolk Downs is sold for slaughter, the trainer and owner of that horse will be banned from the grounds for life.
On August 22, 2012, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice announced that the racecourse must pay a civil penalty of $1.25 million resulting from violations in the Clean Water Act. The track must also allocate more than $3 million to prevent future violations of polluted water runoff. Because over five hundred horses are stabled at the facility for at least forty-five days of the year, Suffolk Downs was classified as a large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), according to EPA standards.
- Notable Stakes
|Massachusetts Handicap||3+||9 furlongs||$500,000|
|James B. Moseley Sprint Handicap||3+||6 furlongs||$100,000|
- Other Stakes
|Drumtop Stakes||Fillies and Mares, 3+||6 furlongs||$50,000|
|Robert M. O’Malley Memorial||3+||5 furlongs||$50,000|
|Isadorable Stakes||F and M, 3+||6 furlongs||N/A|
|Rudy Baez||3+||6 furlongs||N/A|
|Rise Jim||3+||6 furlongs||N/A|
|Mom’s Command||F and M, 3+||5 furlongs||N/A|
|My Fair Lady Stakes||F and M, 3+||1 and 1/16 of a mile||N/A|
|Old Ironsides Stakes||3+||1 and 1/16 of a mile||N/A|
|Waquoit Stakes||3+||1 and 1/16 of a mile||N/A|
|Last Dance Stakes||F and M, 3+||1 mile and 70 yards||N/A|
|First Episode Stakes||F and M, 3+||1 mile and 70 yards||N/A|
- Eastern Racing Association: 1935-June 20, 1968
- Realty Equities, Inc.: June 20, 1968-February 17, 1971
- Ogden Suffolk Downs, Inc. February 17, 1971-June 26, 1986
- Belle Isle Limited Partnership (Led by Buddy LeRoux and Al Curran): June 26, 1986-September 1, 1996
- leased to Sterling Suffolk Race Course Inc. (Led by James B. Moseley and John L. Hall) April 6, 1991-September 1, 1996
- Sterling Suffolk Race Course Inc. (Led by James B. Moseley, John L. Hall, and Joseph O'Donnell) September 1, 1996-April 3, 2007
- Coastal Development LLC: April 3, 2007–Present
- Bayard Tuckerman, Jr.: 1935
- Charles F. Adams: 1935 - December 16, 1937
- James H. Connors: December 16, 1937–1939
- Charles F. Adams: 1939 - February 20, 1944
- Gordon B. Hanlon: February 20, 1944–1945
- Allan J. Wilson: 1945-1946
- John C. Pappas: 1946-1965
- David Haber: 1965-June 20, 1968
- Bill Veeck: June 20, 1968-February 17, 1971
- Joseph E. Cresci: 1971-1974
- William F. Connell: 1974-1985
- John MacAniff: 1985-June 26, 1986
- Al Curran: June 26, 1986-April 6, 1991
- John L. Hall: April 6, 1991–present
- Moskowitz, Eric (2007-08-18). "Delp's Bandmates, Friends Unite in Tribute and in Sadness". The Boston Globe.
- Ownership at Suffolk Downs; Ogden Corporation to Keep Veeck at Financially Ailing Track
- Buddy LeRoux, 77, Boston Sports Fixture, Is Dead
- "Horse Tracks as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations?". The National Law Review. Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-10-01.