Suffolk Downs will conduct Friday twilight racing in the months of June, July and August, the track announced April 23, as it introduced its complete racing schedule and several other initiatives for the 2008 live racing season, which runs May 3 through Nov. 8.
For the month of May, live racing will be held every Wednesday and Saturday, as well as Memorial Day. Usual first post time is 12:45 p.m. Beginning June 6 and continuing through the end of August, the track will operate on a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday schedule, with first post time on Fridays set for 3:00 p.m.
“We have designed the 2008 schedule to drive more people to live racing,” said Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle. “The results from last year’s shift in schedule, which included the addition of Sunday racing, were promising and we are hopeful the public will react similarly to twilight Fridays.”
Under new ownership in 2007, average daily attendance for the live racing meet was up 22 percent, while average daily handle on track for the live meet rose 14 percent.
Suffolk Downs will open the season with a five percent increase in purses, the track’s second purse increase in as many years. In 2007, total purses paid increased 12 percent from the previous year. Purses for all categories of races have been increased for the 103-day meet.
“The purse increase and the new stakes reflect ownership’s commitment to providing the best possible local racing for our fans and horsemen,” Tuttle added.
The $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap headlines an expanded schedule of nine open stakes. The MassCap is a qualifying race in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In Classic Division.” The winner of the race will automatically qualify for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) Oct. 25. The 66th MassCap will take place Sept. 20.
The track has also re-launched its website, www.suffolkdowns.com, after it underwent a complete redesign in the off-season.