The 2013 live racing season at Suffolk Downs will begin Saturday, June 1 and continue through November 2, the track announced May 21 as it introduced its racing schedule and other plans for the upcoming season.
The 78-year-old racetrack has joined the Boston community in supporting The One Fund Boston (www.onefundboston.org) to help those most affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy.
On opening day, all patrons who make a $10 donation to The One Fund Boston will receive a specially designed "Boston Strong" t-shirt or hat and a track program, with 100% of the money collected going to The One Fund Boston. The apparel features a Suffolk Downs logo adapted in honor of the Boston Marathon, using the Boston Athletic Association's blue and yellow color scheme and adding a unicorn horn to Suffolk Downs' signature horse in tribute to the BAA's iconic image.
Suffolk Downs began its fundraising efforts with the sale of "Boston Strong" apparel on Kentucky Derby Day, May 4, and Preakness Stakes Day, May 18. In addition to the proceeds raised from sales of the apparel, Caesars Entertainment, Suffolk Downs' partner for its proposed resort casino development, has committed $50,000 to The One Fund Boston.
"We look forward to the start of a new racing season and welcoming back our loyal fans and horsemen and women who have continued to support our racing program," said Chip Tuttle, Suffolk Downs' chief operating officer, in a release. "The Suffolk Downs community of employees and horsemen, like so many others locally, wanted to show its support of the victims of the recent tragedy. We thank our friends at the BAA especially for allowing us to pay tribute to their iconic image in this way."
After opening day, racing will be conducted every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday through the first week of July, which will also include a special live card Thursday, July 4. The following week, Tuesdays will be added to create a four-day schedule (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday) through the first week of October.
The track will then return to a three-day week with Tuesdays dark through Monday, Oct. 29 and the meet will conclude Saturday, Nov. 2 to coincide with the Breeders' Cup World Championships. As it did the last two years, the track is awaiting approval of legislation to reduce the number of racing days required to offer simulcasting from 100 to 80.
The track will hold a program of eight stakes races for registered Massachusetts-breds, each with a purse of $50,000, beginning with the Rise Jim Stakes on Saturday, July 20 and concluding with the Norman Hall Stakes on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Suffolk Downs reached an agreement with the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association last summer to maintain a total of $8.5 million in purses for the meet, ensuring daily overnight purses of $106,250, the same as 2012.
"We are very excited about the upcoming meet and we appreciate all the work Suffolk Downs ownership and management has undertaken to preserve racing here," said Anthony Spadea, president of the New England HBPA, in a statement. "We remain optimistic about the future of racing at Suffolk Downs and we look forward to continuing to work together toward our common goal of sustaining the racing industry and the positive impact it has on the agricultural community in this state."