The management of Suffolk Downs, which announced last September that live racing had come to an end, intends to bring back the Thoroughbreds for three racing programs beginning in July this year.
There will be a live race meet at Suffolk Downs in 2015 and 2016 now that track ownership and the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have come to terms.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives Dec. 31 passed an amended bill that extended the simulcast rights of Suffolk Downs for 90 days to give track ownership and horsemen time to work on a plan to restore live racing.
Lou Raffetto, former Suffolk Downs vice president of racing, is teaming with the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in its efforts to structure a deal that would restore live racing at the track.
The New England horsemen who are attempting to lease the recently closed Suffolk Downs and bring back live racing next year will be represented by a new board of directors of their chapter of the HBPA.
Carl Gambardella, the all-time leading rider in New England, hadn't been back to Suffolk Downs in four years but wanted to be on hand for the last day of the meet, as it is slated to be the 79-year-old track's last.
The New England Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association submitted an application Oct. 1 to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to conduct a live meet at Suffolk Downs next year.
There may be a reprieve for live racing at Suffolk Downs even though the track's ownership group announced that they would not apply for dates in 2015.
A Suffolk Downs executive told horsemen Sept. 20 the track would listen to any viable plans formulated by the New England Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association to continue racing.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission said no dice to the state's Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry when it cast a preliminary 3-1 vote Sept. 16 in favor of awarding the sole Boston area casino license to Wynn Resorts.
Voters in Revere, Mass., overwhelmingly backed Suffolk Downs and gaming partner Mohegan Sun in their plan to develop a world-class destination resort casino on the grounds of the 79-year-old track.
Suffolk Downs Oct. 24 released details of a $40 million "racing improvement plan" tied to its bid for a destination casino license. Officials held a press conference at Indian Rock Stables, a Thoroughbred breeding farm.
Horse racing will receive a share of gaming revenue from the casinos that will be built in Massachusetts, but during an Oct. 16 forum on the industry, stakeholders asked a question: What good is the money without racetracks?
The 2013 live racing season at Suffolk Downs will begin Saturday, June 1 and continue through Nov. 2, the track announced May 21 as it introduced its initial racing schedule and other plans for the upcoming season.
Suffolk Downs will open for its 2012 live racing season June 2 and the horsemen and track management are expressing a new sense of optimism since the legalization of expanded gambling in Massachusetts last fall.
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