Brass Hat won the Mass Cap in 2007.

Brass Hat won the Mass Cap in 2007.

Chip Bott

Suffolk Offers Big Brown, Curlin $5M

Suffolk Downs wants to entice the top two dirt horses to the MassCap.

from Suffolk Downs

Suffolk Downs has announced that the purse for this year’s Massachusetts Handicap will be $5 million if Big Brown wins the Triple Crown and both he and 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Curlin remain unbeaten in 2008, and go on to start in the MassCap against one another. The $5 million would include a $1 million participation bonus for each.

The 66th MassCap, scheduled for Sept. 20, and contested at 1 1/8 miles, currently carries a purse of $500,000 and is one of five races in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” Classic Division. The additional purse money would be funded by Coastal Development LLC, a company controlled by Richard T. Fields, the largest shareholder of Suffolk Downs.

“Big Brown and Curlin are regarded as the two best Thoroughbreds in the world, and racing fans would like nothing more than to see them go head to head,” Fields said. “If they are to square off, we feel that a $5-million purse is a great incentive, and what better place than at Suffolk Downs in the city of Boston, the sports capital of the world.”

The purse would be $3 million if Big Brown wins the Triple Crown and both he and Curlin start in the race but with one or both horses having suffered a defeat in 2008. The $3 million would include a $500,000 participation bonus for each.

Fields, who purchased his interest in Suffolk Downs in March of last year, was responsible for reviving the MassCap last September after a two-year absence. The race was won by Brass Hat.

The MassCap, first held in 1935 when the track opened, has a rich history. The list of MassCap winning horses includes Hall of Famers Seabiscuit, Whirlaway, Riva Ridge, Cigar, and Skip Away.  Jockeys George Woolf, Eddie Arcaro, Chris McCarron, and Jerry Bailey, among other Hall of Fame riders, have all piloted MassCap winners.