Suffolk Suspends Stakes; No 2005 MassCap

Edited press release

Suffolk Downs has suspended its open stakes program, including the Massachusetts Handicap (gr. II) and the James B. Moseley Breeders' Cup Handicap, in order to preserve overnight purses for the 117-day meet that begins April 30.

It marks the second time in this decade the MassCap has been put on the shelf. Purse considerations led Suffolk Downs to do so in 2003.

"Based on the impact the harsh winter had on simulcast wagering and our current projections, we feel it's more prudent to maintain a healthy purse level for our daily schedule than to run these major races this season," Suffolk Downs chief operating officer Bob O'Malley said in a release. "Our attitude this year is to do everything we can to ensure that we will be able to race next year, when we would anticipate restoring the stakes program, including the MassCap.

"An important goal for this year is to pursue legislation that will allow us to enhance purses and improve our ability to compete with other racing jurisdictions."

In addition to the $500,000 MassCap and the $200,000 Moseley, their were 10 overnight stakes scheduled to be run. The eight-race Massachusetts-bred stakes program isn't affected by the decision.

Suffolk Downs opened for training April 4 with more than 230 horses on the grounds.

"We're expecting all of the major outfits from last year to be back, plus a couple of new ones," Suffolk Downs director of racing Jim Pambianchi said. "Trainers Ron Dandy, John Rigattieri, and Ray Stifano will all be back. Bob Klesaris plans on having a string of 15 or so as well."

Racing will be held Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays through Nov. 19.