When the second of the three live programs at Suffolk Downs this year is run Oct. 3, with total purses of $552,500 up for grabs, bettors on track and at simulcast outlets across the country will have an incentive. The pari-mutuel takeout has been lowered to 15% across the board.
The takeout rate has dropped from 26% on all multiple bets, including exactas, trifectas, superfectas, daily doubles, Pick 3s, and Pick 4s. The rate for win, place, and show wagers has dropped from 19%.
"We appreciate the Massachsuetts Gaming Commission working with us on the takeout reduction," Suffolk Downs chief operating officer Chip Tuttle said. "Historically, even when we had relatively larger field size, it's not as if we've ever had a signal that was in high demand due to the purse levels. On Saturday we'll be returning 85% (of money wagered) to the bettors, and it will be interesting to see if there is a positive response."
For the first program of the three-day festival in early September, standard takeout rates were in place because the MGC didn't act on the request until a few days prior.
Twelve races, including five on the grass course, are carded for Oct. 3 and the highlight will be the newly created $75,000 Suffolk Downs Distaff Turf at 1 1/16 miles. The race attracted a talented field of 10 fillies and mares, several of which are dropping down from graded stakes competition. New York-based trainers Bill Mott, Christophe Clement, Chad Brown, and Alan Goldberg, among others, have entrants in the stakes.
Massachusetts-breds will be spotlighted in three restricted stakes, in which the purses have been raised to $75,000 each from $50,000, thanks to breeders' awards from the state's new Race Horse Development Fund. The fund is fueled by a share of revenue from the burgeoning Massachusetts casino industry.
Two steeplechase races originally planned for the day were scratched after they failed to attract sufficient interest at the time of entry.
For each of the three festival days, purses are paid back to fifth place with an $800 "runner's reward" for horses finishing from sixth to last, plus a $200 trainer's bonus for every starter. The live card will be supported by a food truck and craft beer festival that also offers complimentary family fun activities. The third and final racing day in 2015 is Oct. 31.