As promised, the MassCap will return in 2004. Suffolk Downs has announced the 64th running of the grade II race will be May 29 with a $500,000 purse. After racing at the Boston-area track was extended in 2003 to make up for the region's loss of racing when Rockingham Park closed, the MassCap was shelved for one year.
This year Suffolk Downs is scheduled to open for racing May 1. In previous years the track opened in January, but last October track officials indicated that their plan was to open later and race later into the year, thus giving New England horsemen a summer stop with the absence of Rockingham. Some horsemen dissented, saying that if the track remained closed through the winter, getting horsemen back into the area would be difficult, but management was not swayed.
Suffolk will offer 150 live days from May 1 through Nov. 30, including nine other added-money races. All nine of the track's scheduled stakes, besides the Masschusetts Handicap, carry $40,000 purses. That is a $5,000 increase from last year's purses. A list of restricted races for Massachusetts-bred horses will be released later.
The 2004 Suffolk Downs Stakes schedule:$40,000 Stakes Races
May 1--Miss Indy Anna F&M 3 YO & Up 6 furlongs
May 15--William Almy Jr. 3 YO & Up 6 furlongs
May 29--My Fair Lady F&M 3 YO & Up 1 mile & 70 yards (T)
June 19--Old Ironsides 3 YO & Up 1 mile & 70 yards (T)
July 3--Suffolk Downs Oaks 3 YO Fillies 1 mile & 70 yards (T)
July 17--Rudy Baez 3 YO 1 mile & 70 yards
August 14--Drumtop F&M 3YO & Up 1 1/16 Miles
September 4--Bruce G. Smith Memorial 3 YO & Up 1 1/16 miles (T)
September 6--Topsider 3 YO & Up 6 furlongs
May 29--$500,000 Massachusetts Handicap 3 YO & Up 1 1/8 miles