The final two days, June 29 and June 30, for live thoroughbred racing a Suffolk Downs are approaching.
What was once a mudflat and was then turned into a premiere live horse-racing venue, opened July 10, 1935.
It’s hard to forget moments like when SeaBisquit won the MassCap, the most traditional race at the track, and broke the track record Aug. 7, 1937 – a 1 and 1/8 mile run in 1:49! Back in the day the track attracted overflow crowds of 62,000 people.
Or 1999 the horse drawing attention when Cigar won two MassCaps in a row under new ownership of the track, Sterling Suffolk Racecourse.
“Suffolk Downs is Massachusetts original retail bricks and mortar sport betting facility,” said Chip Tuttle, Chief Operating Officer of Sterling Suffolk Racecourse.
Tuttle reported that in 2018 $160 million in betting –$48 million on-site and $112 million through Sterling Suffolk Racecourse’s advanced-deposit wagering platforms, mobile and internet wagering.
Other landmark events held at the storied site include the invasion of the Beatles on Aug. 16, 1966, if you didn’t have a ticket you got in under the fence.
Also the famous K9 Rin Tin Tin came to Suffolk Downs to visit the horses, according to Mary Jane Trenzi, of the Revere Historical Society. So did entertainer Hop Along Cassidy and others.
Horses regularly came to Suffolk Downs from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio and Canada.
‘We actually don’t have a lot of Suffolk Downs memorabilia, but we do have programs, brochures and a few other items, said Trenzi.
A book of archived 1966 Revere Journal newspapers at the Revere Historical Society at 108 Beach St. shows that 1966 was prime time for Suffolk Downs.
A race was even named after the City of Revere according to a 1966 report. It was noted that while most of the track was in East Boston with part in Revere making it the “Suffolk Downs is the Track of Two Cities” it says in a Revere Journal editorial. On that day, John Leone’s “Big Castle” was the favorite. A new jockey from Fort Worth, Texas Dave Denny was introduced.
That year Suffolk Down also ran harness racing at the track.
Final live racing will be on June 29 and 30.
Simulcast racing will continue to be offered at the track for the direction of a lease.
Tuttle and his company will be shifting their efforts to the Berkshires where a 55-acre property with a track under agreement with intent of racing in 2020, said Tuttle.