Last Monday’s six-alarm fire that tore through the Suffolk Downs Racetrack’s grandstand press box did cause some damage but Sterling Suffolk Racecource’s Chip Tuttle said the historic track should be up and running for simulcasting for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
When HYM purchased Suffolk Downs they entered into a lease agreement with Sterling Suffolk to continue simulcasting at the racetrack. HYM, who is embarking on a massive redevelopment of Suffolk Downs’s 160 acre site, broke ground on the first phase of the redevelopment on the Revere side of the track near Beachmont last month.
“We lost simulcasting for the past week due to a series of inspections, clean up of the building and restoring of power,” said Tuttle. “However, the fire was contained to the old press box and the portion of the building open to the public for simulcasting is mainly on the first and second floor of the grandstand away from where the fire occurred.”
Tuttle said Suffolk Downs was closed all last week so cres could cap the power to the area where the fire occurred but had to work to restore power to the rest of the building. There was also some water damage mitigation performed and other cleanup efforts.
“We also lost some broadcasting equipment used for simulcasting that was housed in the old press box that was destroyed in the fire,” said Tuttle. “But we got some new equipment from Scarborough Downs in Maine that arrived this week so we should be up and running in time for the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.”
As far as the myriad of outdoor summer activities HYM has planned for the racetrack’s historic racing oval and grounds, HYM’s Vice President of Marketing Jessica Feroli said last week’s fire hasn’t had an impact on HYM’s plans.
“As far as summer events at the track, everything is still scheduled as planned,” said Feroli. “We have the free fitness series this Sunday at 10am and the Hot Dog Safari Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival is on Saturday, June 25th. We are working on some other events throughout the summer like hosting a satellite sand sculpture in July during the Revere Beach festival and will be hosting Touch-a-Truck again on September 18th. We will keep the community updated on future happenings and if anything changes.”
HYM also recently got approved by the city to create an interim outdoor entertainment venue, associated infrastructure, and other related site improvements.
The entire outdoor venue will be located in a portion of the existing racetrack infield area and will consist of a grassed area with temporary stage, restrooms, and vendor booths to remain in place until late 2025.
HYM has partnered with “The Bowery Presents”, a leading East Coast promoter, to continue the long tradition of arts or music and entertainment on the site.
Over the historic span of the thoroughbred racetrack, Suffolk Downs hosted big name bands and events including The Beatles in 1966 and Cirque du Soleil.
The venue will be able to hold a maximum capacity of 8,500 attendants through mainly general admission ticket sales with VIP seating areas and run from June through October.
However, this year HYM likely will not start the outdoor concerts until August or September. The proposed timeline for the venue is late summer 2022 through 2025. There will be at least eight shows planned for the end of this summer and then 20 or more shows planned for the next three summers.