The End of Thoroughbred Racing in New England?


Suffolk Downs, New England’s only thoroughbred facility, warned on Wednesday that the 2014 racing season would likely be the last one at the 79-year-old track unless Mohegan Sun is awarded the sole eastern Massachusetts resort casino license, according to

Suffolk Downs has promised to continue racing for at least the next 15 years if the Massachusetts Gaming Commission gives the license to Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun, which has proposed a $1.3 billion casino on land Suffolk Downs owns in Revere. But track officials have cited the difficulty of sustaining racing without income and crossover business generated by a gambling resort.  The Sun is competing with Steve Wynn for the Boston-area casino license.

The sport of horse racing has been in steep decline in Massachusetts in recent years.  Revenues have crashed to all time lows in recent years.  But the hopes of future seasons with the construction of an adjoining casino starts on May 3, the beginning of the Suffolk Downs Racing Season – same day as the running of the Kentucky Derby, allowing customers to wager on a simulcast of the famed race, Suffolk Downs announced.

The sport of horse racing has been in steep decline in Massachusetts in recent years.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has argued the casino would remain intertwined with the racetrack, which sits mostly on the Boston side of the border, and that the casino would lean heavily on Boston’s transportation network, hotels and tourist attractions, especially causing traffic problems at rush hour times.

Interestly enough, in February, the commission voted 3-2 to award its single slots parlor license to the Plainridge harness race track in Plainville, the only other Massachusetts horse racing facility. The three commissioners who backed Plainville cited the continuation of racing as a key factor in their decision.  And while this announcement has a certain “threatening” overtone, the commission’s view toward keeping horse racing in the Bay State may help tilt the tide in Suffolk Down’s favor.

That’s all for now.



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