According to testimony before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in Boston, a deal to bring thoroughbred horse racing back to Suffolk Downs is near. Eduardo Mendez of Sports World News, reports Chief operating officer of Sterling Suffolk Racecourse Chip Tuttle doubled down on Raffetto Jr.’s sentiments, adding: “We are close to an agreement.”
The New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents about 900 horse owners and trainers, proposed leasing the track for two years.
The racetrack was initially forced to shut down as a result of the state gaming commission’s vote to give Wynn Resorts a casino license over Mohegan Sun, damaging a Suffolk Downs’ proposal that would’ve put a resort and casino on its property. The last live racing at Suffolk Downs took place in October 2014.
John Tlumacki of the Boston Globe reported that horse owners reached a two-year deal Friday with the owners of Suffolk Downs that would return thoroughbred racing to the imperiled racetrack this summer. The agreement to lease the track to horse owners and trainers culminates almost six months of negotiations, and would give Suffolk Downs’ owners time to determine the fate of the track. However, the agreement must be approved by legislators and the state’s gambling commission.
The length of the horse racing season, if there is one in 2015, remained unclear. The agreement says the number of race days could range from one to 50. The horsemen favor a high number of race days, so their members can earn as much as possible, while the track owners want fewer because a longer season will result in a larger loss, as recent history shows the track operating at a loss.
I hope for the hundreds who lost their jobs to the horse racing industry in New England that this is ratified. If the Massachusetts Gaming Authority is to be believed they have the constituents well-fare of Mass in the fore-front of the gaming expansion, this should be a no-brainer.
That’s all for now