Suffolk Downs

Suffolk Downs is a thoroughbred horse racing facility in East Boston, Massachusetts with two tracks. Suffolk Downs is known for its fast racing strip and carefully groomed landscaping. Considered one of New England's premier race tracks, it features live racing in a season that typically runs from May through November.

In addition to the regular live thoroughbred races, Suffolk Downs plays host to special regional stakes events of significance, among these are the Massachusetts Handicap, the Moseley Breeders Cup Handicap, the Suffolk Downs Oaks, Old Ironsides Stakes and Bruce G. Smith Memorial.

Suffolk Downs Track Facts

• Length : One mile for the Main track; About 7 furlongs for the Turf Course
• Composition : Stone dust base, mason sand, extra silt and clay added during warmer seasons (Main); perennial rye grass (Turf)
• Width of Homestretch : 90 feet (Main); 65 to 70 feet (Turf)
• Width of Backstretch : 70 feet (Main); 65 to 70 feet (Turf)
• Banking on Turns : 4.5 degrees (Main)
• Banking on Straight-aways : 2.0 degrees (Main)
• Distance from Top of   Stretch to Finish Line : 1,030 feet (both tracks)
• Distance from Finish Line to   Clubhouse Turn : 360 feet (both tracks)
• Fences : Fontana safety rail (Main); Fixed rail and hedge (Turf)
•Chutes : 6 furlongs and 1 1/4 miles (Main)

Main Course Records

DIST HORSE AGE WGT TIME DATE
2 Furlongs Adriano's Girl 2 120 :21 4/5 Jun. 4, 1997
4 Furlongs Crimson Streak 2 120 :45 2/5 Apr. 6, 1970
4 1/2 Furlongs Lovely Gypsy 2 116 :51 4/5 May 7, 1965
- Happy Voter 2 118 :51 4/5 May 16, 1966
5 Furlongs Rene Depot 3 124 :57 2/5 Jun. 25, 1972
5 1/2 Furlongs Cocopet 2 113 1:04 3/5 Jul. 17, 1943
- Stage Trick 7 115 1:04 3/5 Jan. 14, 2001
- The Way Holme 6 123 1:04 3/5 Mar. 20, 2002
6 Furlongs Canal 5 123 1:08 1/5 May 16, 1966
One Mile Back Bay Brave 5 115 1:35 1/5 Jul. 12, 1986
One Mile & 70 Yards **Half Breed 6 115 1:40 May 23, 1964
- **Half An Hour 7 117 1:40.10 Jan. 22, 1997
1 1/16 Miles Talent Show 7 122 1:41 4/5 May 12, 1962
- Bear The Palm 3 112 1:41 4/5 Jul. 3, 1977
1 1/8 Miles Skip Away 5 130 1:47 27 May, 30 1998
1 3/16 Miles Shut Out 3 126 1:55 2/5 Jul. 4, 1942
1 1/4 Miles Helioscope 4 112 2:01 May 19, 1955
1 1/2 Miles Connie Rab 6 113 2:30 3/5 May 15, 1954
1 5/8 Miles Count Fire 4 126 2:45 2/5 Jun. 23, 1962
1 3/4 Miles Toulouse 6 126 2:58 2/5 Jun. 16, 1956
Two Miles Hutch 9 113 3:35 2/5 Aug. 1, 1950
Two Miles & 70 Yards On The Square 5 119 3:39 4/5 Apr. 16, 1973
2 1/16 Miles Bold Fencer 6 114 3:35 4/5 Apr. 18, 1983
2 1/4 Miles Fundy Bay 6 117 3:54 1/5 Dec. 9, 1973

Turf Course Records

DIST HORSE AGE WGT TIME DATE
About 5 Furlongs Bishop Ridley 7 118 :57 1/5 Jul. 19, 1987
- Concorde Cal 4 116 :57 1/5 Oct. 30, 1994
About 7 1/2 Furlongs Times Ahead 6 116 1:32 2/5 Sep. 3, 1988
About One Mile I'm A Handful 5 116 1:39 2/5 Sep. 4, 1983
- Shananie's Dancer 5 113 1:39 2/5 Jun. 10, 1995
About One Mile & 70 Yds. **Darn Special 6 113 1:42.44 May 31, 1997
- **Nasello 5 119 1:42.58 May 29, 1999
About One Mile & 1/16 **Landing Court 6 116 1:44 4/5 Oct. 26, 1994
- **Tresoriere 4 114 1:44.93 May 30, 1998
About 1 3/8 Miles *Graybrook Swan 5 110 2:20 4/5 Jul. 18, 1970
- *Chompion 5 108 2:20 4/5 Jul. 18, 1970
About 1 1/2 Miles Akbar Khan 5 120 2:30 3/5 Jun. 17, 1957
About 1 15/16 Miles Jamf 9 112 3:11 1/5 Jul. 4, 1975
About 2 Miles Jean Pierre 5 113 3:19 1/5 Jun. 28, 1969

History of Suffolk Downs

1935

  • Pari-mutuel wagering was legalized in Massachusetts.
  • On July 10, Suffolk Downs opened to a crowd of 35,000.
  • On August 10, a total of 52,726 fans attended the races, the largest officially recorded crowd at Suffolk Downs.
  • On October 16, the Massachusetts Handicap was born.

1937

  • On August 7, the legendary Seabiscuit bested a field of 12 others in the third running of the Massachusetts Handicap.

1943

  • On August 12, Suffolk Downs donated $625,000 to the National War Fund, the single largest contribution by any sports venue in support of the war effort. Six weeks later, the track donated an additional $10,885.

1948

  • The first day of the 1948 meet attracted 35,529 fans, the largest Opening Day crowd ever.

1966

  • On May 16, Canal blazed six furlongs in 1:08 1/5, setting a track record that has yet to be equaled.
  • On August 18, the Beatles played to over 25,000 fans at Suffolk Downs.

1970

  • The final harness racing meet was held at Suffolk Downs. The track had been hosting trotters and pacers since 1959.

1981

  • On the last race of the final day of the year, Great Combination, Dawn's Count and Needachant cannot be separated at the finish wire, registering the track's first and only triple dead heat.

1983

  • On December 31, Nick Petro became the winningest apprentice rider in the country with 253 tallies on the year.

1990 to 1991

  • No racing was held.

1991

  • An enormous reconstruction project transformed Suffolk Downs into a vibrant and thriving facility.

1995

  • On June 3, the Massachusetts Handicap (MassCap) returned from a six-year hiatus. The country's top horse, Cigar, made the $250,000 feature his eighth straight victory, and captured a $500,000 bonus in the process.

1996

  • On June 1, Cigar cruised home easily in the 57th MassCap to the delight of 22,169 ecstatic patrons who pounded the champ to 1-10 favoritism.

1997

  • On May 31, Suffolk Downs hosted New England's first $1 million racing day, offering a total of six stakes on the 58th MassCap card.

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