04/01/2007 11:00PM

Large share of Suffolk sold to casino developer


A casino and hotel developer has acquired a large bloc of shares in the group that owns Suffolk Downs in East Boston, Mass., the racetrack announced on Monday.

The developer, Richard Fields, co-developed the Seminole Hard Rock casinos and hotels in Tampa Bay and Hollywood, Fla., and is a former associate of Donald Trump. Fields will be the largest shareholder in the racetrack, which is owned by a partnership that includes the track's general manager, John Hall, Vornado Realty Trust, and a partnership head by Joe O'Donnell, head of the Boston Culinary Group food and beverage vending company.

Fields purchased the stake in the track held by members of the family of James Moseley, the late chairman of the track. Officials declined to identify the exact size of the stake, but said that it was "significant."

Fields is also the single largest shareholder in Excelsior Racing Associates, which is bidding on the franchise held by the New York Racing Association. On Monday, it was announced that all of the members of the Steinbrenner family who were partners in Excelsior had dropped out of the partnership.

Chip Tuttle, a spokesman for Suffolk, said that no "major changes" are anticipated for Suffolk or its management team because of the purchase of the stake. The track is searching for a new chief operating officer to replace Robert O'Malley, who died earlier this year.