03/11/2004 12:00AM

Mass 'Cap date moved back

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Suffolk Downs will shift the date of the 64th Massachusetts Handicap to Saturday, June 19, when the Grade 2, $500,000 contest returns from a one-year hiatus this upcoming season.

The 1 1/8-mile race had been scheduled for May 29 when the 2004 stakes schedule was announced last month. The new date places it one week after the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs and the Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park.

"We know we are now in competition with the Stephen Foster, but we feel we remain a viable East Coast alternative to shipping to the Midwest," said Bob O'Malley, chief operating officer of Suffolk Downs. "We hope the purse and the history of the Mass 'Cap will enable us to compete with the Brooklyn."

Suffolk will hold the $200,000 James B. Moseley Breeders' Cup Handicap at six furlongs on the same program, even though the race had been left off the previously announced stakes schedule.