09/29/2014 6:50PM

New England horsemen to seek 2015 Suffolk dates


The president of the New England chapter of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association said that he will submit a preliminary application to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission indicating the organization’s intent to run a live meet at Suffolk Downs next year.

The deadline to submit applications for dates is Oct. 1.

"Our organization is looking at filing a placeholder application indicating our intent to hold a race meet at Suffolk Downs in 2015," said Anthony Spadea, NEHBPA president. "The issue is extremely complicated, and we need to see if the simulcasting laws in the state can be changed to make racing economically feasible. Meanwhile, we are extremely appreciative that the ownership and management of Suffolk Downs are keeping the door open, and we are thankful that they have a passion for racing and care about the dedicated horsemen and breeders in the Massachusetts Thoroughbred industry."

Following the MGC’s decision to award the sole Boston area casino license to Wynn Resorts on Sept. 16 rather than to Suffolk Downs’s gaming partner, Mohegan Sun, track ownership said that live racing would end and the building would be shut down for simulcasting sometime in December.

After officials of Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, owners of the 79-year-old track, announced they will not apply for 2015 dates, the MGC determined at a Sept. 25 meeting that "placeholder" applications, rather than completed ones, will be allowed on Wednesday. The commission’s legal department must still determine when completed applications, and the $125,000 bond which must accompany them, would be due.

The decision to apply for dates resulted from a long meeting between officials from the track and the horsemen on the afternoon of Sept. 29.