05/29/2014 4:11PM

Suffolk cancels Tuesdays in June


EAST BOSTON, Mass.- There will be no live racing on Tuesdays at Suffolk Downs in the month of June after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday approved a request by track management to scratch those dates and keep to the current three days per week schedule.

“The existing horse supply isn’t what it needs to be,” Dr. Jennifer Durenberger, the MGC’s director of racing, said in testimony to the five commissioners while adding that the dates would be subject to being rescheduled later in the season if the horse population increases.

Earlier in the meet, which began on May 3 and is scheduled to run through September 1, the track was forced to scratch the two Tuesday dates that had been on the calendar for May 20 and May 27 because of the difficulty filling cards with approximately 600 horses on the grounds.

In other action, the MGC voted unanimously to endorse the Internationalist Group of Specialists Racing Veterinarians (IGSRV) guidelines for horse welfare. Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said that Massachusetts may be the first jurisdiction in the United States to do so, and now is sending a message that the issues addressed within the guidelines are taken seriously in the state.

The guidelines, outlined in a five-page report authored by veterinarians from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom and filed April 1998, concentrate on 21 areas for humane treatment of racehorses, including good horsemanship, training methods, misuse of the whip, transport, severe or recurrent clinical conditions, racing injuries, veterinary treatment, medication, retirement, and euthanasia.