08/11/2017 11:36AM

Suffolk Downs adds two racing dates this autumn

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Suffolk Downs in East Boston, Mass., has added two dates to its racing calendar this year following an agreement between the track and a local horsemen’s group to use money from uncashed tickets to cover a portion of the expenses, according to officials in the state.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission approved the plan on Thursday and authorized the use of $800,000 from the state’s Race Horse Development Fund for purses for the two days, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Suffolk has run four dates this year and has plans to run two dates over Sept. 2-3.

Chip Tuttle, the chief operating officer of Suffolk, said on Friday that the plan came together fairly quickly after the two sides determined that they could use the money from uncashed tickets in 2015 to subsidize the meet’s operating expenses.

“It was pretty easy,” Tuttle said. “Those guys want to race, and we’re happy to have a place for them to do it.”

Suffolk ran three live race dates in 2015 and six live dates in 2016, in a festival-like setting, relying on ship-ins from other tracks or training facilities. The live dates have attracted fairly large crowds, and purses per day have averaged around $500,000.

Suffolk announced in 2014 that it planned to redevelop the racetrack property after the track was passed over for a casino license that year. The property was recently sold to a developer, and live racing is not expected to continue at the track after 2018.