07/28/2014 3:47PM

Tornado touches down near Suffolk


EAST BOSTON, Mass. – A tornado ripped through the city of Revere, where the stable area of Suffolk Downs is located, on Monday morning, but no humans at the track or horses suffered any injuries and there was no damage to any structures. The afternoon card went on as scheduled.

The tornado, which was confirmed by the National Weather Service, ravaged the city, resulting in multiple building collapses, power outages, downed power lines, uprooted trees, and widespread damage. Major highways were closed following the storm, and police re-routed vehicles through Suffolk Downs.

Track announcer T.D. Thornton was among those caught up in the traffic jams. When Thornton couldn’t arrive by the first race post at 12:45 p.m., Jessica Paquette, Suffolk’s senior director of communications who also serves as the track’s handicapper and race analyst, stepped up and pinch hit in the clutch. It was the first race she had ever called.

“I just had so much fun,” she said. “I will admit I was really nervous but tried to relax and roll with it. It was a great opportunity and Worth the Worry is now a horse I will always remember.”

Shade Tree Farm’s Worth the Worry, trained by Wayne Marcoux and ridden by Luis Garcia, finished first by three-quarters of a length in the six-furlong race. The final time was 1:12.65 over a sloppy main track.

Jennifer Young More than 1 year ago
Amazing job Jess! grace under pressure!
Steven Krein More than 1 year ago
That was freakin' impressive for a first-ever call!
Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
Multi tasking. I love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great job under those circumstances Jessica!
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Jessica did a very good job, especially given she had little-to-no time to properly prepare for doing it. I remember a similar experience at Roosevelt Raceway (for those who don't know, a Harness track in Westbury, NY that closed in 1988) in December 1983 when the PA system went out and from where I sat in the grandstand, I wound up calling the first two races that night, barely over a week before Christmas.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
I remember Roosevelt vividly. I worked there as a groom for John Coughlin stable. The barn area was quite cool, they had a barber on grounds and also plenty of chickens cackling in the shed rows. I miss that track. We would go to Roosevelt when Yonkers closed for 3 months. After 3 months we went to Meadowlands the back to Yonkers. Lost of good memories of Roosevelt,
Ronald Sanchez More than 1 year ago
Jessica what a wonderful job, nice call
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
Awesome job Jessica!