After partnering with the Mohegan Sun to bid for a casino license in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts, the Suffolk Downs hoped to get back on track with quality racing and casino gaming. However, the bid for the casino license was lost to Wynn Resorts and the owners of the Suffolk Downs decided that the track would be forced to close. Hundreds of jobs would be lost and players would be without a home to enjoy racing and casino gaming.
After announcing the closing of the facility, Suffolk Downs began to discuss deals that would put the track to good use. A deal was struck this past Friday after months of negotiations that would see the track leased to horse trainers and owners, which will then give the property time they need to determine their fate. The agreement sounds wonderful, but still needs to be approved by the gambling commission of the state as well as legislators before the deal can become a reality.
The lease will last for two years and will be done so by the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. This group represents around 900 horse owners and trainers. The terms of the new deal were not disclosed with the public.
The President of the Association, Anthony Spadea, commented that the group is optimistic that the horsemen will be able to race at the Suffolk Downs property. The horse racing season length has yet to be announced and the number of race days the agreement calls for is one to fifty. The horsemen would like a higher number of racing days so members have the opportunity to earn as much as possible, however the track owners want fewer races to take place because the track has been operating at a loss for several years, and a longer season may mean a larger loss.
With the new deal, track owners will be able to focus on the future development of the site but are happy to be working with the New England group to provide employment for the track for a short term.