Suffolk Downs Celebrates The Derby

SuffolkDowns1.jpgBy Ryan Pfleiderer — 05/07/11
No horses, no problem…That was the mood at Suffolk Downs on Derby Day. There was not any live horse racing but there was the next best thing. The East Boston thoroughbred race track held its annual “Biggest and Best Kentucky Derby Day Party” to celebrate the 137th race at Churchill Downs.
Hundreds of people placed wagers on the first leg of the Triple Crown and watched a live simulcast of the Derby. There was also live music and lots of food and beverages.
Suffolk Downs reaps the benefits of the Kentucky Derby because it is actually one of the most profitable days for the Boston race track. Suffolk Downs is set to begin live horse racing on May 21, which is the same day as the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes. This year’s purses will be the largest ever at $103,125. That is a 30 percent increase over last year.
But that’s not the biggest news for Suffolk Downs. Last month Caesars Entertainment announced a plan to manage a $600 million dollar gaming resort right next to the race track. However, this deal will only be finalized if the Bay State authorizes expanded gambling.
Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle has said such a resort would include a 500-room hotel, casino, spa, restaurants and shops. The 800,000 square foot grandstand would be renovated while a clubhouse would be added.
If such a deal between Suffolk Downs and Caesars Entertainment were to go through, it would add 2,000 construction jobs and 2,250 permanent jobs. But negotiations are at a stand still, as both sides wait for the State’s decision about legalizing casinos.