All-too-often, it is easier to say, “No,” than to say, “Yes.”
However, the decision by the owners of Suffolk Downs to go before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) last week to request two more days of thoroughbred racing is yet another example in a string of actions by Suffolk’s ownership of saying, “Yes,” to help out various organizations.
The New England Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NEHBPA) approached the ownership of Suffolk Downs about going before the State Racing Commission to request the extra days of racing. A spokesperson for the NEHBPA said that there are eight jobs associated with every horse that will run on these days, and thus it is important to get as many race days as possible.
Chip Tuttle, Suffolk’s Chief Operating Officer, was the point person for making two more days of racing happen. Horse racing is an expensive business and every dollar is crucial in keeping the horse racing business alive. Now, thanks to opening the track for these two days, there will be an additional $1,000,000 in purse money that will go to the horse owners. The purse money comes from both a fund at the MGC of $800,000 and $200,000 from the Massachusetts Breeders Association.
Given the late timing of the request for more racing dates, it probably would have been easier for the Suffolk Downs owners to take a pass. But this has not been the type of organization that Suffolk Downs has been for more than 15 years.
Suffolk’s owners always have been there to help out local organizations. Examples that immediately come to mind are Suffolk’s contribution to the Salesian Boys & Girls Club, East Boston Little League, East Boston Girls Softball and the Columbus Day Parade Committee.
Suffolk Downs ownership might have found it easier to say, “No,” to these local requests, but they always said, “Yes.”
While Suffolk Downs itself also will be a beneficiary of the extra racing days, the biggest winners will be horse racing fans, who will get to enjoy the added racing dates, and the breeders, who are striving to keep this sport viable.
In our view, this is just one more example of Suffolk Downs’ owners doing the right thing for our community.