Horse owners seek racing license for Suffolk Downs

Sterling Suffolk intends to stop operating live races

Gate crew members watch the start of a race at Suffolk Downs in Boston, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON (AP) — Horse owners and trainers are trying to keep thoroughbred horse racing going at Suffolk Downs.

New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association filed an application for a horse racing license by Wednesday’s deadline, according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Anthony Spadea, the association’s president, says the group is trying to work out a deal with Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC, the owners of the once-grand Boston track. Sterling Suffolk intends to stop operating live races at the facility at the close of this season after losing millions of dollars over the years. The final race day is Saturday.

George Carney, owner of the simulcast betting facility Raynham Park, has also applied for an annual racing license to bring thoroughbred races back to the Brockton Fairgrounds, which last hosted races in 2001.

Below is a news release sent to 22News announcing that four applications for live horse racing in 2015 have been received by the Mass. Gaming Commission:

As of close of business on October 1, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission received the following applications to operate live horse racing in the Commonwealth in 2015:

  • Springfield Gaming and Redevelopment, LLC: An application to conduct a 105-day live harness racing meet at Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville, MA. [req. found in c.23K section 24]
  • Brockton Agricultural Society: A “placeholder” application for a one-day live Thoroughbred racing meet at the Brockton Fairgrounds. May be later amended to apply for a maximum of 15 live racing days. [req. found in c.128A section 2]
  • Middleborough Agricultural Society: A “placeholder” application for a one-day live Thoroughbred racing meet at the Brockton Fairgrounds. May be later amended to apply for a maximum of 15 live racing days. [req. found in c.128A section 2]
  • New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association: A “placeholder” application for a one-day live Thoroughbred racing meet at Suffolk Downs. May be later amended to a minimum of 65 live racing days “or such other number of… racing days as may be approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in the interest of the health and safety of the horses, riders, and drivers.” [req. found in c.311 of Acts of 2014]

Public hearings will be scheduled for late October in each of the proposed host communities, and public comments will be solicited through the MGC website. The comments received and recommendations of the Racing Division will be reported to the Commission at its public meeting scheduled for November 6th. By law, the Commission must “grant or dismiss” each application not later than November 15th.

A mechanism exists whereby successful applicants can later file amended, or supplementary, applications so long as they relate to “the same premises.” [c.128A section 2.]

Applications will be reviewed by the legal team for administrative completeness prior to being posted.

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