East Boston, MA — Live racing will return to Suffolk Downs with an eleven-race card in conjunction with the Belmont Stakes this Saturday and Sunday as the track hosts the second of three scheduled live racing and food truck festival weekends for the final season of horse racing at the historic property.
The eleven race card features robust field sizes with over 120 horses entered for the day and an average of 11 horses per race. The entries include familiar local horsemen and jockeys including Jay Bernardini, Michael Gorham and Tammi Piermarini who will ship in to compete for $500,000 per day in purses and participation incentives.
The featured race is a $55,000 allowance/optional claiming race that is scheduled to be run at about one mile on the turf. That race has drawn an overflow field of thirteen contenders including Wicked Freud, a seven-year-old gelded son of Freud who hails from the barn of Jason Servis. Wicked Freud is coming off of a victory in the featured turf race at Suffolk Downs on May 18. In addition to the featured race, there are four other races carded on the turf for Saturday.
Over the course of the weekend, there will be four stakes races restricted to horses foaled in Massachusetts – the $50,000 First Episode Stakes and the $50 Last Dance Stakes on Saturday along with the $50,000 Louise Kimball Stakes and $50,000 Mr. Meso Stakes on Sunday. The popular Massachusetts-bred Dr. Blarney will be trying to win Last Dance Stakes for the fourth consecutive year.
The Mr. Meso Stakes, which will be run for the inaugural time, is named in honor of New England champion Mr. Meso, one of the most decorated Massachusetts-bred horses in history. Mr. Meso retired from racing in 2011 at the age of eleven with a resume that included 24 victories from 68 starts with over $467,000 in earnings. Since his retirement, he has served as the stable pony for trainers Matthew and Dylan Clarke.
Following the final live racing weekend scheduled for June 29-30, the track will remain open year-round for simulcasting. Sterling Suffolk Racecourse (SSR), the company that operates racing and simulcasting at Suffolk Downs, is currently working alongside the New England HPBA and the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association (MTBA) on plans to refurbish and return live racing to the Great Barrington Fairgrounds in Great Barrington, MA and to continue simulcasting operations in Boston.
Post time for the 11 race card is at 12:55 p.m. and gates open at 11:00 a.m. In addition to live racing, the track will be hosting a food truck festival featuring food trucks from numerous local vendors, craft beer, live music and family fun activities.
Live racing will continue on Sunday with eleven races and the track will again offer $500,000 in purses and participation incentives.
For more information, visit www.suffolkdowns.com