A food truck festival, a $100,000 stakes race, and the CANTER Showcase made this past weekend a big one for Suffolk Downs …
The crowd on the Suffolk apron, early Saturday afternoon. That mass of people stretching along the back? In line for the grilled cheese truck.
The biggest race of the year was also the best race of the year, with #2 It’s Me Mom (inside) out-bobbing favored #11 Nicole H at the wire in the six-furlong $100,000 Robert O’Malley Stakes. The final time was a swift 1:09.67 after an opening quarter in :21.17 and a half in :43.63.
It’s Me Mom, Willie Martinez up, entering the winner’s circle.
Leading rider Tammi Piermarini after finishing fourth on #9 D’Wild Ride in the Robert O’Malley Stakes.
Mr. Meso, local favorite, recently retired champion, and new racetrack pony, taking a break after the Saturday feature.
Fall colors and a beautiful sunset at Suffolk Downs on Saturday.
CANTER New England held its sixth annual Showcase on Sunday morning. Dozens of people turned out to see more than 70 horses available for sale. Here’s Krabby Patties, making a great impression with her rider.
After taking his turn through Showcase, O’Malley met a potential buyer.
Kappy charms the Showcase crowd. (He sold.)
Are you coming to Suffolk Showcase on Sunday?
Looking for a new horse? The sixth annual Suffolk Showcase is this Sunday, October 23, at Suffolk Downs. From 9:00 AM to noon, visitors will have a chance to check out dozens of great thoroughbreds ready for new careers and ask questions of trainers and owners directly. Browse the CANTER New England listings to get a sense of what’s available. It’s no exaggeration to say there’s a horse for every rider — CANTER volunteers (including me) have been busy as the Suffolk meet winds down, cataloging horses athletic and adorable. Racehorses make terrific sporthorses and companions — as the success stories Susan Salk has been publishing on Off-Track Thoroughbreds prove, there’s little these athletes can’t do when they leave the racetrack.
With fewer than 800 horses stabled on the backstretch, there are many empty stalls at Suffolk Downs these days. But I didn’t notice until yesterday morning that legendary New England trainer Carlos Figueroa’s barn is among the unused. Figueroa, who got his start as a conditioner in 1949, made his name on the defunct, colorful Massachusetts fair circuit, and once endured a possibly record-setting losing streak, hasn’t entered a horse since November 13, closing day of the 2010 meet at Suffolk, according to Equibase.
Opening day at Suffolk Downs started sunny and warm, then the fog formed by the marine layer rising from the nearby coast rolled through minutes before the seventh race, clouding the card’s last three races. Despite the turn in the weather, the meet began on a hopeful note and with a crowd of 11,372.
A crowd of 10,310 came out to enjoy Suffolk Downs’ 75th anniversary card on Saturday, wagering $259,880 on track. It was a lively scene, one that even a mid-afternoon downpour couldn’t dampen. A few photos from the day …
Big Cash gets hosed down after winning the day’s first race. The 4-year-old gelding trained by Wayne Marcoux lived up to his name, paying $42, the biggest price of the afternoon. Favorites won four of the 10 races on the card.
Tom and Richard Phelan, interviewed in the winner’s circle by Bob Neumeier after the first race. The Phelans’ parents won the first race run at Suffolk Downs with a horse named Eddie Wrack. Richard holds the silks worn that day by rider Carl Hanford, who would go on to become a Hall of Fame trainer known for such champions as the great Kelso.
Trainer John Boillard, a happy man after winning the day’s fourth race with Bullheaded, a 4-year-old son of Holy Bull ridden by Tammi Piermarini.
Retired jockey Abigail Fuller, awaiting the fourth race trophy presentation, talks with reporters and photographers trackside. The day’s fourth was named in honor of Mom’s Command, the winner of the 1985 Filly Triple Crown and Alabama Stakes. Fuller rode Mom’s Command for her father, breeder and owner Peter Fuller, in all but two of the Hall of Famer’s starts. “It’s great to be back and great to see all of my good friends,” said Fuller.
A mid-card downpour delayed the start of the sixth.
Jackie Davis weighs out after winning race six on Jerry the Mush, a 2-year-old colt trained by Charles Fontana. Davis, who rode as an apprentice in New York, is a graduate of Chris McCarron’s North American Racing Academy, as is another young Suffolk jockey, Kristina McManigell. McCarron, who got his start in racing at Suffolk Downs in 1971, presented the trophy for the day’s eighth race, named in honor of 1987 MassCap winner Waquoit.
Awakino Cat, trained by Linda Rice, in the winner’s circle after the Seabiscuit Stakes. The race was taken off the turf due to heavy rain. “It was a little bit wet but that helped me out,” said jockey Channing Hill, adding that the switch to the main track didn’t much change his strategy for the five-furlong sprint.
Channing Hill watches as Everyday Heroes is calmed. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee sprung his right front shoe shortly before the James B. Moseley Sprint Stakes starters left the paddock and strongly resisted the efforts of the farrier to re-shoe him, rearing several times and looking more and more washed out and agitated as the minutes passed. Calls of “Scratch him!” came from the crowd gathered around the fence. He wasn’t, and won the race by a game head, paying $9.20 and giving Hill a sweep of day’s stakes.