JC / Railbird

Last Saturday

It’s official, the last day of live racing at Suffolk Downs — “very likely … the final racing day of the 79-year-old track’s history” — will be Saturday, October 4, instead of Monday, September 29. Come, say goodbye. (You probably won’t get another chance, Shirley Leung.) It’s very likely, and probably, the last day ever, even though the Suffolk horsemen, through the New England HBPA, have raised the prospect of leasing the track and running next year. Let’s call that a longshot, but an interesting one — and obviously, a reaction to the specter of the defunct Brockton Fair track being awarded Thoroughbred dates.

Unsurprisingly, Penn National has ruled out Plainridge as a possible site for a Thoroughbred meet, reports State House News Service (sub. only):

“Our focus is on harness racing, and we are looking forward to a successful season,” Eric Schippers, senior vice president for public affairs at Penn National, said in a statement to the News Service. “Thoroughbred racing would require a one mile track and due to site constraints and wetlands issues, we would not be able to construct one at Plainridge.”

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds its first open meeting since granting the Boston-area casino license to Wynn last Tuesday on Thursday: Horse racing is item #4 on the agenda (PDF). Expect a crowd.

Fond of Sarah and jockey James Vail head toward the Suffolk Downs winner's circle

Fond of Sarah draws away to a 7 1/2 length win
Top: Fond of Sarah and James Vail head towards the Suffolk Downs winner’s circle. Bottom: Fond of Sarah draws away from the field.

In the seventh at Suffolk Downs last Saturday, Yasou Stable homebred Fond of Sarah made an impressive debut, winning the 5 1/2 furlong maiden special for 2-year-olds by 7 1/2 lengths in 1:05.45 time — and that was after jockey James Vail wrapped her up in the final sixteenth. Blood-Horse has the replay.