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Casino License Decision Means The End For Suffolk Downs

The last thoroughbred horse racetrack in New England is closing, as a result of this week’s casino licensing decision in greater Boston.

The last horse race at Suffolk Downs is scheduled for September 29th and the 80-year old track will close for good in December.  About a thousand people will lose their jobs.  Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle said the track has not been profitable since 2006.

"Our owners have been extraordinarly generous in keeping racing going and preserving those jobs while we awaiting the outcome of this decision. It is impossible for them to continue to do that."

Suffolk Downs had partnered with Mohegan Sun on a casino project, but the Massachusetts Gaming Commission picked Wynn Resorts for the only gaming license available in eastern Massachusetts.  A statement from the commission Thursday said it would explore every available option for saving thoroughbred racing.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.