The Latest

  • Sep 15

    A Message From Chip Tuttle to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission

    As the Commissioners continue their deliberations on the Region A gaming license, we wanted to share Chip Tuttle's letter to the Gaming Commission. The Commonwealth issues 2,135 occupational licenses for Suffolk Downs and over 800 people work at the track during the racing season. In addition to preserving these jobs, should Mohegan Sun Massachusetts earn the Region A license, within five years, jobs associated with the thoroughbred racing industry would grow from the current 1,486 to 3,631. Chip Tuttle's letter details the importance of preserving thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts, saving jobs, open space, family farms and small businesses. Click here to read more

  • Sep 3

    A Message from Chip Tuttle

    ICYMI: A few people have asked me to post this, my remarks at the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's final public hearing in Revere in August. With the Commission beginning its reports and deliberations next week and so much at stake for the people who work here, we thought now might be a good time to share. Click here to read more

  • Jul 29

    A Message from Chip Tuttle: Horses and Jobs

    One of my favorite times of the day to come to Suffolk Downs is early in the morning when the horses are training on the track, getting in their daily exercise. We train six days a week from 6-10 AM and the activity starts before the sun comes up. It is a great time to see all the preparation that goes into getting the horses ready to run. 

    The barn area is a beehive of people with a pace, a rhythm and a language all its own. Trainers directing their staffs, watching their horses. Jockeys and agents flitting from barn to barn to line up mounts for the afternoon. Grooms, hot walkers and pony people tending to the horses in their care. 

    One of our track photographers Michele Jeffrey Peltroche, captured this image at trainer Matthew Clarke's barn one morning that illustrates perfectly the people for whom racing is not just a job, but a way of life. Michele, a lifelong Revere resident, is one of those people. On her best friend Pirate, she ponies horses around the track in the morning during training. Then she helps us from 10-12:30 as a safety coordinator in the barn area. Then she grabs her camera and shoots pictures in the afternoon. 

    It's been my privilege to speak on behalf of people like Michele for the last seven years. Their jobs matter.

           

  • Jul 11

    Celebrating 79 Years With Some Good News

    Suffolk Downs turned 79 this week. It was July 10th in 1935 when Eddie Wrack won the track's first race under jockey Carl Hanford, who would later go on to train the legendary Kelso, one of the greatest racehorses of all time. It was a good birthday week with the news that our tenant, Mohegan Sun Massachusetts, reached a generous surrounding community agreement with the City of Boston.  

    The Mohegan Sun agreement, with annual payments starting at $18 million, an additional $30 million for capital projects in Eastie, job preference for East Boston residents and $45 million in local road and traffic improvements, ensures that all the measurable impacts of MSM's Revere development will be mitigated. Mohegan Sun's approach with Boston is consistent with its 11 other surrounding community agreements, more than double its Everett competitor, and indicative of a partner that shares our community values and wants to be a good neighbor.  

    That agreement should go a long way to alleviating the concerns among some Eastie residents that the new development in Revere would turn its back to the neighborhood after last November's ballot questions. We said at the time that wouldn't happen and it's good to know at least a couple of our predictions in this long process have been right.

    In addition to Mohegan Sun's agreement with the city, Suffolk Downs reached a separate agreement that ensures the continuation of the racing operation here should Mohegan Sun earn the region's gaming license. Our agreement with Boston does two things. First, it legally requires the track to keep the promise it made to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in January of this year when we pledged to continue racing for the initial 15-year period of the gaming license provided MSM wins the license and the purse funding in the expanded gaming law remain in place. Second, it calls for a comprehensive master planning process with the Boston Redevelopment Authority for the Boston-side of the property where, in addition to improvements to the track facilities, we will look at complementary non-gaming development opportunities. 

    Said another way, it was important to Mayor Marty Walsh that, if Mohegan Sun is investing $1.3 billion on the Revere side of the property, that the Boston side of the property be improved as well. We are happy to work with the Mayor and his team on a plan for that, especially one that enhances our racing operation.  

    And while we had a very good week, I should point out to the friends, supporters, horsemen and others that follow this space, we were once again attacked, unfairly, IMHO, by the Boston Globe editorial page on Wednesday, a repeat of a consistent pattern of bias by the Globe against Suffolk Downs and the people who work here. In a vexing display of pique, the Globe referred to Mayor Walsh's agreement with Mohegan Sun as an agreement with Suffolk Downs in its headline and the first few paragraphs of the editorial. They barely acknowledged the facts that Mohegan Sun is the applicant for the gaming license, not Suffolk Downs, that its project is new and different from our original proposal with Caesars, that it is entirely in the City of Revere, that Revere has rights, too, and has held two successful ballot questions in favor of gaming, and that municipal borders do, in fact, exist between Boston and Revere, all inconvenient truths for the most ardent opponents to expanded gaming on our property and the preservation of our 79-year tradition.  

    So, on behalf of our owners and all the people who work here, thanks for the birthday wishes. We'll keep working hard to ensure there are many more and we appreciate the support.

  • Jun 26

    The Case For Casinos Is As Strong As Ever

    Did anyone really expect anything different?

    At Suffolk Downs, we've been operating under the assumption for months that the gaming repeal question would be on the ballot in November. Is it a setback? Not really. Will it require additional work, time, energy, money and resources? For sure. But, along with our partners from Mohegan Sun, with the other entities that have been licensed or designated a license, and a broad coalition of labor, municipal leaders, the racing community and other supporters, we're up for it.

    All the good reasons to support resort casinos in Massachusetts -- jobs, economic development, recapturing revenue being lost to neighboring states, preserving the state's racing industry -- that inspired the Governor and the Legislature to originally push and pass the expanded gaming law in 2011 hold true today.  Support for resort casinos in Massachusetts is still strong according to the most credible recent polls, including last Friday's Boston Globe survey by SocialSphere that showed an 11-point margin (52-41%) in favor of sticking with the gaming law. That's actually very encouraging, especially when you consider that people have been hearing mostly about the sausage-making -- the Gaming Commission process, siting issues, competition among potential licensees (taking occasional jibes at each other), negotiation of surrounding community agreements and the issues around the land ownership in Everett -- and not the solid, sensible arguments for job creation, generating new revenues and keeping up with our neighboring states. 

    The supporters of the repeal effort would like you to forget that Massachusetts residents can still hop into their cars and be at gaming facilities within a short drive in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine. Estimates from gaming experts that Massachusetts residents spend approximately $1 billion a year at those facilities still hold true. Why should other states reap the benefits of this perfectly acceptable entertainment choice? They shouldn't. 

    The Legislature and Governor worked hard to create model legislation to authorize resort casinos, a law that adopts both new standards and best practices to produce the greatest regional economic development, to protect local businesses, to promote tourism and the state's hospitality sector, to ensure the municipalities most affected are able to benefit and to ensure that all potential impacts are mitigated. We know that there is still broad-based support for this and expect that support will rally to defeat the repeal question. 

    Onward. 

     

     

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