Horse owners tap racing exec for Suffolk Downs bid
BOSTON (AP) — Local horse owners and trainers have enlisted a longtime racing executive to help coordinate their effort to keep thoroughbred races going at Suffolk Downs, the region’s lone remaining track.
The New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association said Tuesday that Louis Raffetto will serve as its lead consultant. Raffetto and association leaders attended a public hearing in Boston on Tuesday on their proposal.
Raffetto oversaw racing operations at Suffolk Downs before taking a similar post with the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates races at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and Laurel Park in Laurel. He also has served as executive director of the Thoroughbred Owners of California and is currently president of YUP Racing, a Chinese-language horse racing betting website based in California.
Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC, the Boston track’s current owners, is not seeking to operate live races in 2015 after gambling regulators rejected Mohegan Sun’s $1.1 billion casino project for the long-struggling track.
Horsemen’s association executive director Bruce Patten said the group will meet this week with Sterling Suffolk officials to discuss leasing the track from the company.
Patten said the association is hoping to finance next year’s racing operations using part of the state revenues designated to the industry as part of the state’s 2011 casino law, which could be repealed under a ballot question before voters on Nov. 4.
Those revenues include the thoroughbred horse racing industry’s share from the state licensing fees MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts and Penn National Gaming must pay, as well as its share from those facilities’ annual profits. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission must decide on the association’s racing license application by Nov. 15, under state law.