It was a cloudy and rainy day on Saturday Oct. 4 at Suffolk Downs for the last day of racing as the track is set to close. Over 9,000 people flocked to the 79 year old track to watch the final nine races to be held there.
The races of the day were muddy and fast, with die hard race fans and new ones here to send the track off in the best of way. Bets were made, money was made and lost but people were smiling and not sad. Many believe the track will be bought my someone new and re-open in the spring, but thats all up in the air right now with no definite sources.
From the first race, "The Eddie Wrack" to the last race, "The Seabiscuit" it was a fun filled day with many tears shed. People braved the rain to see the races. The races of the day were all names after historical events and horses that have takes place at or raced at Suffolk Downs. In between the live races, historical races and facts were being broadcast to the crowd.
With the call to post by bugler Rich Garrick, people swarmed the grounds to here that familiar sound of the gates opening at post time and the sound of the horses feet as they gallop and pound the dirt. When the jockeys exited the track they were covered in dirt. Mud covered everywhere but where their goggles had shielded their eyes, but this is what they do and love.
For some jockeys this is an end of an era. Third generation racer Janelle Campbell of Revere has known racing all her life. She and her aunt Tammi Piermarini, will be heading to a new track to race. "I am always sad at the end of a meet, always sad the last day because I hate leaving home, This is where my heart is, my family. This is my house," said Campbell. Piermarini compared the job of being a jockey to like that of being in a carnival, that they have to travel to work. "This is my job and I except it as my life," said Piermarini.
The last race of the day, "The Seabiscuit", was won by Eighth Note Stable's Bo Badger ridden by Taylor Hole. The five year old horse will be the last horse to win a race at Suffolk Downs.
Rich Garrick of the All-Star Buglers plays the call to post.
A better takes a look at the scratch board. 5
A muddy Chelsey Keiser exits the track to be weighed in.
Most Jockeys, like Pierre Tomas, were happy to race but sad to see it end here at Suffolk Downs.
3rd Generation Suffolk Downs member Janelle Campell who has know hoarse racing her whole life starting with her grandfather believes racing will return to Suffolk Down but in the meantime will be heading to Tampa to race. "I am always sad at the end of a meet, always sad the last day because I hate leaving home, This is where my heart is, my family. This is my house."
Jockey David Amiss was awarded the leading jockey award. Amiss, a finalist in 2014 for the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, spent the season engaged with veteran rider Dyn Panell in the pursuit of the leading rider title. Amiss locked up the title in the second race with a victory aboard Justforgetaboutit ($13.00) and finished the season with 62 wins from 295 starts. He has won with 21% of his mounts for earnings of $622,548. (from press release)
Chip Tuttle, the track's Chief Operating Officer was very somber on the closing day as he was interviewed by a number of reporters.
Tammi Piermarini, who raced in five of the nine last races was very sad to see racing end here in Revere. "this is my job and I except it as my life" She will be moving to somewhere where she can ride. "Its like living a life of a carnival" "Now we're finished".
As the day went on the track became muddier and muddier, but that didn't stop the horses from running and doing what they love. Here is a shot from the 7th race of the day, "The Skip Away".
It was a photo finish for the last race with #12 Indy's Illusion and #2 Bo Badger neck to neck during "The Seabiscuit"
The last winner, Taylor Hole, stands on the track for the last time before saying good by to Suffolk Downs.