In a joint statement on Friday, Suffolk Downs and the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association said they have reached a licensing deal for 2015-16 that is subject to the passage of legislation that would allow funding to extend racing and simulcasting in the state.
In addition, the agreement must be approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
“We are optimistic that our horsemen will be able to race at Suffolk Downs and the local breeders may remain in business for the next two years. We are thankful for the wisdom, cooperation, and hard work of all the parties involved,” said NEHBPA president Anthony Spadea. “We still have several steps to accomplish to ensure that the Massachusetts Thoroughbred industry, which has an annual economic impact of $116.5 million, remains viable.”
The schedule for the 2015 racing season at Suffolk Downs has not yet been decided. But according to the new deal, the season may include up to 50 days of racing.
Chip Tuttle, the chief operating officer of Suffolk Downs, said the agreement is a major step forward for the track.
“While we focus on the future development of Suffolk Downs, we’re gratified that we have been able to reach an agreement with the New England HBPA on an interim solution that will keep people working as the horsemen pursue their long term plans and as we explore development options” said Tuttle.