For some who’ve long been immersed in the horseracing culture, objectivity has all but vanished. As the Suffolk Downs era draws to an end, Ray Paulick offers this:
“It took the sweat and hard work of more than 4,000 workers to build Suffolk Downs. The audacious project, featuring what at the time was the world’s largest racetrack grandstand with 16,000 seats, was completed in a remarkable 62 days. It took three people – Massachusetts Gaming Commissioners Gayle Cameron, Enrique Zuniga and Bruce Stebbins – to shut it down with a simple vote.”
Mr. Paulick, to lay the blame for Suffolk’s demise at the feet of three racing commissioners is as shameful as it is plain wrong. Suffolk Downs is closing because its product – gambling on animal races – belongs in another time, the monopolistic, less sensitive 20th Century. The younger generations are rejecting your precious game; tracks like Suffolk Downs – which is to say, the majority of American racetracks – survive only through the slots welfare you speciously call a “partnership.”
So as the New England Thoroughbred people spin their tired tale of lost jobs and economic havoc, here’s hoping that region’s legislatures stay strong and let the market be what it will be. This is America: It is not within government’s charter to save obsolete industries.