POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

They're Off!

by David Trumbull

March 25, 2005

Live thoroughbred racing returns Saturday, April 30, to East Boston's Suffolk Downs. This year's meet, which runs through November, promises an exciting exhibition of live racing and simulcasts from tracks around the country. The racing schedule and other information is on the Suffolk Downs website

There you can read about the track's rich history, spanning seven decades, and including appearances by such equine superstars as Seabiscuit, Whirlaway and Cigar. Sadly, those glorious days are past, for now, with competition from Indian casinos and other sporting and gaming activities, horse racing is a struggling sport in much of America. And Suffolk Downs is frequently described as a fragile venue for live racing.

Help may be on the way. According to a recent story in the Boston Herald, Paul Cellucci, who earlier this month stepped down as U.S. ambassador to Canada, has taken the reins of Magna Entertainment Corp. MECís network of twelve North American horse racetracks includes the prestigious Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, and Pimlico Race Course. MEC has previously shown interest in Suffolk Downs. Boston racing fans hope that Mr. Cellucci, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, will try to direct the entertainment giant toward a deal involving the East Boston oval when he steps in on May 1.

In accepting the position of Executive Vice-President of Corporate Development, Mr. Cellucci stated, "It has been an honor to serve the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the President of the United States, but it is time for me to step away from public life. I am very excited about the prospects for MEC and working with Frank Stronach and MEC's management team to build MEC into a global entertainment company and improve stockholder value."

Cellucci is returning to the Bay State. He'll live in Hudson and maintain an office in Boston. Who knows, maybe you see him out at the track. He's known to be a casual fan of horse racing. There's little better in this life than an afternoon at the track, especially if it is a warm sunny Saturday in May. I'll be there.


David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee; he may be contacted at (617) 742-6881 or Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.