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Scenes from the last weekend of horse racing at Suffolk Downs

The storied East Boston racetrack is slated for redevelopment, and racing wrapped up there late last month.

Long shot Fifty Eight OG runs away with the eighth race under Andy Hernandez Sanchez during the last weekend of racing at Suffolk Downs.
Long shot Fifty Eight OG runs away with the eighth race under Andy Hernandez Sanchez during the last weekend of racing at Suffolk Downs. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)

The last weekend at Suffolk Downs had it all. Everyone seemed to be chasing a memory. Over two days, 21,000 fans paid homage to the East Boston oval, a holdover from the days when horse racing and baseball were the country’s most popular sports. The 84-year-old track, now slated for redevelopment, saw everything from the legendary horses Seabiscuit and Cigar to one of the final performances by the Beatles.

Jockey Ricardo Martinez was heartbroken. He was born in Boston in 1982 into a horse racing family.

“I rode my first horse here, technically,” he said. “My dad put me on a horse in the stall here on the backside. I was two months old. I drove 3,200 miles across the country just to ride here before it closed. For me this is where it all started.”

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Jockey J. D. Acosta, who usually rides in Delaware, celebrates after winning the fifth race.
Jockey J. D. Acosta, who usually rides in Delaware, celebrates after winning the fifth race. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
Rider Luis M. Quinones.
Rider Luis M. Quinones. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
The scene in the jockeys’ room between races at the East Boston track.
The scene in the jockeys’ room between races at the East Boston track. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
Norman Levine studies the track’s final program.
Norman Levine studies the track’s final program. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
Assistant starter Chase Johnson on the last Saturday of racing.
Assistant starter Chase Johnson on the last Saturday of racing. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
Atta Kid captures the ninth race with Augusto A. Marin in the irons on the last day.
Atta Kid captures the ninth race with Augusto A. Marin in the irons on the last day. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
The apron was hopping and the grandstand packed for the final day of live racing.
The apron was hopping and the grandstand packed for the final day of live racing. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
Simulcasting will continue for the time being at Suffolk Downs — a mixed blessing for some bettors.
Simulcasting will continue for the time being at Suffolk Downs — a mixed blessing for some bettors.(Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
On the last Saturday of live racing at the East Boston track, thunderstorms and rain forced the cancellation of some races.
On the last Saturday of live racing at the East Boston track, thunderstorms and rain forced the cancellation of some races. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
In the stables on Sunday, trainer John Timothy Kirby with a portrait of his grandfather John Kirby, who was a jockey at Suffolk Downs in the 1950s. Kirby’s horse is Lagrats.
In the stables on Sunday, trainer John Timothy Kirby with a portrait of his grandfather John Kirby, who was a jockey at Suffolk Downs in the 1950s. Kirby’s horse is Lagrats.(Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
Gearing up before one of the races.
Gearing up before one of the races. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
Tammi Piermarini, who grew up in Newburyport, at the track on the final day. She made her racing debut at Suffolk Downs in 1985, and went on to be the third leading female jockey in the country.
Tammi Piermarini, who grew up in Newburyport, at the track on the final day. She made her racing debut at Suffolk Downs in 1985, and went on to be the third leading female jockey in the country. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
Race fans on the final day.
Race fans on the final day.(Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
A horse parades around the paddock before one of the Saturday races.
A horse parades around the paddock before one of the Saturday races. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
Jockey Ricardo Martinez (head down) in the locker room.
Jockey Ricardo Martinez (head down) in the locker room.(Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
Jockeys in the locker room on the last weekend of live thoroughbred racing at Suffolk Downs.
Jockeys in the locker room on the last weekend of live thoroughbred racing at Suffolk Downs. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
The riders came back muddy after the track’s final races.
The riders came back muddy after the track’s final races.(Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)
The betting windows go silent.
The betting windows go silent.(Stan Grossfeld/Globe staff)

Stan Grossfeld is an associate editor of the Globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com. Get the best of the magazine’s award-winning stories and features right in your e-mail inbox every Sunday. Sign up here.