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Suffolk Downs officials detail shut-down plans

Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer at the Suffolk Downs racetrack, told reporters today that live horse racing will stop on Sept. 29 and simulcasting will stop sometime in December, when the track will close down for good.

Tuttle said he had a meeting with both full-time and part-time staff today and delivered the bad news.

"It was a very difficult meeting. As you can imagine a lot of people have worked here a lot of years," he said.

Tuttle's comments came a day after the state gambling commission approved a $1.6 billion resort casino proposed by Wynn Resorts in Everett. The commission decided against a casino proposed by Mohegan Sun at Suffolk Downs in Revere that would have kept racing alive.


In the wake of the denial, Suffolk Downs management immediately signaled that the track would close.

Tuttle said that in the meeting with employees some did not quite understand the commission's decision and "the very, very negative impact that it has on them, so it's a tough couple of days around here, but we're certainly doing our best to work with the employees."

Tuttle said the racing operation had not been profitable since about 2006.

"The ownership has been very generous, very patient, investing money and losing money, over $50 million to date, probably closer to $60 million, to keep the racetrack running and to keep these jobs here, with the potential promise of expanded gaming on the property. With that gone, it's just impossible for racing here to continue," he said.

He said that the property remained valuable, with over 150 acres on a major regional highways and access to two MBTA stations.

"So there's clearly development potential. That development potential may help our ownership and it may help us, but that development potential is cold comfort to the people who work here," he said.


Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.