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Monday, September 15, 2008

Beantown Bound

- The Head Chef and I are leaving early Friday morning for Boston, and we'll attend MassCap day at Suffolk Downs on Saturday. We've scored an invite for the official MassCap cocktail party the evening before. Proper attire is kindly requested, so it appears as if I'll have to bring some real clothes to wear on this trip. The party would be fun to liveblog I'm sure, but I'd feel stupid walking around with a laptop, so I'll have to restrict that to race day. The Head Chef is extremely excited, already plotting out dining possibilities and obsessing over transportation issues. Is it really that hard to get around the city in an automobile?

I haven't been to Beantown since September of 1978, when I attended the Yankees-Red Sox series that came to be known as the "Boston Massacre." I suppose those games will always bring back unpleasant memories for Red Sox fans no matter how many World Series they may win. I also vaguely recall spending a night at the old Foxboro harness track....but just vaguely. And not just because it was 30 years ago.

So, we'll spend some time here this week on MassCap news. Nick Zito is expected to start Commentator, who will hopefully make his first appearance since his dominant Whitney win. Suffolk's VP of racing Sam Elliot describes that as 'good news and bad news,' as horsemen don't seem particularly interested in facing him. The seven-year old gelding has been assigned "high weight" (yuk yuk) of 122 pounds. Other horses that are nominated and/or I've seen mentioned as possibilities are, from the Asmussen barn, Student Council, Pyro, Magna Graduate, and Zanjero (According to Elliott, Asmussen promised that at least one runner from his stable will run in Boston), as well as last year's third place finisher Dr. Pleasure, Fairbanks, AP Arrow, Sweetnorthernsaint, Angliana, Grasshopper, and Evening Attire (and you know I'd be real hepped up about him).

This will be the second year of the MassCap revival under track owner Richard Fields, who has devoted a portion of his personal fortunes towards the race's $500,000 purse. Whereas the MassCap was promoted heavily in the Boston area last year, this year's marketing will include a more national focus as well.

The national pitch is important, among other things, in that it will generate interest in betting on the race at simulcasting centers in cities across the country, said Chip Tuttle, Suffolk’s chief operating officer. Ads are being taken out in a number of industry publications read by racing fans.

“It’s important to us that . . . fans in California and New York and Chicago, that they watch and wager on the race,” Tuttle said. [Boston Herald]
The MassCap is a Win And You're In race; and there will be three other stakes races on the card. More on the races as the week progresses.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm envious! Last year's MassCap was a terrific day. I would so much rather be in Boston this weekend watching Commentator than talking marketing in Vegas.

Anonymous said...

I remember those Yankees - Sox games in the 70's

Many of fights.It's a lot nicer now.

Alan,It looks like you'll be sitting with swells on the third floor.

When you enter the clubhouse(first floor)go strait through and take a left.
Sit down in those green seats and try watching the simulcast races.

Let me know how many people are standing in your way(blocking the T.V's).Plus there is some pretty bad B.O coming from here.

I only mention this because It's really the only place you can watch the races from.

2nd floor is hot in the summer (no A.C)and in the winter the heat is pretty low.

Third floor is not open to the public except for special events.

If you stay in Boston don't bother with a car.It's a walking city.

I'm sure you'll end up in the North End for dinner.

Also,try Inman Square in the peoples republic.

Good luck.


Anonymous said...

There's BO all over Suffolk, although at least you get a few decent folks on Masscap day.

If dining at the North End, don't under any circumstances drive. Take the T directly from Suffolk to Aquarium and walk over.

Alan Mann said...

>>I remember those Yankees - Sox games in the 70's

Many of fights.It's a lot nicer now.>>

Actually, one of things that I remember about that series - and we were at the third and 4th games - was how good natured the Red Sox fans were. We were greeted warmly for the most part, and there was a real "it's just a game" type attitude. Or, at least where we were sitting/standing.

I also recall Game 7 of the 1982 NBA conference finals. The Celtics were going to lose, and the crowd chanted "Beat L.A!" to the Sixers. So I've always thought warmly of Boston fans (though I've admittedly never sat in the upper regions for a Rangers game there), and I'm therefore willing to forgive a little BO.

Anonymous said...

will always have a soft spot for suffolk from hanging out there during my college days in the 80s.
went back once about 5 years ago.
my wife's verdict, "this dump makes aqueduct look like keeneland"
hopefully fields has at least painted the place.
cheers, chris

Anonymous said...

I was the dishwasher in the Suffolk Downs Clubhouse DR during the '67 season while a student at B.U. I took the subway from downtown and upon arrival was greeted by at least two floating crap games en route from the subway station into the seedy plant. Ah, yes, it reinforced my choice of a summer time career where I would be exposed to such wonderful pastimes!

When each race went off, all of the kitchen and DR help would run up to the DR entrance so they could see how their bets were faring in that pre-replay era. When the waiters would bring the buckets of dirty dishes to my station, they would tell me of any tips they had received from the owners and trainers in the DR. Anyway, it was lots of fun, and a real education for the country lad. We used to go to the flats there and then harness racing in the fall.

Alan,do yourself a favor and have the Head Chef book a table at Locke-Ober Cafe on Winter Place downtown. Boston's most revered Yankee dining institution, a fine slice of Olde Bostoniana, a "proper" Reubens nude in the former Men's Bar, food, wine etc are all A-1, all making for an unforgettable evening. Anyway, have an enjoyable trip and good luck on Mass Cap Day at "Suffix", as they say in the local patois!
/s/greenmtn punter

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, never comment. Good to see you come to Boston! Suffolk has cleaned up quite a bit; I was able to bring several non-racing people to the track this year and every one of them left with positive impressions. They do seem to be *gasp* trying. If you do eat in the North End, go to Lo Conte's on Salem St...not a tourist trap, it's an approved "neighborhood" joint, and really good Italian-American food. The chicken and broccoli has crack in it, I swear.

Anonymous said...

oohh...I second Locke-Ober...JFK's Lobster Stew is to die for.