For over 75 years, Suffolk Downs has been a place where people from all walks of life are welcome. Millions of fans have walked through the turnstiles and thousands of hard-working men and women have earned their living at the track as employees. In a city steeped in history, Suffolk Downs maintains a significant spot in Boston's rich heritage.
When the Commonwealth of Massachusetts created the State Racing Commission in 1934 and legalized pari-mutuel wagering, the Eastern Racing Association wasted no time in constructing the state's first Thoroughbred racetrack, which it named Suffolk Downs. Among the directors of the Eastern Racing Association was Charles F. Adams, founder and president of the Boston Bruins.
The group secured roughly 200 acres of mud flats in East Boston and Revere and contracted A.G. Tomasello & Son to transform the property into one of the finest racing facilities in the country. Leading the project was Joseph A. Tomasello, who employed over 3,000 laborers, including 900 carpenters, 200 electricians and plumbers and 100 plasterers. They were assisted by 638 trucks, 36 bulldozers and 24 power shovels.
The project was completed in an amazing 62 days, at the cost of approximately $2 million. The nation's first concrete grandstand seated 16,000, making it the biggest grandstand in the country as well. The clubhouse accommodated 5,000, reported to be the largest in the world. The grandstand and clubhouse were separated by an area that included a path from the paddock to the track.
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