By Andy Metzger
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE — The Gaming Commission on Thursday approved three days of horse racing at Suffolk Downs, the East Boston racetrack that lost out on its try for a casino license last year.
Suffolk Downs’ off-track simulcast betting business is contingent on it holding at least one horse racing day, according to legislation passed as part of a spending bill earlier this year.
The commission approved racing days on Sept. 5, Oct. 3 and Oct. 31.
Commissioners expressed hope that more racing could occur next year and Commissioner Gayle Cameron said the Stronach Group, which operates multiple racetracks, has some interest in the site.
Some from the horse industry grumbled at the move by the commission on Thursday, which included approving $1.2 million from a racehorse fund to finance the purses for the owners of horses that compete.
Bernie Bramante, of Medford, said the purses will be so high and there are so few racing days that local horses will be unable to compete.
After it lost out to Wynn Resorts for the Greater Boston casino license Suffolk Downs, which straddles the line between Revere and East Boston, Suffolk Downs announced it would hold “what is very likely the final day of racing” last Oct. 4.
Suffolk Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle said the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has interest in establishing its own facility.