Sufferin': The Demise of Suffolk Downs

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On Oct. 4, Boston's Suffolk Downs racetrack will close for the season and most likely forever, thanks to the decision of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to locate a casino elsewhere.

This development has provoked Bill Littlefield to channel the vernacular of Damon Runyon, a writer he has long admired, whether or not Runyon was writing about the ponies.

It is a sunny, autumn day, as happens from time to time in New England, but I am no more pleased than I am in the rain, which also commences when it will.

The reason for this is I am such a guy as attends the races on occasion, and this particular enjoyable diversion is disappearing from the region, where Sufferin' Downs earns that name by sheltering many horses who do not run fast enough to break a pane of glass, should someone leave a pane of glass in their way, and should they run far enough to encounter it, which you can bet some of them do not, unless you desire to lose.

I am not a reader of news, unless it is news that says the host of a card game I visit from time to time is in the sneezer. This news tells me that there is no game, and furthermore that finding myself at the location where the game is on if this guy is not in the sneezer after all will be of no use to anybody who is not watching the door from across the street with no good in mind whatsoever for a guy who shows up there. So I am glad to read such news, as I do not wish to be in the wrong place at the wrong time for any reason, and especially if it involves the sneezer.

Some citizens with so many potatoes it does not occur to them at any time to multiply them at Sufferin' Downs say the race track is no place for a casino, and they are correct on this proposition, and also a blind pig sometimes finds an acorn. I always say ringing bells and other noise such as weeping men losing their homes and families is irritating no little and quite some to citizens whose noses are in the racing form. They are about the difficult business of finding a horse that will not fall down or stop to eat or otherwise occupy itself with business other than running six furlongs or maybe more, and they do not need to be told that Wayne Newton's show begins very soon indeed.

But no race track whatsoever on the landscape? I am saddened more than somewhat by this development, and not just for me and other citizens given to watching the horses run at various rates in the sunshine, or some of them, but also for the jockeys and the larger people there as well, who will have to find some other dodge, of which there are not so many.

This is what I am thinking, and I am likely thinking this on Oct. 4 as well as now, when perhaps the sun shines on the track and on the citizens there who are saying goodbye, though I am thinking it rains.


Headshot of Bill Littlefield

Bill Littlefield Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.



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