EAST BOSTON — Suffolk Downs hosted the final of four scheduled live racing and food truck festival weekends this year with jockey Hector Diaz, Jr. riding three winners during the 11-race card Sunday.
In addition, Ruben Silvera swept the $5,000 Jockey Challenge.
Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle said there are hopes Suffolk will hold live racing next season too.
“We are very happy about the way these festival weekends have turned out and the support they have gotten from the local horsemen and horsewomen,” said Tuttle. “As part of our ongoing partnership with the New England HBPA and the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association, we plan to file a request for dates in 2019 with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission by the end of the month.”
Diaz kicked off his triple in the second race with a win aboard Stormy Change ($3.80) for trainer Gregory Sacco. He piloted King of New York ($10.40) to victory in the seventh race for trainer David Donk and took the featured ninth race with Diamond Play ($6.00) for Kelly Breen.
Suffolk also concluded the fourth $5,000 Jockey Challenge of the year in which the riders compete for points over the course of the weekend. Jockey Ruben Silvera took home the top prize of $2,000 and led the standings with 41 points. Erik Barbaran finished second with 40 points for a prize of $1,500 while Jose Baez and Pedro Monterrey, Jr. tied for third with 36 points each and each received $750.
The live racing season consisted of eight days spread out over four weekends, featuring over $4 million in purses and awards including stakes races for Massachusetts-bred horses. The track remains open year-round for simulcasting and intends to request live racing dates for 2019 from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
At Saturday’s session, a crowd of 7,239 was on hand for the 11-race card.
Heart to Heart, a four-year-old gelded son of Giant’s Causeway, was making his first start since being claimed out of a runner-up effort at Suffolk Downs in August by trainer Rafael Ramos and owner D and D Stable. The bay gelding broke alertly, contested the pace and drew off to win by 2½ lengths to take the featured turf race under jockey Wilkin Ortiz.
Heart to Heart returned $33.40, 15.80 and 7.60. Tricked Up closed for second and paid $3.80 and 3.00 while Zefiro returned $5.20.
Also on the card, veteran turf mare Kaiser’s D’Light lit up the tote board in the sixth race to earn the 14th victory of her career and ninth win at Suffolk Downs. Trained by M.C. Reardon for owner Lee Loebelenz, the 10-year-old daughter of The Kaiser launched a bold rally under jockey Tammi Piermarini to score the win.
Kaiser’s D’Light paid $44.40, 13.60 and 8.60. The Two Nancy’s paid $6.60 and 4.40 while I’m So Munny returned $8.80.
Suffolk Downs also kicked off the fourth $5,000 Jockey Challenge in which the riders compete for points over the course of the weekend. Going into Sunday’s card, fan favorite jockey Tammi Piermarini tops the standings with 27 points. Jose Baez is currently second with 22 points while Erik Barbaran and Pedro Monterrey, Jr. are tied in third with 17 points each.