EAST BOSTON, MA - The 2011 live racing season at Suffolk Downs, featuring significantly increased purses from a year ago, will begin Saturday, May 21st and continue through November 5th, the track announced today as it introduced its initial racing schedule and other plans for the upcoming season.

As was the case last year when the track celebrated it’s 75th anniversary, Opening Day coincides with the running of the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown. Special first post time on Opening Day is 1:15 p.m. Parking and admission will be free on Opening Day and for the duration of the live meet, the track announced.

Daily overnight purses for the meet will be $103,125, which represents a 30% increase from 2010 purse levels. After the May 21st opening, live racing will be conducted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for the remainder of the meet. The final week of the meet will include a special Friday card in conjunction with the start of the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will take place November 4th and 5th. Additional racing days will be scheduled in the summer and fall to ensure the track meets its statutory and contractual requirements. Usual first race post time is 12:45 p.m.

“As we embark on our 76th year, we’re excited about the adjustments we have made to our racing program,” said Chip Tuttle, Suffolk Downs’ Chief Operating Officer. “With increased purse levels, a later start date and a 3-day racing schedule, we feel that we can offer a better racing product with more competitive fields which will be attractive to fans and financially rewarding to our horsemen.”

An additional attraction for horseplayers will be the lowering of the base wager on the Pick Four from one dollar to 50 cents. The Pick Four is offered daily on the final four races on the card. The 50-cent Pick Four will complement the 10-cent superfecta on the exotic wagering menu. The 10-cent superfecta was introduced on a limited basis in 2007 and has been available on all races since 2009.

Suffolk Downs will host Boston’s Biggest and Best Kentucky Derby Party on Saturday, May 7th. In addition to the standard simulcast areas, fans will be able to watch the Derby and other races on a giant outdoor television screen as part of a festival featuring live music, a selection of popular barbecue food items, and a variety of beer options and specialty cocktails.

The track will continue to honor individuals and groups who have dedicated themselves to worthy causes in the local community throughout the season through its “Community Winner’s Circle” program. The program was established in 2008 as a continuation of the track’s long-standing community outreach program. Each “Community Winner’s Circle” honoree is recognized by the track in a winner’s circle ceremony and with a contribution to a cause of their choice.