EAST BOSTON, MA – The 2009 live racing season at Suffolk Downs will consist of 101 racing days, the track announced today as it introduced its complete racing schedule, several special events and its “Commitment to Community” program for the upcoming meet, which begins Saturday, May 2.

The “Commitment to Community” program, which commences on Opening Day, will feature a series of Saturdays celebrating individuals and organizations that make a positive difference in eight surrounding communities: East Boston, Revere, Winthrop, Chelsea, Everett, Lynn, Saugus and Salem.

The track’s marquee event, the Massachusetts Handicap, which has earned Grade III status by the American Graded Stakes Committee, is slated for the fall. Track officials are in the process of finalizing the timing of the MassCap and will announce the date in the coming weeks.

“We’ve got a strong contingent of horses here already with more arriving each day, an enhanced local outreach program and some fun special events and promotions,” said Chip Tuttle, Suffolk Downs’ Chief Operating Officer. “We’re looking forward to the 2009 race meet at this historic facility.”

For the month of May, live racing will be held every Wednesday and Saturday, as well as Memorial Day (May 25) and Sunday, May 31, the date of the 20th annual Hot Dog Safari. Usual first post time is 12:45 p.m. Post time on Opening Day and subsequent Triple Crown race days is 1:15 p.m.

As of June 3, the track will conduct a Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Saturday racing schedule until the conclusion of the meet on Saturday, November 7. First post time will be 12:45 p.m. daily.

Suffolk Downs will now be offering a 10-cent superfecta wager on all of its races. The track added this exotic wager to its daily menu on a limited basis in 2007 and continued it last year.

On each “Commitment to Community” day, the designated city or town will be celebrated in a variety of ways, including “Community Winner’s Circle” presentations which honor individuals and groups who have dedicated themselves to worthy causes in the local community, honor guard presentations, national anthem performances and other unique opportunities.

The “Community Winner’s Circle” was established last year by Suffolk Downs in 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.

Suffolk Downs has been a trusted community partner since first opening its gates in 1935, playing an active role in both the local community and the Thoroughbred racing community through numerous charities, service organizations and youth programs.

Parking and admission will be free for residents of the designated community on their day (with photo ID) and the outdoor tent area will be reserved for them. Family entertainment, including face painters, balloon artists and more, will be provided at the tent, which is located next to the track’s outdoor picnic and play area.

The schedule of days for the designated cities and towns is as follows:

June 13 Everett
June 20 Chelsea
July 11 Salem
July 18 Lynn
July 25 Winthrop
August 1 Revere
August 8 Saugus
August 15 East Boston

Suffolk Downs will once again host two major fundraising events this year: the 20th Annual Hot Dog Safari, which benefits the Joey Fund and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism. The Hot Dog Safari will take place in conjunction with live racing on Sunday, May 31, while walkers will take to the track on an off day from racing, Sunday, October 18, for the third consecutive year.

The track will also host a pair of events with the popular Phantom Gourmet franchise. The three-day BBQ Beach Party, featuring barbecue teams from around the world, will take place Friday through Sunday, June 26-28. The Beer and Food Phest, held for the first time in 2008, returns this year as an expanded two-day affair on Saturday and Sunday, October 24-25. Live racing will be featured on Saturday during both events.

The track will celebrate July 4th by offering patrons a free golf umbrella with paid admission.