Suffolk Downs opened in July of 1935 as an estimated 35,000 fans turned out to watch the first race.
In 1960 a single-day record handle was established as over $2.1 million was taken in on an 11 race Memorial Day card. That mark stood for over 30 years.
1990 and 1991 saw no racing at Suffolk Downs. In May of 1991 Sterling Suffolk Racecourse Ltd. Reached an $8.5 million dollar agreement with Belle Isle to leas the Suffolk Downs property and obtain 1992 racing dates from the legislature. The next seven months saw a huge reconstruction project and racing began again in 1992.
In June of 1995 the Massachusetts Handicap returned from a six year absence with Cigar winning his eighth straight overall race as he went on to an undefeated season and Horse of the Year honors. One year later Cigar won the MassCap again as a 1-10 favorite continuing his unbeaten streak. In 1997 Suffolk Downs hosted New England ‘s first $1 Million dollar racing day as they had six stakes on the 58 th MassCap card. Skip Away fought off Formal Gold to win the Cap. Skip Away repeated in 1998 as the Champion. 1999 saw Behrens outrun Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet to win the 60 th MassCap.
Retired Hall of Fame jockey and Boston native Chris McCarron is honored on opening day 2002. The MassCap took a one year break in 2003 as the Breeder’s Cup Handicap was run. 2003 also saw a bronze plaque commemorating Seabiscuits place in history at Suffolk Downs dedicated at the Clubhouse entrance. 2004 saw the MassCap return as Offlee Wild won a three way photo finish over Derby winner Funny Cide and The Lady’s Groom.