Suffolk Downs

John Botty, Well-Respected New England Trainer, Dies at 65

John T. Botty, a retired and well-respected New England trainer known for his attention to detail, patience, and knack for developing young horses, died suddenly Apr. 30 after suffering a stroke. Botty was 65 and lived in Pelham, New Hampshire. He had remained active in the sport as a bloodstock consultant after stepping away from daily work under racetrack shed rows in 2015. For the better part of three decades, Botty, together with his wife of 32 years, Kathleen, ran a successful, mid-sized racing stable based out of Suffolk Downs...

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Pat Lamberty, Former Suffolk TV Host and Centennial Farms Rep, Dies at 43

The New England racing community is mourning the loss of Patrick R. Lamberty, known for his work as a Suffolk Downs broadcast handicapper in the early 2000s, then later as the head of client management and sales for the Centennial Farms bloodstock and racing syndicate in his native Massachusetts. He was 43. Lamberty died Dec. 16, 2020, in Pompano Beach, Florida. But it was not until Feb. 2 that news of his death began circulating among friends via an online tribute archive hosted by a cremation company that provided services...

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Defunct Tracks: Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR In Sunday's TDN, we published Bill Finley's ode to shuttered racetracks, and asked others to try to beat his number of 28 at which he had attended live racing. Here are a few of the letters we received about the piece. What a wonderful and moving article from Bill Finley on defunct racetracks. I have no claim to even being close to Bill's record and certainly not to his great memories. When I was about 10 years old, I remember my folks taking us to Hialeah...

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From Maine to California, These Tracks Are Gone, But Not Forgotten

Do you remember Bowie? The Marshfield Fair? Or, how about Liberty Bell? I do. I've been to them all. Someone sent me a link the other day to a list of all the defunct racetracks in the country and it got me thinking how sad it was that I had been to so many that have disappeared into the ether. That and whether or not I hold some sort of unofficial record of having attended more former racetracks than anyone else. I have been to 28 North American tracks that...

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Put a Ring Around Jim Hannon, Iconic Voice of New England Racing

An Appreciation, by T.D. Thornton The phrase "larger than life" doesn't do justice to describing Jim Hannon, the Runyonesque race caller known for his booming bass voice, charismatic showmanship, and roaring, motorboat-like laugh that resonated through the press boxes of New England racetracks since 1953. He died on Aug. 28 from natural causes at a hospice facility in Danvers, Massachusetts, after having recently suffered a fall. At age 92, he was believed to have been the nation's oldest retired Thoroughbred announcer. An entire generation of fans has evolved since "Big...

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Suffolk is Gone but its Memories Win Going Away

by Leo Vanderpot The good news about the destruction of Suffolk Downs racetrack (b. July 1935 / d. June 2019) is the recent report that the new construction at the site--a huge business and housing development--will be done entirely with union workers. This brings some comfort to me. It suggests that for an extended period of time before gentrification sets in with its ever-oozing imprint, those acres that in some mischievous way formed a portion of my youth will retain the blue collar spirit that always made the track accessible....

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