The Massachusetts Handicap is the signature race at Suffolk Downs. The first MassCap was held in 1935, the year that the track opened. The race gained instant credibility, as legendary jockey George Woolf rode Top Row to victory in the inaugural running, defeating seven rivals, including Hall of Famer and post-time favorite Discovery, owned by A. G. Vanderbilt.
Two years later, the immortal Seabiscuit treated an enthusiastic crowd of 40,000 to a record-setting performance under jockey Red Pollard. The following year, the stage was set for the MassCap to be the race that would feature the eagerly anticipated meeting between Seabiscuit and 1937 Triple Crown winner War Admiral, but Seabiscuit was a late scratch due to injury. Over 60,000 fans showed up in hopes of witnessing the historic showdown. War Admiral finished fourth as the odds-on favorite. The race was won by Menow.
In 1942, Whirlaway became the only Triple Crown winner ever to win the MassCap, breaking Seabiscuit's career earnings record in the process. Woolf was aboard to record the second of his two MassCap wins.
Hall of Famer Eddie Arcaro, the only jockey ever to win racing's coveted Triple Crown twice, rode a pair of MassCap winners at well, Cochise in 1950 and Polylad in 1961.
The 1987 MassCap was one for the locals, as Dorchester's Chris McCarron rode Suffolk-based Waquoit to a thrilling head-bobbing finish over Broad Brush.
The race was not held in 1990 and 1991, when the track closed for two years. After reopening in 1992, the track began making plans to revive the race. In 1995, the MassCap returned in grand fashion as Cigar extended his winning streak to eight on the way to becoming Horse of the Year. Cigar successfully defended his title in 1996, capturing the 15th of his record-tying 16 consecutive wins and garnering Horse of the Year honors for the second straight year. Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey was aboard Cigar for both of his MassCap wins.
Skip Away accepted the torch from Cigar, winning back-to-back MassCaps in 1997 and 1998 and earning the distinction of Horse of the Year in 1998. Bailey broke the record for most MassCap wins by a jockey with three with his winning ride on Skip Away in 1998. Bailey added to his record in 2001, guiding Include to victory for MassCap win number four, a mark that still stands.
After a two-year absence, the MassCap returned in 2007 under new ownership. Brass Hat emerged victorious before a crowd of 19,191, the largest at the track since the 1996 MassCap won by Cigar.
Download the complete MassCap History section (PDF, 1.4M) from our Media Guide.
Three-Year-Olds & Upward
One Mile and One-Eighth
|1935||Top Row||4||G. Woolf||116||$18,750||1:49 2/5|
|1936||Time Supply||5||R. Workman||121||23,500||1:49 4/5|
|1938||Menow||3||N. Wall||107||40,550||1:52 3/5|
|1939||Fighting Fox||4||J. Stout||113||49,250||1:52|
|1940||Eight Thirty||4||H. Richards||126||46,550||1:49|
|1941||War Relic||3||T. Atkinson||102||48,350||1:48 3/5|
|1942||Whirlaway||4||G. Woolf||130||43,850||1:48 1/5|
|1943||Market Wise||5||V. Nodarse||126||39,650||1:52|
|1944||First Fiddle||5||J. Longden||124||41,850||1:49|
|1945||First Fiddle||6||J. Longden||121||42,750||1:49 2/5|
|1946||Pavot||4||A. Kirkland||120||47,750||1:49 4/5|
|1948||Beauchef||5||R. Donoso||115||47,250||2:02 3/5|
|1949||First Nighter||4||J. Renick||104||39,200||2:04 3/5|
|1950||Cochise||4||E. Arcaro||120||21,400||2:01 4/5|
|1951||One Hitter||5||T. Atkinson||113||22,000||2:02 1/5|
|1952||To Market||4||W. Boland||110||32,600||2:01 2/5|
|1953||Royal Vale||5||J. Westrope||125||43,300||2:02 1/5|
|1954||Wise Margin||4||K. Stuart||111||43,100||2:01 3/5|
|1957||Greek Spy||4||E. Guerin||118||39,100||2:03 1/5|
|1958||Promised Land||4||P. Anderson||119||36,355||2:01 4/5|
|*1959||Air Pilot||5||J. Leonard||116||53,880||2:02 2/5|
|1960||Talent Show||5||R. Broussard||117||35,865||2:03 3/5|
|1961||Polylad||5||E. Arcaro||112||37,505||2:01 4/5|
|1962||Air Pilot||8||L. Moyers||105||37,115||2:01 2/5|
|1963||Crimson Satan||4||H. Hinojosa||124||38,545||2:01 1/5|
|1964||Smart||5||E. Nelson||115||35,880||2:03 1/5|
|1965||Smart||6||E. Nelson||117||36,205||2:01 3/5|
|1966||Fast Count||3||M. Venezia||108||53,430||2:01 1/5|
|1967||Good Knight||5||K. Korte||113||40,153||2:02 2/5|
|1968||Out Of The Way||3||J. Rotz||113||39,682||2:02 4/5|
|1969||Beau Marker||4||L. Moyers||109||36,741||2:04 3/5|
|1970||Semillant||5||J. Cruguet||113||54,730||2:37 1/5|
|1971||Chompion||6||J. Velasquez||116||54,421||2:34 2/5|
|1972||Droll Role||4||E. Maple||115||75,920||1:49 1/5|
|1973||Riva Ridge||4||R. Turcotte||125||36,432||1:48 1/5|
|1974||Billy Come Lately||4||D. McBeth||108||45,000||1:48 3/5|
|1975||Stonewalk||4||R. Turcotte||117||60,000||1:48 3/5|
|1976||Dancing Champ||4||C.J. McCarron||118||60,000||1:49 1/5|
|**1977||(1st Div) Blue Times||6||A. Cordero Jr.||113||42,930||1:49 2/5|
|**1977||(2nd Div) Swinging Hal||4||S. Pagano||110||43,410||1:49 1/5|
|1978||Big John Taylor||4||J. Vasquez||112||67,200||1:48 2/5|
|1979||Island Sultan||4||J. Ruane||110||70,140||1:48 3/5|
|1980||Ring of Light||5||F. Lovato Jr.||121||68,400||1:50 2/5|
|1981||Soldier Boy||5||R. Danjean||114||97,200||1:49 2/5|
|1982||Silver Supreme||4||E. Beitia||111||100,740||1:48 4/5|
|1983||Let Burn||4||J.C. Penney||115||98,220||1:48 4/5|
|1984||Dixieland Band||4||D.J. Murphy||115||126,300||1:52|
|***1985||Bounding Basque||5||A. Graell||110||124,560||1:47 3/5|
|1986||Skip Trial||4||J.L. Samyn||123||128,040||1:49 4/5|
|1988||Lost Code||4||C. Perret||127||154,108||1:50 1/5|
|1989||Private Terms||4||K. Desormeaux||119||180,000||1:49 2/5|
|1995||Cigar||5||J. Bailey||124||650,000||1:48 3/5|
|1996||Cigar||6||J. Bailey||130||400,000||1:49 3/5|
|1997||Skip Away||4||S. Sellers||119||500,000||1:47 4/5|
|1998||Skip Away||5||J. Bailey||130||500,000||1:47.27 (Track Record)|
|2000||Running Stag||6||J. Velazquez||116||400,000||1:49.45|
|2004||Offlee Wild||4||E. Prado||111||$300,000||1:49.14|
|2007||Brass Hat||6||W. Martinez||116||$300,000||1:49.72|
*Day Court finished first in 1959 but was disqualified and placed second.
**Raced in two divisions in 1977.
Run at 1 1/4 Miles 1948-1969, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) 1970?1971.
Not run in: 1990-1994, 2003, 2005, 2006.
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