Masscap History

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.

Winners

Three-Year-Olds & Upward
One Mile and One-Eighth

Year Horse Age Jockey Weight Winning Value Time
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
1937 Seabiscuit 4 J. Pollard 130 51,780 1:49
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
1947 Stymie 6 C. McCreary 128 41,150 1:50
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
1955 Helioscope 4 S. Boulmetis 126 36,000 2:01
1956 Midafternoon 4 W. Boland 110 38,200 2:04
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
1987 Waquoit 4 C.J. McCarron 117 124,560 1:49
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)
1999 Behrens 5 J. Chavez 118 400,000 1:49.00
2000 Running Stag 6 J. Velazquez 116 400,000 1:49.45
2001 Include 4 J. Bailey 118 300,000 1:48:61
2002 Macho Uno 4 G.Stevens 117 $300,000 1:50.52
2004 Offlee Wild 4 E. Prado 111 $300,000 1:49.14
2007 Brass Hat 6 W. Martinez 116 $300,000 1:49.72
2008 Commentator 7 J. Velazquez 122 $300,000 1:48.97

*Day Court finished first in 1959 but was disqualified and placed second.
**Raced in two divisions in 1977.
***Track Record

Run at 1 1/4 Miles 1948-1969, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) 1970?1971.

Not run in: 1990-1994, 2003, 2005, 2006.

Videos

Year - Winner

Click year to view

2008 - Commentator

2007 - Brass Hat

2004 - Offlee Wild

2002 - Macho Uno

2001 - Include

2000 - Running Stag

1999 - Behrens

1998 - Skip Away

1997 - Skip Away

1996 - Cigar

1995 - Cigar

1989 - Private Terms

1988 - Lost Code

1987 - Waquoit

1986 - Skip Trial

1937 - Seabiscuit