• CROWD WATCHES AS HORSES ARE LED TO THE TRACK, SUFFOLK DOWNS, 1939. Leslie Jones Collection, BPL Print Department. 

     Horses make their way from the paddock past the clubhouse en route to the track as curious spectators line the path.

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    Crowd watches as horses are led to the track, Suffolk Downs
    • Date
    • ca. 1934/1956
    • Creator
    • Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
    • Description
    • Title from information provided by Leslie Jones or the Boston Public Library on the negative or negative sleeve. Date supplied by cataloger.
    • Rights
    • Copyright © Leslie Jones.; This work is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License.
    • Partner
    • Boston Public Library; Digital Commmonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library
    • Is Part Of
    • Leslie Jones Collection; Sports: Identified [Horse]; Print Department

  • BETTERS [SIC] LINE UP AT THE WINDOW, SUFFOLK DOWNS, ca. 1950. Leslie Jones Collection, BPL Print Department. 

    In the early years of Suffolk Downs, patrons cast specific wagers at separate windows. This photograph of the $2 show window also features the Daily Double chalkboard above, listing the morning line and the race entries for the first and second races. 

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    Bettors line up at the window, Suffolk Downs
    • Date
    • ca. 1940/1949
    • Creator
    • Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
    • Description
    • Men and women lined up at $2 show window.
    • Rights
    • Copyright © Leslie Jones.; This work is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License.
    • Partner
    • Boston Public Library; Digital Commmonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library
    • Is Part Of
    • Leslie Jones Collection; Sports: Identified; Print Department

  • A PIGEON FINISHES BEHIND GAY CHARMER AND TRIMGROUND DURING RACE AT SUFFOLK DOWNS, 1966. Boston Herald-Traveler Photo Morgue, Print Department. 

    Prior to the 1936 racing season, photo finish technology was installed at Suffolk Downs above the grandstand. While the new system helped determine finish order in tight races, it also yielded some surprising results, as seen in this whimsical photograph run in the Boston Herald on April 29, 1966.

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    A pigeon finishes behind Gay Charmer and Trimground during race at Suffolk Downs
    • Date
    • 1966-04
    • Description
    • Newspaper caption on verso reads, "Flying high, but good for only sixth place, in the second race Thursday at Suffolk Downs is stray pigeon finishing behind Gay Charmer (3) and Trimground (4)."
    • Rights
    • Under copyright.; All rights reserved.
    • Partner
    • Boston Public Library; Digital Commmonwealth
    • Is Part Of
    • Boston Herald-Traveler Photo Morgue; Sports: Horse Racing ; Print Department

  • JOCKEY R. WORKMAN ON 'TIME SUPPLY' AFTER WINNING THE 5TH RACE AT SUFFOLK DOWNS, 1936. Leslie Jones Collection, BPL Print Department.  

    Future Hall of Fame jockey Raymond Workman converses with track officials about his victory aboard horse Time Supply on July 22, 1936.

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    Jockey R. Workman on Time Supply after winning the fifth race at Suffolk Downs - see racing form
    • Date
    • 7/22/36
    • Creator
    • Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
    • Description
    • Title and date from information provided by Leslie Jones or the Boston Public Library on the negative or negative sleeve.
    • Rights
    • Copyright © Leslie Jones.; This work is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License.
    • Partner
    • Boston Public Library; Digital Commmonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library
    • Is Part Of
    • Leslie Jones Collection; Sports: Identified [Horse]; Print Department

From 1930 to 1970, horse races were among the most popular and widely attended sporting events nationwide, competing with only baseball for fans’ affections. 

Attendance boomed during the first decade of the track, topping out at a daily average of 18,388 people filling the stands in 1945. In 1946, people wagered a record average of $1,164,240 on each race day.