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Beulah ParkBeulah Park Logo

Beulah Park was a one mile dirt oval, located in Grove City, about seven miles from Columbus. It also featured a six furlong inner turf course, which probably saw little action in it's later days. The track had a glass enclosed grandstand and clubhouse, the grandstand sat 6,000, the clubhouse another 1,000. The stable area could accommodate 1,000 horse.

 After many years of decline the track that was built in 1923, and hadn't changed much, was put out of it's misery. On May 3, 2014 the final horse crossed the finish line at the Grove City oval, concluding a 91 year stand. No attendance figures were given, but it is likely there might not have been 100 people in the stands. It was a somber wake for a once proud track. 

In 1923 Beulah Park was the first thoroughbred track opened in Ohio. In 1931 pari-mutual wagering at the track. The track was owned from 1923 to 1983 by the Dienst Family. During that period a series of barn fires prompted the owners to construct concrete block barns. In 1983 a new owner took over with a new name.

Beulah ParkWatch at Beulah

In May of 1983 George Gaulding took over ownership of the track,renaming it Darby Downs. During his reign some strange things occurred, like the disappearance of two decades of racing records. Gauldings leadership lasted a mere two years as he too sold the track.

In 1985 a local developer, Charles Ruma took over running the track, his first order of business was to bring back the original name, Beulah Park. Before selling out to Penn National Gaming in 2010, Ruma made many upgrades to the facility, including an Outdoor Paddock area and administration building, that are the highlights of the track.

Beulah, was also the first track in Ohio to offer telephone wagering in 1993. This new operation eventually became an online wagering provider, that was in turn bought out by

As for the track itself, outside of the paddock area it is tired and dated with old faded pictures and wood paneling, most concessions and wagering areas are vacant. On a recent trip to the area I made a stop at The Meadows in Meadow Lands, Pennsylvania on  a Monday afternoon, the place was jammed (see full story on The Meadows site in Pennsylvania) nice to see for a change. The next day was a stop at Beulah, getting there a half hour to post I had to wonder if racing had been cancelled?

No, live racing was running, but it was sad. Watching the races from the apron I think I was the only person not holding a bridle, inside wasn't much different a few scattered bettors here and there, but not to worry, it won't matter in the future.

When Penn National Gaming took over they never intended to keep Beulah Park, they only wanted the racing license so they could transfer it to a new racino near Youngstown. Beulah Park ran it's final full season in 2013, which also included The River Downs dates while that track was being rebuilt as a racino facility. Beulah will run half it's dates in Columbus in 2014, before finishing out the year in it's new home Mahoning Valley Race Course. There was some speculation that Beulah Park had been granted to Grove City with the stipulation that it could only be used for horse racing, that appears to be false. I guess before putting Beulah Park out to pasture one cannot forget the Beulah Twins.

I don't know exactly when they came on the scene, but it probably was the late nineties, the Beulah Twins put Beulah on the map. Twins, Jenna and Katie were the darlings of the racing world. I did happen to see them once, but sadly another unhappy ending at Beulah Park. It was probably around 2008, towards the end of their careers. I expected they were in some plush clubhouse location, so I wasn't even thinking about them. Between races a light caught my eye, there they were two girls, slightly different looking sitting at an old table staring into the lights of a television camera all alone in the middle of a deserted grandstand, trying to sound excited about the next five horse race. I guess nothing is forever. 

A little trivia, the rest rooms at Beulah Park are multi functional, they also serve as the tornado shelter area. That did seem a bit scary. 

The race dates for River Downs in 2013, were run at Beulah Park.