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  Dreary Erie!     

Commodore Downs Commodore Downs located in Erie Pennsylvania ran a late spring to early autumn meet. The racing consisted of low level claimers racing distances of four and one half furlongs up to a mile. It's purse value index was a 1, a lot of 1,500 claiming races. Compare this to the new racino in Erie, whose purse value is a 45.

Commodore Downs  Pretty much doomed from the start Commodore Downs struggled with financial problems which even delayed the opening by a year. Commodore Downs ceased to exist in 1983. In 1984 it was reinvented as a harness track named Lake Shore Meadows. This experiment failed and in 1985 it too closed.

 "Three strikes and your out!". In 1986 one last attempt was made to resurrect the track. Erie Downs as it was known this time lasted to the end of the 1987 season. Unable to obtain race dates for 1988 it quietly passed into the night.

 Today a new track Presque Isle has opened about 10 miles from where Commodore Downs was. This venue is a combination Race Track, Simulcast Facility and Casino known collectively as a "Racino". Several other tracks in the country have been saved by this concept so maybe racing will finally survive in Erie.

The story goes, that it was a dreary night in Erie, when track management was trying to wine and dine one of the last bank managers to secure a loan to keep the track afloat. At some point lightning struck the clubhouse and opened a hole in the roof, dumping water on the table where the banker, his wife and track officials were sitting. It's debatable whether it was a happy ending or not, cause they got the loan, but it really didn't change the outcome.

 Presently the site of Commodore Downs is a used car lot and there is no indication a race track ever existed. Not true, I had only been there once in 1975 and was only sure that the track was just off an exit on the interstate, between it and the lake. Well I guess I was off an exit or two, but my mistake was caught. As for any indication the track existed, the infield lake is still there and the road around the industrial park, pretty much follows the outline of the original oval.