Pari-Mutual Horse Racing Across America!

Race Tracks of Yesterday and Today

Keeping the Memories Alive

 Some people collect coins, others stamps, I collect racetracks. I build this site to remember where I've been, what I missed and where I can still visit.

This site is not easy to find, you kinda have to stumble on to it, so if your reading this, you too might be a "racetrack collector" . There are a couple of ways to navigate the site. If you scroll down you'll find a map of the United States, click a lighter state and you will get a state menu with a link to the tracks in it and a little history about racing there. Another option is clicking the Alpha Track Listing link below.

This link has two columns, both in alphabetical order,  one for existing tracks, the other for Race Track Heaven, places that no longer exist. Obviously, you can't make the site of one of these venues just disappear, so a "True Junkie" could still view where a track once existed. You might actually find an intact track, maybe a crumbling grandstand or the faded remains of a racing oval, but more than likely you'll be staring at someone's house, a mall or factory, even an NFL Stadium or two. Below is a link to Greta Polites Photo Tour, a person who has visited a lot of the tracks from this site and a whole bunch more.

If you got some time and are interested there's another link below under Bucket List, Tour 1, It's a fictional tour of all the tracks listed on this site. If you were to attempt such a thing, you'll need a bunch of vacation days, probably a new car and of course a boatload of cash. If you like a saner and more realistic approach check out McChump Tours. McChump started in 1994 and as far as I can tell, has the most documented visits to tracks that where running, when he was there.

Listed below you will also find some features and rants that I have posted over the years, if you have any comment send me an email it's nice to known that someone finds this site.   

Lost Tracks of Canada

Interested in a little information on the defunct tracks of Canada, from the harness saturated east to the class "B" thoroughbred and quarter horse tracks in the west, click the Oh Canada link below.

Pikes Peak Meadows

Racing Returns to Oaklawn Park

Oaklawn Park, returns with it's earliest start ever, kicking off live racing on December 9 and running till May 6. Striving to be the leader in winter racing, Oaklawn will hold live racing Friday through Sunday, with Thursdays added in March. Oaklawn has a robust stakes program that features the Racing Festival of the South, which concludes with the Grade I, Arkansas Derby, a major derby prep on April 1.  Featuring some of the fullest fields in the business, racing starts at !pm central, admission is $2..


Great Free Offer!

Click here To sign up for Gerard Apadula's weekly newsletter, Handicapping/News & Notes. Expert selections and analysis of major weekend stakes races, plus breaking news from around the thoroughbred world.   

My Top 10 Lost Tracks

This will be a countdown of my top pari mutual tracks, that for one reason or another don't exist anymore. There is no doubt that horse racing doesn't have the same appeal that it did when it was the only game in town, but it would be nice if these venues had survived. Will your track make the list?

Pikes Peak Meadows

9 Ak-sar-ben

What went wrong here:  In 1992, The Knights of Aksarben donated the track to another non profit the Douglas Racing Corporation. It seems they intended to keep on racing, in 1993 they added a seven furlong chute to the track and if they meant to sell it off for the land they sure took their time about it. By 1990, gambling wasn't the demon it once was, as politicians realized that gambling meant revenue's and bordering  states legalized casinos, dog and horse racing. For the first time Aksarben was facing competition that looks like what did them in.

 As the Ak-sar-ben faithful filed out of the track on August 8, 1995 little did they realize that they would not be filling back in again. The track opened in 1919, as a non profit organization under the guidance of the Knights of Aksarben. A few years later a Coliseum was added to the site and at one point served as a teletheather and betting area for the overflow crowds that attended the races.

Pikes Peak Meadows Aksarben, was the only mile track in Nebraska, running during the late spring and early summer, it only needed an open air grandstand, which was fairly good sized. The Grandstand had seating for 11,500, another 700 in the clubhouse. There was also lots of room for horses with stalls for 1,500 runners and you could park your car in the infield. The tracks signature race The Cornhusker debuted in 1966, when Bill Hartack rode Royal gunner to victory. The Cornhusker, gained in stature and peaked as a Grade II in the eighties. The 1982 version set an attendance record when 31,000 fans turned out to watch Willie Shoemaker finish dead last on favored Brents Trans Am. In 1990 the Cornhusker was downsize to a Grade III, as the racing sun begin to set in Omaha. It was not uncommon to see million dollar handles on the weekends, on June 6, 1985 the track record was set when over three million was bet.  Not bad for a track with a purse value index of 8.

What made Aksarben a hit, was probably it's downfall, for years it was the only game in town, drawing bettors from other states, but in the nineties the landscape started to change when Iowa and Kansas legalized pari mutual racing. Ironically one of those venues Prairie Meadow, located in Des Moines is now the home of The Cornhusker. Wonder if anyone from Omaha shows up. In 1995, the racetrack shut down, the Coliseum followed in 2002 and the facility was leveled in 2005. Now, all that's left of the "jewel of the midwest" is a plaque honoring 1935 triple crown winner Omaha.

Racing has barely survived in Nebraska, in the sixties there were seven tracks in the state. Today only Fonner Park and Columbus run some sort of meet, but slots were finally legalized, so who knows, racing could see a revival and maybe a new Ak-sar-ban. Don't hold your breath!   


 

Bucket List

Nostalgia Tour

Site

2013 In Review

Tour 1

Berkshire Downs

Alpha Track Listing

2014 Updates

Tour 2

Green Mountain

Oh Canada

2015 Updates

Tour 3

Seminole Downs

Tale of Two Tracks

2016 Reality Check

Top 10 Gone

First Ladies of Racing

Las Vegas

2017 Another Year

Greta Polites Photo Tour

Archives

2018 Nickels and Dimes

Last Call

2020 Back in the Saddle

or

( select a state )

Centennial Delaware Gator Downs Garden State Park cahokia downs Aksarben Jefferson Downs Maryand Bay Meadows Sandy Downs Yavapai Downs Yellowstone Downs Woodlands Racecourse Oaklawn Park prairie meadows Running Aces Hoosier Park Birmingham Turf Club Miles Park Rhode Island Hinsdale Raceway Berkshire Downs Lewiston Detroit Race Course Nevada Horse Racing North Dakota Horse Racing map