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Old 08-01-2021, 11:49 AM   #31
Mick
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My favorite track that died was Sportsman's Park. It had sharp turns and a shorter stretch than Hawthorne or Arlington Park, so it made a more interesting and profitable betting situation for a handicapper and gave horses who liked those conditions some opportunity to make money. They always ran in spring, so it was nice to look forward to good weather and horse racing after two months of ice, cold and no horses.

Balmoral, Washington Park, Beulah and Hialeah are all tracks I went to that are no longer around but Sportsman's was different and special.
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Old 08-01-2021, 11:50 AM   #32
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Tropical
Hialeah
Calder
Old Gulfstream
Bowie
Rockingham
Greenwood (Canada)
Muskegon
Old Arlington
New Arlington (soon to be)
Balmoral
Maywood
Old Hawthorne
Sportsmans
Aksarben
Thunderbird Downs (Las Vegas)
Washington Park


I actually liked Tropical best. Got a chance to talk to Mr. McKnight at the winners circle when he won a race with a half to Dr. Fager named Highbinder.
Both old and new Hawthornes were and are dumps. You may not have liked Marje Everett,
but she knew how to run a racetrack.

Last edited by Hedevar; 08-01-2021 at 11:55 AM. Reason: an addition
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Old 08-01-2021, 11:52 AM   #33
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Green mountain was pretty cool. When I went there one night with my cousin following a losing day at Saratoga they were running the dogs then, it was probably late 80s. I never suspected it would be closing down shortly after and I was looking forward to going back someday. I remember it now and then and think that was a cool little track that I'd like to take my kids to sometime, but it's abandoned today. Hard to believe how fast life passes us by.
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Old 08-01-2021, 12:53 PM   #34
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Belair
Havre de grace
Marlboro
Cumberland
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Old 08-01-2021, 01:08 PM   #35
Inner Dirt
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How many thoroughbred days a year did they typically have at Blue Ribbon Downs? I seem to only recall seeing BRD horses in quarter horse races at Los Al. If it was a lower end track I bet on many a low end thoroughbred claiming race as I hit the LA County fair meet a half dozen times a year, and always bet the whole California Fair circuit when OTBs and simulcasting opened up in the mid 80's in SoCal.



The only defunct dog track I have been to is Phoenix Greyhound Park. Even though I placed my first horse race bet 46 years ago I have only bet at 9 horse tracks and 3 dog tracks. Probably an aversion to airplane rides has contributed to that, they make me feel like a sardine in a can. I have been in the area of 5 other tracks but it was on non racing days.
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Old 08-01-2021, 02:32 PM   #36
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Bay Meadows and "Do Dah" Longacres are the ones I really miss, particularly the latter....NO race track I ever visited, and it is now around 70 now, was as much fun as a Saturday card in Renton. The CROWD was as much a part of the race as the horses. The track in Auburn today is functional but does not have a bit of what Longares give you

In the short Bay Meadows fair meeting, where there were NO seasonal boxes, I would go to their office (just up the street from Redwood City where I lived) and bought box E9 for the two Saturdays. It was right at the point where the angled grandstand met the 3 foot higher clubhouse so we could watch every race without having to look over the dummies who would stand up at the stretch.

Little Sandown in Victoria BC was fun . The first day I was there it was raining (as it did almost everyday from October to December in British Columbia) and there were pots and pans all over from the kitchen catching the water from the leaking roof....Interesting place. Featured a big yellow ribbon around an old Oak the infield.

Always wanted to go to Playfair and Yakima Meadows but never got there before they closed permanently
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Old 08-01-2021, 02:37 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by elhelmete View Post
Suffolk
Rock
Hollywood
Fairplex
Detroit
Mass Fairs

Wiggle-runners:
Foxboro
Scarborough
Hazel Park
Hinsdale
I realized I didn't add any commentary...

Rock: first went in utero. Dad owned/drove trotters there, accordingly I thought he was as cool as Carl Yastrzemski. Never saw TBs there until years later, then it just became such a neat, bucolic day out, right up 93. I'd/we'd usually supplement a trip there with a trip to Granite State potato chips, Red Barn, Cuomo's, or a truck farm for some sweet corn.

Hollywood: the only SoCal track I consistently did "ok" on as a gambler.
Fairplex: meh. Too hot.
Detroit: skipped a couple too many classes at UofM to visit here. Was already on the decline by that time and I don't recall much.
Mass Fairs: memory is dim, as I only ever went as a kid, not an adult. I don't recall enjoying it much.

Wiggle-runners:
Foxboro: dad drove here too. hung out on the backside. Mgmt was not as liberal as Rock was about letting me join dad in the jog cart.
Scarborough: ditto. Visited a few years ago and got really nostalgic. Hit three exactas in a row with tiny pools and left quickly to find a good lobster roll.
Hazel Park: dragged many friends from UofM to enjoy a night of racing there.
Hinsdale: dad, see above.
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Old 08-01-2021, 02:43 PM   #38
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I realized I didn't add any commentary...

Rock: first went in utero. Dad owned/drove trotters there, accordingly I thought he was as cool as Carl Yastrzemski. Never saw TBs there until years later, then it just became such a neat, bucolic day out, right up 93. I'd/we'd usually supplement a trip there with a trip to Granite State potato chips, Red Barn, Cuomo's, or a truck farm for some sweet corn.

Hollywood: the only SoCal track I consistently did "ok" on as a gambler.
Fairplex: meh. Too hot.
Detroit: skipped a couple too many classes at UofM to visit here. Was already on the decline by that time and I don't recall much.
Mass Fairs: memory is dim, as I only ever went as a kid, not an adult. I don't recall enjoying it much.

Wiggle-runners:
Foxboro: dad drove here too. hung out on the backside. Mgmt was not as liberal as Rock was about letting me join dad in the jog cart.
Scarborough: ditto. Visited a few years ago and got really nostalgic. Hit three exactas in a row with tiny pools and left quickly to find a good lobster roll.
Hazel Park: dragged many friends from UofM to enjoy a night of racing there.
Hinsdale: dad, see above.

You never were tempted to follow in your father's foot steps? As someone with inside knowledge would you think it possible to drive and train as a hobby and keep a day job?
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Old 08-01-2021, 03:32 PM   #39
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Aksarben
They had this indoor auditorium/small theater w/a big screen and the lights would go down at post time. Some of the jockeys on suspension would be there; remember sitting next to RD Williams. That's where I made my first underage/illegal bets because my dad was sick of betting for me
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Old 08-01-2021, 04:12 PM   #40
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Aksarben
They had this indoor auditorium/small theater w/a big screen and the lights would go down at post time. Some of the jockeys on suspension would be there; remember sitting next to RD Williams. That's where I made my first underage/illegal bets because my dad was sick of betting for me

My step-dad did the same to me, I think he was pissed at my beginner's luck on our first trip. That was back in the day when you had to wait in different lines for WPS and Exacta bets, and the denominations were separated also.

I was only 14, but I got away with it. That was back in the day if you looked close to around being old enough no one carded you. Being close to six foot and 200 pounds with an ok mustache helped.
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Old 08-01-2021, 04:29 PM   #41
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Things I remember as a kid going to "old" Arlington in the early 60's. I'd run down to the rail just to say hello to the jockeys. Most didn't give me the time of day,but one rider,namely, Walter Blum would always return my hello with..."Hi, nice to see you out here"...and he did this 5,6 times a day as I kept running down to the rail during the post parade. Another guy, Bill Hartack,would never acknowledge my "hellos" and I usually got a cold stare. Funny the things you remember from way back.

Last edited by illinoisbred; 08-01-2021 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 08-01-2021, 04:55 PM   #42
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How many thoroughbred days a year did they typically have at Blue Ribbon Downs? I seem to only recall seeing BRD horses in quarter horse races at Los Al. If it was a lower end track I bet on many a low end thoroughbred claiming race as I hit the LA County fair meet a half dozen times a year, and always bet the whole California Fair circuit when OTBs and simulcasting opened up in the mid 80's in SoCal.



The only defunct dog track I have been to is Phoenix Greyhound Park. Even though I placed my first horse race bet 46 years ago I have only bet at 9 horse tracks and 3 dog tracks. Probably an aversion to airplane rides has contributed to that, they make me feel like a sardine in a can. I have been in the area of 5 other tracks but it was on non racing days.
I worked at Blue Ribbon for a short time in the mid 80's. They ran a lot of TB races back then.

Left one off my list

Garden State*
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:06 PM   #43
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Things I remember as a kid going to "old" Arlington in the early 60's. I'd run down to the rail just to say hello to the jockeys. Most didn't give me the time of day,but one rider,namely, Walter Blum would always return my hello with..."Hi, nice to see you out here"...and he did this 5,6 times a day as I kept running down to the rail during the post parade. Another guy, Bill Hartack,would never acknowledge my "hellos" and I usually got a cold stare. Funny the things you remember from way back.

Plenty of times I have seen jockeys/drivers acknowledge friendly greetings, only once did I see them acknowledge a negative one. At Los Alamitos in the mid 80's Driver Gerald Longo had managed to stay boxed in on the rail down the stretch when he had plenty of horse, he got out too late and lost by a neck. Myself and another guy were close to the rail as the drivers were walking back to the barn. As Longo walks by the guy yells, "Longo you are a #!^&@! useless piece of garbage". Longo walks right over to the rail and tells the guy to climb over the fence and say that to his face. The guy turned around and walked off in a state of shock. I saw Longo listed as a driver at a non betting race at a fair in this state a few years back, he was still driving into his 70's.


I have read stories about him getting into fights in the barn area. I don't think he was bluffing talking to that bettor.
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:07 PM   #44
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Anthony Fair (Greyhounds and Horses on same card!)
Apache County Fair (St. Johns, AZ)
Atlantic City
Bay Meadows
Cochise County Fair (Douglas, AZ)
Eureka Downs
Exhibition Park (Calgary, AB)
Fort Tuthill Downs (Flagstaff, AZ)
Gateway Downs (Holly, CO)
Gila County Fair (Globe, AZ)
Graham County Fair (Safford, AZ)
Greenlee County Fair (Duncan, AZ)
Great Barrington Fair
Hualapai Downs (Kingman, AZ)
Humboldt County Fair (Winnemucca, NV)
Les Bois
Lincoln (Original)
Marias County Fair (Shelby, MT)
Marshfield Fair
MetraPark (Billings MT)
Navajo County Fair (Holbrook, AZ)
Northampton
Northlands Park
Northwest Montana Fair (Kalispell, MT)
Rochester Fair (Harness)
Suffolk Downs
Western Montana Fair (Missoula, MT)
Yuma County Fair (Yuma, AZ)
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:12 PM   #45
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Things I remember as a kid going to "old" Arlington in the early 60's. I'd run down to the rail just to say hello to the jockeys. Most didn't give me the time of day,but one rider,namely, Walter Blum would always return my hello with..."Hi, nice to see you out here"...and he did this 5,6 times a day as I kept running down to the rail during the post parade. Another guy, Bill Hartack,would never acknowledge my "hellos" and I usually got a cold stare. Funny the things you remember from way back.
Didn't Blum wind up as the Chief Steward at AP? Hartack was not a friendly man.
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