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  Spiraled into the Ground !     

Phoenix Trotting ParkPhoenix Park Logo

On the evening of January 11, 1965 The Phoenix Trotting Park opened it's doors. Several prominent east coast drivers were on the card for the prestigious opener that drew 12,223 fans who bet $130,984 for the evening. It looked like things were off to a promising start, but reality would eventually set in, that harness racing was an east of the Mississippi River event. Those opening night numbers never came close to being matched. The average attendance for the remainder of the year was 2,613 the handle $43,764. The Phoenix Trotting Park would last only one more year.

Phoenix Trotting Park was built on a grand scale, employing a European Architect who built a state of the art facility in 1966. It featured a glass enclosed temperature controlled grandstand that could accommodate 15,000 fans. There was seating for 3,600 in the grandstand with an additional 1,200 seats in the clubhouse, while the dinning room sat an additional 900 patrons. The track itself was a five eights mile lighted, dirt spiral oval. I'm assuming spiral meant the track was banked, but not sure, it was said to improve a horses speed. There was parking for 5,000 cars and stalls for 1,000 horses. what could have gone wrong?

For one harness racing never seemed to catch on west of the Mississippi, Colorado tried it for a while but it didn't last. Major tracks in California like Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows had harness racing for a while, but the only place it survived was at Cal-Expo and that is tenuous at best. Another problem the Phoenix of 1966 was not the same place it is today. The Trotting Park located in Goodyear was twenty miles from Downtown Phoenix. Sure, today the Phoenix Trotting Park remains sit a few yards from I-10, but it would be twenty years from it's debut that that road would be built. In hindsight just another racetrack endeavor that never should have been attempted.