Week 2

Day 5 Sunday, August 7

TopshamTopsham Fair

This is a race track tour, so I choose the track over the beach, Scarborough Downs Matinee here I come. For years, or since Sunday racing was legalized in Maine, Scarborough Downs always ran a Sunday afternoon program, even in the days of night racing here. Post time is 1:30, giving us plenty of time for a few races until we visit the last track left in Maine, The Topsham Fair.

Topsham, located near Brunswick, is about thirty miles from Scarborough, it isn't visible from the road. If you take rt. 196 off of rt. 1 look for a little sign a few miles down the road and that should be Fairgrounds Road which takes you to the track. After the track, if you haven't had a traditional Maine Lobster dinner this is your last chance, as we leave Maine, heading south in the morning. If we did all we set out to do, we have visited every track in Maine and attended live racing at three tracks, about the best you could do.


Day 5 Miles Cost Lodging
Today 100 50.00 220.00
Total 1071 535.50 790.00

Day 6 Monday, August 8

Finally after 5 days, were leaving the Pine Tree State, unfortunately a day late, but hopefully not a dollar short. I have to find another word for unfortunate because I'm using it a lot. Todays reference is to Suffolk Downs, where we are now headed, over last weekend two of the six racing days this year were held and we didn't make it. The schedule could possibly have been adjusted, but it wasn't and this wont be the last near miss of the trip. So off to Boston.

  A few things to bring up before we hit the New Hampshire border, if your a fan of dog racing you'll have a chance to stop in Seabrook, at the old dog track or make a quick stop at Hampton Beach, the summer party town of New England. Another point is that we are heading to a cultural rich area around Boston. See Bunker Hill, Old Ironsides, take in a ball game at Fenway Park, visit the Boston Aquarium, Plymouth Rock, Old Cape Cod, to mention a few. I've been there, done that, but just a heads up, if your interested, OK back to work.

SuffolkSuffolk Downs

Back on schedule, it's a little before 11 am, after an hour and a half were nearing Suffolk Downs, a short distance from there on Route 1a, in Revere is one of the legendary tracks of dog racing, Wonderland Park. I think it's still there, so give it a quick look. Up ahead on 1a, there's the sign for Suffolk Downs, given up for dead a few years back, it's slowly trying to crawl back to life. It's open for simulcasting, but it's early and we just have a few minutes to look around before the next depressing stop.

We're going down the road about a half hour to South Weymouth, which was once home to the Weymouth Fair. About the best you can do here, is find the intersection of Park Avenue and Ralph Talbot Street, look north and stare at a bunch of houses, that once was the fairgrounds. No muss no fuss off to Marshfield.

MarshfieldMarshfield Fair

  A little over fifteen minutes from Weymouth, on Route 3, we reach the grounds of the Marshfield Fair, which has not seen a horse race since 1991. At least the fair is still here and the grandstand is still standing, but the racing oval has disappeared. This time of year the fair might even be running, which would not be a good thing. On the cultural side, your at your closest point to Plymouth Rock, about twenty minutes. Not for me were trying to make post at Plainridge for four O'clock and still have two other stops. 

BrocktonBrockton Fair

We head east for about 45 minutes to the home of the Brockton Bomber, Rocky Marciano and the Brockton Fair, right now the last great hope for fair racing in Massachusetts. Outside of Northampton Brockton was the last fair to race back in 2001. Located off route 123, The Brockton Fair looks like the last intact racing surface for fair racing in the state and they were approved to race in 2016. I wouldn't hold my breath, but who knows? Let's take a quick look and head for a parking lot that covered a lot of memories.

FoxboroFoxboro Raceway

We're going to head north on Route 24 to come back South on I-95 before getting on Route 1 and ending up at Gillette Stadium, home of The New England Patriots. The parking lot east of the stadium heading toward the MBTA Station is where Foxboro Raceway once existed. There is no sign that the track, the victim of a hostile takeover ever existed. The only thing that is recognizable from those days is the stream by the railway tracks. At least we can end on a happy note, down the road a bit in Plainville.

PlainridgePlainridge Park Casino

We leave Foxboro and stay on Route 1 for about 15 minutes and come to Plainridge Racecourse, or today known as Plainridge Park Casino. Plainridge which was built mainly for simulcasting and some live racing, was about to join the track it replaced at Foxboro, as another  parking lot when it so to speak hit the lottery. Plainridge snagged the only class 2 casino license in Massachusetts (slots only, no table games) and for now is the only active casino in the state. Today we can enjoy that with a late afternoon of harness racing and later a little food and slots. The only drawback is that there is no hotel here, so we need to find a home for the night, which shouldn't be a problem, get some sleep. Another burner tomorrow.

Day 6 Miles Cost Lodging
Today 256 128.00 120.00
Total 1539 769.50 1030.00

Day 7 Tuesday, August 9

One note before we leave Plainville, for any people with interests in dog tracks, you are a short drive from Raynham Park, that went dark when dog racing was outlawed in Massachusetts in 2010. The track is still open for simulcasting. A town over in Taunton, there was also a dog track, that track closed years ago and merged with Raynham. In 2001 the grandstand burned down, so there is probably little to see.   

LincolnTwin River

Were off on day 7 heading for Rhode Island, I guess we should call today the ghost tour, because all the sites we visit today haven't seen racing for some time. In fact when these places were racing you had to deal with two live people(if you were lucky), the first were the sellers, they were facing the track and had their own window for specific bets, $2 Win, $2 Place, $2 show or $5 or $10 etc., the others were the cashiers, they were hidden in the back of the grandstand, but that's OK cause you hardly went there.

First up, the lone survivor, sort of, Twin River Casino, the former site of Lincoln Downs. This will be your only chance to win any cash today, unless you stop somewhere for scratch tickets. For now the dog track is still there, but no sign that horses ran there for twenty nine years. Actually the dogs lasted longer than the horses having a thirty three year run, before dog racing was banned in Rhode Island. The next stop is even more painful.

NarragansettNarragansett Park

A few miles from Lincoln, we come to the Pawtucket, East Providence border and the former site of Narragansett Park. The old girl died at the age of 44, once a member of racing royalty she died a slow agonizing death. All she got for a headstone was a short road named after her, Narragansett Park Road. She was even mistreated in death, her clubhouse was burned down, they cut off the top of her head and turned her into a junk store  (see the photo page on the Narragansett link above), but now even that is gone and she was totally demolished. If you feel bad for her then how do you feel about the old warrior Charley Boy, who ran for years on this track, he was so loved they buried him in the infield, wherever that is now. So when you get here look for that Narragansett Park Road sign, cause that's all there is. Now we turn our attention back to Massachusetts and the last track of todays  bunch to go belly up.

NorthamptonThree County Fair

We have about a hundred mile to cover before our next track at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton. There were rumors that there weren't enough horses or enough jockeys who would come to this bullring anymore or maybe it was just no bettors would come anymore. Whatever reason the last fair track to race in Massachusetts, ended it's run in 2005. When you get here you'll find the old red grandstand still intact, but if you look across the track, you'll find three large show horse barns where the backstretch used to be. A sure sign live racing will never return. Now we head north on I-91 to Route 2 west and then Route 7 to Vermont.

Green MountainGreen Mountain Park

Just a little ways over the Massachusetts border in Pownal, Vermont you'll come across a deteriorating structure that definitely looks out of place. That would be Green Mountain Park. Never quite able to live up to expectation Green Mountain only survived twelve years as a thoroughbred/standardbred venue. It did live on for a while as a dog track, before they were run out of Vermont. Don't know how close you can get to the track but there's a good view of it from Route 7. Now back to Massachusetts and a track with a shorter run than Green Mountain.

Were going to head back down Route 7 to Pittsfield, Massachusetts from there we take Route 20 to Richmond Road, where Berkshire Downs once existed. For a track that lasted only eight years it had quite a colorful history. It opened for a while as part of the Massachusetts Fair Circuit, but was pretty decrepit by then, if it rained the roof leaked and they put plywood panels near the betting windows so you wouldn't be standing in water. Today the site is home to a private horse boarding and training facility, don't know how private, private is, but they did retain the original half mile track and sodded it, imagine if Berkshire Downs came back with a turf meet for fair horses.

Great BarringtonGreat Barrington

Before we head for our last stop, for you connoisseurs out there your only a few miles away from Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Pops, sadly(hey another word for unfortunately) there is nothing scheduled tonight, but you could still visit. Back to Route 7 and a half hour ride south, todays final destination, the ruins of Great Barrington.

It's been a long day, suck it up this is a binge trip. The sun  is getting low as we come to Great Expectations, I mean Great Barrington Fair or what's left of it. Last used in 1998 the ground have  just sat there deteriorating, the owners holding out hope for a simulcast facility or the jackpot a casino. Well this is the last stop in New England, tomorrow we head for New York, live racing, a hall of fame and a blast from the past.        

Day 7 Miles Cost Lodging
Today 212 106.00 120.00
Total 1283 641.50 910.00

Day 8 Wednesday, August 10

GoshenHarness Hall of Fame

It took seven days, but today we can kiss New England goodbye! Were out early heading west to the New York border, then south on the Taconic Parkway to I-84 and eventually the town of Goshen. The two hour drive gets us to the Harness Hall of Fame and Historic Track, the oldest continuous operating harness track in the country. Opened in 1838, it was the first New York track to provide pari-mutual betting. Today the track holds two weeks of non betting racing, in 1979 pari-mutual racing was discontinued at the site. We  should have a couple of hours to spend at the Hall of Fame before we take the short drive to Monticello and some live racing.

MonticelloMonticello Raceway

It's about a forty five minute ride up Route 7, to Monticello Raceway and Casino. Monticello is one of a handful of tracks that races year round, it was one of the first nighttime harness track to switch to day racing, another oddity is that they seldom if ever race on a weekend. When we get inside the casino, we need to find the rickety old elevator to the third floor and the betting area. Don't worry about the elevator, it hardly gets used, you'll figure that out when you get to the third floor. I don't think you need to feel sad for the place, the handle isn't bad and the horseman race for casino money. The other good thing, the races are over quick, we need some daylight for our bonus cultural stop.

I'm going to bet that if you found this website and are reading this page that you are not a spring chicken. I'm also going to guess you remember a place called Max Yasgur's Dairy Farm and you know that this was the site of The Woodstock Musical Festival in Bethel. Today it's the site of Bethel Woods, a performing arts center and museum and it's fifteen minutes from Monticello, maybe you were even there, maybe not. It's open till 7 in the summer, go give it a look. After you get your sixties grove on you can head back to the casino, or find a motel for the night, another busy day tomorrow.

Day 8 Miles Cost Lodging
Today 156 78.00 120.00
Total 1439 719.50 1030.00

Day 9 Thursday, August 11

Todays another busy day, we will be cruising the New York City area, mostly Long Island. New York City like Boston offers many cultural opportunities, but unlike Boston the logistics are a lot more complicated and costlier. If you've never been in the area it might be worth the effort. After that commercial break on with the trip.

We start out with a move that may seem strange, we're going to drive almost three hours to todays farthest point, Yaphank on Long Island and work our way back to the final destination, live racing tonight at Yonkers. In Yaphank, we'll find the ghost of Parr Meadows, an ill fated venture into quarter horse racing in the Metro New York area. Existing for ten years, it only had two years of racing, the last one forced to close early. There is nothing there to see, from above you could make out a faint outline of the track, but from ground level it's just an empty field. The next stop isn't much more exciting, a giant of harness racing turned into condos.

RooseveltRoosevelt Raceway Today

From Yaphank, we make the forty five minute drive to Westbury, to a site that faired much better than Parr Meadows in it's racing days, but ultimately met the same fate, Roosevelt Raceway. Once the premier place for harness racing, it was named "the dream track", but in the late eighties things begin to deteriorate and with the help of some controversial deals the track was closed. After 48 years Roosevelt Raceway was history, it would take another 12 before it was finally bulldozed. Today it's the site of Meadowbrook Pointe a luxury condo complex, at least they named a street after it, Roosevelt Way, with side streets Trotting Lane and Pacing Way. Not much of a dream anymore. That's it for ghosts, back to the living.

BelmontBelmont Park

The reason we started the day, the way we did is so we would get to Belmont Park when the gates open at 11. It was only a half hour drive from one of the giants of harness racing, to one of the giants of thoroughbred racing. It is August, which means the ponies are vacationing upstate at Saratoga, poor planning on my part, we won't see a NYRA track run a live race on this trip. Enjoy the splendor of Belmont, don't forget the White Pine in the walking ring, sorry no casino, but the next stop has one. 


Thirty minutes from Belmont we arrive at the NYRA blue collar mecca of Aqueduct. The pioneer of winter racing in New York, Aqueduct does all the heavy lifting for NYRA in the fall and winter. It is also the only NYRA track to sport a casino. So give the old girl a look, she might not have the pedigree of her sister tracks, but she's got that shinny new casino. Don't get too carried away in the casino, we have to go back over the river for one more stop before we end our day at Yonkers.

MeadowlandsThe Meadowlands

After an hour drive from Aqueduct, were at the closest track to Manhattan, but were not in New York, were across the river in New Jersey, at the Meadowlands. When the track opened in 1976, it took the harness racing world by storm. It's like playing Monopoly with real money, was one of quotes associated with the track. It was probably responsible, at least in part for putting old timers, Roosevelt Raceway, Liberty Bell Park and Brandywine Raceway away, before it too fell on hard times and was discarded after years of loyal service by the state of New Jersey. New ownership saved it, literally turning it on it's head, the track direction was reversed and a smaller supposed friendlier grandstand was built opposite the old one. Whatever, it's not your fathers Meadowlands, but enjoy some simulcasting cause this is supposed to be "the dream track" for that. OK now back across the river where the Empire struck back.


In about a half hour we arrive in Yonkers, home of Yonkers Raceway and Empire City Gaming. The track opened under the name Empire City way back when, thoroughbreds were the breed of choice back then. The great Seabiscuit romped around the half mile oval in 1936. Hurt by the opening and success of the Meadowlands, The Empire has struck back with it's casino and it's money to regain the top spot for harness racing in the New York area. Enjoy a night of racing and gaming, but don't forget to find a hotel, the grind continues tomorrow, as we leave New York for now.

Day 9 Miles Cost Lodging
Today 260 130.00 150.00
Total 1699 849.50 1180.00

Day 10 Friday, August 12

FreeholdFreehold Raceway

Today were planning to run the table in New Jersey. No rush this morning, were headed for Freehold Raceway, it's an hour and a half from Yonkers, we don't have to be there till eleven, when the gates open. Freehold has been around since 1853, today it is still a half mile track and pretty much sticks to the same schedule it had forty years ago. The summer season is Freeholds off time, so all we can do is just look the place over. Probably not the original, but some version of the grandstand burned down in 1984, replaced with todays version of the raceway. From here we head to the Jersey Shore and an afternoon of thoroughbred racing.

MonmouthMonmouth Park

After we leave Freehold we head east for about a half an hour to beautiful Monmouth Park, for an afternoon of thoroughbred racing. Opened in 1870, Monmouth has consistently raced from June to Labor Day, recently taking on additional days with the closing of other New Jersey tracks. I guess you could call Monmouth, the Saratoga of New Jersey, fans can picnic the length of the stretch, under umbrella covered tables, while watching top grade racing. Last year triple crown winner American Pharoah, won the Haskell Invitational last year. Monmouth is also home to the New Jersey Derby which was run for years at Garden State Park. All things point to Monmouth Park being a survivor in the racing game, but that may not be the case. In 2016 the track has had to do some cost cutting eliminating some stakes races and devaluing others. Hope it doesn't end up like our last two stops in New Jersey?

Atlantic CityAtlantic City

As nice as it was to spend the afternoon in Oceanport, we need to cut out a little early and head down the coast for about an hour and a half to McKee City, the site of Atlantic City Racecourse. Atlantic City, really closed in 1997, but till this year has run a week of turf only races, to keep the doors open. In January of 2016 the track announced that this was it for the facility that opened in 1946. The track which has been overrun by development is still there for now, but we may have to worship from afar. On a cultural note it's only a few minutes to the casinos and boardwalk of Atlantic City, nobody would blame you for overnighting there, but we need to push on to another ghost.

Garden StateGarden State

We're going to head northwest on the Atlantic City Expressway for about an hour to our last stop of the day in Cherry Hill, the former site of Garden State Park. It doesn't seem that long ago that Larry Lederman, calling the horses running along the Haddonfield Road backstretch, but it's already been fifteen years. Haddonfield Road is still there, but no backstretch, just a strip mall and some condos. Off Route 70 you'll find Garden Park Blvd. and there you will find the original gate house, the only thing left of this grand ole track. We overnight on this side of the river before, like George Washington crossing the Delaware, but we'll use the Walt Whitman Bridge, not a boat.

Day 10 Miles Cost Lodging
Today 241 120.50 100.00
Total 1940 970.00 1280.00

Day 11 Saturday, August 13

It's Saturday and were back on the road, another busy day. Yesterday we gave the E-ZPass a workout traveling all the historic roads of New Jersey, The Jersey Turnpike, The Garden State Parkway and The Atlantic City Expressway. Today we start off at the breakfast buffet at Harrah's.

From Cherry Hill, New Jersey it's about a half hour to Chester, Pennsylvania the home of Harrah's Philadelphia, originally named Harrah's Chester. Opened in 2006, Harrah's was built exclusively as a racino and harness track. If they haven't improved their signage this one can be a little hard to find and when you do don't expect your normal setup, especially if your looking for a parking lot. Basically being a casino you park in the garage, there also are no stables for the horses, you need to ship in here, Another peculiarity is that this is a true Bridge Track, the horses actually race over a bridge on the first turn. There is live racing going on, but sadly it doesn't fit into our schedule, so look the place over, check out the casino, we have till 10 am, before we leave for PARX.

Were heading a little backwards here, making a forty five minute ride to Bensalem and PARX. Originally built as Keystone Race Track  in 1974. In 2006 a stand alone casino was built on the site. At some point Keystone was renamed Philadelphia Park before becoming PARX. PARX, or whatever it was at the time, was said to be the main reason for the demise of Garden State Park. PARX is one of the few tracks that races almost year round, but sadly they take some time off during the summer, guess when? So again take a quick look, we need to backtrack again and head for Delaware and live racing this afternoon.

Our last stop of the day, is charming Delaware Park, a summer racing, Saratoga style facility where the horses are saddled in the outdoor paddock under the trees. Opened in 1937, Delaware Park actually went out of business in 1982, before roaring back as a racino in 1995. Being one of the first major tracks to have a casino Delaware Park enjoyed success for a while, but today with racinos a dime a dozen it's slipping backwards running short fields and reducing racing days. Still this does not take away from the beauty of this track built for a different era. Enjoy the day here, as we conclude week two, all that's left is to find a motel and rest up for our trip to the Maryland Shore tomorrow.  

Day 11 Miles Cost Lodging
Today 121 60.50 120.00
Total 2061 1030.50 1400.00

Tracks Visited Live
Week 2 28 6
Total 42 8

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