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  Talk About a Throwback !     

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Atokad Park was a five eights mile thoroughbred track that was located in Sioux City, which is about 100 miles north of Omaha on I-29. It featured a glass enclosed grandstand for colder weather racing. Seating capacity was 3,000 there was no clubhouse. The stable area could accommodate 800 horses.

Atokad Park was a part of the Nebraska racing circuit from 1956 to 1997. Located in Sioux City near the tri-state border with Iowa and South Dakota (Atokad is Dakota spelled backwards) it traditionally closed out the Nebraska racing season with a fall meet. Having a purse value index of 1 you would have expected fair quality racing. On the afternoon of October 26th, 1997 when Little Margie got her picture taken in the winners circle, it should have been the last one taken, but it wasn't.

After the ninety seven meet Atokad was closed because of financial difficulties. It remained shuttered until 2001, when it attempted to re-market itself as a simulcast facility. The only problem was that the State of Nebraska required at least one day of live racing for it happen. So in 2001 a one day eight race card was run, the same was true in 2002, but financial problems persisted.

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In 2003 the facility was again dormant, but a year later they were back in business. For five years three days of racing were conducted. In 2009 the race days were extended to four, was Atokad making a comeback? Not really, after 2009 the wheels were falling off again, but 2010 would be different.

You've seen pro sports teams wear uniforms from the past (throwbacks) well in 2010 someone at Atokad got the idea for a throwback race. With the permission of the Nebraska Racing Commission, Atokad was granted permission to run a one race meet on September 24th. The one race to satisfy the requirements for simulcasting would be run without a starting gate, photo finish camera, or public address announcer. The horses used a walking start, and thing went well. The turnout was also good, to see something that had probably not happened for over seventy years.

In 2011 the track returned to normal, this time for a one day two race meet, and when Triage was led to the winners circle he was the last horse to take a winners photo at Atokad Park. The track was again in financial distress, but this time it was sold to a local Indian Tribe who had no desire to conduct racing.

Somewhere along the way Atokad Park was renamed Horseman's Atokad Park, not to be confused with Horseman's Park in Omaha. Nevertheless all it got was another "thanks for the memories" put in the books.

Atokad is another track that I missed live racing at, but the track is still standing for now. Maybe if I hurry!