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2020 Update: Nebraska is a traditional state, but not that they didn't try not to be. Fonner Park was ready to become a poor mans racino. At least that's what I call instant racing machines. Already providing benefits in Kentucky and Wyoming it was shot down in Nebraska, some do gooder knew someone who knew a judge etc. and found it to be not legal. Well anyway hats off to Nebraska, for continuing to provide pari-mutual horse racing for it's fans. Maybe you can't go to those backwards places like Aksarben or Atokad but you can still find almost year round racing in the state.

Nebraska is old school when it comes to rules governing simulcasting, in the state. This had lead to some bizarre situations at Lincoln Race Course and Atokad park over the years.

In 1966 horse racing was going strong in Nebraska, with seven tracks in operation around the state with 161 days of racing. In the early seventies things started to decline with fair tracks in Mitchell and Madison going under, but the big blow came in 1995 when out of the blue Nebraska's premiere track Ak-sar-ben went dark. As of 2015, there is 50 days of racing in the state with Fonner Park running 31 of them, Columbus Fair and Horsemen's park run the remainder. Lincoln Race Course while still in existence, does not have a regular track and only races one race a year.   

Pari-Mutual wagering was authorized on March 17, 1935 unfortunately for Nebraska it's been downhill since then.

The first sign that things were not well was when Aksarben the showcase of Nebraska racing suddenly closed at the end of the 1995 season. It was believed that track officials were slow to react to competition from dog racing which started up across the river in Iowa. This left minor tracks Fonner Park and Atokad along with a fair circuit to carry the load.

Atokad also fell leaving Fonner Park as the lone non fair track in the state. The once active fair circuit also took it's lumps.

Fair meets in Madison and Mitchell went under by the early seventies. Of the two remaining tracks, Columbus and Lincoln only Columbus remains. The Lincoln track has been demolished, Although there are plans for a new oval in Lincoln, Nebraska horseman fell the gap in the racing calendar will force horseman to other states. They also feel that once gone they will not return and racing in Nebraska could be history.    

Nebraska does have tribal casinos but has not legalized racinos. While racinos may not be the salvation for racing, they are a band aid that could stop the bleeding in Nebraska, before the patient dies!  Nebraska is a big, crazy place. To drive between to extinct fair tracks it would take six and one half hours. Horseman and fans will do anything to save their tracks, two have run one day, one race meets. One track ran without a starting gate, the other ran a one furlong race in the dead of winter, with the track being torn down around it. The politicians don't seem to care so much!