Green Mountain

Lincoln Downs

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This is what Green Mountain Park looks like today, a burned out hulk. You would think this being Vermont, where cell towers have to look like trees (which makes them more obvious) that this eyesore is still standing. It's likely it would cost more today to tear it down, then it cost to build

This is what Lincoln Downs looks like today, amazingly if you go around the back you can still see the original grandstand, seats and all, frozen in time. It's not your fathers Lincoln Downs, you can tell right away by the paved parking lot. 

These two tracks in New England were roughly 150 miles apart, probably shorter as the crow flies and they were very similar to one another.  No other tracks were listed as 13/16 of a mile, yet these two were, but there is one great mystery of life that has always perplexed me. Hopefully some engineer out there can tell me how two tracks with the same dimensions can have a four hundred foot difference in their stretches? I know Green Mountains finish line was farther than Lincolns, but 400 feet, that's longer than a football field. Other than that they had a pretty similar existence, as far as pari mutual wagering tracks.

Lincoln Downs, was thirteen years older and it showed, Green Mountain on the other hand, had a loving father who wanted a class product. Both tracks started out with thoroughbreds and ended up with greyhounds. Who knows if it weren't for dog racing being outlawed "Rhody" might still be leading the hounds on a merry chase at the Lincoln oval. His counterpart "Frosty" retired in 1992.

Both tracks offered standardbred racing, Green Mountain, pretty much from the beginning. Lincoln Down, dipped it's toe in those waters only once in 1971. Green Mountain was pretty much a night track, except Sunday's, Lincoln did both day and night, but unlike Green Mountain a Sunday race was never held there. Going by 1973 standards, $1,500 claiming was the bottom level at both track, it was in fact the only level at Green Mountain with a few exceptions. Lincoln did have higher claiming prices, but the big difference was the purse money, Green Mountain bottom claimers ran for $1,500 while Lincolns ran for $2,200. I guess that would make Lincoln the classier track.

If it was or wasn't, I can only recall a few crossovers to go by. One Sunday, I don't remember the horse who shipped in to Green Mountain from Lincoln, but it was the feature race on the card and Anthony Ricci came to ride. They went off odds on favorites and won easily. Going the other way, I remember one weekday a horse named Frog (who could forget that) showed up from Green Mountain, Frog and a Lincoln horse both were co-favorites in a short field, when it was over Frog was a distant second to the local horse. So, by my memory, thats Lincoln 2, Green Mountain 0. There seemed to be some riders who rode at each track, other than Phil Ernst, the rest might not be around to offer their feeling about each track. 

I guess, it doesn't matter who was best, everyone had their favorites, but what does matter is that both have been out of the horse racing business longer than they were in it and will  soon be celebrating their golden anniversary's without horse racing.  With it's closest neighbor Narragansett Park, finally being put to rest, after being butchered and having to endure life as a junk store, Berkshire Downs long gone and Rockingham Park joining the pair. That leaves Scarborough Downs, which seems to be getting dismantled, Suffolk Downs, which is too valuable to leave standing and Green Mountain, which now has to be razed, as the last of the once thriving New England commercial community.  All that will be left, is that little part of Lincoln Downs embedded inside the Twin River's casino.