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The origins of horse racing in Washington State date back to the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Where in 1901 Playfair Race Course opened it's doors. Unfortunately both have passed into history.

 In 1933 Washington State legalized pari-mutual wagering and the modern era of horse racing begin in Washington. Soon after gambling was legal Longacres Race Course in Seattle joined Playfair as Washington's main racing sites. In the nineteen sixty's a third track was added in Yakima named Yakima Meadows.

Heading into the seventies racing was looking good in Washington. Longacres with it's Poplar lined track was listed as one of the top ten tracks in the country. It was good while it lasted but like racing in general the downturn hit Washington. Boing Aircraft whose land abutted Longacres needed more office space so the owners of the financially plagued track obliged them and down came the Poplars and everything else. Not much later Playfair and Yakima Meadows passed into the night.

Today Emerald Downs built to replace Longacres in 1996 is the only major racing site in Washington. Dayton, Sun Downs, Waitsburg and Walla Walla are tracks that still run short meets in the state.

In 2011 the states fair meets received a severe blow when all dates except for a week at Sun Downs were rejected to financial reasons. Their future remains in doubt.

As of 2014, three  commercial tracks, Longacres, Playfair and Yakima Meadows have closed. The Blue Mountain Fair Circuit which use to include Dayton Days, Waitsburg and Walla Walla, has been reduced to one short meet at Sun Downs. 

If you wanted to view all of the existing and closed tracks in Washington, you better have a few days to spare. The two existing tracks Emerald Downs and Sun Downs are themselves over 200 miles apart, about a three and a half hour drive. The good news, if you shoot for April, you can catch live racing at both. Being in the area of these tracks will provide some proximity to most of the other tracks.

Starting at Emerald Downs, in Auburn, it's a few minutes to the old Longacres site where you can still catch a view of some of the old Poplar Trees, about all that's left there. From there you can go a little southwest to what was Harbor Park, which is still active as a car racing venue. After that you have to hit the road southeast to Kennewick.

In Kennewick you will find Sun Downs, from there you can reach the fair tracks at Walla Walla, Waitsburg, and Dayton, all which are still standing. The last leg would take you to Spokane, a little over two hours northeast of Kennewick. Once in Spokane, if it's still there you'll find an empty field with the outline of a five furlong track and grandstand that was once Playfair Race Course. Once in Spokane it's like you've painted yourself in a corner a long way from where you started. The good news, Idaho and Coeur d'Alene are a few miles away. The old Coeur d'Alene track site awaits as a perfect gateway to all those obscure Idaho tracks.