Category:Defunct horse racing venues in Illinois
Pages in category "Defunct horse racing venues in Illinois"
The following 10 pages are in this category, out of 10 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 10 pages are in this category, out of 10 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. Washington Park Race Track – Washington Park Race Track was a popular horse racing venue in the Chicago metropolitan area from 1884 until 1977. It had two locations during its existence and it was first situated in what is the current location of the Washington Park Subdivision of the Woodlawn community area of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. This is located south of both the current Washington Park community area and Washington Park. The track was relocated to Homewood, Illinois, which is also in Cook County. The original track and its accompanying Jockey Club were social draws in the late 19th century, in its prime, the track was an especially important social gathering place on opening day and the day of the American Derby, which ranked as one of Horse racings highest purses. The Jockey club, designed by Solon Spencer Beman, hosted a social gathering led by General Philip Sheridan who was a leader of the track. The track was closed and reopened according to the state and local laws on gambling and eventually waned in popularity. Over the years, numerous famous horses and jockeys appeared at the track, in the 19th century, notable horses of the time, such as Emperor of Norfolk and Domino raced. In the 20th century, some of the most notable Thoroughbreds to race at Washington Park included Triple Crown winners Citation, other notable horses included Native Dancer and Swaps, who each won legs of the Triple Crown. Jockey Eddie Arcaro won both the 1948 and 1953 American Derby races at the track, in addition to the American Derby, several other notable graded stakes races were run at the track such as the Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap and the Washington Park Handicap. In addition, notable match races were held at the track, in 1883, a group of about 500 Chicagoans, led by General Philip Sheridan, banded together to create the Washington Park Jockey Club. Selecting a location at 61st and Cottage Grove, the Club opened and operated the Washington Park Race Track, valued at $150,000, the track was part of the long tradition of constructing special facilities for sporting events and public assembly in the Chicago parks. At that time it was fashionable for the elite to maintain close ties to equestrian sports. Some owned Thoroughbreds and thus were members of the Washington Park Jockey Club, the tracks clubhouse, which was completed in 1896, was designed by Solon Spencer Beman, and C. B. McDonald built a short nine-hole club members golf course in the infield of the track, each June, the track sponsored the American Derby, which had a purse ranked among the highest in the country. When Washington Park Race Track first organized the American Derby in 1883, by 1893, the American Derby was the 2nd richest American race in the 19th century. Both The American Derby and Opening Day became important social calendar dates, residents of elite late 19th century neighborhoods organized a number of related public activities outside the track grounds, including the annual Washington Park Race Track opening day parade. Horse racing was not the only draw of the track, in 1900, a race was staged at the track between a gasoline-powered automobile and an electrically powered automobile
2. Cahokia Downs – Cahokia Downs was an American horse racing track located on Highway 15 near the town of Alorton, St. Clair County, Illinois. Run by the East St. Louis Jockey Club, the facility opened in 1954, at Cahokia Downs on October 18,1978, jockey David Gall became the first rider in United States Thoroughbred horse racing to win eight races on a single racecard. In October 1979 the Illinois Racing Commission refused to authorize any 1980 racing dates for Cahokia Downs, the track consisted of a. 75-mile oval with sandy clay soil, with chutes that enabled 5-furlong races to be run around one turn and about 11/16 miles around three turns. Distance from the last turn to the line was 500 feet. The front and back straightaways were both 80 feet wide, the chute on the front straightaway was angled approximately 15 degrees to avoid bisecting a street in the stable area. Information on Cahokia Downs in The Logic and Limits of Bankruptcy Law by Thomas H. Jackson
3. Dexter Park (Chicago) – Dexter Park was a horse race track in Chicago built in the years following the Civil War. It was named for a gelding and trotter who had set records for the mile and inspired the naming of several new towns including Dexter, Missouri and Dexter. Dexter Park was the first home of the Chicago White Stockings, chicagos sporting businessmen formed the White Stockings in 1870 to represent Chicago as the Red Stockings had done for Cincinnati in 1869. When the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players formed in 1871 and that move proved ill-fated, as it put the teams home field in the path of the Great Chicago Fire, the club did not field another team for two years while it nursed its financial position. Dexter Park was situated on Halsted Street, between 47th Street to the south and the line of 42nd Street to the north. This property was owned by, and adjacent to, the Union Stock Yards, the birds-eye view of the stockyards, from ca. 1878, shows part of the track at the left edge. The track continued to be used for exhibitions until 1934 when it was destroyed by fire, an arena called the International Amphitheater was built on its site. The racetrack was commemorated by a road to the west of the arena, called Dexter Park Street
4. Balmoral Park – Balmoral Park was a horse racing track located just south of Crete, Illinois, United States. It operated from 1926 to 2015,1925 Col. Matt J. Winn, manager of Churchill Downs, came to Chicago to look over the Illinois racing situation. Winn returned to Kentucky, where he talked to business associates at the Kentucky Jockey Club and they agreed to buy 1,050 acres just south of Crete and built the new track named Lincoln Fields. The large oval was surrounded by Kentucky bluegrass which Winn imported from that state, red Spanish tile was used as roofs on the buildings. Spring-fed lakes were built in the infield, the inaugural meeting at Lincoln Fields began on August 9,1926. The first trainer to stable on the grounds was thoroughbred horseman Daniel E. Stewart, the first horse to work out was Camdens mare Rothermel. Miss Rosedale won the first race contested, the inaugural card featured the $5,000 Joliet Stakes for 2 year-old colts and geldings. The certificate system of wagering was used since pari-mutuel wagering had not yet become legal, pari-mutuel wagering became legal in Illinois July 1,1927. On Aug.30,1936 Lincoln Fields installed the DeBrie Camera at the finish line and this instrument recorded 240 pictures per second, and was the first such camera to be installed at an Illinois racetrack. On June 3,1940, the mighty Whirlaway won at Lincoln Fields and he won the coveted Triple Crown in 1941. Lincoln Fields shut down in 1942 due to World War II restrictions and their race meetings were shifted to Hawthorne Race Course from 1943 to 1947. From 1948-1951, the Lincoln Fields race meetings were run at Washington Park in nearby Homewood, a fire in the grandstand damaged Lincoln Fields while it was being renovated for the 1952 season and prevented the re-opening at the Crete site. The 1952-53 race meeting were then shifted to Hawthorne, in 1954, thoroughbred racing returned to the homegrounds of Lincoln Fields for the first time since 1942. In 1955, Benjamin Lindheimer put together the Balmoral Jockey Club which purchased Lincoln Fields, the name of the racetrack was changed to Balmoral Park. Lindheimer had been head of horse racing at Washington Park since 1935, Balmorals thoroughbred meetings were run at Washington Park from 1955-1963. Lindheimer died on June 5,1960 and was succeeded by his adopted daughter Marjorie Lindheimer Everett and she then consolidated Washington and Arlington Parks as divisions of a new corporation called Chicago Thoroughbred Enterprises, which owned Balmoral Park. In 1964, Balmorals thoroughbred race meeting was moved to Arlington Park, william S. Miller, a self-made millionaire and horse breeder, and his partners purchased Balmoral Park in 1967. Miller had been a member of the Illinois Racing Board from 1951 to 1967, Miller converted Balmorals thoroughbred track to a half-mile track for harness racing
5. Maywood Park – Maywood Park was located in Melrose Park, Illinois, United States,17 miles from downtown Chicago. It was used for harness racing and it had a capacity of 33,297 people and was built in 1946. The track was a half-mile oval, Maywood has conducted race meets with wagering since 1946, the longest in the states standardbred history. In 1979, boxing champion Muhammad Ali won an exhibition race. In 1984 Maywood Park became the first Chicago-area track to host a Breeders Crown race, the Two-Year-Old Filly Pace Final carried a $550,000 prize, the largest purse ever offered at a Chicago area Standardbred track. Maywood Park has been the scene of numerous records, including Shes A Great Ladys 1,51.2 mile in 1995. The track had a dirt oval, and was capable of seating at least 33,297. There was stabling on the backstretch for 984 horses, the following stakes were held at Maywood Park, Windy City Pace Maywood Filly Pace Abe Lincoln Galt Cinderella Maywood Park Website Maywood Park, History
6. Chicago Motor Speedway – The Chicago Motor Speedway at Sportsmans Park located in Cicero, Illinois, just outside Chicago, was built in 1999 by a group including Chip Ganassi, owner of Chip Ganassi Racing. In 2002 the 1. 029-mile oval shaped track suspended operations due to conditions in the motorsports industry. The track was also the site of horse races, when the track was called Sportsmans Park, the track was one of two racetracks that hosted both auto and horse races. Before 1999, the Sportsmans Park was one of the locations for horse racing in the area. Hawthorne Race Course, located right across the street to the south from the track, is the current host of the Illinois Derby, the two tracks operated together for decades. In 1999, after the season of the old Sportsmans Park. It was regarded as one of Chicagos most fateful days, as the end of the once grand racetrack drew near, the track held CART races from 1999–2002, the Toyota Atlantic Series, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in 2000 and 2001. Chicago Motor Speedway also held American Speed Association races, traditional horse races remained, this time as dirt was brought in over the racing surface. Problems with the hard surface led to several scratches by trainers, in 2001, Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet was built in the hopes of attracting more racing fans and upper-level races, all Cicero races were subsequently moved to Joliet and the track closed. The few remaining horse races were transferred to Hawthorne, portions of the motion picture Driven were shot at Chicago Motor Speedway. In 2003 the town of Cicero purchased the track for $18 million, during 2005 the main grandstands were torn down but the track itself remained. On October 31,2008 it was reported that contracts for the demolition of the remaining structures, demolition of the remaining Sportsmans Park structures and the track itself began January 5,2009. The western portion of the site is now a Wirtz Beverage Group distribution center, while the eastern portion is home to a Walmart supercenter effectively removing any last remains of the track