Phoenix Trotting Park To Open Tomorrow

The Arizona Republic
January 10, 1965

(Continued from Page 1) ...Eugenio Grassetto, the world's largest architectural firm. Opening night comes once only, but the men on the harness scene think in terms of seasons. This first 60-night session, stretching from tomorrow through March 20, will see the arrival of Norman S. Woolworth, of dime-store family fame. Woolworth is chairman of the board of Arizona-New York Harness Racing, Inc., and owner of Clearview Stable in Maine.

Ed Schafer, the "lumber king of the Pacific Northwest" will spend a good part of the opening season here, and E. Roland Harriman, board chairman of Union Pacific Railroad plans to fly in for the first races in March. Names known in capitals are going to be signed on hotel registers in the Valley, as the world's Who's Who comes to play the pacers.

Ernest B. Morris, preaident of Saratoga Harness Racing Association and trustee of Albany Medical College, is already in town and plans to take in a good share of the season. So do Elbridge T. Gerry, director of Doubleday Co., and Walter J. Michael, president of the U.S. Trotting Association and owner of the famed Pickwick Farms in Ohio.

The catalytic agent who succeeded in fusing the fastest-growing sport with the fastest-growing state is James J, Dunnigan, president, general manager and major stockholder of Arizona-New York Harness Racing, Inc. Dunnigan, the founder of Buffalo Trotting Track, and a man with unshakable faith in the potential of Arizona, claims "the track will attract people who might never have seen this country. I am interested in bringing in industry, and the people who start industry. This will go a long way. It will be a great shot in the arm."

A new sports taste with an international flavor has been planted right in the heart of Arizona, and as of tomorrow fans will be able to watch the sulkies race, while they dine, sip and sit in the Valley's newest sports arena. Two-dollar bets can be placed and fortunes can be made or frittered, all within a stone's throw of any seat.

The pari-mutuel counter on the ground level is 240 feet long; the second level has 345 feet of betting counters and the third level, 85 feet. From the fourth level, where many of the race-watchers will be dining in the Sunset Casino restaurant, there is a perfect view not only of the Sierra Estrella Mountains framing the track, but also of the tote board.

One thousand horses are already bedded down in deluxe, fireproof stalls; another 700 are chomping at the bit, because their applications had to be turned down. Winding past the stalls and paddocks, drivers of 5,000 cars will find parking space tomorrow night on a 50-acre parking lot. And if records are to be set in attendance, as well as made on the track, there will be close to 15,000 people taking it all in.

What they are going to see is far more than a place where sulkies spin their wheels, or a new track full of old tradition. The Phoenix Trotting Park is 640 acres full of opportunity for Arizona to lead the Southwest in the development of the fastest growing sports industry.

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This article originally appeared in The Arizona Republic.