Phoenix Trotting Park Suspends Racing Indefinitely

Harness Horse Magazine
December 14, 1966

Citing insufficient public support, Phoenix Trotting Park some 20 miles west of Phoenix, Ariz., suspended racing indefinitely on Wednesday, December 7, 1966, after 13 cards of a 58-night meeting had been held. The track first opened in 1965, but neither the inaugural meeting nor the meeting last winter were successful.

Hopes that interest in betting on harness racing would be sufficient this year to support a meeting faded soon after the November 6 opening. In a desperate effort to attract fans, the management instituted free parking and admission, added quarter horse racing and on Thanksgiving Day offered a special turkey dinner with all the trimmings for 97 cents. Attendance rose to as many as 3,000 or more, but the per capita wagering remained at less than $10 per person.

In announcing the decision to suspend operations, James J. Dunnigan, Sr., the track president, stressed that they had made every effort to avoid the move in order to prevent hardships to owners, trainers, and drivers. At the same time Dunnigan expressed his belief that harness racing might return sometime in the future. He based his optimism on the strong possibilities of additional new industry in the area, plans to extend the freeway adjacent to the track, and other economic factors. Future plans for the $10 million plant are indefinite, Dunnigan said.


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