Historical Racetracks and Harness Horses
Yonkers Raceway opened in 1899 as the Empire City Trotting Club. It was build at a cost of $780,000 by copper magnate William H. Clark and grocery tycoon James Butler; the actual construction was done by Seth Griffin. Opening day, September 4, drew 12,000 patrons. The three fastest pacers in the country at that time, Joe Patchen, Star Pointer, and John R. Gentry, met in a showdown in only the third day of operation. The grandstand, built of steel, held 7,500. Clark passed away following the 1899 season.
Image of the pacer Don Oh So, hooked to a racing sleigh,
somewhere in Chicago in 1904.
Balmoral Park's barn area in 1926, as snapped by Chicago Daily News photographer.
It's none other than "The Hook," as he was known early in
his career, trainer-driver Carl Porcelli Jr. This photo was
taken in the late 1970s, as Carl diligently studies an
Arlington Park harness racing program.
This unidentified trotter was photographed by a Chicago Daily News photographer in 1905, at the former Washington Park Trotting Club, located between East 61st and East 63rd streets (South Cottage Grove Avenue & South King Drive) in the Woodlawn community of Chicago. Even though this photograph was snapped 100 years ago, it is easy to see the trotter's equipment and how similar it is to today's gear: elbow boots, hind trotting boots, scalpers, quarter boots, a dropped noseband, and a running martingale.
Some of the early 20th Century's Top Chicago Drivers Included....
Portrait of driver Brook "Doc' Curry (left) and driver Gus Carpenter (left) in 1905 at Libertyville.
The trotter Advancer and driver Carpenter at the Libertyville Trotting Races in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1905. Photo snapped by Chicago Daily News photographer.
A Day at the Races...Spectators out "en masse" at Worth Racetrack in 1901.
This photograph was taken in 1901 by a Chicago Daily news photographer of the
Worth Racetrack in Worth, Illinois.
The racehorse Crystal is shown here harnessed to a sled, standing on snow-covered
ground in front of a building in Chicago, with driver Frank Lawder up, in 1910.
This photo--taken by a Chicago Daily News photographer--shows the very first
women harness drivers competing in a four-wheeled trotting race at the
Lake Forest, Illinois racetrack on September 7, 1912
The South Shore Trotting Club of 1902.
The great pacer Dan Patch in Chicago 1905.
Hawthorne Race Course in 1902.
Harness races at the Libertyville, Illinois racetrack in 1908.
This photo was snapped by a Chicago Daily News photographer in 1908 and shows the trotter Elgin Boy and driver Ira J. Mix somewhere in downtown Chicago.
"Pop" Geers and an unidentified trotter take a turn at the Aurora Racetrack in 1922.
This photo was snapped at the Shelbyville County Fair in Kentucky in 1940 by photographer Marion Wolcott. (Posted Jan 19, 2005)
The trotter Oakenheart is show here hitched and ready to race at the Milton racetrack, near Milton, North Dakota, on or around 1901. The man in the photograph is thought to be William Maves of East Grand Forks, Minnesota. The photograph was snapped by John McCarthy, who was born in 1861. Note how high and close the sulky sits next to the horse's hind-quarters...perhaps this is why in the early days of harness racing Standardbred drivers were known as "Tail Sitters." (posted Jan 15)
This photo from 1910 shows three pacers hooked to sleds racing over a snow-covered ground at the Garfield Park Horse Speedway in Chicago, Illinois. (posted Jan 12, 2005)
Shown here in 1910 is the pacer Humming Bird, preparing for a race on the snow
somewhere in the city of Chicago. Photo courtesy of the American Library of Congress
(posted January 10, 2005)
The pacer Interest Joe, complete with hobbles, arm & knee boots, tendon boots and bell
boots strolls down a muddy Chicago street in winter 1904. This photo probably appeared in the Chicago Daily News around that time. (Posted Jan 7, 2005)
This photograph, taken in 1909, shows two pacers racing at Washington Park Racetrack, located between East 61st and East 63rd Streets, South Cottage Grove Avenue and South King Drive in the Woodlawn area of Chicago. (Posted Jan 6, 2005)
Blue Ribbon and two other pacers harnessed to carriage sleds are shown here racing on a snow-covered Chicago street in 1908. (posted Jan 4, 2005)
Lou Dillion is shown here trotting at an unidentified harness track in the Chicago area in 1905 and was originally published in the Chicago Daily News.
(Posted Jan 3, 2005)
This photograph was published in the Chicago Daily News in 1905. It shows four pacers at the West Side Trotting Club in Chicago. (Posted Jan 1, 2005)