Inside abandoned horse racing track in Arizona left to rot for over 50 years

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PHOENIX Trotting Park has become known as one of the most ill-conceived horse racing tracks ever built in the United States.

The futuristically-designed facility in Goodyear, Arizona – about 30 minutes west of Phoenix -was the brainchild of James Dunnigan, an East Coast horse-racing enthusiast who also owned a track in New York.

Phoenix Trotting Park opened its doors in January 1965

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Phoenix Trotting Park opened its doors in January 1965Credit: YouTube/Jason Ward
But the $10million facility was closed by the end of 1966

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But the $10million facility was closed by the end of 1966Credit: YouTube/Jason Ward
It lay abandoned for 50 years until it was demolished in 2017

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It lay abandoned for 50 years until it was demolished in 2017Credit: YouTube/CashCache
The grandstand was blown up in the 1998 movie No Code of Conduct

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The grandstand was blown up in the 1998 movie No Code of ConductCredit: YouTube/Jason Ward

Originally budgeted at $3million to build, Phoenix Trotting Park ended up costing around $10million when it eventually opened in January 1965.

A crowd of more than 12,000 packed the facility on opening day – but this was the high point for the race track.

Phoenix Trotting Park’s remote desert location and uncomfortable heat drove away most of the potential customers.

The facility, which was located about 20 miles outside of Phoenix, was also hard to reach due to the lack of major roads at the time.

It operated for two seasons before it was abandoned in 1966, providing little more than a landmark to many traveling the interstate to and from California for 50 years.

In 1998, the race track made a brief appearance in the action film No Code of Conduct with Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen. 

The film crew staged a large explosion inside the structure, which killed at least 50 pigeons and badly injured about 140 more that had been roosting inside.

The 194-acre property was listed for sale for $16.5million in December 2015, but the deal fell through.

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Phoenix Trotting Park was eventually demolished in 2017 due to safety concerns, with a number of trespassers visiting the abandoned facility.

For many local residents, it was an eyesore, but for others, it was a piece of Arizona history.

“I really wish somebody could have done something with it instead of just tearing it down,” one local resident said

“It used to be a beautiful piece of architecture. 

“For its time, it was state of the art. It’s kind of sad to see it go.”



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