What About the Jobs? See Hollywood Park (And the Redevelopment of These Other Shuttered Tracks)

To paraphrase an old legal adage, if you have the facts on your side, pound the facts; if you have the truth on your side, pound the truth; if you have neither, pound the table and yell like hell. We – see this website – have the first two; they – the racing industry and its slow-witted apologists – are yelling, or distracting, like hell. With each passing day, as the desperation mounts, they search for something, anything, to hold on to; lately, it’s been all about “jobs,” or more specifically, what will become of all the hard-working folk of racing should we, the evil activists, get our wish and racing is defunded (has its subsidies stripped away) and/or outlawed. Well.

Here are some of the racetracks that have closed since the turn of the century and the redevelopment that has (is) followed (following). New jobs. New business. New tax revenue. New, in-demand replacing old, no-longer-viable – the American economic system as it was designed to function. And moral progress, to boot. Imagine that.

Hollywood Park, California, closed 2013
undergoing massive mixed-use redevelopmentjobs, lots of them

Bay Meadows, California, closed 2008
underwent a massive mixed-use redevelopment – homes, offices, retail, parks

Suffolk Downs, Massachusetts, closed 2019
plans for massive mixed-use redevelopment – commercial, retail, residential

Portland Meadows, Oregon, closed 2019
plans for industrial redevelopment – warehousing, distribution, light manufacturing

Hazel Park, Michigan, closed 2018
undergoing commercial redevelopment

Maywood Park, Illinois, closed 2015
undergoing major industrial and retail redevelopment with a projected 700 new jobs

Anthony Downs, Kansas, closed 2009
residential redevelopment

Rockingham Park, New Hampshire, closed 2009
undergoing massive mixed-use redevelopment – with a projected 6,000 jobs

Jackson Harness Raceway, Michigan, closed 2008
plans for a new convention center

Sportsman’s Park, Illinois, closed 2002
redeveloped as a shopping center

Garden State Park Racetrack, New Jersey, closed 2001
underwent a massive mixed-use redevelopment – homes, retail, restaurants

Playfair Race Course, Washington, closed 2001
underwent massive industrial/commercial redevelopment

25 Comments

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  1. Del Mar Race track sits on 225 acres of the most prime property here in San Diego. However that race track is also used for many other events during the year. Dumping horse racing would be no problem to the facility. That track would be perfect for sports events such as soccer. The racetrack has been there for 80 years. It is time to shut the racetrack down!

  2. If someone knows the details please help. It’s my understanding that Illinois has passed a racino bill and approved new tracks. Horse racing was almost gone. Shameful.

    • I F’nnnnnnnnnnnnn HATE ugly ass Illinois. That is Stomach churning. I pray to god it’s not true,those people are stone cold LOSERS!!!!!!!

  3. Alan -From what I have been following on paulick- there is talk of coupling racing with casinos in Illinois. But it also sounds like Churchill Downs Inc (CDI), who owns Arlington Park, is not planning on supporting Arlington park much, and there’s a possibility it may close soon. I haven’t kept a very close eye on the situation though, but I have read that the horseman are not happy with this. What may happen is what happened in Ohio, where they closed one track (Beulah) but opened another as a replacement (mahoning). Hopefully not though.
    The other situation I’m following with interest is the Great Barrington racetrack situation. They are attempting to start races up again in Massachusetts to make up for Suffolk downs closing- and they have approached the townsfolk with town hall meetings – and the majority of the town is opposed to it!! Kudos to them! They cite cruelty to animals, potential crime, traffic, and the unnecessary use of local resources as their reasons! They aren’t being swayed by the potential “jobs” argument! Good on them- keep up the good fight!!

    • Thank You Peggy (as usual) best news yet. Tax payer money needs to be used for helping our population,end of story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. The (elimination of) jobs argument used by industry insiders is downright insulting to those who work the hardest — and are paid the least — on the steadily-shrinking backstretches of U.S. tracks. The absurd suggestion that, when racing is banned, these workers and their families will end up homeless and destitute is a colossal insult to the work ethic of these mostly-immigrant employees.
    In actuality, most of these folks will prosper immediately in other industries that require their labors. Better yet, their new jobs won’t be based on animal cruelty and abuse.

  5. Disgusting! Paving over paradise. Let us see how much open space we can fill with chain stores and restaurants filled with boring plebs.

    • Maybe I missed your point but a racetrack is not open space and rezoning an existing commercial property to open space is about impossible. Maybe you’ll elaborate.

    • ??- most of the tracks I’ve been too have been far from paradise. Shabby barns, weeds, broken up concrete, and old structures in disrepair, or new structures that are already getting beaten up and becoming run down, old junk broken vehicles, dorms and bathrooms that are not fit for use… they may look nice from the grandstand, then the backside is a far different picture. This was my first real big disappointment in the world of horse racing.

      • Peggy, most all tracks owned by The Stronach Group (TSG) received unprecedented tax breaks, corporate welfare, and/or taxpayers/casino money in exchange for upgrading stable area facilities because they were deemed uninhabitable, dilapidated and a public safety issue especially in California.
        However, Maryland is no different and, in fact, TSG had 12 years of unprecedented financial support from the public coffers to fulfill their legal obligations neither of which has been completed or, in some cases, not even started.
        In some cases, the money they received was re-designated and put into other projects not approved by the government while the financial sweet deals continued.
        As shown above all developments taking place on debunked track properties look great for our communities, and are providing lots of good jobs that are not dependent on the public coffers .
        Furthermore, another often overlooked issue is that of the negative environmental impact on local communities.
        When racetracks were built years ago, they were intentionally built in what was then a “rural” area on the outskirts of urban areas for the very reason of tons of manure, chemicals, and odor.
        However, most all tracks are now within the city limits surrounded by urban sprawl.
        Yet, the results of doing business with racehorses are still present with little oversight.
        For example, Del Mar sits right on the ocean and it probably is being directly affected by the emissions of horse racing where people take their children to swim and surf.
        There are just so many wrongs to this business.
        It’s had it’s day, but it needs to go and the shut down of many tracks are inevitable especially when our politicians stop financially supporting this because taxpayers want their precious dollars going to community services such as education not to support people who abuse and kill racehorses.

      • Totally agree Gina. The first track I was exposed to was a Magna property. I first went there when I was 6. It seemed beautiful then- in my child’s eyes. But truth be known – I only had eyes for the horses. I was in love. Fast forward about 25 years. I was welcomed to the backside by a friend who was a pony girl. Some of the barns looked like tin shanty towns. It was awful. I was sad that the horses were living in these conditions- and that their humans were OK with it. I wanted to take all the horses home and get them out of there. Hasn’t improved much since then.

    • Yeah! Those boring plebs got nothing on the fascinating, intellectual powerhouses who spend all their time, energy, and money betting on abused animals day in and day out. Let’s knock out some elementary schools to make room for more horse tracks, while we’re at it.

  6. The government should invest in educating people who are working on the tracks for minimum wage or less, if it’s “under the table” type work! Make sure they acquire other skills allowing them to find a job that does NOT include torturing horses!! Such a lame excuse for a “problem” with a very easy solution!!
    Disgusting how they invoke the loss of jobs but No one cares about all the equine losses day in and day out!! Racing needs to stop. NOW!

  7. Thanks Patrick for such an excellent article!
    The developments on former track properties are beautiful sites instead of watching a racehorse get beaten to perform while snapping their legs-off.
    Furthermore, the quality of the jobs are so much better than the vile abyss and the daily grind of track life.
    A common thread for most all tracks listed above is that they were not financially supported by taxpayers money and/or casino profits, which clearly supports our claims that most tracks in America would shut down if it weren’t for handouts.
    It’s time to stop the funding, take away their chains, dope, beating, dumping and killing.
    It’s long overdue to shut this antiquated business model down, give the billions of casino profits to our communities and children.
    Above all, it’s time to liberate racehorses from these slave masters.

  8. Yes, horse racing creates jobs. But so does coal mining, fracking, and oil drilling. But they are all misdirected jobs that need to end, due to the problems they create. Find another job!

  9. Slavery was once a thriving business, but the world moved on when it was abolished. Why are people fighting to keep an industry alive (and that just barely) that is built on and maintains itself on the abuse and death of sentient beings? The American economy will not collapse if horses aren’t dying in the dirt for $2 bets.

  10. The jobs issue is feeble and they know that. Most of the “jobs” in this business are held by exploited illegals.
    The money in this corrupt business is in the pockets of the wealthy breeders and the wealthy trainers. Because of the money these individuals enjoy through the cruel exploitation of the horse, we know, they and other misguided individuals, will not “go quietly into the night”.
    To these people I say time and evolution are not on your side.

  11. I always find the loss of jobs argument interesting. Look at the coal industry. It is in a precipitous decline and it is NEVER coming back to the way it was years ago. Same with video rental stores. There was a Blockbuster store five minutes from where I lived and it is now a thriving restaurant with long waits on weekends to get a table. I believe all the Blockbuster stores have closed across the country except for a handful. People lost their jobs when coal and video stores experienced declining revenue and shut their doors but do you ever hear people moaning and groaning about those lost jobs? Then we have the photo industry. I’m sure most of us older folks can remember the Kodak cameras but now we have phones that are capable of taking quality pics so who need a disposable camera? Industries evolve. That is Business 101. Finally, jobs and tradition should NEVER be an excuse for animal exploitation….NEVER.

  12. The big lie here is that the racing industry ever cared about their workers in the first place. They of course have been exploiting poor people and people of color for years. Just as they have exploited the horses.

  13. When every component of a business is destructive and deadly, it doesn’t matter about whatever jobs it created – it needs to end. This is called obsolescence. Something better will take its place. It is how civilization and society progresses. Trying to use the job card in bad industries is a massively stupid argument used by massively stupid people.
    Great article, and I am glad to see so many closed racetracks. Now close the rest of them.

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