The Redevelopment of Shuttered Tracks Is a Beautiful Thing

From the intro to our “Tracks Close; New, Better Jobs Follow” page…

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

Here are some of the racetracks that have closed since the turn of the century, and the redevelopment that followed. 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.

On our list of shuttered tracks is Scarborough Downs, an erstwhile harness venue in Maine that closed in 2020 after 70 years of animal abuse. Last month, the Portland Press Herald ran a short piece on the redevelopment of that property, opening with this:

“The Downs will break ground Wednesday on a new town center at the heart of the 525-acre former racetrack property. [T]he first phase of town center development will include businesses, boutiques, restaurants, housing, tree-lined sidewalks, walking trails and recreational greenspace.”

Part of the tract has already been redeveloped, including a brand-new Costco, set to open this month. Again, new, better jobs; new, higher tax revenue; new, desperately-needed housing. So what else you got, racing industry?

A few pics taken by HW of the shuttered Scarborough…

And some of the already-completed housing. Now, doesn’t that look a whole lot better?

Subscribe and Get Notified of New Posts


  1. Personally can`t stand the look of that type of row houses but the new Costco & the new shops as well as the green space will be a huge improvement over a harness track any day! It is well known that Costco pays well & has good benefits for its workers. Every time I drive by the now redeveloped Portland Meadows racetrack here in Portland ,Oregon I give a thumbs up to Amazon for buying the property & building their distribution center & office complex. They even have some of their roads named for equine themes.

  2. That abandoned cart makes for a beautiful photo – here’s holding onto the hope that we will see ALL tracks torn down and redeveloped in our lifetime.

  3. I have visions/fantasies about all the wonderful things they could do with that space in Saratoga if the racing stopped: equine medical center? Research center? The possibilities are endless. And someone might want to remind the politicians that race track jobs are usually poorly paid, often seasonal, and some are dangerous. Race track workers would do much better retrained to work at something productive and better paid.

  4. The real estate at Delmar and Santa Anita is undoubtedly worth a fortune. Oceanfront property and those mountain views. Voila!

    • The value of the real estate if sold for redevelopment is worth more than what it is worth as what it is being used for now from what I understand. I’m not sure what The Stronach Group is holding on to it for other than the mass displacement of the different groups of people involved in this cruel gambling industry. You know even Dianne Feinstein was concerned about what would happen to the employees at Golden Gate Fields when it closes permanently.
      The so-called horsemen need to get a life that doesn’t involve the inhumane treatment of horses.

  5. I’ve attended, watched, bet on horses and partied at racetracks all over the country. Some, for example – like Santa Anita, Saratoga, Del Mar, Hialeah, Belmont Park, Gulfstream Park, Monmouth Park, are exquisitely beautiful – and only enhanced a “fun” afternoon at the races.

    However, the horror and ugliness that the poor horses are forced to endure belies the beauty of the natural surroundings of these race tracks. Coupled with an increased awareness of the dark underbelly of racing, a steadily declining handle, and a low interest in following the ‘sport’, particularly among younger people, and yeah, horse racing, you’ve seen your day. Other than the industry’s own ‘spin’ on horse racing, really, I see nothing positive in the news about this sport. Rather, it’s dominated by coverage of rampant drug use, cheating, doping. cruelty, animal abuse, and scandalous gossip about all those directly involved.

    In 1973, when Secretariat won the Triple Crown he made the front pages of all the newspapers. No, not the sports section – the front pages!

    Today most newspapers don’t even consider any coverage whatsoever on horse racing.

    So, how much longer can this industry, which is not even CLOSE to supporting itself without lots of help from taxpayer-funded subsidies, continue to survive like this? Particularly when the actual venues which conduct the racing are shuttering, one by one?

    Answer: don’t bet on it surviving another 20 years.

    Sure, the ‘big guns’, like Saratoga, the Triple Crown and the Breeders Cup will be the last to go, but with [as reported here] a 6.7% drop in handle on the Breeder’s Cup, which is considered to be racing’s biggest weekend – where are we going? I think I read an article some time ago about Saratoga where Mr. Battuello was interviewed about his opinions on horse racing, and the interviewer poignantly stated, like Mr. Battuello, he wouldn’t take a bet on horse racing thriving, let alone even surviving in the future.

    It won’t. And I’ll certainly take that bet.

  6. Re demise of Roosevelt Raceway, Westbury NY
    On opening night (September 2, 1940) the horse, Miss June, collapsed and died on the track after winning the fifth race.
    The grandstand and stables began to decay and the track removed.[38] Although shopping centers were soon built on the former parking lots and stable areas, the grandstand would not be demolished until 2002.
    Little remains of Roosevelt Raceway, other than the name, which still graces a shopping center, known as Westbury Plaza, and an AMC Theatres movie theater located on the former parking lot. The site of the grandstand and track which lay vacant for years is now the site of a luxury condominium complex, Meadowbrook Pointe, which began operation in 2006. The shopping center and movie theater are located five minutes away from the Roosevelt Field Mall.[39] The area to the east, now a Home Depot, was the location of the stables. The last plot of Raceway property was converted into the Archstone and Avalon apartment complexes. The street names within Avalon are inspired by the track, with names such as Roosevelt Way and Trotting Lane.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: