A track that first hosted Thoroughbred races in 1906, the 110-year-old Rockingham Park in New Hampshire shuttered its doors for good on Aug. 31 this year. It hadn't hosted a Thoroughbred race since 2002, though harness racing appeared at the fixture for several years.
In her WordPress blog, racing enthusiast Carly Kaiser took one last look at Rockingham Park before demolition scars it beyond recognition.
“The track is referred to just as 'the rock,'” Kaiser wrote, “and suspiciously that part of the tote board sign is missing.
“The whole experience really had almost a post-apocalyptic vibe to it everywhere I went,” she continued. “From the stands to the backside a lot of things were just abandoned and falling apart.”
Check out Kaiser's extensive photo blog here.
The track's website is still active, for now, and contains a detailed timeline of Rockingham history. Interesting facts from the page include:
- August 1934: Greyhound, the trotter known as the “Grey Ghost”, notched his first career victory before becoming the world's fastest trotter with a time of 1:55:1 in 1935 for trainer-driver Sep Palin.
- 1951: Rockingham became the first track to use the moving starting gate.
- 1958: The national Jockeys Guild named Lou Smith “Man of the Year” for making Rockingham the first track to offer insurance to riders, and for his other actions to benefit the health and safety of riders.
- September 2, 1967: Hall of Famer Dr. Fager, the greatest horse ever to run at Rockingham, carried the Tartan Stable colors to victory in the New Hampshire Sweepstakes. “The Doctor”, who would be voted Horse of The Year in 1968, set a track record of 1:59:4 for the 1¼ mile. That year “The Doctor” also set a track record for the 1 1/8 mile in the Rockingham Special.
- July 17, 1984: The sensational two-year-old filly Mom's Command made her racing debut and came from last to first to win the Fanueil Miss Stakes by a head and pay $91.40.
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