Although simulcasting action will continue, Sunday marked the final night of live harness racing action at Toledo's Raceway Park. Approximately 3,500 patrons came to watch the last of the live racing that the historic track will offer since opening the doors in 1959.
The evening's weather was not good, but the rain did not dampen the life that was felt within the grandstands. The stands were crowded and the evening's handle ($221,749) was in excess of 50 percent over last year's closing day's handle ($147,482).
Among various events throughout the evening, fans enjoyed special guest announcers who had previously called the action at Raceway Park. Hall of Fame announcer Sam McKee was joined by fellow announcers Steve Cross, John Pawlak, Ayers Ratliff and Ron Sobczack.
Reminiscent conversations were heard throughout the facility. Names such as Charlie Brown, Mel Chupp, Jay Cross, Jeff Fout, Mark and Greg Grismore, Bev Haywood, Jimmy Landess and Mike Rosengarten, as well as Candy Super Star, Grandpa's Liquor, Grain Dealer and Scotch Baker were often heard as people discussed their favorite Raceway Park horses and drivers.
Raceway Park thanks their loyal fans, horsemen and employees for their efforts and decades of dedication, loyalty and support. Although it is emotional to close a chapter in history, it is exciting to start writing another.
Two brand new harness tracks are being built in Ohio and will offer much larger purses and increased opportunities to the Ohio horse industry. Ohio's harness racing scene is on a fast track to increased popularity and prosperity.
The 2014 racing season will be held at a brand new facility, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway. (Raceway Park)