4/10/2010 Midwest / Canada: Running At the River

  • April 14, 2010
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A manhole cover between the clubhouse and paddock tells the tale. It reads "1925 Union Gas and Electric Co." That was the year Coney Island racetrack held its first meet adjacent to the Ohio River just east of Cincinnati, Ohio. And, like the utility company, the track eventually changed its name and continues operating today.

River Downs, which will race for the 86th consecutive season in 2010, is a gem as racetracks go. The old photographs on the walls of the clubhouse show scenes from decades ago that really aren't much different than scenes of today. If the glass that encloses the two levels of the clubhouse were removed, the structure would look like it did 50 years ago, save for some touch-ups. The view from the grandstand hasn't changed much, either: The Ohio River and the hills of Northern Kentucky frame the backstretch; the manicured infield and turf course are always green in spring, summer, and fall.

River Downs isn't lost in time; improvements have been made over the years. Aesthetically, time has been rather kind. Trends in the pari-mutuel industry, however, have not.

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