Jackson Harness Raceway, 1948-2008
Jackson Harness Raceway hung in there for 60 years, opening for business in 1948. It may not have had a clubhouse, but it did have the Sulky Lounge that could cram 100 customers inside. Eventually, the lounge would seat 250 customers. The grandstand held 6,500, the barn area horse stall space was 500, and housing space for stable help was 16.
Dollar nights at the track were cool…..all your favorites for just one buck: dollar beers, dollar bets, and dollar hot dogs!
The raceway and the atmosphere were instant crowd-pleasers, and the raceway prospered up until the 1970s. It continued along into the 1990s but by then, attendance was wearing thin and finances were struggling.
In the early 2000s, casino gaming came to Michigan. MTR Gaming acquired the harness raceway and the hope that casinos would be combined with race tracks – “racinos” – spread, with Jackson Harness Raceway in the running. But unfortunately, the gaming commission had no intention of including Michigan’s race tracks to their gaming.
As we now know, casinos were legalized in Michigan, but race tracks were left out in the cold, with “racinos” a dead word. With that, MTR closed down the raceway for good in 2008.
It re-opened on July 8, 2018 for one last ‘day at the races’ for the fans before demolition on the track began. The track is known today as Keeley Park.
Scroll down and re-live the track one more time…
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