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Author Topic: Cahokia  (Read 1501 times)
wilderness
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« on: April 11, 2007, 09:32:59 AM »

'm hoping somebody may fill in this missing gap.

Formerly (1966-79) located in East St. Louis, Missouri

Some type of facility had its beginnings in 1892:

"race-horse track was constructed in 1892 at the intersection of the
Southern Railroad and the Illinois Central Railroad south of 8th and Piggot
Avenue. So successful were the races, that the meet continued through the
winter months. The grandstand and betting ring were enclosed in glass and
heated by coal stoves."
www.riverweb.uiuc.edu/IBEX/guidebook/early_history.htm

the following for 1954:
The village of Alcoa is incorporated. Its name will be later changed to
Alorton. which is a contraction of Aluminum Ore Town. At the time, the
village only had a population of about 2,000 residents. Most of the people
living there moved in from East St. Louis. In 1954, the placed doubled its
size when it annexed a two-mile square tract which included Cahokia Downs
race track.
http://www.eslarp.uiuc.edu/ibex/archive/nunes/timeline/193744.htm

I saw another reference which said the facility was built in the 20's.

Cahokia Downs with the chute opened for a 30-day meet of harness racing in
1957 (have the Harness Horse articles and some photo's). [Ed Keller was the
GM in 1957] Ted Ketchum converted the T-Bred surface to a S-Bred surface.

 There is NOT, however any reference to Cahokia in my 1958 archives.

The next references I have are from the USTA Trotting and Pacing Guides
which list the track as "reopened in 1966" and is the Cahokia most people
knew, shutting down in 1979.

Anybody have a clue what happened between 1958 & 1966?
At least for harness racing!
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wilderness
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2007, 11:53:12 AM »

Recently added a page for Aurora Downs. (a works in progress).

Please keep in mind that this link will NOT

work from with the Barn to Wire web pages.
To view the page, you need to copy and paste the link into your web browser's address bar.

http://www.mi-harness.net/trks/auroradwns.html


« Last Edit: April 11, 2007, 11:54:48 AM by wilderness » Report to moderator   Logged

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Dan Villeky
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2007, 01:11:31 PM »

Recently added a page for Aurora Downs. (a works in progress).


http://www.mi-harness.net/trks/auroradwns.html




Were the purses indicated on the condition sheet adjusted for inflation, it might show that they were racing for more back then (50 years ago) then they are now------------------------------sad.
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wilderness
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2007, 02:15:44 PM »

Were the purses indicated on the condition sheet adjusted for inflation, it might show that they were racing for more back then (50 years ago) then they are now------------------------------sad.

 Dan,
         Those Golden Days were a special time.

 Despite what the majority believe today, in those times, the tracks actually got in the BLACK profit margins off of concessions, paid attendance, programs and all the other fringe items they sold.

 Today's emptied track patrons can hardly imagine standing in long lines for crappy hot dogs and then going to a counter with both unclean and empty condiments on hand Wink
 The tracks don't have those profits today and bad customer service is the primary reason.

 Course, that's not all that has influenced declining crowds on hand!
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Dan Villeky
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2007, 02:58:15 PM »

Not only that but the races at Aurora could be viewed from your car if you parked up near the turn for home. The admission charges were for those who wanted to place a bet. My dad would tell us to "watch the buggies, I'll be right back" and my sister and I would do just that as he went inside and bet the whole card then came back and taught us how to bet "the buggies". He tried to justify his bets I think.
Red McKlyo, first horse I ever bet on and my favorite 'Downs" horse ever since.
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wilderness
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2007, 03:36:16 PM »

I have some detail on Red Mcklyo from the 1948-50 issues.

Three scanned images as well, although not superb quality (two are acceptable).

 If your interested?
PM me your email address and I'll send.
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wilderness
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2007, 08:54:15 AM »

I've added some information (from the Dec 31, 1958 Harness Horse) to the web page on Aurora Downs.
The brief paragrphs are a gem, providing insight of the winners on opening day in 1891 as well as an explantion in the gap (1951-1958) that I was looking to fill.

 
 
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talking head
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2007, 11:35:27 AM »

Cakokia Downs was located near Fairmount Park which is in  Collinsville Ilinois! I remember going to the runners their one night after watching the Illinois State fair Races in Springfield!
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wilderness
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2007, 12:03:00 PM »

The following from the Oct 23. 1957 Harness Horse and also mention's Phil's "Sea Eagle":

Cahokia Downs
EAST ST. LOUIS, MO.
Three﷓quarter Mile Track
October 19-A pair of late rushes made for a successful debut at Cahokia Downs tonight for the youthful C. M. Saunders Stable trainerdriver, Jimmy Fitzpatrick.
In a pacing feature Jimmy brought the powerful Sea Eagle out in the final quarter and won going away over a good field in 2:03, fastest mile of the meeting thus far over Ted Ketcham's superbly conditioned strip.
The week's top trotting attraction, a B class affair, also fell to the Saunders string, but only after a strenuous stretch battle from which the excellent winner, Payne Hanover, emerged in the final strides to give Fitzpatrick his second success of the evening. Zeb's Signal Queen and Jude Hanover followed the Titan Hanover three-year-old across the wire. The mile was in 2:054/5, best effort of the week by a trotter.
Although harassed by inclement weather during the first week of the meeting, officials of the Egyptian Trotting Association are confident of a successful session. The track was a good, safe strip Monday and Tuesday despite heavy rains both days. Minor washouts in two spots on the oval caused the cancellation of the Wednesday card. On the following night, however, a large crowd was on hand for a combined stake program, highlighted by the convincing win in 2:054/5 by Ozark Pride, the four-year-old half-brother to Ozark Chief p, 1:594/5h. With owner Bob Byrne in the sulky the son of Widow's Pride, got away last from behind Dale Fetrow's gate, but improved his position steadily during the early racing. At the top of the stretch Ozark Pride charged around the leaders in the 11-horse field and was strong enough in the lane to hold off a fast-closing Boomtown.

Photo text:
The Missouri reinsman Robert Byrne is joined by his wife in the winner's circle at Cahokia Downs after Ozark Pride captured a Thursday feature in 2:054/5, winning in a photo over Boomtown, handled by Jack Beltz. The black gelding is a half-brother to Ozark Chief p, 1:594/5h, and in 18 starts in his first season at the races has won 12, finished second once and has been third twice.

Bonnie Will, a free﷓legged pacing daughter of Wilmington, in the Cahokia Downs ring after beating a field of fillies and mares in 2:093/5 for driver Alvin Tucker. With this win the four-year-old Kentucky owned mare boosted her earnings for the season to more than $5,000.
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wilderness
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2007, 12:49:50 PM »

from the Feb 25, 1958 Harness Horse and Aurora

Aurora Set For Saturday Opening
Although temperature readings have hit anywhere from four below at Aurora Downs Friday morning, to ten below at Jerry Baier's farm at Elgin, just 18 miles north, the toughest winter that even the oldtimers hereabouts can recall, has not deterred the officials of Aurora from the completion of the preparations for the
beginning of the racing season here, February 28. To most who knew Aurora, and how the track had deteriorated since that last meeting in 1951, it was hardly conceivable that even modern day miracles could transform the beaten, broken down race track into a modern plant by Saturday afternoon.
With the temperatures hovering down around the zero mark for weeks on end, such things as completely rebuilding the racing strip, tearing out the old lighting system, putting in a new and modern one; completely making over both grandstand and clubhouse, painters who had to go over Just about every stick of wood on the plant; getting in a new water system, with some 18 inches and more of frost in the ground, were only a few of the problems that president David Schwanz and his associates had to contend with and overcome. Next Saturday afternoon's inaugural will not, of course, bring all the work on improvements to Aurora to a close. This will be but the finish of the several stages that have been set up, one of which is a de luxe Hilton motel, right on the grounds, a first in trotting history.
Stables have been rolling in all during the past three days, and Monday morning will find the horse colony here boosted up to the 400 mark, coming from North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio and other nearby states. The Ohio contingent at the track is a formidable one, and the Buckeye boys promise to have quite a little to say about just who is going to step into the winner's circle.
Racing secretary Ed Keller was well pleased with the support accorded the late﷓closing stake features. The Inaugural for next Saturday afternoon is certain to draw enough through the box Thursday morning to make two divisions necessary. A 10﷓race card, with a two o'clock post, will provide plenty of excitement for the race fans. If advance interest is any criterion, and it should be, trot followers from many a distant point will be wending their way to Aurora Downs next Saturday morning. It may be just a mite cool outside, but for the fans, grandstand and clubhouse will be both warm and comfortable.
Aside from the five Saturday matinees, post time Monday through Friday will be at 8:30 in the evening.

http://www.mi-harness.net/eur/AuroraDownsStretch.jpg

Stretch view at Aurora Downs where the 202-night Illinois harness racing season begins February 28. Both the grandstand and clubhouse have been glass enclosed and heated to insure every race track comfort for the fans attending the earliest Parimutuel meeting in the northern United States on record. Purses at racetracks in the Chicago area will total some $3,000,000 this year, the richest racing in Prairie State history.

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Earl Sande
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2007, 02:56:23 PM »

Missed this post when it was up originally but I'll tell you what I know.
Cahokia Downs (located about ten miles south of Fairmount) opened for thoroughbreds in 1954. Don't know about their early harness meets, I thought they had harness meets between '58 and '66 but not sure. Do still recall that there wasn't much room to turn around in their "about" 1 and 1/16 mile chute. Cka 3/4 was the only game in Southern Illinois for a couple years after the FP grandstand burnt down but once Fairmount came back it was history. Thoroughbreds trained their into the early 1990s, then it sat empty. A few years ago they built a truck terminal, truck stop and gas station there. A couple of the camera towers are still there.
You also might be interested in knowing that Fairmount had harness meets in '48 and '49, but then never had another harness meet until '66.
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wilderness
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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2007, 03:06:47 PM »

Missed this post when it was up originally but I'll tell you what I know.
Cahokia Downs (located about ten miles south of Fairmount) opened for thoroughbreds in 1954. Don't know about their early harness meets, I thought they had harness meets between '58 and '66 but not sure. Do still recall that there wasn't much room to turn around in their "about" 1 and 1/16 mile chute. Cka 3/4 was the only game in Southern Illinois for a couple years after the FP grandstand burnt down but once Fairmount came back it was history. Thoroughbreds trained their into the early 1990s, then it sat empty. A few years ago they built a truck terminal, truck stop and gas station there. A couple of the camera towers are still there.
You also might be interested in knowing that Fairmount had harness meets in '48 and '49, but then never had another harness meet until '66.

 Many thanks.

I have 1947 & 1948 articles from Harness Horse of Fairmount with some nice images.

from 1949 I have 14-articles/summaries with many images.
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wilderness
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2009, 12:22:09 PM »

An old thread that turned in to Aurora.

Bump!

I've really not that much on Cahokia.
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Mel from Moline
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2009, 05:09:53 PM »

I was at cahokia in the late 70's when my grandfather trained T'Breds....it was nasty. Lousy backside. wilderness, i have one correction for your story though, It's East St. Louis ILLINOIS, not MO. Last I knew they still had T'breds there for a training place, no grandstand or anything. It is in view from I 64 as you come into the interchange with 265?(I think).
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Horses make the humans...not the other way around.
ILHorseman65
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2009, 10:18:41 PM »

Theres no training center there anymore the trck is gone theres another business there now
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