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Author Topic: Liberty Bell Park 1963  (Read 1696 times)
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« on: September 22, 2010, 08:36:20 PM »

A couple of excerpts from the June 1963 Hoof Beats article:

Liberty Bell Park
Philly Ready For The Fillies!
By Mort Berry

WHEN VIBRANT Michael J. ONeill took office as president, Liberty Bell Park was a tract of 300 rolling acres of verdant countryside, geographically close to the grove where William Penn dealt honorably with the Indians.

Today Liberty Bell Park is harness racing's newest and most glittering showcase. Drivers, trainers, owners and others who have had preview peeks of the mammouth establishment situated wholly within Philadelphia's limits, have pinched themselves. Upon discovering painfully (pinches hurt) that they were awake, they promptly proclaimed it "a dream track."

It is fitting such a track should be the site where night pari‑mutuel racing will be introduced to Pennsylvania when Liberty Bell Park's inaugural 50‑night meeting opens Friday, June 7, and extends through Saturday, August 3. (In all, 100 nights of racing will be conducted at Liberty Bell Park this year for the track will be the scene of William Penn Racing Association's 50‑night meeting, Monday, September 2, through Tuesday, October 29.)

 It is fitting Liberty Bell Park should have a history‑making role for when horse racing came to the colonies it arrived in Philadelphia in the form of harness racing. Pace racing became so popular on Sassafras Street the city fathers renamed the thoroughfare Race Street. Close to a century and a half ago, trotters attracted appreciative sports lovers to the Hunting Park Course in the Nicetown section of old Philadelphia. Archives preserved by the Pennsylvania Historical Society described the Hunting Park Course as "one of the greatest in the country."

Leave us be off to the stable area as a starting point. Situated in the northern portion of the well‑designed complex, it affords comfortable accommodations for 1200 horses. The stables are the newest in fire‑resistant construction. Made of cinder block and oak, the stables have fire walls as an added safety feature. And that is not all. Each stall is equipped with a sprinkler.

The stable area is divided into two neighboring sectors. One is encompassed by a five‑eighth mile training track which is a replica of the racing course. Here the stables are in a terrain depressed to permit visibility from one side of the track to the other and to allow horsemen confined to their stall areas to watch the horses.
A wide underpass permits access from the other stable area. A ramp at the SE corner is utilized to bring horses on and off the training track.

The track is 90 feet wide. It is graded for better surface drainage and has a French‑drain base so that prolonged rain, frost or thaw figure to have no ill effect upon the track which was built under the supervision of Tex Tankersley.
George Ritter is in charge of maintenance of the track. This in itself is a guarantee the track will be fast.
The lighting of the five‑eighths mile track will have the brightness provided by the latest quartz‑iodine lights.
Ground has been graded for a one‑mile track should Liberty Bell have occasion to present a classic event in future years.
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 08:37:57 PM »

Liberty Bell was a great place, used to go on Sunday nights when it was the only action around.

Thanks for posting this.
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 09:30:57 PM »

  Liberty Bell had the best paddock of any track I've ever been to. Didn't care much for the barn area inside the jog track.  Just like at PD, makes for a lot of dust on hot, dry days.  Grooms quarters sucked, but what ones don't?
  Great track to ship in to, I didn't really enjoy stabling there.  Plus, back then, you had to be 21 to drink in PA. Hop across the bridge to Jersey and you only had to be 18.  Cheesy
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Is it me, Baby, or just a brilliant disguise?
old guy
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Posts: 128

« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 03:24:37 AM »

Liberty Bell was great, but it was here and now gone. Brandywine was great, here and gone. Roosevelt was great, here and gone. Meadowlands was great here and Huh??. itwas a nice sport or business while it lasted
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