Reminiscing/ Detroit Race Course


DRC last race ever Chart Nov. 8 1998


Believe me the MAIN picture had a 100 people jammed into that Winner Circle. This was just an after picture. And this one above may disappear.

The Detroit Race Course (DRC) opens in 1950 and Livonia Township becomes the city of Livonia to qualify for revenue from the new track.

In 1998 Livonia voted to Destroy DRC. The track that made them a city.

And in 1998 the Distribution of Pari-Mutual Wagering Revenues to Livonia received from DRC was:

Rebate: $694,969.92

Expenditures: $482,103.68

Page 13

I wonder what they made off Meijers in 1999?

Throughout Michigan’s History the Horse Race Tracks have raked in the dough for the state. PAGE 7

And Page 14 in the ORC 2007 annual report will pick it up from where it left off.

DRC downfall came from two entities Hartman & Tyner who should have never been allowed to acquire DRC in the first place since these two same owners already owned Hazel Park.

They had already turned Hazel into a dump. And did the same to DRC.

Then came along the most destructive one, Ladbroke. A name I cannot stand. This English group were the biggest bookmaking business back in England. They didn’t give one iota about LIVE racing. They just wanted a betting parlor.

Ladbroke had purchased DRC in 1985. The very first track in America they were able to get their hands on. They went after Turf Paradise initially but failed. How lucky for us. Then in 1988 they bought The Meadows in Pittsburgh, 1989-leased it in 2001- sold in 06, Golden Gate Fields in San Francisco sold to Magna in 99, 1990 Canterbury Park in Minnesota only to close it down in 1992. It was re-purchased and re-opened as Canterbury Downs.

On one site I had to laugh or cry depends how you look at it.

” In the next few years’ horizons began to expand. In 1985 Ladbroke opened 438 betting shops in Belgium to cater for increased demand. They also moved into the United States, opening at racetracks and in telephone betting theatres, the largest of which was in the industrial heart of Detroit “.

The HEART OF DETROIT? Yeah they stuck a knife into it and killed it off.

The thing is Ladbroke was already in partnership with DRC’s former owners Hartmen & Tyner on Canterbury when they all decided to close that track down.

Yet the State allowed this deal to go through. If you don’t think for one second that Hartmen & Tyner didn’t play a big part in what took place concerning DRC think again. They didn’t even have to whisper in the ears of their partners to sell and destroy their competition, Ladbroke was all to happy to accommodate the event. It was blatant by all.

The only race track Ladbroke was able to literally destroy was the Detroit Race Course. We were just another number to them and one less race track for Hazel Park Raceway to have to compete with.

With the other tracks they owned, they only owned the Tracks itself. With DRC they also acquired the land therefore they owned it lock, stock & barrel and when their demands of more gaming was completely blown off by then Governor Engler. They decided right then and there that DRC would be DESTROYED. Unlike the other tracks that had to be sold still as Race Tracks.

The only one who could have saved us was the City DRC made. Livonia.

At first the Livonia planning commission turned down the zoning request for a shopping center. 3-1

I went to every single council meeting Livonia held on DRC. Very few Livonia citizens attended. The ones who did, a few elderly people stood up and spoke. DRC is an eye sore. The workers there are undesirables.

Yes us people who got out of our beds at 5:00 am seven days a week from the first week of February when the stable area opened for training, to the closing of the live racing meet sometime between Nov. & Dec. were Horrid people. How undesirable to work from anywhere from 5:30 am to 6:30 pm at night depending of what we had running any particular day.

When others had Easter, Memorial day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving day off. Us race track stable area undesirables worked those days. With the care of Horses, there weren’t any days off. It was a 7 day a week job for almost 10 straight non stop months. How lowlife we were.

I shook my head at those meetings listening to all this shit. But they were right only about one thing. DRC was already a dump made a dump by Hartman & Tyner by time Ladbroke bought the place in 84. When they opened in 85 absolutely nothing had been done to improve the place and with Ladbroke only wanting a betting parlor they could have cared less.

In reality the day they brought in Bill McLaughlin, referred by many in the racing industry as the Dr. Kevorkian of race tracks. We knew we were done. He was the hatchet man for Ladbroke at Canterbury. In the second to last council meeting in Livonia still all were not on board with the shopping center idea. But whatever happened between the second to last and the last held on October 8, 1998. All of a sudden a feeling of sugar syrup was dripping from the ceiling of that last council meeting. Millennium who was the company purchasing DRC from Ladbroke and McLaughlin were smiling and laughing from ear to ear after the council voted Yes to the rezoning, voted down by the planning commission.

You couldn’t have convinced me that some $$$$ Had not by put into some pockets there before that last meeting even took place. Had it not been for Livonia caving and giving that vote to re-zone. Ladbroke would have been either forced to sit on the property forever paying taxes or selling that track still as a track. Livonia wanted DRC and all us undesirables both workers, patrons & whomever associated with DRC gone. They got their wish.

Along with the buildings, barns, track, & property ripped into shreds, thus so was our lives. Every single Thoroughbred Horseman & Woman livelihoods destroyed. We were the casualty Governor Engler and Livonia failed to see. So I’ll ask the same question I posed at the beginning. I wonder if the new Meijer’s brought in the same Revenue to Livonia?

I THINK NOT. Because shortly there after Livonia was crying broke as in LAD BROKE. And all I can say is they got what they begged for.

Just months after the new Meijers and other stores and restaurants were put up. I ran into two Livonia cops that worked plain clothes at DRC. With the already two murders that took place there and the countless runs for shoplifting’s, purse snatchings, carjackings, & robberies. In the first 6 months of that new shopping center the Livonia Police had more runs there then the 49 year history of the Detroit Race Course.

I know one thing whatever these crazy people thought of us or the gamblers who came to DRC everyday, Thieves and Murderers we weren’t. But they had them there now.

It wasn’t DRC that was the eye sore, it was when it was no longer standing there that it became one. And with it gone came the crime, Big Time.


Livonia never had it so good (click twice to ZOOM).

May 25, 1950… The legacy of Dale Shaffer.

DRF May, 2th 1950 on DRC

DRF_DRC 1950_Judges Stand

DRF_DRC 1950

DRF-DRC 1950


Personally I wouldn’t raise a RAT in Livonia now. With the continuous shutting of businesses there they’re looking like Detroit everyday. Another city Livonia considered to be an undesirable. As far as I’m concerned welcome to the club.

Detroit Race Track at the fairgrounds. “Seabiscuit”.

MR. LUCKY PHOENIX ridden by Brian Fan as he won the $100,000 Michigan Mile + 1/8


DRC Logo

Michigan Mile Winners (Complete List)

One Mile and One-Eighth

1949 – Sir Sprite (Jockey: H. Hart)
1950 – Fancy Flyer (Jockey: B. Gonzalez)
1951 – Kings Hope (Jockey: L.C. Cook)
1952 – Bully Boy (Jockey: S. Armstrong)
1953 – Second Avenue (Jockey: C. Bierman)
1954 – Spur On (Jockey: P. Baily)
1955 – Greatest (Jockey: T. Barrow)
1956 – Nonnie Jo (Jockey: L.C. Cook)
1957 – My Night Out (Jockey: E.J. Knapp)
1958 – Nearctic (Jockey: B. Sorenson)
1959 – Total Traffic (Jockey: H. Hinojosa)
1960 – Little Fitz (Jockey: W. Peake)
1961 – American Comet (Jockey: E.J. Knapp)
1962 – Beau Prince – (Jockey: S. Brooks)
1963 – Crimson Satan (Jockey: Hinojosa)
1964 – DH Going Abroad (Jockey: R. Broussard)
DH Tibaldo (Jockey: D. Gargan)
1965 – Old Hat (Jockey: R. Gallimore)
1966 – Stanislas (Jockey: D. Gargan)
1967 – Estreno II (Jockey: C. Marquez)
1968 – Nodouble (Jockey: M. Heath)
1969 – Calandrito (Jockey: C. Marquez)
1970 – Fast Hilarious (Jockey: C. Marquez)
1971 – Native Royalty (Jockey: R.J. Campbell)
1972 – DH King’s Bishop (Jockey: E. Maple)
DH Favorecidian (Jockey: A.Cordero Jr.)
1973 – Golden Don (Jockey: M. Manganello)
1974 – Tom Tulle (Jockey: C. Perret)
1975 – Mr. Lucky Phoenix (Jockey: B. Fann)
1976 – Sharp Gary (Jockey: S. Maple)
1977 – My Juliet (Jockey: A. Black)
1978 – A Letter To Harry (Jockey: E. Delahoussaye)
1979 – Sensitive Prince (Jockey: J. Vasquez)
1980 – Glorious Song (Jockey: J. Leblanc)
1981 – Fio Rito (Jockey: L. Hulet)
1982 – Vodika Collins (Jockey: J. Judice)
1983 – Thumbsucker (Jockey: A. Russo Jr.)
1984 – Timeless Native (Jockey: D. Brumfield)
1985 – Bandwagon Harry (Jockey: R. Lopez)
1986 – Ends Well (Jockey: R. Romero)
1987 – Waquoit (Jockey: C. McCarron)
1988 – Lost Code (Jockey: C. Perret)
1989 – Present Value (Jockey: F. Olivares)
1990 – Beau Genius (Jockey: R. Lopez)
1991 – Black Tie Affair (Jockey: P. Day)
1992 – Classic Seven (Jockey: F. Arguello Jr.)
1993 – Dignitas (Jockey: L. Melancon)

Last Year Mi. Mile Ran 1993.

* A big thank you to my friend and tribe member Chuck Kayson (exercise rider and valet) for sending me a wealth of knowledge in the form of a book of DRC stats.*


 ” Wolverine Raceway “

( Harness Links brought up pages Saturday a.m., Now? I’m getting 403 Error at present Sunday a.m )

Shelly Goudreau

In 1973 my Mom and a friend started to go to some harness races. Then both my parents would occasionally go. I was 16.

I started looking in the entries in the paper and strictly picked horses names to bet on. Whether my Mom and Millie or my parents would go. I’d give them a couple of bucks and write the name of the horse. To WIN.  Sometimes the only one who made a dime was me sitting at home. I started going out to DRC’s Wolverine meet in 74 with them. After two years of working from 16 years old, I bought my first car two months after turning 18. Me and my 71 Dodge Challenger started going to the track regularly during the Wolverine meet.

Still just picking horses by their names, and most everything I bet was Longshots. I got to know and became friends with a lot of people who worked there. Mostly tellers and security. And my betting practice of only placing WIN bets has never changed to this day.

DRC Win Ticket

In 1975 I got to know and become friends with two people whose friendships didn’t end until their deaths. One was a Mutual clerk named Tommy Jackson. Now there were two people there by that name, the Tommy I was friends with was the elder of the two. Tommy owned a bar in Highland Park at the time and it burned down. A few years later he opened one on 7 mile between Evergreen and the Southfield freeway. The name ” Shamrock’s “. The man was a gentle giant and turned out to be one of the nicest people I encountered in my lifetime.

When the meets switched that year, the TB meet started. Long story short one day there was a horse by the name of ” Notes & Chords “. Just the day before I had gotten some new guitar strings for my acoustic. So Notes & Chords it was.

In 75′ the tote board only went as high as 99-1, didn’t mean the odds weren’t higher. I put two bucks on his nose, Tommy also made a bet in the race a 60-1 shot. At the last second Tommy says you want to split? If I win I’ll split with you if you win you split with me. I said OK. The race went off, in reality there was a tragic outcome in that race and a horse literally was run into the rail causing it to break its neck. I was sickened that, that had to occur. Notes & Chords had finished 3rd in the race. But the Inquiry sign & Objection signs both started blinking.

There were two objections in the race against the First & Second place finishers. The first place jockey caused a horse to die that day. But the second place horse had caused interference out of the starting gate. By time the signs stopped blinking they had taking both horses down and put mine up at 118-1. Notes & Chords was the winner by not one but two disqualifications. He paid $239.60 on a $2.00 bet. I looked at Tommy laughing and said OH YEAH SURE you picked the right race to say you want to split! He laughed then he took the program (they were small ones for the TB meet) leaned over the screen and tapped me gently on the head saying these words. I now Christian thee LONGSHOT. And it stuck.

From that point on most of the friends in the mutuals called me by the nickname Tommy bestowed upon my head. So did everyone else in the joint. In 76′ he said why don’t you put an application in for the mutuals and I did. So at 19 years old my career started at DRC. But getting into the mutuals was like pulling teeth. I’d sign in each and everyday day or night depending on what meet it was, not only at DRC but a HP and NVD. Back then the machines were a bitch, especially the gimmick machines. They had separate windows for $2.00,& $5.00 & WIN, PLACE, SHOW, $6.00 & COMBINATION ($2.00 across the board), $10.00 & the $50.00 window. Cashiers were on the other side again for their respective wager tickets. The Perfecta & Trifecta were in a different section all together.

The machines for the gimmicks were finger breaking. The first button on top row you pressed was for the RACE number, the first number on bottom row was the first number pressed for your pick. For Tri’s you were pressing four buttons down. After each and every race the Supv. changed the codes manually for each and every window. And the really shitty part of all this was you didn’t even get to count your own money. You wrapped a rubber band around the stack with a slip and placed it into a bag with all the rest. The money room people counted it and in reality some also had a field day with it.

No camera’s weren’t installed until the very end of the 70s when people were fed up with coming up short and knew they didn’t F’ up. Then the stealing stopped. After years of signing in and not getting the required 21 days in for each meet for seniority I said screw this. Reality was there was such a click in this dept. it was enough to make you puke.

I wasted in total 10 years attempting to gain seniority in a Dept. if you weren’t related to the Mutual manager and all of that family’s friends you weren’t going to get in. Thank God being there everyday while also holding a short order cooking job (hell, I had to pay the bills) I got to know a lot of trainers and owners thus I started hot walking. I loved the horses and was angry at myself for just not starting with them at 19 instead of wasting my time in the mutuals waiting for some asshole Mutual manager to put me to work.

Another friend who I became instantaneous friends with in 1975 worked for Sports Service. She had her own office and worked in the linen Dept. Her name Ernestine Ruffin.

In the 70s there were still a lot of completely ignorant individuals who didn’t make any secret of their prejudices and the fact that I had a lot of in their words black friends and didn’t mind voicing it to my face. My answer to them; I wouldn’t have given up the friendships I had with people for a million white ones. Some say that was the real reason I never got seniority in the mutuals. And I say to that WHO GIVES A F’.

Me and Ernie only saw one thing when we looked at each other, ANOTHER HUMAN BEING PERIOD. All that bullshit wasn’t a part of our worlds. In 2002 my heart broke after being there for her straight through the cancer that killed her. She referred to me as her adopted Italian kid and I referred to her as my adopted Black Momma. I loved that lady as I did Tommy who gave me my nick name of Longshot in 75. Tommy died in 1985.

There wasn’t a Dept. of DRC I didn’t have friends in. Front side, Back side, Right side, Left side. DRC was home for me. I lived 5 miles away but it was still HOME. Through many illnesses at different intervals in my life it was that track, my work and my friendships with the people there that got me through the worst of times. I always said if I had to drop dead I hoped it was at DRC. At least I would have been with a family of friends.

That is what Ladbroke, Governor Engler and Livonia nailing that last nail into our coffins destroyed. Hope it was worth it to Livonia.

DRC wasn’t just a Race Track. It was our LIVES and over a 1,000 of us alone in the stable area coming to an end.

I still have dreams of DRC, and it’s always the same dream. We’re sill there but buried from sight by a shopping center and nobody even knows we’re still there but us. In reality when that major fire burned through three barns off Middlebelt in the 70s, it was there that they buried those horses that perished in that fire. Meijers is sitting on top of them. They certainly didn’t dig up their remains before that store was built or paved over with cement. So in a way I guess some ghosts ARE still there stirring in the wind and the people who go there honestly don’t know it.

So if your ever in that store and hear the sound of Horse Stomping Thunder you’ll know why. Because in essence all of our Hearts and Souls both People and Horses are still there.

Whether anybody realizes or not.


The DRC Club House Addition.

1950s Post Card of DRC


They Destroyed DRC,

They could not destroy our MEMORIES.

Yeah, that’s better. without that stinking corporate name.

DRC Starting Gate


The Detroit Race Course had the biggest tote board in the country, wish this pic. was larger and another to capture all.

Detroit-Race-Course 1950s


1967 DRC Racing Secretary Howard Battle














1978 Detroit Race Course Ramon Vazquez


1971 Detroit Race Course Danny Perez

Wind Chill

7/11/1987 Race 10 Michigan Mile and One-Eighth Handicap – Gr.2

Wolverine Harness Racing_DRC 1982


You can click on these next 17 pictures and they will ZOOM crystal clear.



Sue Banfield Horse Tina Coffee DRC 91'

Sue Banfield Horse Tina Coffee 2

DRC 1980

DRC Top Of The Stretch 1980


Detroit Race Course VIP


Coming out for the post parade, DRC winner circle almost completely submerged on one beyond muddy day back in the 70s.

Detroit Race Course 1970s

Picture courtesy of Jeannie Maxwell Richardson.


Click onto pic.’s once and twice for larger and full resolution.

Detroit Race Course 1976


Bucket O' Suds_ Detroit Race Course_ Bobby Lundy


Michigan Mile DRC 1973

Picture courtesy of Mike Manganello.


DRC Box Seat Pin 1971


DRC program 72'

DRC Program 72' _2

Wolverine_DRC Match Cover

DRC Program

DRC Program


1961…(Double Click on the next 3 pictures to Super Zoom). When our local TV station advertised in the program.

Detroit Race Course 1961 Program._2

Jockey’s Listed in Race 5 & 6 1961

Ronnie Baldwin (5.6), John Burton, Earl J. Knapp, Edward Plesa, John Bev (5.6), Ronnie Campbell (5.6), James F. Young, Dudley Vand’ ne’ re’, Richard Hurley, Willaim Zakoor, Richard L. Barnett,

Owner (#1 6th): National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame M. H. Vanberg (Jacks Dad)

Detroit Race Course 1961 Program._3

Detroit Race Course Program 1961


1952 Wolverine_DRC Program

Can be clocked onto (twice) to super-zoom to read names.

1952 Wolverine_DRC Program.-Officials

Can be clocked onto (twice) to super-zoom to read names.

1952 Wolverine_DRC Program.-Drivers_Owners_Horse Names

DRC Book 1970

DRC Zippo Lighter

Detroit Race Course


Mike Manganello on TV Vixen 1977 Mi. Bred Stakes.

Mike Manganello on TV Vixen 1977 Mi. Bred Stakes

Picture courtesy of Mike Manganello.


Click on the next 10 twice and they’ll ZOOM GIANT.

Before the clubhouse addition.

DRC before Clubhouse

Detroit Race Course History

DRC 60s

DRC_60s Map



Detroit Race Course Michigan Mile

DRC-Michigan Mile

Mi. Thoroughbred Breeding

Detroit Race Course 1960s


Click onto once & twice for full resolution.



July 14, 1990 Michigan Mile Cover Photo, Beau Genius’s Race.

DRC_Mi. Mile July 14 1990_Beau Genius

(Too bad the england corporate name has to be on it)


Courtesy of Jeff Thirtyacre.

Dale W. Thirtyacre 1980s (click onto to them to enlarge)

Detroit Race Course-Dale Thirtyacre

DRC _DW Thirtyacre


Click twice to Super Zoom. (love that Detroit Race Course on the rail)

Detroit Race Course 1962_Ronnie Baldwin



Detroit Race Course 1959

DRC Michigan Mile 1959

Detroit Race Course 1959 Michigan Mile


Wayne Catalano 1977

DRC 1977 Wayne Catalano


Donald Holmes 1973

DRC 1973 Donald Homes


Sam Maple 1975

DRC 1975 Sam Maple


Great Year! LOL I would like to think the name befits me.

Detroit Race Course 1957

Detroit Race Course 1961 C.W. Smith


Courtesy of Lori Reynolds. (click onto twice for full resolution)

Untamed Irish_DRC_Lori Reynolds


Pics Courtesy of T.D. Houghton (click onto twice for full resolution) Walter Abner & Barbara McBride.

DRC Walter Abner 1997


Terry, Frank the Greek & Jake Asher

Terry Houghton, Frank The Greek at Jake Asher barn DRC


Ridden by Tommy Joseph.

(Click twice for full resolution.)

Bobby Lundy_Detroit Race Course 1975


Courtesy of Steve Bearden (little guy with the Jockey Lonnie Ray), Stewards just loved this one. LOL …as usual click twice for full resolution.

Lonnie Ray_DRC_1969


Courtesy of TD Houghton. Tr. Sturges Ducoing, Own. RedBob Farm, Groom Rachel Ellis.

TD Houghton_DRC


Click onto twice to super zoom.

DRC Mi. Mile

DRC Mi. Mile._back


Click onto twice for full resolution. Before clubhouse was built.

1962 DRC_Wolverine


Click onto twice for full resolution.

DRC 1967 Wizard Of Odds


DRC 1967 Wizard Of Odds_Back


Click win pics. twice for full resolution.

Trainer Bonnie Sutherland – ridden by Gary Bain.

Trainer Bonnie Sutherland


Trainer Mike Falzone – ridden by Colin Skinner.

Tr. Mike Falzone


Click once for bigger pic., twice for full resolution.

Pictures courtesy of Amanda McNerney.

Trainer Lonnie Winters (left side of horse) with Bill McNerney (in front of horse). 1st Pic. Ridden by Wayne Catalano. Both with very young Jeff Bianchi/Groom.

Trainer Lonnie Winters with Bill McNerney

2nd Pic. Lonnie & Bill to left. Ridden by Joe Garcia.

Trainer Lonnie Winters with Bill McNerney 2


Click twice for full resolution.

1958 Detroit Race Course Condition Book


1958 Detroit Race Course Condition Book 2


1958 Detroit Race Course Condition Book 3


1958 Detroit Race Course Condition Book 4

1958 Detroit Race Course Condition Book 5


Detroit Race Course Plate


DRC Clubhouse Pass 1958


Click twice for full resolution.

1961 Fire Trail – Jockey Raymond Mikkonen. Owner A.Portney.

Detroit Race Course Finish 1961


DRC_Wolverine December 14, 1949


DRC Box seat 1958


DRC Condition Book 1953


DRC_Go For The Thunder_Detroit Race Course


For all, click twice for full resolution.


Detroit Race Course


DRC_Right Pocket


DRC 1961 Michigan Ruler


Detroit Race Course_ad_1960s


Click all twice for full resolution.

Detroit Race Course Aug. 1967 _Fine Thanks


Detroit Race Course Aug. 1967 _Fine Thanks. 2


Detroit Race Course Aug. 1967 _Fine Thanks. 3


Detroit Race Course July 29, 1969._back Det. News


Opening Day July 29, 1969. Love the “Club House” & “Grand Stand”(click twice) spelled out.

Detroit Race Course July 29, 1969_Zukes Bad Boy 6th Race


DRC was really something special.


Bob Miller, Lonnie Winters, Colin Skinner up. Pic. courtesy of Colin Skinner. Click twice for full resolution.

Bob Miller_Lonnie Winters_Colin Skinner_DRC


Detroit Race Course_20 Years


History in the making at Detroit Race Course.

July 27, 1960 Fred Wirth up riding Quarter Horse Dick Simms. For the first time the breed staged a race over a recognized track. Non-betting exhibition. (click twice for full resolution)

1960 DRC Fred Wirth up QH race


1960 DRC Fred Wirth up QH._back


1955 Photographers Pin.

1955 DRC Photographers Pin


Patrick White and 1990 Mi. Mile and Eighth winner Beau Genius. Picture courtesy of Pat White who was Beau’s Exercise rider and Groom.
(click twice for full resolution)

Beau Genuis and Patrick White_Detroit Race Course


1958 Program

DRC program 1958


DRC 1962 glass pitchers


DRC 1962


DRC Lighter 1960's


Wolverine_Detroit Race Course


Jockey Louis Cook tips his cap to crowd from winners circle in 1954.

DRC 1954 Louis Cook


DRC Horse Blanket



Filed under Horse Racing, Michigan Thoroughbred Horse Racing

71 responses to “Reminiscing/ Detroit Race Course

  1. jefft1966

    Hello My name is Jeff Thirtyacre and my Father was a Owner and Trainer at DRC. This is his legacy and I know what this place was like. We were like family back the 70’s I remember going to the picnic in Center field. And playing softball with the Gate crew. Its sad that they were able to kill such a strong family. We raced there till 1987 thats when my dad moved to Florida. He died a couple of years ago at age 85.,5159809&dq=thirtyacre+fire&hl=en

  2. I’m sorry to hear of Dale’s passing. I started at the track a year after that fire in 76. I could of swore he was still there in 89. I was working for Bobby White and Dale & Linda Belanger were in the same annex as us in 89. Equibase also has him there through that year.

    I remember the infield picnics as well and the softball games with the Livonia Police. Swine vs Equine. It was the cops that named that particular event that. I just laughed.

    Well that’s the problem Jeff it was a strong family that had never stuck together through history. And sadly that is how all three entities of Ladbroke, the State and Livonia were able to kill us off. The horsemen didn’t even attempt to fight for DRC, they just rolled over and died. They let them take DRC from us. And to this day and for the rest of my days that will always infuriate me. I miss that track at times until it hurts.

    But you are dead on, DRC was our legacy with memories never to be duplicated again. Very nice to hear from you Jeff. I try to grab any picture I can that somebody posts on the internet ( usually from ebay ) to apply to this blog. Though a thousand could never be enough.

    In reality where those horses are buried sits a Meijer’s on top of them. There is more ghosts stirring up in the wind there than anybody could ever possibly realize.

  3. Hi there Longshot – or whomever may come across this post. My name is Chris Kotulak and I am writing the biography of Jack Van Berg. Please help me if you can provide any insight, photos, clippings, stories, etc… regarding JVB or his father M.H. (Marion) Van Berg.
    Thank you!

  4. jefft1966

    I was wondering if you have the address to the Abahazy family who handle the pictures. I would like to order my Dads picture he had a bad storm when he was in Florida and lots of them were distroyed. I would like to write a book about him and would like some to add. My email is

  5. It makes me homesick for DRC when I see these pictures and read the articles, whoever put it together did a great job.

    Yes the city had us backsiders pegged as bad influences, but they didn’t know each person had to be licensed through the State which included being fingerprinted to even enter the stable gate.

    And horses also thoroughly checked through the spit barn after a win with blood and urine samples. If they caught anyone from the ones hauling out the manure to a jockey using drugs or behaving in an unruly manner you were kicked out. Professional sports should be manned this closely.

  6. I write this blog Bonnie, I put it all together. I worked as the blog stated at DRC from 1976-98. And yes I do my research well as to linking the respective articles that defined what Livonia, the State and the pathetic company of ladbroke did to us. Thanks for the comment, I did edit all the CAPS out as its easier to read.

    My sadness goes beyond to utter sickness that we no longer have DRC. How I still long for that track each and every day of my aging life.

  7. I was a hot walker there in 1971 and worked for Pete Kosiba. I was at there that final day of racing and still have the program from that day. Think its worth anything?

  8. LOL…You have a lot of company Lindsay in having that last program. I don’t know put it on EBAY. Personally I’m not ready to part with anything from DRC. I’ve got a stack of old Yellow & black $2.00 Win tickets, purple, green gimmick tickets, plastic sport service glasses with Detroit Race Course & a Horse Head with all the Mi. Mile winners 1949-81, etc.

    To me they are priceless or maybe more they represent the memories of our track.

  9. Hi, I loved reading through your page and seeing the pictures and the programs. I found you while doing a search on a jockey named Richard Hurley. His name is on your program 🙂 Do any of you know him? He was there late 50’s early 60’s?

  10. LOL..a little before my time there Rae. I was born in 57′, started working there in 76′ but I’m sure those that were at DRC years before me who I became friends with did. Since DRC’s demise we have sadly lost so many owner’s, trainer’s, jocks, grooms, etc…..friends.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the blog, I’m constantly adding more & more pictures. As soon as I can copyright the hundred I took there (mostly last week of our lives in Nov. 1998) I’m going to bombard this page. So come back and visit & Thanks.

  11. Thank you for all the memories

  12. You’re very welcome hotfirezz.

  13. jefft1966

    Hey was wondering if you would like some new pictures for this article? have article about the fire in 75 and pictures of wins my family had while it was open. Not sure where to send them.

  14. Just sent you an email Jeff. Thanks

  15. Hi Longshot,

    Thank you so much for doing all of this. Like many others, DRC (and Hazel Park) were my second homes growing up. I have photos of me in the barn area in diapers and I have a great winner circle photo of me up on the horse with the jockey when I was around 4 years old. The stewards went nuts and I think the jockey and my father (the trainer) got fined.

    My father, Wayne Bearden, is a thoroughbred trainer and he did very well in Detroit (including countless leading trainer titles and state records) but eventually left the Michigan with his stable.

    I have a couple of questions if I may… do you recall how the meets were organized? I remember switching from Hazel Park to DRC with the standardbreds during various times of the year but I don’t recall how often that happened, how long the meets were, when the “switching” stopped, etc.

    Also, do you remember the 2-Mile Races that help at DRC? What was the race called and how long did they do that?… I remember dad winning that race a few times.

    Thank you!
    Steven Bearden

  16. Steve,

    I just finally met Michelle sat. night and briefly talked to your Dad after their race was over (the first race). I think his mind was more focused on that then if he had remembered me. LOL..after all I hadn’t seen him since DRC. We’ve both aged.

    How the meets were organized? A lot of years with fighting between the HBPA & MHHA then the tracks themselves. When I personally started going to DRC in 73′-74′ with my parents, 75′ myself then when I started working there in 76′. DRC always had the harness meet first from March-April (depending on years) to July then they would switch up with Hazel Park (I started there in 77′). But even then bickering seem to be going on. It only took a couple of days to convert the surfaces at each.

    Sadly that’s why the conditions were horrendous on the T.B.’s when the pouring rains would come. The poor horses would be running down to the limestone, stepping into holes. Some injured and some completely breaking down and ending up dead.

    They opened both H.P. & DRC in 1949. According to the archives of DRF it also shows that in the 50s & 60s it was H.P. that had the spring T.B. meet then switched to DRC.

    Northville Downs always ran Harness but in 1953 both H.P. and DRC also acquired harness dates but again it was always DRC getting the spring harness meet & H.P the summer with the T.B’s vise verse. In Oct. NVD would then run the harness meets.

    They had two different meets there, Jackson at Northville that ran until Dec. 31, then just plain Northville meet that ran until the end of March/early April.

    I seem to remember there might have been a few years right after Hartmen & Tyner bought DRC (which should have never been allowed since they already owned H.P) that the T.B. meet ran in the spring with H.P. running the summer meet but am not completely sure. I have both harness and T.B.’s programs from the 70s, I literally would have to go out and go through them all to know 100% for sure. I started in the mutuals so I’m pretty positive from the years of 74′ on.

    Reality is I can only tell you from the years I started at both tracks, you can go to the DRF archives to really gain all the exact info, in the the 50s the T.B.’s from what I read up on didn’t seem to start until May and it was H.P. that had the T.B. spring meet first.

    In the 60s & 70s the T.B. meets ran at both at H.P. & DRC at least 4 months each. They only switched once a year from T.B’s to Harness.

    The switching ended when that puke of a English corporation bought the Detroit Race Course at the end of 1984. In 1985 DRC was all T.B’s & H.P. all harness.

    The days of 160+ racing days and the days when we had an ORC.

    We live in one sorry State.

    And yes I remember the 2 mile race but with all honesty I don’t know that they had any specific name, they ran a couple of them. The person to ask would be Danny Myers. Right now he has been around the longest ..LOL and still going strong! I was happy for him, he won the 4th race Friday the 4TH, with Red Bow Tie.

    The Detroit Race Course is still in all of our blood, no matter where we race that place will aways be home. So you are welcome and glad you got a chance to view & enjoy. I’m adding new pic’s. all the time.

    • jefft1966

      Hi I have a ic from 1960 on my FB pg. The last name is in German but that is my Dad at DRC.

    • nashae4b2fbfa18

      Wonderful memories, Longshot. I worked on the backstretch at Hazel Park and DRC from 1973-1984. I remember in particular that 1983 was one of the years where we made the midsummer move from DRC to Hazel Park, rather than the other way around.

  17. Michelle told me you two met Saturday; that’s great. Yeah my dad has never been a social person when he has horses running; he is so focused on the horse that he normally avoids conversation, so don’t take it personally.

    Unfortunately the DRF Archive is offline and has been since 2012… this is a copy/paste from their website:

    May 22, 2012
    Site is temporarily offline: 1960s-1991

  18. Yeah you know I started this blog in 2010 and never finished it, a rarity.

    And I see now the links on it doesn’t lead to where they did in 2010.

    But if you click onto the very first blue highlighted link (now you have to save it to PDF) when you open it, it is the full chart results to June 4, 1948 at The Detroit Fairgrounds.

    No I know how it is when running races believe me, didn’t think anything about it.

  19. I worked at Hazel Park and DRC with the throughbreds. My first job was with Bill Mott in the summer of 1981. Briefly worked indirectly for Bill when Larry Edwards was assisting at Hazel Park in the Spring 1981 meet.

    I wish I had more names, keepsakes and other stuff from those days, but at the time it was just my job. Only people I really have access to staying in touch with are the trainers. Never really collected last names of grooms and other hot walkers. Although, I do remember the Radaks, Rob and his dad who was a valet. Not sure where they went to though. Also remember the Duccoing stable but unsure of its status.

    • Hi Rob. Rob Radak is living in Grove City Ohio along with my brother Greg. Lost contact with most of the people but Greg still has contact with a lot of them. More and more are showing up on fb. But several don’t use a computer.

  20. Robert

    I am so saddened to tell you Paul Radak was murdered in 2008. He took in a friends troubled nephew out of the goodness of his heart to try to help straighten him out and the bastard repeatedly stabbed Paul to death.

    When all of us found out we were heartbroken. Paul was a genuinely nice man. I remember when he had a trailer in Westland (1990’s) me and a friend would go and watch the pay-per-view fights with him. I will always remember his smile and laughter. I get sick just thinking of what his last moments and thoughts were. How this man, dad, grandfather and friend to everyone so never deserved what happened to him.

    Sturges Ducoing moved to La. and still training and running there.

  21. Oh my goodness, thank you for this post. My father is Juan Camilo. He is the Jockey in the photo of Andrea’s Freckle. That’s a winner circle photo I don’t think I have. He rode at DRC for many years and then became a trainer under Joe Shoemaker also in that photo. He still trains down in Tampa bay. Every once in a while I look up DRC to find if any new history /photos of the track that was uncovered. It was a huge part of my life growing up even though I’m only 34 and it seems like the track was already going downhill by that point. I spent a lot of time walking around the grandstands, running down the spiral walkway, around the stables, and in the jockey room even. i’m curious if you knew my father or ever met him?

  22. You are very welcome Miguel.

    I met and of course crossed paths with your dad working on the backside but really never knew him personally. I did know John Shoemaker until he left DRC, he was a very nice man and knowledgeable. You know if you click onto that picture twice you can bring it up to full resolution then print it in that size.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the blog, I add new pics. all the time so please keep visiting. I only wish we still had DRC, but I’m sure by reading you already know that. Tell your Dad hi and pass the blog on to him and anyone else that was a part of this tracks history.

    Livonia will never fully comprehend what they voted and allowed to be destroyed.

    • I stand corrected on the photo – it actually came from my flickr account! haha. But yeah – my dad ran at Hazel Park since the early-mid 70s until they converted to all-harness in 85. We lived in Ferndale and my dad used to ride his bike to the HP track. It makes sense now how and why he went over to DRC at that time. He raced until the mid-90s when he was transitioning out of jokeying and into training, but it also makes sense that he stopped coming back to MI after 98 – which was also the year i graduated high school.

      Like i said, your post really put a lot of things in perspective about the track. My parents actually met at the Hazel Park track. my mom was a groom back around 1976 there. Every time I visited DRC people knew *me* though i didn’t know them, and it did feel like family, as you say.

      DRC always felt like a grand place, even though it did feel grimy at the same time. But it’s always felt like a part of who i am. A character that was present all through my childhood – until i graduated high school. I have even vague memories of Hazel Park but DRC was always the place that felt like home. And i’ve always been really curious about its history and legacy… and its unfortunate demise. I remember as an adult, driving by the area and feeling like it was unrecognizable, except for the Motel 8 across the street. but the whole landscape of Livonia changed in 1998, that’s for sure.

      Would you follow up the this post either in a reply or email a little more of the behind-the-scenes of the day-to-day of the track? As i said, i remember visually much of DRC – and that foyer/entrance always seemed really grand to me, but aside from a few snippets here and there, walking through with my dad, i don’t know much about the day-to-day at all. It’d be nice to hear it from someone else’s perspective (other than my mother who grew resentful of the track for personal reasons – and my dad who still speaks in broken English, being Puerto Rican).

      thanks again –

  23. I actually grabbed the pic. off of Ebay as I do with many, other than the ones friends haven provided as well as posting my own. I have your email, will contact you soon and we will talk.

    • I just noticed that my Godfather, Joe Garcia is on that 7th Race ticket image, riding Born Blue. Wow.

      • Now I clipped that program page off Ebay too Miguel, but if you saw what is in my garage. LOL

        I have programs and DRF’s from 1977. In big plastic containers and Oat Sacks. I’ve been hauling them everywhere all this time. Can’t beat it, Memories.

      • Well there you go Miguel, i was just sent some Pics. by Amanda McNerney of her dad Bill McNerney who passed way too young and Tr. Lonnie Winters who was one of the best human beings I had ever known.

        Last one applied is ridden by your godfather Joe, so now you have a program page with name and a picture. Thank God for my race trackers!

  24. that’s fantastic. thanks so much for this!

  25. I have a few more winner’s circle pics as well as a photo of 4 jockeys together, 2 of them are my dad and godfather, and their friend Victor Gell, i believe and someone else, i don’t remember. what’s the best way i could send you those photos?

  26. I was wondering if I could put a link to your blog reminiscing Detroit Race Course on my Detroit Race Course page on my website, Thanks for listening, if you want to reply

  27. jefft1966

    Hello, Hows things? Not sure whats going on with that website. I’m working on a project to start my own horse farm. If you need anything just let me know.

  28. Hi my dad is Greg Bensie. He enjoys is this blog. He has folders full of photos of DRC and Hazel Park. Can share a few if you’d like. Thanks

  29. Also my mom and dad were trainers/grooms there

  30. Greg this track will always be in our blood so very glad he enjoys the blog. I’m sure he has clicked on about me. I was also a groom.

    Would be very grateful to add any additional photo’s as I post everything new I can find. If they are win pictures tell them to scan them with computer only (Not take or upload by phone) so the pictures will come up to full resolution when clicked onto. They can save as, then upload them as attachments.

    if they have any photo’s of DRC on the grounds scan them as well, if smaller scan larger.

    I am only interested in pictures that concern the Detroit Race Course as this blog was written to pay homage to this track.

    email me at (put DRC pics in subject matter)

    Thanks for the comment, I will look for the pics. and will give in courtesy of when I add them.

  31. My dad and mom Mazie and Ron Brown made a good living at DRC. I loved the place! I think about the good times me and my brother had there. We both learned the racing at its best. We made alot of friends. Im in Ohio now. I still see some of the people i knew there. Its sad. I wish i could go home. I actually feel lost without it. Longshot thank you very much for this blog its a great joy walking down memory lane!

  32. Hi, I came across this by looking up the race track. I have a race card that belonged to my grandpa. It has his signature on it and it says owner/trainer card on it. It’s from 1977. My grandpa’s name was Robert Glenn Garroutte. Looking through this I did see one Garroutte name listed but it wasn’t his. Actually not sure yet who that one is but gonna do research. I was always told my grandpa had race horses but never saw much on it except this card I found after he passed. We are from Oklahoma so it threw me off being where this is but guess you can travel for races. Anyways, if anyone has any info on my grandpa or any Garroutte’s with these races including photos it would be great to get this info. I can give my email to send it to. Thank you very much.

    • Christa I went to Equibase and put in the last name (last is only needed) for both Trainer then Owner and no records came up. The records will go back to the 70s and further. Could he had owned Standardbreds (Harness) or Quarter horses? Remington Park I know runs both TB and Quarter horses.Not sure if Oklahoma has harness track. I believe Equibase only shows results from Thoroughbreds.

      But thanks for stopping by my blog and good luck finding info on your Grandpa.

      • Thanks, I’m not sure what kind of horse or horses. I just know I have the card for there with his name. So figured I’d ask. Thanks anyways.

      • Hi Christa and Longshot,
        Oklahoma does not conduct harness racing, Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and Paint & Appaloosa racing only. Trackmaster is pretty much the authority on Standardbred (harness) racing. James “Jimmy” Garroutte might still have horses in training in Louisiana and Arkansas.

  33. Robert Sacco

    A million, billion, trillion thanks to Longshot and all of the material used so we never forget a great race place called Detroit Race Course.

  34. LOL…and I remember you Bob!

    When I came to the ORC in Livonia in 1991 to file a complaint on, was his name Leon??? I’m getting old. Remember you very well. That name now is going to drive me crazy. I’m off to bed. Nice to see you here.

    Email me

    • Robert Sacco

      Closest name I can link to ‘Leon’ is possibly one of the Racing Commissioner’s employees at the time named Lionel ? …. only a guess … in any event …. thanks for the note and the memory !

      • Yes Lionel I’ll leave his last name out (a type of Bird… LOL). He had some screws loose.

        Visit again, I add pic.’s all the time. Need to get about a 100 of mine copyrighted that I took the last two weeks of DRC in 98′, then I’ll really bombard the blog and really take it all home.

        Now I am off to bed before I fall out.

  35. Thanks for the MRA/DRC memories Longshot … my father Paul F. Ternes was on the Board of Directors at both tracks for years and our stable ran at both Detroit metro tracks during summer months & traveled to other tracks during the winter … we bred some good thoroughbreds as well … two that may ring a bell for some were Maize ‘n Blue & Campion KId … I had just graduated from Campion Jesuit in ’65 & headed to U of M that fall … so my father named those two colts after me … I can remember meeting Dale Schaefer when I was in my early teens and spending many mornings at DRC during workouts on the rail, in the cafeteria & around the stable … and many race days in grandstand and later clubhouse as well … hundreds of days actually. Quite a few girlfriends as well were cultivated at the DRC … fond memories. My father passed away in 1971 and I sold all the running stock & breeding stock to O.H. Frisbee who was the owner of an Atlas Van Lines company franchise in Michigan … I kept Campion Kid but unfortunately he was killed in a farm accident two years later. I did visit the Pinnacle Race Track when it first opened and admired the facility however thought the location was incredibly wrong for a racetrack … one of the great things about The Bull Ring at Hazel Park & DRC Mile was the proximity to 10’s of 1000’s of patrons who would be able to come to the tracks while the meets were open and provide solid handles and strong profits … and I qualify, back in the day … certain things would have to take place to bring racing back to Metro Detroit … none of which seem to be on anyone’s mind at this time. The saddest thing is not only is DRC gone … but the State of Michigan executives & legislature hastened an entire industry to be swept off the Michigan landscape and the tens of thousands of jobs that made that industry viable 12 months a year. … Very nice work on the site … appreciate it very much, Best Regards, Michael Ternes

    • Robert Sacco

      Great memory Essian. Absolutely miss DRC. Some great racing talent came through that track. Best memory for me is 1) year the Michigan Mile was divided in two races and 2) meeting Stevie Cauthen and taking a photo with him.

    • You are very welcome and Thank You for the kind comment Michael. If you have clinked onto the Horse Racing tab at top you will see how many blogs I’ve written in addressing what Mi. has done to our Industry and what a no-brainier it would be to give the tracks slots.

      And yes Pinnacle was a horrid location, but Mi. allowing the tax incentives to it get built only to sabotage the entire project by dissolving the ORC the following year was like bulldozing DRC all over again. We never saw that coming, Mi. wanted us dead. I mean the MGCB allotted us 84 racing days in 2010 only to take them all back but 3 and the local media ranted on this tracks failure but eluded to any truth who was truly at fault. It was infuriating.

      Visit often as I add new pictures all the time, again thank you for the comment and adding a little more history here.

  36. Fantastic Memories…As a kid in the late 60’s/early 70’s, I would come down to the track with my Dad who owned several horses and work around the stables while he did business. It was a magical time with memories I’ll always cherish. The smell of the paddock in the mornings, meeting and hanging with all of the workers around the barn and taking care of the horses. Dad had horses like Good Road Lad and Red Smith who were ridden by the Maple’s and Larry Kunitaki……Sometimes it seems, I’d be willing to trade anything for another one of the those weekends with my Dad, who passed in 2002. Thank you for all of the memories, I’ll cherish them forever.

  37. I was looking for the owners name. My grandfather George Potter was an ex Detroit policeman and was security at the DRC. I used to go there as a kid to visit him at work in the 60s lol. I remember the stables, pool tables. I even got to see a few races. Long out of Detroit and of course my grandfather has passed on. Sad to see the DRC gone.

  38. Annie Howard

    Hello, I know this is an old post, but do you happen to know the photographer from 1996-1998? My gelding won a few races at Detroit (he’s now 27) and id love to get a copy. My email is

  39. Hi Longshot,

    Thanks for the memories. You’ve done a great job with this Blog. I hope your doing well.

    Many of my family worked at DRC as well. Eddie McCann, boiler operator and maintenance. Ernie use to run the employee lunch room. My uncles, Gary and Billy McCann were in maintenance. Uncle Jimmy worked in the stables with his wife Patty. Eddie’s wife Nan, my mother, Jeanette (McCann) Jackson and her sister Marie (McCann) Harrison were mutual clerks, including me from 88 to 90. Many more, first and second, cousins of my mother’s were mutual clerks as well.

    I remember those center track picnics too. Grandpa Eddie took us there as kids in the 70’s. A few times, Grandpa Eddie let me and my younger sister, Michele, scoop up a huge cup full of coins from the Clubhouse inside fountain.

    Yes, Engler sure did sell out all the workers and the barns that were in the state.

    Oh, one more thing. If you get any time and you feel up to it, would you consider editing wikipedia Detroit Race Course. The page is in dire need of more information.

    Thanks again for all your hard work.

    • Well Christine you don’t have to tell me how many McCann’s there were.

      As written in this blog “I wasted in total 10 years attempting to gain seniority in a Dept. if you weren’t related to the Mutual manager and all of that family’s friends you weren’t going to get in.”

      And all the other family clicks that prevented me from getting into the mutual’ s. It was a sad unfair joke. I knew your Mom and every single relative of yours. Urbie was my fav. , I’ll be nice and leave the rest alone. Lol

      I’ve got a great picture of Doug with Joe Piccola I took in the clubhouse the last night (and Doug snapped one with me and Joe), was friends with both from my start there. Joe was a sweetheart. Took pic.’s of every section, mutuals, dining room kitchen, mezz although empty, no corner left undone. Had friends all over that place.

      Alice Cadmus ran the lunch room when I started in 76′, her husband Jack worked in the Jock’s room. When they retired, Ernestine Ruffin ran it then Urbie. He made great meatloaf sandwiches. Was very saddened when he died.

      I talked with your Mom just a day or two at Northville before she passed, when I went back and was told what happened I was in utter shock. Both Jan and Marie were on the much more nicer and grounded side.

      As I stated I should have from the get go worked with the horses and not wasted time. The horses had and gave more love than any human ever did. But made a lot of great friends from every inch of DRC, front and backside. I have a lot of more pic.’s to add, the ones I took I want to get copyrighted.

      I’ve slowed down in the writing and posting for a number of reasons. Now as far as Wiki, I did not start that page (would not know how to) and frankly cannot stand going there. Trying to edit anything there is beyond frustrating. I’ve edited in jazz musicians to certain pages and it took hours! One of my commenters I believe started that page.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the blog, at some point I will deluge it with many more pic.’s. Mine included that I took the last two weeks there. So you are very much welcome and enjoy.

      DRC will be with me until I leave this earth, there isn’t a day that goes by I don’t miss that track. The backside with whom I worked was my true tribe.

      If you still live in the area, at the Livonia Leo’s on Haggerty N. of 6 mile you will see one giant pic. of DRC on one of the walls, there is a caption. I was contacted and gave permission for it’s use.

  40. Robert Sacco

    A priceless experience related from someone who was there and truly contributed a great deal essentially because you cared. A million one, a million two thanks for all those memories. The PETA folks never understand what you’ve just said about the great sport of horse racing. They completely forget it’s about the horses people love and also about the people who love the horses.

    • Awe Bob you are great, TY.

      I think you give me far too much credit then I deserve. The way I look at it I was just one out of a thousand who worked on the backside. I just did my small part. But you better believe I loved the horses and the ones I got so attached too showed me that love back! One horse in particular Go On Go! One of Bonnie Sutherland’s.

      Go Go had a personality to this day I never again encountered. We had a daily ritual when aft. feeding time was over and it was time to do hm up. Of course it started with picking his feet, he would nibble and tug on one of my back belt loops on my jeans. Lol… every day the same, I’d let down one foot and we’d be eye ball to eye ball… I’d say what are you doing. Bend down to get another the foot right back to the belt loop, I’d look up and he would stop and start bobbing his head up and down. What a goof ball.

      He would do a shimmy dance when I’d curry comb him. I mean that human horse with so many emotions and love, we would both enjoy ourselves like two kids playing.

      Now you are going to think I’m B’S’.. ing but I’m not. When my back itched I would turn around and tell him to scratch it!!! I kid you not and he would drop his head and start moving it up and down my back. Outside of the stall gate, I’d literally say to him scratch my back and turn around and he did! Lol… There will never be another Go Go. Yeah I loved him and most all the rest.

      I know Bonnie and he are both together in Heaven having a ball.

      Thank You for your kind words.

  41. I will also comment it’ been a very sad week losing Jack Van Berg whose Dad Marion who I have among my pic.’s started at the Detroit Tracks and DRC. I am so glad I had the chance to see him one last time on opening day at H.P in 2014. Jack was pure class as a individual and a dedicated horsemen.

    Also 4 days ago we lost another DRC Trainer, Chet Hurt. Always had that great big smile, Chet was a gentleman.

    Sad seeing another tribe member gone.

  42. Eddie Earlin

    Great stuff. Name of Sacco reminds me of Wolverine mare named Huff and Puff. She was special in the 70s.

  43. Jeff Killian

    Longshot :

    Congratulations on your outstanding blog. Reading these stories reminds me so much of Beulah Park and the great times I had there.

    I wish someone would do a blog on Beulah Park with this level of expertise.

    Bravo and much success to you!

  44. Jeff Killian


    I was also a mutuel clerk at Beulah Park and Scioto Downs. I was a money runner at 16 at Beulah Park and transitioned to a mutuel clerk. I remember the money room situation and protocols you described, however, our money room was very honest. When I was short, I bet out of the box. Mutuel managers did not care, I was always good for it on payday.

    Getting on as a mutuel clerk at Scioto Downs was extremely difficult. There were many school teachers who used the summer meet at Scioto Downs to supplement their income and rarely would quit the job. I was a stand-by for a whole meet and worked maybe 3-4 days out of approximately 100 nights.

    Second year a little better as far as getting assignments. The third year getting on over half the nights. I would “sup” the machines, wear a tie for Penthouse assignments, kiss butt, whatever. I remember changing the tote codes after every race before the cash/sell machines came. The tote machines were challenging as you pointed out. Box the 1-2-3-4-5 trifecta, and if you hit a wrong button, the clerk may have to eat the ticket out of pocket.

    Then the fourth year I made it, so I thought. Mutuel clerk union went out on strike on day one, and we never got back in. Best laid plans of mice and men.

    After the union got busted at Scioto Downs, the wages fell at both tracks, even the non-strike Beulah Park. Most clerks quit Beulah Park, I did, as the pay was cut 33%.

    At Scioto Downs we were fired for striking. Scioto Downs settled with the union, I received a one time payment of $4 probably to just legally close the matter. Scioto Downs was short over $10k on first night of strike due to the inexperienced replacement clerks.

    Nobody won from this strike. The track owner started Scioto Downs from a fairgrounds meet, relocated and built an award winning beautiful track. Many of the original 1959 clerks were still with the owner during this 1981 strike. These clerks skipped paydays in the early years to help the track off the ground, were friends with the owner, and now on opposite sides. Frankly, if cooler heads were available on both sides, the strike would have never happened.

    The mutuel managers were 2 brothers at both tracks. If Matt liked you, Joe hated you. If Matt hated you, Joe loved you.

    Matt was a crusty, mean looking guy that was very hard, yet very fair. He earned people’s respect. A person would not would to be called on the carpet by Matt, you would confess to anything just out of general principle.

    One day a money runner turned in only 20 cents of his original $350 “make change for the sellers” bank. Why bother? He was betting out of his change bank and there were no 10 cent supers to finish off the final 20 cents of his bank. Matt called him into the Mutuel Department office for an explanation, butt chewing session. I would rather payback $1,000 then face Matt for that drilling!

    One of my fellow mutuel clerks is now the Racing Commissioner in Ohio. A previous racing commissioner offered me a job on the spot when we got into a casual race track conversation. I was there just wanting a commissioner’s pass for free track admission as a customer (no longer worked the tracks) and got a job offer. I declined as I knew he could not match my current salary.

    Longshot: Like you, the race track provided many friends and was more than just a job. I understand your loss, a part of me also died when Beulah Park closed. We have met, not literally, but figuratively, as your story would fit many of my warm friends I met at Beulah Park.

    Best wishes!

  45. Hi Longshot,

    Your blog is sensational.

    I’m writing a novel set in Detroit in the 1960s, and I’m writing a scene about the 1968 Michigan Mile, in which Nodouble beat out the favorite, Damascus.

    I’m having trouble finding enough details about the race, etc., to give the scene enough detail, and wonder if you either had articles about the race, or know more about it?

    I’d love to get as much detail to even cover the odds of each horse. I’m aware that Damascus was the favourite and Nodouble an underdog, but I’m trying to find their odds (i.e., how big the gap was between them heading into the race).

    If you could email me on that would be awesome.


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