I hope I am not going back to far when I write about the $600,000 racetrack at Chinnville just across the river from Hanging Rock. No doubt there are at least 5,000 folks who will read this newspaper today, who were there 42 years ago, when a Kentucky Derby winner named Black Gold sent ten thousand people away from the Raceland track broke as a dark horse, named Bob Tail, won and the favorite did not show in the final result.
The new bridge to Russell opened in 1922 and E. B. Adams remembers, after the races, autos were bumper to bumper on the Kentucky highway for a distance of three miles to Second and Adams Street in this city. The new racetrack opened July 10, 1924. After four seasons the track closed in 1928, over $200,000 in debt. The owner was Jack Keene of Louisville. Everybody except those who never made a bet were losers.
The grandstand was just about twice the size as the Tank Memorial Stadium at Beechwood Park. The C&O ran a daily ten-coach train from Huntington. The Ironton Russell Bridge paid a ten per cent dividend while the track lasted.
Col. John Daugherty of the Ventura Hotel of Ashland came over and leased the new hotel Marting, which was crowded with racehorse men. “Old Ben” and other horse touts came to town to sell printed tips and Ironton merchants complained that folks whom they saw at the track betting windows, were not paying their bills. I’m not sure, but I think the Ironton Merchants Credit Bureau organized that year.
It is easy to recall a couple of the horses that were “also rans” in every race until the final week when they ere allowed to become long shots and paid $130 on a $2 ticket. The names were “Miss Murdock” and “Miss America”. I am sure that I could call 50 names and all could tell me a good story about Raceland, but the first I asked on Center Street the other day, Attorney James Waldo, said he to young to remember only hearsay. PhilSheridan perhaps remembers the odds on Malcomb B. in 1926 Raceland Derby.