Henderson County, Kentucky


Heavy rains and a muddy track delayed for two days the grand opening of Dade Park in 1922, but "between four and five thousand" witnessed the inaugural meeting on October 19.

And, according to the next day's Henderson Morning Gleaner, "they were well repaid, as they saw four of the classiest races ever run in this section of the state."

Furthermore, patrons didn't seem to mind that the four races - part of harness racing's well-regarded Grand Circuit - were contested over three-quarters of a mile, instead of a mile, due to 100 feet of too-muddy track at the head of the backstretch.

The opening of the track, whose grandstand was billed "as the most modern of its kind in the United States" in newspaper headlines, drew fans from Hopkinsville, Madisonville, Morganfield, Owensboro, Paducah - in addition to those in special trains from Louisville and Indianapolis, the newspaper reported.

Two stake races - a trot and a pace - highlighted the four-race card with purses of $3,000 each, a tidy sum in 1922 that attests to the class of the Grand Circuit.

For the record, the two stake races were captured by "Driver Cox," who "demonstrated his superiority as a reins man" by driving John Henry to straight heat victories in the pace and Czar Worthy to straight heat victories in the trot.

Cox made it three of four on opening day by getting Let's Fly home in two straight heats in the day's final race.

Reprinted with permission.
Progress Edition, The Gleaner, Saturday, March 30, 1996

Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS