Established in 1838, Goshen Historic Track is a national historic landmark. It is the world’s oldest active harness racing track.
Goshen Historic Track was the first half-mile track to host a sub two-minute mile (Greyhound’s 1:59 ¾ in 1937). In 1911, it became the first half-mile track to join the Grand Circuit. That year, Mary Harriman donated the grandstand. Thousands of racing fans have watched the greats of harness racing from that grandstand. Goshen Historic Track is certainly one reason why Goshen and the surrounding area are known as “The Cradle of the Trotter”.
The list of horses who’ve raced at Goshen Historic Track reads like a who’s who of standardbred racing. The legendary half-mile oval has played host to some of the greatest standardbreds, including Messenger, after whom the great oak tree at the head of Goshen Historic Track’s stretch run is named, Uhlan, Speedy Rodney, Greyhound, Titan Hanover, Proximity, Tassel Hanover, Star’s Pride, Matastar, and Goldsmith Maid. Hambletonian, a grandson of Messenger, was seen there over a century ago.
In 1873, United States President Ulysses S. Grant was a visitor to Goshen Historic Track.
In 1966, the National Park Service designated Goshen Historic Track as a Registered Historic Landmark. The Track was the first of only two sporting sites in America to be so designated. Churchill Downs received a similar distinction 22 years later in 1988.
In 1979 ownership of the facility was taken over by Goshen Historic Track, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Goshen Historic Track as a working facility for horsemen from all over the region as well as a cultural, convention, concert, and community center for the people of Goshen and the surrounding Orange County.
Goshen Historic Track is unique among horse racing facilities. It stands on its own as a place that couples the best of the past with the prospects of the new, the glories of the olden days with the promise of the future, and the tradition of the sport with innovation of today’s racing game. For example, the barn at Goshen Historic Track, constructed in 2011, contains a cold water equine spa. A self-guided tour is available to see the track’s numerous landmarks and to view the horses in their stables while they train on the track.
Goshen Historic Track is also home to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. This facility is dedicated to comprehensive, active and authoritative support and promotion of the standardbred industry through documentation and preservation of the history and traditions of the sport. The Hall of Fame was born in 1949 and underwent a major renovation in 1996.
Both horse people and horses are considered for Hall enshrinement under two categories – the Living Hall of Fame and the Hall of Immortals.
Dining is available at nearby Delancey’s Bar and Restaurant. Enjoy a trackside meal directly next to the famous Goshen Historic Track. In season, the patio is open, so race fans can watch the trotting horses train.
While there is no hotel at Goshen Historic Track, accommodation is available from a number of area hotels. These include the Comfort Inn & Suites in Goshen, Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn in Middletown and the Holiday Inn Express in Chester.
As a betting free fair track, Goshen Historic Racetrack falls under the jurisdiction of the United States Trotting Association.
Major Horse Betting Events at the Venue
The track operates a limited but intense racing season every summer on Sundays in June. This session is followed by a series of Grand Circuit races between June 30 and July 4.
Admission during the racing season is $5 for adults. Children 12 and under enter free of charge.
Bet Types Allowed
Betting has not been permitted at Goshen Historic Track since 1979. The pari mutuel machines were removed at that time. Oddly enough, Goshen Historic Track was the initial horse-racing track in American history to offer pari mutuel wagering on its racing product.
Controlled for years by the Harriman family, Goshen Historic Track was turned over to the private non profit organization that currently operates the facility with the stipulation that upon the death of E. Roland Harriman that the first track to offer pari-mutuel wagering in New York would discontinue wagering.
Mobile Betting App
Goshen Historic Track does not offer a mobile app.
Goshen Historic Track features several annual fundraisers designed to help both the track and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame.
The February Frolic raffle offers meals at area dining spots as prizes in order to raise money for the track. The Restoration Raffle raises funds to help with the reconstruction of the blacksmith shop, the historic BOCES Barn and the shedrow barn between them. Winners Circle Members are granted tax deductible donations for the funds they provide to the track.
It’s also possible to sponsor a Grand Circuit race. Sponsors can reserve a race by calling the Goshen Historic Track office during normal business hours at 845-294-5333, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proceeds from the annual Hambletonian Party and Poker & Casino Night Charity Event held at Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. benefit the Standardbred Retirement Foundation and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame.
Memberships can be purchased to the Hall of Fame. Active members of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame receive free admission to the facility, a quarterly newsletter and the annual update of The Immortals, voting privileges for the Living Horse Hall of Fame, nominating privileges for The Immortals, invitations to special events, a Museum Gift Shop catalog and purchase discounts, special library research services and a copy of the annual report.
Walk of Fame bricks and pavers can also be purchased in order to support the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. A 12” x 12” granite paver is available for purchase to museum members for $350 and $500 for non-members. A 4” x 8” brick will cost museum members $125 and non-members $175.