Surprise for Chicago: Improvements and Innovations at Homewood Revelation for Fans, Daily Racing Form, 1935-05-24


view raw text

SURPRISE FOR CHICAGO , Improvements and Innovations at r Homewood Revelation for Fans. : 50,000 Totalizator Outstanding r of New Features Everything Ready f or Inaugural. -Thoroughbreds heads brown and bay and chestnut looked out from every box stall door at the Washington Park race track Thursday. Bright racing silks that have not been seen in Chicago for many months were being unpacked from trunk3 in a hundred tack rooms. Trainers were scanning the entries. Slim jockeys were giving their riding gear a last inspection. Tomorrow at 2:15 Chicagos major racing season gets under way at Washington Park with a sparkling eight-race program that is featured by the ,000 Chicago Handicap and horses, horsemen and ordinary racegoers are impatient for the sound of the bugle that will call the first field to the post. The coming Washington Park race meeting is frankly an experiment in horse racing. When new management, headed by president John P. Harding, took over the Homewood race course a few months ago, the group of Chicago businessmen comprising it determined to make Washington Park the most modern race track in the world. To give the average racegoer the highest type of racing under ideal conditions was the theory upon which their plans were based. MINIMUM PURSE ,000. An effort was made to attract Americas finest thoroughbreds by guaranteeing minimum purses of ,000 and by offering a stake with an added value of at least ,000 on every Saturday and holiday. So successful has this policy been in attracting top horses that Washington Park now plans to better its guarantee and to offer frequent ,200 overnight handicaps. Virtually every important stable in America is represented in the list of horses now quartered at Washington Park and at nearby Lincoln Fields. The rebuilding of the Washington Park racing plant to make it an ideal one for the average racegoer presented more difficult problems. The first improvement installed the most modern was a 50,000 totalisator in the world which makes wagering almost entirely automatic. Each dollar wagered at one of the 150 selling machines registers electrically upon the huge totalisator board in the infield; the racegoer who is statistically-minded can even figure his own prices from the board before the payoffs are posted. The totalisator makes ijistakes in prices impossible. LOUDSPEAKER SYSTEM. . A loudspeaker system of the latest type was installed. It is novel in that microphones have been placed at various spots on the track such as in the starters stand and by throwing a switch it is possible to let the crowd know what is happening at almost any desired location. Physical conveniences were the next step. Totalisator windows were placed high up in clubhouse and grandstand, in addition to the main lines on the ground floor, so that patrons need no longer climb stairs to wager. Thousands of free seats were added to the capacities of clubhouse and grandstand by ripping out boxes and reserved seats that had taken up so large a share of the space in the old plant. Fine cafes and modern bars replaced the outmoded facilities that Washington Park once knew. The entire plant was repainted in a combination of greens; the infield and the lawns were beautified; the free parking space was made more ample. Admission prices were lowered to for grandstand and to for clubhouse, with the track absorbing all taxes. Complimentary tickets were abandoned because of the low prices. One of the largest fields that has ever faced the starter in a Chicago stake is in prospect for the opening feature the ,000 Chicago Handicap at six furlongs. Top weight and likely favorite will be A. A. Baronis Top Row, the four-year-old that holds the worlds record of 1:42 for a mile and a sixteenth.

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1935052401_1_4
Library of Congress Record: