Ak-Sar-Ben: First Impressions of Omahas Track Plant Modern in All Racing Detail Record, Daily Racing Form, 1955-06-01


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iiimm * Ak-Sar-Ben By Hugh J. McGuire - First Impressions of Omahas Track Plant Modern in All Racing Detail ? Record 18,582 SeesSport on Holiday AK-SAR-BEN, Omaha, Nebr., May 31.— It required more than a quarter century of association with the thoroughbred industry for us to find our way to this virile virile course course in in the the outskirts outskirts of of virile virile course course in in the the outskirts outskirts of of Nebraskas largest city. During that period we had accepted the term "bushes" for. practically all tracks located west of the Mississippi and east of the Rockies simply because that was the term in general use among horsemen. We had seen most of the minor tracks east of the "Father of Waters" and some of them left a great deal to be desired. Possibly there was was a a time time when when Ak-Sar-Ben Ak-Sar-Ben was was was was a a time time when when Ak-Sar-Ben Ak-Sar-Ben was was iiimm * properly grouped as a member of the "bush" circuit but with its present physical properties the word applied to this mile oval is the misnomer of the year. The immediate first impression of this course is found in its neatness and modernity. Fresh and bright in new paint, the plant provided a contrast even to our highest expectations for we had been warned that we ■would be pleasantly surprised. Frankly, we were and as we toured from one department to another we searched in vain for a weakness in the chain of attractiveness. The grandstand with its mezzanine is spacious with seats for 8,500. There is no clubhouse and it is our understanding that there is no particular urge to have one. A large new dining room beneath the grandstand is in the site of the old paddock and is divided into sections for a dining room, cafeteria and hot sandwich counter. The new paddock is of attractive design and the administration building, topped by the jockeys quarters, is not cramped. Stable Area Has Spicband Span Look Any member of the HBPA is likely, with some justification, to suggest looking for defects in the stable area but a tour of this division here found everything in spic and span shape with a systematic manure and debris removal operation in constant use. The parking area is large and all paved and the overflow from this is handled neatly in the infield. This is reached by an underpass below the track and because the infield is depressed, the lines of cars do not interfere with the vision of the spectators. Memorial Day found this infield practically filled with cars as a record 18,582 patrons found their way to the course. It was not our intention to make this piece sound like a press agents release and if we have failed it is because we were genuinely impressed with the entire plant which is located in a shallow valley with trees on all sides. There are many smaller details that are novel and will bear repeating later. Recently in a column in this paper, trackman Pat Caudill explained that the entire operation is under the control of the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben and is non-profit. Surpluses from operation are either plowed back into improvements or donated to charities, scholarships or other philanthropies. A dozen prominent local businessmen are on the Ak-Sar-Ben board of directors. Another dozen form "His Majestys Council." From these there is a racing coaimittee of three while the general managership of the entire operation is vested in J. J. Isaacson and his assistants, Al D. Wolf and Keith Carter. Frank Keene in Local Jockey Colony In Brief: This track proudly retains the fast disappearing practice of offering patrons free parking. . Outriders here appear in silks of the Ak-Sar-Ben colors of red, yellow and green, a system used in orange and black at Keeneland. . . . Phil Raasch, Nebraska breeder, has a unique stable registered here. There are 12 , head in the string and each is by the Raasch stallion . Morsel who stands at his owners farm at Norfolk. . Jockey Frank Keene, a younger brother to Harold, is riding here for the first time. Keene has given first .call on his services to trainer Frank G. Orr who has a large public stable registered. One of the niceties to- be found here are selected rows of seats in the grandstand which are some three inches wider than the regular seats. Plainly marked with a crown to denote that they are king size, they are appreciated by patrons who have neglected their diets. . . . The new Sportservice restaurant here seats 680 and is managed by Pasquale Crisona and his assistant Earl Coffman. Crisona came here direct from Miami Beachs fabulous new Hotel Fontainbleu. . . . General manager Jake Isaacson was happy as he paid off minor wagers as attendance records fell on Memorial Day. ... A novel and practical operation in use here is for the track ambulance to follow the action, in every race. The ambulance moves down a black-top strip in the center of the infield as the race is run to be that much closer to the scene of any accident. ... Sir Rickey, from the stable pf V. V. Long, Sr., dropped dead following the running of the fourth race Monday in which the son of Some Good— Kate Greenaway finished third.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1955060101/drf1955060101_5_3
Local Identifier: drf1955060101_5_3
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800