Remembering the Garden State Racetrack

On this, the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown, I took a ride by the land where Garden State Park once stood, rising majestically with a white wooden grandstand like the Yankee Stadium of horse racing. Now another indistinct shopping center, this sacred soil used for shopping was where Secretariat raced only a few months before becoming thoroughbred majesty in 1973.  Back then, there was a gap in the fence off Third Ave., near the back entrance of the track. The gap was wide enough for a kid’s body, which is where I used to sneak in back the early 1970’s, avoiding the dollar entrance fee. The mile or so walk up Chapel Ave from St. Peter’s School in Merchantville raced by like “Big Red” himself, talking with my older brother, Rich, and usually two of our friends. On half days, we would sprint out of school and go to the race track, ditching our book bags in the lower church as we said a quick prayer for a good day at the track.

Read 544 times

Last modified on 03/21/2019

Published in History
Login to post comments
Go to top