The History of Long-lost Green Mountain Racetrack in Vermont

Green Mountain Racetrack via Flickr

The Green Mountain Racetrack has a long, colorful history dating back nearly 60 years.

It was billed as America’s newest and most modern racetrack when Green Mountain Park opened in 1963. The Southern Vermont community borders both Massachusetts and New York, and reports say upward of 4,000 people showed up for the opening day, far more than was expected.

But it became a challenge to fill the stands throughout the years. The track had both harness and thoroughbred racing, but competing with the established race track at Saratoga — just 42 miles away — proved to be difficult.

In 1968, Green Mountain was the only race track that had Sunday racing, helping push up the numbers betting on the ponies. But it would be short-lived when other states allowed Sunday racing.

In 1972, the sons of Art Rooney bought the track. Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, reportedly thought it was a bad investment, saying the town had more cows than people… more from local Vermont coverage on Green Mountain Racetrack

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Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the 2018 NHC Tour with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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