Raceland is a former a horse racing track in Chinnville, Kentucky (now known as Raceland), operating between 1924 and 1928.
The 350-acre horse race track 2 was announced in a January 1923 issue of The Thoroughbred Record after developers Jack O. Keene and Tom Cromwell 1 had put an initial option on 270 acres of land near Russell. 3
The pair constructed a 1½-mile dirt track, a 4,000-seat grandstand, 22 horse stables, a jail, and a railroad spur from the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad at the cost of $110,000. 1 3 The official’s residence was built 500 yards from the grandstand that cost $10,000. Room for an additional 500 stables, worker housing, and a water tank was set aside.
Raceland made its debut on July 4, 1924, with a first-class boxing match with over 5,000 in attendance. 1 3 The first horse race, the “Ashland Handicap,” was attended by 27,000 patrons on July 10. 2 It featured Kentucky Derby winner “Black Gold” and four other Run for the Roses entrants. Due to the track’s popularity and association, the city of Chinnville was renamed Raceland after the race track. 3
Raceland was known as the “Million Dollar Oval” during its peak in the mid-1920s. 1 Lined with a white wood and iron fence and elaborate pink and maroon roses, the track was nothing short of elegant. The bridle paths and front lawn, paved in red tapestry brick, matched the clubhouse, stewards’ stand, and judge’s stand. The infield featured a lake and sunken gardens.
Financial difficulties at the dawn of the Great Depression caused Raceland to fold in 1929. 3 Keene went on to develop the famed Keeneland horse race track in Lexington. 2 The grandstands, sold shortly after the track closed, were demolished in 1937. The official’s residence, clubhouse, and a few horse stables remain as of 2018.
- Hollingsworth, Kent. “Sarazen.” The Kentucky Thoroughbred. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2009. 6. Print.
- Historical marker.
- Hapney, Terry L., Jr. “Raceland steeped in history thanks to racetrack heritage.” Greenup Beacon 17 Dec. 2013: n. pag. Web. 18 Dec. 2013. Article.
Our family owns this property and had to be boarded up for safety purposes.
As usual one of the most important buildings connected to the track was overlooked completely here. The house of the track owner and operator, Jack O. Keene, (who later founded Keeneland in Lexington) is still standing and still occupied. It’s a beautiful house inside and out with a lot of very interesting features including a full view of the track and a tunnel to other locations at the track. It sits right beside US 23. I’ve been there many times.
My ancestors sold part of their property to the Raceland race track. Do you know how I can find details of the property transaction?
If it is the house I am thinking, they may have omitted that building bc it is occupied as a residency and out of respect to the current residents there. I always look at those when I pass. I’d love to see photos of them in their prime. This area would be very different if Keene had been able to keep it afloat
They probably boarded it up because it wasn’t safe. I went inside in the late 80’s and the stairs were in bad shape. I shouldn’t have been in there at all but at least I had sense enough not to try to go upstairs. It was a wreck inside and kinda creepy.
Would love to see more pics of the track during it’s operation.
Why are the doors and windows boarded up? I have heard some tales of this brick “club house” being haunted, is there any truth to these kinds of stories?
I recently moved to Highland Ave and can see this place from my back yard. I am very interested in any additional history surrounding the race track as well as any pictures or links you would like to share.