Phoenix Trotting Park in Goodyear
|Photos by Benjamin Leatherman|
|Glimpses from the abandoned Trotter Park in Goodyear.|
And oddly enough, it's done both.
Phoenix Trotting Park's lifespan was tragically short. It was built in the early 1960s, and debuted as a gambling and entertainment destination for horse race junkies in 1965.
|The interior of the grandstand at Phoenix Trotting Park.|
One of the proprietors and visionaries behind the facility was James Dunnigan, the renowned New York horseracing impresario, who ultimately dropped $10 million (about $7 million more than its original budget) to build the park.
And while Dunnigan could anticipate which horse would win a race, he failed to foresee the track's poor attendance.
More than 12,000 people showed up for opening day, but the track was hard to get to (in the in 60s, the I-10 didn't reach Goodyear), and after two-and-half seasons, the park closed.
The grandstand has remained mostly vacant since the '60s, save for the flocks of birds that nest in the rafters, as well as the numerous human visitors that have braved the dangerous structure for impromptu parties and graffiti sessions.
Today, visiting Phoenix Trotting Park is a relatively dangerous, treacherous, and illegal journey.
|Some the broken glass and other damage decorating the grandstand area.|
The building itself is a spooky maze of stairways, corridors, ladders, and tunnels that allow daredevils to climb all the way up to the grandstand's roof.
Then there are all bones of dead birds populating the place. Some of these remains are the remnants of a large explosion that was staged back in 1997 while shooting the Charlie Sheen movie No Code of Conduct.
The action flick, which starred the Ma-Sheen as a corrupt cop, featured several scenes filmed at the racetrack, including a huge pyrotechnic display that enveloped the building and destroyed the glass -- roasting dozens of pigeons in the process (much to the chagrin of the peeps at PETA).
The flick went straight to video while the pigeons went straight to
The Phoenix Trotting Park continues to stand, offering travelers zooming past on the I-10 going to and from Los Angeles an unusual landmark and roadside attraction.
Trotter Park is located at 1068 North Cotton Lane in Goodyear.