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Agua Caliente Racetrack

File:Hipodromoaguacaliente.jpg
Frontside of the building before its current renovation

The Agua Caliente Racetrack is a greyhound racing and former horse racing track in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. It opened in December 1929 at a cost of $2.5 million.[1]

One year before, the Agua Caliente Casino and Hotel opened in June 1928.

Like the resort, the racetrack was designed by Wayne McAllister and built by wealthy Americans Baron Long, a Los Angeles nightclub owner, Wirt Bowman, owner of the Tijuana gambling establishment, The Foreign Club, and James Croffroth, a member of the local Tijuana horseracing establishment. Some sources note the fourth partner was Abelardo L. Rodríguez, Military Commander and Governor of Baja California, and future President of Mexico. [1] The lavish resort and racetrack on the Mexican border was popular among Americans, particularly Hollywood celebrities, because drinking, gambling and horse racing were still illegal in most of the neighboring U.S. states.

Although President Lázaro Cárdenas outlawed gambling in 1935 and closed the resort and casino, the Agua Caliente Racetrack continued to operate for many years. It was the site of several industry firsts, including starting gates, safety helmets, and “pick six” wagering. Both Phar Lap and Seabiscuit ran and won the Agua Caliente Handicap, which for a time was the richest in North America.[2]

The original grandstand structure was destroyed by fire in 1971, but was rebuilt and continues to operate today, though just a shadow of its opulent beginnings. [3] It is currently owned by millionaire politician Jorge Hank who renamed it "Hipódromo de Agua Caliente" and it no longer holds horse races but rather greyhound races. The building is currently on renovation and the Estadio Caliente stadium was built in the grounds.

References

  • Beltran, David Jimenez. The Agua Caliente Story: Remembering Mexico's Legendary Racetrack (2004) Eclipse Press ISBN 1581501153
  • The Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister, Chris Nichols (Gibbs Smith, Publisher: Layton, Utah) 2007 [2]


External links


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