Rockingham Park is a harness racing track in Salem, New Hampshire. Considered
a New England institution for its being the first race track to be established
in the region, it conducts live racing in a May through September season.
Also known as “The Rock”, the track is known for its beautiful
country setting and quality racing.
In addition to the regular harness races, Rockingham Park plays host to special
racing events of significance to the region, among these are the Dr. Harry
Zweig Memorial Trot, the $25,000 Mountain Skipper Final, the $12,000 Invitational
Pace, the $10,000 No No Yankee Final and the $10,000 Summer Wine Final.
Rockingham Park Track Facts
on March 6, 1971
on March 23, 1962
History of Rockingham Park
- On June 28, Rockingham Park opened its doors to more than 10,000 fans.
The press proclaimed the new $1 million facility the world's finest racecourse.
- After the end of the first season, the track remained shuttered to
horse racing for 25 years.
- The first Rockingham Fair opened on the grounds. The fairs continued
for the next several years.
- Rockingham Park was used as a bivouac site for the 14th United States
Army Corps of Engineers before they sailed off to France.
Salem, New Hampshire
- Rockingham Park reopened. The opening thoroughbred racing season was
a great success, and the track quickly became known as "The Rock".
- Great horses like Seabiscuit, Discovery, and Brass Monkey were among
the notable horses that saw action at Rockingham Park.
- In April, harness racing returned to the Rock with a spring and fall
meet while the thoroughbred meet was held in the summer.
- The New Hampshire Sweeps, the first sweepstakes lottery in the United
States, was created. It was based on the Irish Sweepstakes where the results
are taken from the outcomes of horse races.
- The annual N.H. Sweeps run in 1965, 1966 and 1967 were the richest
races in the country for three-year-olds.
1960s - 1970s
- Legendary riders Edie Arcaro, Johnnie Longden, Bill Shoemaker, George
Woolf, and Bobby Ussery all rode at the Rock. Modern day superstars and
Hall of Famers Pat Day and Chris McCarron called Rockingham home early in
- Famous harness drivers who raced at Rockingham during this time included
Hall of Fame members John Chapman, Jim Doherty, Stanley Dancer, Bill Haughton
and Bob Farrington, plus Leroy Copeland, Walt Warrington, and Wally Ross.
The track was also a proving ground for some of Thoroughbred and harness
top horse men and racing officials.
- On July 29, a fire destroyed the grandstand and damaged the clubhouse,
and the 68-day meeting was canceled.
- The track opened in 1984 with a state-of-the-art new clubhouse.
- A turf course was installed.
- A plush Sports Club and family Picnic Pavilion were added.
1990s to 2002
- Rockingham Park remained as New Hampshire's only Thoroughbred track.
- Harness racing was re-introduced.