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
|Length of Stretch||:||991'|
|Width of Homestretch||:||(est.) 83'|
|Grandstand Capacity||:||10,000 people|
|Clubhouse Capacity||:||10,000 people|
|Parking Capacity||:||5,000 cars|
|Handle||:||$766,082 on March 6, 1971|
|Attendance||:||17,230 people 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.
- 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 their careers.
- 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 racing's 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.