River Downs Horse Racing Track in Ohio

The River Downs Racetrack has been entertaining race fans for nearly three-quarters of a century. While keeping up with the changing times, the track has never lost that special atmosphere which sets it apart from most other tracks. Located in Kellogg Avenue, Cincinnati, River Downs hosts live racing and also enjoys simulcast coverage.

The fascinating journey of River Downs all started one warm summer morning in 1925 when the track was opened to the public under the name ‘Coney Island’. It was the first time that organized racing has been seen in Cincinnati in fifteen years and it was a day to be remembered. Amazingly enough, the first horse to cross the finish line was the legendary Black Gold, the current record holder for the most ‘Derby’ wins in the country. The crowd swelled to roughly 10,000 people, marking the beginning of a long and successful legacy of thoroughbred horse racing on the River Downs track.

Things weren’t always rosy and bright for River Downs. In 1937, the track endured massive flooding but it was quickly restored under the name ‘River Downs’. At about this time a 7-furlong turf course was added to the existing one-mile oval track, giving the facility added impetus. The wooden grandstand was renovated some time later in 1988 and management saw the need to maintain the originally open-air style of the original grandstand. The wooden benches were replaced with stadium seats for greater comfort and a game room was installed next to a gift shop which was also added. The mezzanine level was expanded with numerous concession stands, betting windows and the atmospheric Finnigans Pub. Other improvements took the form of extensions to the paddock, upgrades to the Clubhouse and the installation of about 250 television monitors. In 1996, after a change in state legislation, Full Card simulcasting was added to the list of amenities. Today the River Downs Clubhouse is one of the most modern simulcasting centers in the country with 500 state-of-the-art television systems and excellent race coverage.

Other features at River Downs include free parking and free admission. The main track has two chutes – one for three quarter mile racing and one for one and one-quarter mile racing. The track is 80 feet wide all around and the homestretch is 1,117 feet. Between the clubhouse and grandstand there is enough seating for about 1,390 people and there is stabling for 1,350 horses. Racing takes place all summer long and you can always expect a great, friendly atmosphere and plenty of live and simulcast action.

back to Ohio