The Phoenix Trotting Park is a relic of leisure and vice smack in middle of the desert.
The horse racing park was built in 1964 and opened the following year to any eager gamblers willing to brave the (unpaved at the time) desert expanse leading to the facility. The massive concrete structure was built in a futurist style with sloping geometric shapes sprouting around the interior and shaping the exterior walls. However, despite its aspirations to be a lasting hub of gambling, the track only remained in operation for two short seasons.
The project’s proposed construction budget skyrocketed from three million dollars to ten million by the time it was completed, immediately increasing pressure for the site to attract big attendance numbers. Unfortunately, the track’s remote desert location and uncomfortable heat drove away most of the potential customers and the horse races were abandoned. The site was left to deteriorate with only adventurous teens and budget-minded filmmakers making the pilgrimage to the planned tracks.
In 1997, after collecting dust and graffiti for decades, the site suffered the further indignity of an explosion set off for the film No Code of Conduct which blew out all of the glass in the facility and left the Phoenix Trotting Park littered with dead pigeons. This gruesome event may have been the most action this hubristic concrete shell ever saw.
Update Sept 2017: The slow process of demolishing the building began September 28; rather than imploding the building, one of the world’s largest demolition excavators will help to methodically tear it down piece by piece.
Know Before You Go
The abandoned track is 20 miles West of Phoenix, just south of the I-10 Highway and can be seen from the road. Exit at Citrus Rd. and head south, the track will be on your left.