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Goshen Historic Track

If you're a smart traveler you know that the best way to see a region is off the main highways and touring about on the back roads and country lanes. It's here that you get a real sense and feel of an area. If you are doing this in mid-Orange County, you can't help but notice huge tracts of land devoted to horse breeding. Great stables tucked away in the hollows and beautiful horses roaming the vast pastures is a trademark of the area.

"Odd" you might say at first, and "beautiful." But then, you wouldn't be expected to know the intimate history of an area, you wouldn't be expected to know that Orange County is the cradle of Standardbred horse breeding and harness racing in America. But it's very true and one of the prides of New York State.

The late 18th century and the 19th century saw Orange County become the preeminent location for Standardbred horse breeding and harness racing in America. Goshen, the center of the county, became the center of this sport with the races being held down Main Street in the early days. Surrounding Goshen were the most famous breeders in the country and after it was built in 1838 the local race track became one of the most important venues for the sport of harness racing in the world. Out of Orange County came some of the most important Standardbred horses the world has ever seen, including the majestic Hambiltonian, the foundation sire of the breed, foaled in 1849 and reared here in the heart of horse country, Orange County.

The gentlemanly sport of Harness Racing was developed and then sanctified on the race courses of Orange County before the sport lost popularity in the early 1900's. What remains of this greatness are a few breeding farms scattered about and the Goshen Race Track, the oldest trotting track in the world, still operating with a full summer season. This National Historic Site, built in 1838 and located right in the middle of the village of Goshen, is a picturesque little standard one mile track with a small wooden grand stand, barns and outbuildings, all intimately huddled together in the heart of Goshen. On beautiful late spring and summer days you can find horses in their sulkies and harness out on the track running their paces and training for glory in the world of harness racing. The grand stand is open and free to the public at these times and you are invited to sit and watch. During the brief racing season in Goshen in the late spring and early summer, there is little more exciting to do than to come to the race track and thrill to the horses as they speed around this charming and intimate track.

Just around the corner from the Historic Track, at 240 Main Street, is the Harness Racing Museum & Trotting Horse Hall of Fame. As Goshen was the capital of the sport, it is only fitting that this museum was founded right here adjacent to the track. The museum is an exciting and family friendly exploration into the world of horse breeding and harness racing. The museum's collection includes more than 1,500 works of art, 1,000 pieces of ephemera, 5,000 photographs, 300 jockey outfits, 50 sulkies and so much more. All of this is assembled into exciting interactive presentations where you are encouraged to explore and discover. Children love the museum and its video presentations and interactive displays. Let your kids climb into a sulky and grab the reigns!

Specifics on visiting the Goshen Historic Track were correct at time of publication. We would suggest that you confirm dates and times prior to your visit.
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