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Racing Thu Jan 08 2009

Goodbye, Sportsman's Park


Ex-Reader staffer and past GB contributor Ted McClelland penned a farewell to Sportsman's Park, the moribund horse and auto racing park in Cicero.

Of Chicago's three racetracks, Sportsman's best exemplified horse racing's seedy glamour. It was started as a dog track by Al Capone, who used to fix the races by feeding greasy hamburgers to every greyhound but the one he planned to bet on. Sportsman's sometimes held boxing matches between the races, up on the third floor. I used to see Moose Skowron in the grandstand, wearing a jacket advertising his after-the-races tavern, Call Me Moose. Racetrack Rosie, the veteran stripper known for her outlandish Derby Day hats, had her own day at Sportsman's. The track even put her picture on the program cover. My first gambling mentor, Johnny Goritz, taught me to read a horse's body language at Sportsman's. And I'll never forget watching a losing gambler race through the bleachers after a bad beat, wailing "I've never had any luck! Not once in 55 years!" Sportsman's was the mingled stench of cigarette smoke, horse manure and the newsprint of a fresh Daily Racing Form. But give Sportsman's some credit for class: it had the best food of any sporting venue in town. Can you get a salmon-and-fettucine blue plate special at the United Center?

Sportsman's ran its last race in 2002, and the city of Cicero bought the property in 2003. The grandstands are currently being torn down to make way for a shopping center. It's worth reading the whole piece.

Also worth checking out FoGB Katherine Hodges' photoset of the park on flickr.

[Image: mod as hell]

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earlebenezer greyhound races / February 2, 2009 1:59 AM

The greyhound betting market is one of the most profitable markets to exploit in betting exchanges, yet many punters avoid it simply because they do not know much about it.

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