• Blog

    And They’re Off! Racing Returns to Isle® Pompano Park

    Horses are extremely beautiful creatures. They are strong, powerful and majestic. It can be really exciting to watch them when they’re racing. Here at Isle Casino® Racing Pompano Park, we love a good horse race. But what’s even more thrilling than a regular horse race is harness racing! In fact, October 4 was the official start of live harness racing season here at Pompano Park. If you’ve never heard of it, then today is your lucky day! Read on to learn more about this interesting sport.

    What is Harness Racing?
    Harness racing is where a driver races a Standardbred horse by pulling a two-wheeled vehicle, referred to as a sulky. There are essentially two types of harness racing horses, a pacer and a trotter, and they're differentiated by how they walk. The pacer is a horse that moves both legs on one side of its body at the same time. The trotter steps with its left front and right rear leg moving simultaneously.

    The Origin of Harness Racing
    Records of harness racing stem back to the ancient times of 1500 B.C., when Assyrian kings kept stables and trainers for the horses that would draw chariots for the purposes of war and hunting. The Olympic Games would initially utilize an elaborate four-horse chariot in the 7th Century B.C., but a two-horse hitch had been used for racing earlier. Most of the horses were locally bred. However, many were transported from Africa and Asia.

    American History
    Harness racing is one of America’s original pastimes. By the 17th century A.D., the United States really began to focus on breeding specialized harness racing horses. One of the first harness racing tracks in America was the Harlem Lane course, located in New York. As the popularity of the sport increased, other tracks were built, including the Roosevelt Raceway in 1940.

    Every Standardbred in the United States can trace its roots back to Hambletonian. Hambletonian was the son of the great sire, Messenger, who was brought to America in 1788. Pacers, on the other hand, had a much different path than that of the trotter. Their roots stem from the Narragansett pacer and the Canuck of French Canada. The trotter may have started in the east, but the pacer thrived in the Midwest and South. Strangely, before the pacer became popular in the 19th century, it was actually a despised horse.

    Our Track
    Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park is affectionately known as the Winter Capital of Harness Racing, and rightfully so. Since 1964, we have been home to some of the best world-class Standardbred racing. We are the premiere destination for top-ranked trotters and pacers, drivers and award winning trainers.

    We are conveniently located just one mile west of Interstate 95, and one mile east of the Florida Turnpike. Our track is 5/8 mile compromised of Mari, a mix of Florida clay, concrete sand and rice rock. Our glorious facility can accommodate thousands of spectators. We currently house about 830 horses. Here is what you can expect when you attend a racing event at our park:

    • Take a seat in our spacious Grand Stands to get a great view of all the pulse pounding action. Then make your way track side for a ride in the starter car and winner circle games.
    • Chow down on delicious track side treats at The Lone Wolf® Food Truck. Satisfy your hunger between races on delicious treats like Street Tacos, Sliders, and Mini Paninis.
    • With the exception of the Christmas holiday, guests have the ability to wager and watch events seven days a week, from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
    • In between live races, we also feature simulcast racing 7 days a week! This includes Jai Alai, thoroughbred racing and greyhound racing from over 20 venues across North America. Carrel seating and private television viewing is available to reserve, located on the second level of the casino.

    Our harness races are a sporting event you don’t want to miss! To be kept in the loop on special events and promotions, sign up for our newsletter or like our Facebook page. We hope to see you at the track soon!


    Back to Blog