Goshen is a town rich in history, especially when it comes to harness horse racing. This town is home to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, which welcomes thousands of horse-racing enthusiasts as visitors each year. However, this isn’t the only harness racing landmark in town. The lesser-known Good Time Park is also located here and was formerly a mile-long racetrack which hosted the Hambletonian harness race from 1930 to 1936. While you may not even notice it while driving past it on the highway, there are still a few remnants of this bygone era that can be discovered today. Our Goshen workers compensation lawyers find Good Time Park interesting for the following reasons:
Good Time Park used to be known as Fiddler’s Green and for about a century was a mostly unmaintained field. The field began to be used in the early 1800s when it became a popular meeting place for local races, training, and breeding. This only lasted until about 1820, and the park was mostly unused up until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1899, the park was refurbished so that it could be used to train trotters.
In 1926, sports promoter and horse owner William H. Cane bought the land and renamed it as Good Time Park. He began holding horse races here and by 1927, the park had transformed into a Grand Circuit track, complete with large stables and a 2,224-seat grandstand.
Hambletonian Harness Races
The first Hambletonian race in Goshen was held at Good Time Park in August of 1930. It was broadcast on the radio by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). Tom Berry and Standardbred horse Hanover’s Bertha won the victory purse of $58,859.00. The Hambletonian would go on to be held here each year over the next 26 years, with the exception of 1943 due to wartime gas shortages.
When William H. Cane died in 1956, the race was moved out of New York State and into Illinois. This was only originally supposed to be a two-year stopgap, but the Hambletonian was never again held in Goshen.
Good Time Park continued to be used following the exit of the Hambletonian, but the park eventually declined. There were occasional auto races here, including the Goshen 100 in 1936 and the George Robson Memorial in 1946 and 1947. Lesser-known horse races continued to be held here for a few decades, but the final races were held during the 1970s. The grandstand was brought down in the early 1980s after a failed attempt to bring back the Hambletonian in 1981.
Good Time Park Today
Today, Good Time Park has largely returned to woods and fields. However, you can still make out the triangular outline of the track from the air. New York State Route 17M now cuts through the southern portion of the track. You can still find the footings of the grandstand and also the rail of the inner circumference of the track, along with a reviewing stand.