The ‘Fastest’ Horse Racing Track in the World Once Existed in South Portland, Maine
Each year, people from around the globe focus in on horse racing for the Triple Crown. The most notable of those three races is the Kentucky Derby, which has become synonymous with big hats, fancy cocktails and a brimming social scene.
While those races put the spotlight on the sport, horse racing has been a part of American culture for well over a century. That includes many towns and cities across Maine, where horse racing was big business for many years.
One of those cities was South Portland. Back in the late-1800's, horse racing wasn't just big business for some places, it was the only business. Similar to what many people experience with Fenway Park in Boston, visitors would travel across state lines to the biggest and best horse racing venues across New England.
According to Maine Memory, the Rigby Trotting Park was constructed in 1893 to be a signature horse racing track in Maine. Its reputation quickly grew amongst riders and spectators and before long, Rigby Trotting Park was regarded as the "fastest" horse racing track in the world.
The prominence was short lived. By 1898, the sheen had worn off Rigby Trotting Park and other horse racing venues had stolen its thunder. After only six years in operation, Rigby Trotting Park was closed for good.
More than two decades later, the former Rigby Trotting Park was sold to the Maine Central Railroad company and would become Rigby Railway Yard. The area has remained a rail yard ever since despite changing ownership multiple times throughout the years.
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