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  • Writer's pictureAaron S. Terry

Dayton Raceway

Photos by Cameron Terry, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43

Dayton Raceway 3100 Needmore Rd Dayton, OH 45414

Year Opened: 1934


Horses Fly Too

Dayton Raceway in Dayton, Ohio features a horse racing track attached to a casino. The track features live harness racing from September to December, and includes a slew of food and dining options at the facility. The track itself is sparsely attended, but on the plus side you can get very close to the action.

Food & Beverage 4

There are multiple restaurants and snack stands on the premises – the Sportsbook restaurant is only open to those 21+, but Skybox Sports Bar is open to all, and have tables next to the window so you can watch the racing action while you eat. The menu at the sports bar is limited, but there are a couple of other snack stands on the same floor if you are looking for a little variety. There are also a couple of snack stands next to the track itself, but not all of them are open on certain race days.

Atmosphere 1

The big draw of course at Dayton Raceway, or most horse tracks for that matters, is the gambling. Dayton Raceway only has one live attendant on the clubhouse level, at the far end of the floor, but there are plenty of betting machines, and a slew of TVs all around where you can watch simulcast racing from other tracks.

If you head down to the track you can watch the action from the rail, and even get a photo of the winning horse in the winner’s circle.

Neighborhood 3

There are a few restaurants near Dayton Raceway, which is located north of downtown – Old Dayton Pizza is probably the closest one that is not on the casino’s property. There are also plenty of hotels to the north, closer to I-70.

If you are interested in college or high school football, the horse racing and football season overlap, so you may be able to take in a game at nearby Welcome Stadium, home of the FCS Dayton Flyers as well as multiple high school teams who share the stadium. By far the most popular attraction in the city, however, is the Air Force museum at nearby Wright-Patterson Field, a large museum with multiple hangers showcasing planes and other aviation history. There are also additional sites in town you can visit which honor Wilbur, Orville, and their work.

Fans 1

Not very many fans watch the racing at Dayton Raceway – the facility is pretty empty, although there are plenty of different seating options all over the place. On the first floor, only 40-50 feet from the track railing, you can sit indoors and watch the action from comfy couch-like chairs, or from regular wooden chairs set up in rows. You can also watch from one of the aforementioned restaurants while you eat, or from the railing itself if you don’t mind being outdoors. Note that the first post time is at 4 pm, so be aware you will be watching night racing, and it can be a little chilly outdoors then, in the fall and winter in Ohio.

Access 4

There is free parking right next to the facility – the customer service is not the best in terms of giving directions, but just walk around the back of the casino and you will see the track; the clubhouse is right next to the track, and you can get up to the club level via the elevator or the stairs. Moving around the facility is very easy given the small crowd. The only challenge might be the traffic in downtown Dayton, especially if you are going racing on a weekday – since the first post time is at 4 pm, you may end up getting stuck in rush hour traffic.

Return on Investment 2

There is no cost to attend the races at Dayton Raceway, but there are also no real amenities to speak of unless you there for the gambling. The restaurant food is also a little on the high side – otherwise I would recommend watching the races from the Skybox Sports Bar, so you don’t have to sit or stand outside.

Extras 2

The casino next door is a plus if you are into that sort of thing, and being able to see harness racing is a unique feature, as most horse racing tracks have flat racing. Harness racing seems to be more common up north.

Final thoughts

If you have never seen horse racing or harness racing I would recommend trying it at least once. Dayton Raceway doesn’t have anything in the way of amenities, however, so is not the most fun experience. However, it is very easy to move around, and won’t cost anything either (except for your wagers, of course).

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