Look Back: Horse racing heats up Wood County

Historical newspaper excerpts from the Wood County Historical Society

Photo Provided The caption on the reverse of the photo reads, “Parkersburg” at Thistle Downs Park, Cleveland, Ohio, August 2, 1932. Owners, Charles D. Jones and Tom Keating; up (#6) is J. Dyer.

More races

Some interesting trials of speed have been arranged to take place at the fairgrounds [City Park] on Saturday of next week between local horses.

There will be three races as follows: A running race between Camden’s “Touchstone” and Shattuck’s “Caddy” for $100.

A trotting race between Boss’ “Dandy” and Brown’s horse for $100.

A trotting race between Dr. Hall’s, Jack Kane’s and Brent Bartlett’s horses. The purse for this has not been made up but it will not be as large as the others.

The races will occur in the afternoon and will attract a large crowd. A small admittance fee will be charged.

Mr. Yowell declines to let his mare, “Molly B,” enter races for stakes, he having quit the racing business, he says.

The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

July 10, 1891


The excerpts below, originally from the Parkersburg News, were taken from the book, “Shattuck Park, 1906-1926,” by Joann Wilson and Betty Mills:

September 27, 1912 — Today’s race program will complete the best races ever seen on the track at Shattuck Park, there being two harness races and two running races. No fair in the country has a finer track than is to be found at Shattuck Park.

September 20, 1913 — The stables are jammed full with blooded horses for the races and horse show. There are two hundred of the blue bloods of the equine species, such as harness horses, runners and fourteen big draft horses. Early in the day the last horse stalls of the many at the grounds were taken, and it was necessary to send some of the late arrivals to the stables of Judge Blizzard nearby, where they will be quartered during the fair.

August 19, 1915 — The first day’s racing at the West Virginia Fair was a pleasing event. Governor Hatfield was a spectator and the first race was the governor’s purse race, a 3:23 trot for $400 won by Great Baron, owned by Judge Reese Blizzard of Parkersburg.

August 7, 1916 — The new starter for the West Virginia Fair next week will be R.E. Biggs of Baltimore. Mr. Biggs has officiated on several of the large tracks of the east and is an excellent starter and stands high with horsemen everywhere.

August 9, 1918 — Two big barns and one hundred fifty-three horse stalls of the West Virginia Fair Association at Shattuck Park were totally destroyed by the fire which broke out there at an early hour Thursday morning. The loss is from $10,000 to $15,000. The buildings were insured. All of the fifteen or twenty horses that were in the buildings were gotten out safely.

August 26, 1921 — A vast crowd, numbering more than six or seven thousand, witnessed the third day’s racing at the Wood County Fair and Race Meet. One of the big attractions this afternoon was the mule race, a half-mile event, with the betting lively on the entries and regular jockeys piloting the stubborn bunch on the word go from Charlie Devine, who staged the affair.


Bob Enoch is the president of the Wood County Historical Society. The group meets at 7p.m. on the last Monday of each month in the Summers Auditorium at the Wood County Public Library on Emerson Avenue. They do not meet in December. For more information, contact P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.