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Kansas City-Smithville Race Track
Kansas City-Smithville Race Track
TitleKansas City-Smithville Race Track
DescriptionPostcard of the Kansas City-Smithville Race Track
Historical ArticleThe Kansas City-Smithville Race Track at the old fair-grounds in Smithville is pictured on an early post card. The card is one of a set of 16 different scenes of activities taken at the track.

A Kansas City Journal Post photographer took the series of photographs of these festive occasions. Leon Morton, who owned the general merchandise store in Smithville prior to the 1965 flood, and Elmer Iden of the Mitchell-Iden drug store purchased the 16 negatives from the photographer and had 25,000 post cards made picturing the racing scene. They were published by the Auburn Greeting Card Company of Auburn, Ind., and were sold for two cents each at the Morton store and Mitchell-Iden drug store in Smithville.

Horse shows were held on the site as early as 1900. By 1905 crowds of several thousand were gathering at the grounds to see the fine horses of Clay, Platte and other counties. Eventually fairgrounds were built and an annual fair was held.

In 1925 a group of Kansas City and Clay County men formed an association and raised money to build the track. The first five-day meet was held the next year, devoted mainly to harness horses.

Races were held daily, except Mondays, during the season. Betting was illegal but it was conducted by a $2 donation.

By 1928 new promoters took over and running horses dominated. But before the season was over, the promoters left town and also left behind bad debts. Another attempt the following year also failed. The rural people were not as interested in the running horses and the track was considered too far out to attract large crowds from Kansas City. For a time motor car and motorcycle races were held there. In the 1940s the grandstand was razed.

Kansas City Times
July 17, 1981

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectRacetracks
Kansas City-Smithville Race Track
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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