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Wheeling Downs

Wheeling Downs (recently renamed Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center) features exciting greyhound racing all year round. The track also offers its visitors the unique thrills of slot and video gaming.

Greyhound racing was introduced at Wheeling Downs on August 1976 and it eventually became the racetrack's sole activity.

Today, Wheeling Downs flourishes as one of America's premier greyhound racing tracks.

Getting to Wheeling Downs

Wheeling Downs is Located at 1 S. Stone Street, Wheeling, West Virginia, USA.

History of Wheeling Downs

Wheeling Downs opened in the 1860s. Thoroughbred and harness racing are reported to have occurred during those years.

In the 1920's Wheeling Downs became the state fair park. The park was designed by architect John Carlin.

During the Second World War, there were attempts at racing but these were all unsuccessful. And shifts in the economy and ownership changes caused the open-air compound to close many times.

In 1945, Bill Lias, an entrepreneur purchased the compound. Lias redesigned the compound himself and turned it into a showcase of shubbery and steeples. This gave Wheeling Downs its nickname "miniature Churchill Downs".

Lias was a legend throughout his ownership of Wheeling Downs. The track was his and his family's home. He loved it and treated the track, employees, and customers with extreme care.

The Lias era come to an end when he sold Wheeling Downs in 1956. After passing through two owners, mattress magnate Jim Edwards purchased Wheeling Downs in 1961. A year later, a fire destroyed the clubhouse. The fire also thawed out the track and infield turning them into a muddy mess.

Wheeling Downs was rebuilt in 1967. And once again, thoroughbreds thundered on its racing surface during the winter months.

In 1969 Edwards sold Wheeling Downs to a corporation named Ogden.

Ogden roused Wheeling Downs to success by introducing greyhound racing in 1976.

Today, Wheeling Downs in the midst of another golden age. More than 920,000 fans walked through the track's entrance in 1996 and wagered $108 million.