Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
Backstory and Context
The track survived the Great Depression and reduced patronage during World War II owing to its status as one of the only casinos located near several metropolitan areas. In 1954, Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack began his career at the track. He would end it with a total of 4,277 races, including nine Triple Crown events.
In 1960, Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy held a rally at the venue during the climax of that year's presidential election. In that same year, J. Edgar Hoover made frequent visits to the track. Also in that year, a capacity crowd of 21,480 watched the Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns boxing match on closed-circuit television in the venue. The track faced competition at this time, as Shenandoah Downs opened nearby in 1959. The two tracks competed for the same customer base until 1976, when Shenandoah Downs closed.