When ‘The greatest racing stables’ came to flood-prone Moss Park

Park goers like to hang with their BFFs. (Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

If Harry S. Moss Park in northeast Dallas could talk, that land would have some doozies. Those who truly love the park — and there are many — view it as virtually sacred, with its weird history, hidden surprises, a network of old footpaths and remnants of a short-lived horse racing track …

Yeah, that’s the one most people don’t know about.

“We are going to have one of the greatest racing stables in this country.”

For a stint while pari-mutuel betting was legal, from 1933-35, a horse-racing track doomed by hubris existed on the Moss Park land. Back in the footpaths today, you might stumble across a fossil of an antique structure that some park-goers believe was part of the stables. An aerial photo from the 1930s shows a circular trajectory on the spot.

An aerial image taken by Lloyd M. Long between 1930-40, shows the outline of the doomed Hilltop Stables racetrack. (Edwin J. Foscue Map Library, Southern Methodist University)

SMU professor and historian Ted Campbell verifies — it was called Hilltop Stables.

Promoter R.B George in 1933 assured a Dallas Morning News reporter that “there is no guesswork to this at all. We are going to have one of the greatest racing stables in this country.”

Campbell jokes that the name Hilltop Stables “ranks among dumb place names that must have seemed fanciful to developers.” The track was right in the flats along White Rock Creek, he says, “which we all know regularly floods the entire area.”

Note: This is excerpted from a 2016 Advocate article.

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