Corporate Name: ThistleDown Racino
Mailing/Street Address: 21501 Emery Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44128 (click for map)
Telephone: General Office: (216) 662-8600
Racing Office: (216) 475-1224 or (800) 289-9956
Fax: Administration: (216) 438-6831
Racing Office: (216) 662-3928
JACK Thistledown Racino is Ohio’s premier Thoroughbred racing facility set on 128 acres in the village of North Randall, Ohio, and home to the $500,000 Ohio Derby, the state’s richest and most prestigious horse racing event.
In October of 1944, Thistledown’s grandstand and clubhouse were destroyed by fire and racing was conducted across the street at Randall Park from 1945–1947. It was in the 1950’s that racing in Cleveland was contested at four different tracks, including Randall, Cranwood, the newly renovated Thistledown and Ascot Park located in Summit County near Akron. In 1959, the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation of Youngstown, Ohio, purchased Thistledown and Cranwood and later bought Randall Park in 1961.
The consolidation was completed with the purchase of Ascot Park and, by the end of the 60’s, Thistledown was host to the dates of all four tracks. In November 1999, Magna Entertainment (MEC), led by Thoroughbred owner and breeder Frank Stronach, purchased Thistledown. In July 2010, Thistledown was sold to Caesars Entertainment Corp. (then named Harrah’s Entertainment).
Racing fans have witnessed history at Thistledown with some outstanding Thoroughbred champions. Carolyn Hine’s Skip Away, champion of the 1996 edition of the Ohio Derby, became the first Ohio Derby winner in history to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown and to be named national 3-year-old champion.
In March of 2002, the North Randall oval also took pride in Ohio Derby champions as they garnered the top two spots in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap. Milwaukee Brew (2000 Ohio Derby champion) and Western Pride (2001 Ohio Derby champion) finished first and second, respectively, which marked the first time ever that two Ohio Derby champions finished 1-2 in a $1 million race.
Ohio’s 2001 and 2002 Horse of the Year, Harlan’s Holiday, who captured his maiden win in Thistledown’s Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes in 2001, competed in the first two legs of the Triple Crown Series in 2002. With two Triple Crown starts to his name and prestigious victories in the Grade I Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes, Harlan’s Holiday became the fourth Ohio-bred to compete in a Breeders’ Cup championship race (2002 Classic). Harlan’s Holiday recorded more than $3 million in lifetime earnings and is the leading Buckeye money winner. The 2011 Ohio Derby winner Caleb’s Posse went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
General Manager: Scott Lokke
Finance: Daniel Coil
Racing Operations: David Ellsworth
Director of Mutuels: Larry Hamlin
Nearest City: Cleveland, 10 miles; population, 1,110,000
Nearest Airport: Cleveland Hopkins International, 15 miles
Track Data: 1-mile oval, 6-furlong and 1¼-mile chutes; 978-foot stretch; 19 barns, 1050 stalls, 128 acres
Seating: 3,648: Box Seats, 1,200; Silks Restaurant & Lounge, 760; Bistro Lounge, 250; High Rollers, 48; Black Gold Room, 75; The Suite, 30
Admission: Free admission, free parking; must be 21 or older to gamble; must be 18 or older for pari-mutuel wagering
Parking Spaces: 3,000
Simulcasting Information: Full-card simulcasting year-round, 7 days a week; doors open at 11:30 a.m., closed Christmas Eve and Christmas day