Northfield Park is located 15 miles southeast of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States, on Route 8 (Northfield Road), off the Forbes Road exit of I-271. It is widely recognized as one of the Cleveland area’s top sports and entertainment venues and the only racetrack with its own microbrewery globally.
In1934, the Northfield Park racetrack was originally known as Sportsman Park, first intended for greyhound racing. However, when the plan failed, ownership changed, and the focus became midget car racing. In 1956, Sportsman Park was demolished under the leadership of Carl Milstein. Northfield was reconstructed and opened on August 23, 1957, by Grandview’s owner, the late Walter J. Michael. It acquired the Grandview events and the 84-acre property after a fire destroyed its grandstand and clubhouse in 1959 and utilized its remaining facilities for training and stabling.
In 1972, the racetrack was again purchased by investors, including Carl Milstein, Robert Stakich, and George Steinbrenner. Michael continued to operate the meets until 1974 when he sold the Northfield meet to Cleveland lawyer William Snyder, Dr. Vic Ippolito, and others. In 1976, they expanded its season into winter, racing over 200 days. However, the track continued to lose money in the 1970s. Hence, the operators purchased the Painesville meet from Homer Marshman to take control of all the harness racing meets in 1981. However, it still lost 1 million dollars in 1983. After the racing industry received a $12.4 million tax break from the state legislature in 1984, track owner Milstein evicted the meet operators, claiming they were in arrears on lease payments and other bills. The Ohio Racing Commission gave the racing dates for the new season to Milstein, who promptly added Sunday racing to the winter season and made other improvements designed to increase business.
In 1985, Northfield commenced year-round racing. Milstein passed away in the fall of 1999, and his son, Brock, took over the operation of the track.
In 2002, Myron Charna became Northfield Park’s president. Then the track’s casino was renamed Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, adjacent to the track, and was opened on December 18, 2013, with 2,300 video lottery terminals. It is under the administration of Hard Rock International. The track’s nickname is “The Home of the Flying Turns,” whose motto is, “Every nineteen minutes, the place goes crazy”.
By early 2009, the Ohio Legislature initiated legislation allowing the state’s seven tracks to install 2,000 slot machines under the guidelines developed by the Ohio State Racing Commission. Then in July 2009, slot machines were approved and installed at Northfield Park pending the approval of Governor John Kasich.
It is a half-mile oval with a capacity of 16,000. The length of stretch is 440 ft. which is an open stretch with a Eurorail pylon configuration. The stretch is 440 feet in length that feature a “passing lane” or open stretch. The grandstand is glass enclosed with seating that can accommodate 4,300, while the clubhouse’s capacity is 1,500. The parking area can fit 6,000 cars while the stables can capacitate over 800 horses. The track offers year-round racing and simulcasting.