Epsom Downs was an upscale horse racing facility. It was open just three years from 1933 to 1937 and was considered one of the top two race tracks in the state (along with Arlington Downs). Those dates coincide with when the state legislature approved betting on horse racing, and then when the legislature outlawed horse betting. Pari-mutuel betting was allowed once again in 1987, which allowed Gulf Greyhound Park and Sam Houston Race Park to open. The first race at Epsom was Thanksgiving Day, 1933. Its last race was March 27, 1937. It was the largest of the Texas tracks, with seating for 10,000, though 25,000 people showed up for the first race. Epsom Downs was located in an area near Jensen Drive. Epsom Downs was named after a race track that the British royal family still visits in Epsom, England.
There are five comments.
I grew up near Jenson drive and Mt Houston Road. In the early 50s we used a dry cleaner service called Epson Downs cleaners. I noticed several other businesses with Epson Downs in the name, but it was not until years later that I realized that there was a racetrack by that name. I asked my day about it and he confirmed that there was a race track and stated that as a kid he had gone to a rodeo held there. I have wondered where it was located. If anyone knows the location let me know.
Shannon Young - Friday, December 30th, 2016 @ 8:49am
I was about 4 or 5 years old when my Father and Mother took me to Epson Downs. I don't remember much about the horses and track but for some reason I remember that the area was lighted by Orang/Amber light bulbs. I slept in the back seat of our Chevy. In those days it was safe as could be..
Robert C. Jones - Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 @ 6:33pm
My step-grandfather was a porter in the Rice Hotel barbershop. A gentleman came in one day for a shave and asked the manager if he knew of anyone who could oversee the maids and porters at Epsom Downs. The mgr. recommended my step-grandpa. He took the job and was over the seven male porters. My grandmother was one of seven maids. They worked there until it closed. The Rice mgr. allowed my step-grandpa to work at the tracks in the day and the Rice at night. This story was told to me by my step-grandpa. In researching my family history, I would be thrilled to see any photos of attendees, staff, etc. Thanks for this opportunity to share my memory.
Flo - Friday, February 11th, 2011 @ 11:24am
My Great Uncle was the caretaker when the track opened. They continued to live in what was the Jockey Club for several years after the close of the track.
Marti O - Monday, January 10th, 2011 @ 8:33am
My family didn't move to Houston until 1940, but I remember hearing my parents talk about going to Epsom Downs. I seem to recall that there were horse races with no betting.I don't think I am senile (YET), but this can't be a real memory if the track closed in 1937. I LOVED coming across your info about the track, tho ...
Madeline - Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 @ 10:03pm
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