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Phoenix Trotting Park in Goodyear

Phoenix Trotting Park in Goodyear | Phoenix New Times

Phoenix Trotting Park in Goodyear | Phoenix New Times

Phoenix Trotting Park in Goodyear | Phoenix New Times

Phoenix Trotting Park in Goodyear | Phoenix New Times

Ever wondered what this town might look like, post-apocalypse? The abandoned Phoenix Trotting Park racetrack in Goodyear is a pretty good preview -- and a pretty handy one if all those rumors of The Rapture happening in less than a week prove to be true.

Desiccated by the ravages of the past 50 years, all that remains of the abandoned racetrack (off Interstate 10 on the edge of Goodyear) is its ginormous grandstand that looks like it survived a massive explosion and or served as a movie set.And oddly enough, it's done both. Phoenix Trotting Park's lifespan was tragically short. It was built in the early 1960s, and debuted as a gambling and entertainment destination for horse race junkies in 1965.One of the proprietors and visionaries behind the facility was James Dunnigan, the renowned New York horseracing impresario, who ultimately dropped $10 million (about $7 million more than its original budget) to build the park. And while Dunnigan could anticipate which horse would win a race, he failed to foresee the track's poor attendance.

More than 12,000 people showed up for opening day, but the track was hard to get to (in the in 60s, the I-10 didn't reach Goodyear), and after two-and-half seasons, the park closed.

The grandstand has remained mostly vacant since the '60s, save for the flocks of birds that nest in the rafters, as well as the numerous human visitors that have braved the dangerous structure for impromptu parties and graffiti sessions.

Today, visiting Phoenix Trotting Park is a relatively dangerous, treacherous, and illegal journey. Those hearty enough to slip past the broken fencing marked with many "no trespassing" signs and other ramshackle barriers surrounding the facility will encounter massive amounts of broken glass and shattered porcelain, as well as twisted and rusted metal that could easily injure someone who's footing ain't sure. There are also large piles of petrified bird poop scattered throughout, which are surely a biohazard. The building itself is a spooky maze of stairways, corridors, ladders, and tunnels that allow daredevils to climb all the way up to the grandstand's roof. Then there are all bones of dead birds populating the place. Some of these remains are the remnants of a large explosion that was staged back in 1997 while shooting the Charlie Sheen movie No Code of Conduct. The action flick, which starred the Ma-Sheen as a corrupt cop, featured several scenes filmed at the racetrack, including a huge pyrotechnic display that enveloped the building and destroyed the glass -- roasting dozens of pigeons in the process (much to the chagrin of the peeps at PETA).

Stashed in: Arizona

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Wow, 50 years of decay in the Arizona desert seems less harsh than what 2 years did to the silverdome.

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