Weatherford Democrat

Features

September 4, 2008

Mystery and legend

Trinity Meadows still alive and waiting

By Karen Mitchell Smith

It sits to the north of Interstate 20 at Willow Park, not too far off the road, but hidden from the hustle of rush hour traffic by a thick row of pecan and hackberry trees. If you didn’t know to look for it, you would miss it altogether, except for the bright, teal-blue roof in the distance, towering above the tree line.

The sign adjacent to the interstate proclaims it Squaw Creek Downs, but the actual name for the racehorse training facility is Trinity Meadows.

The current name is actually the third associated with the track.

“People who aren’t old-timers from around here may not know it, but there’s been racing in Weatherford since the late ’40s or early ’50s,” facility manager Marshall Ferrell said. “They called it Clear Fork Downs back then.”

Ferrell, who has been the manager of the track in its current incarnation since 2001, is a slight man with a tanned-leather face and piercing blue eyes. We stood in the receiving barn on a rainy day in early May discussing the history and some of the mystery surrounding Trinity Meadows.

From the shelter of the barn we watched the comings and goings of trainers, jockeys and racehorses. Across the lane from us, three horses tethered to the walker took their daily exercise in the drizzle. One, a dark gray filly named Shine On Elizabeth, kicked and bucked excitedly, refreshed by the rain.

“She feels so good she can’t stand it,” Ferrell said with a laugh.

I couldn’t help but be amazed at the number of horses and trainers represented at the stables. Turns out, the facility I, like many other drive-time warriors, had taken little notice of has stalls for 1,097 horses; although, currently about 100 horses regularly hit the track for training, Ferrell said.

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