About the Trotting Park Fields
Trotting Park Fields, off Gifford Street, are the home fields of numerous town and club soccer and lacrosse teams. In addition to playing fields, the 23-acre complex also has a skate park and a walking path around the playing fields.
The path, which follows the original race track, is dedicated to Justino Simoes and his wife, Maria Argentina, who used to farm strawberries on these fields until their deaths in 1968. Their children sold the land to the town in 1995. "This land has been in the Simoes family for three-quarters of a century, " Gilbert Simoes said. "our dad, Justino Simoes, who coincidentally was born the same year Trotting Park was inaugurated in 1896, bought the tract shortly after arriving from Portugal and here raised his four children with the loving help of our mother, Maria Argentina."
Horse racing was a popular pastime and spectator event when the trotting park was built. Between races, bicyclists and runners competed on the tract. The high west bank was used as a natural grandstand. A tall judges' platform was constructed alongside the track. Just as quickly as it had emerged, the popularity of horse racing declined and soon pitch pines and family farmers took over the land. Mr. Simoes preserved the oval shape of the tract, farming around and inside it.
The town acquired the 22.7 acres on Old Trotting Park Road in early 1995. Later that year, a key piece to complete the original race track was purchased from Alvaro Lopes. That parcel was 3.1 acres.
Trotting Park, which is managed by the town Recreation Department, is next to the Little League fields, both of which are accessible from Gifford Street, less than a mile north of the Jones Road intersection.