A story written by a prominent local resident about Aiken and the Aiken Training Track appears in the March 17 edition of BloodHorse, a magazine that covers the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry in this country and abroad.
The author is Cot Campbell, who is the founder and president of Dogwood Stable.
Another Aiken resident, Barry Bornstein, shot the photographs that accompany the article, which is called “A Postcard from Aiken.”
BloodHorse, a weekly publication, is based in Kentucky.
Campbell writes about Aiken’s history, its wealthy Winter Colony residents and its famous visitors, including President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Winston Churchill.
The article states that Aiken’s “unique personality is the effective blend of small-town Southern folk, the aforementioned glitterati and the many eggheads toiling at the nearby and complicated Savannah River Plant where nuclear materials are refined.”
Campbell also mentions the major Aiken streets that are two-way boulevards, the dirt roads in the Horse District, the “lovely” old brick walls around some of the older homes and Hitchcock Woods.
In addition, there is a paragraph about the Track Kitchen, which Campbell describes as “a somewhat illogical” Aiken tourist attraction.
“It is a dilapidated old structure in the heart of the horse district, and reeking of bacon,” Campbell writes. “A couple of old racetrackers operate the kitchen, pretty much on their schedule. Numerous patrons wait patiently for sustenance each morning; but there are scores of photos of human and equine heroes of bygone days to view. For many horsemen, it is part of one’s day.”
In addition, Campbell provides details about the Training Track’s past and recalls the time years ago when hundreds of thoroughbreds spent the winter there.
The rise in popularity of year-round racing and other factors has caused the number of horses at the Training Track to dwindle, but Campbell writes that the facility’s “current status is fiscally viable” thanks, in part, to revenue from the Aiken Trials.
Campbell also reminisces about one of Dogwood’s top racehorses, Palace Malice, and Aiken’s reaction to his victory in the 2013 Belmont Stakes in New York:
“I said in a post-race interview with NBC’s Bob Costas, ‘They’ll be dancing in the streets, in Aiken, South Carolina.' When my wife, Anne, and I flew back home the next morning, the little airport terminal and the streets in town were festooned with our gold and green colors, and there actually were people on the main drag downtown dancing to the strains of ‘New York, New York.’ Where else could that happen?”
Campbell also praises Aiken for its charm and tradition.
Southern Living, a nationally known lifestyle and tourism magazine, recently announced that Aiken was the South’s Best Small Town for 2018 winner after reviewing the responses from a digitally crowd-sourced survey. A photograph of South Boundary Avenue is on the cover of the magazine's April edition, due out in racks Friday, Mach 23.