Payson Park Training Center was originally built as the St. Lucie Training Center in the 1950's by a partnership that included racing luminaries Michael Phipps, Bull Hancock and C.T. Chenery. Once the most prominent training center in Florida, the facility went into decline in the 1970's after the death of Michael Phipps and remained moribund until it was resurrected, refurbished, and renamed by Virginia Payson in 1980. In an independent study by Dr. George Pratt of M.I.T., the dirt track was rated among the "top three in the country" and cited as "the most consistent of ALL race tracks measured."
Payson Park, for most fans, is a footnote below the past performances in the Daily Racing Form, track programs and other thoroughbred information. But once you see the South Florida training center on a luxuriant, landscaped 400 acres near Indiantown, with a huge cattle ranch and orange groves for neighbors, you realize why so many horses are stabled here every winter season.
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