Wonderland closing after all these years is a tragedy for this city.
It is a tragedy of the first order.
First, there are the nearly 100 longtime employees who have lost their jobs.
Second, it is the end of an industry, which came to exist only electronically in its last and most current incarnation.
What might have been is what the closed track is all about.
The expanded gaming bill intended to save Wonderland has instead killed it.
What seemed certain at the beginning of the summer turned to failure by the end of it.
When the state government killed the expanded gambling bill, Wonderland came close to death.
It finally died and shut its doors last Friday.
The once proud and busy track, one of the busiest in the nation at its height, is now officially a largely empty parking lot set for sale to Suffolk Downs and then given for development to the highest bidder.
Wonderland’s time had long ago passed it by.
The times changed but the track never really changed with it.
The Lottery ruined it.
The proliferation of Lottery betting and casinos in Connecticut also cut into it.
Then dog racing was banned – and then the track was left with simulcasting – that is – broadcasting races from other tracks across the nation.
In its final months, Wonderland went from bad to worse.
Near the very end, it was a track and an industry on intensive care without a future.
The halcyon days of dog racing are forever over.
We are left with a lifetime of memories – those of us who remember the track when it was busy and the place to go.
We are saddened by its closing.