Jimmy Dunnigan opened Buffalo Raceway in nineteen forty-two, after his father, the late State Senator John J. Dunnigan, led the way to legalizing pari-mutuel betting in New York State. Jimmy made it a success and became a multi-millionaire. He stayed to his roots and became one of the most charitable men that ever walked these parts. His good deeds remained silent to others including the media. Although Dunnigan was only five- feet four inches tall, my father, the late Courier Express Sports Columnist Phil Ranallo called him the “Little Giant.”
Dunnigan placed all of his money on the table in a business venture that failed in Phoenix Arizona, the track was called Phoenix Trotting Park. You can see some amazing videos on YouTube. He lost everything; he suffered a stroke and two heart attacks and was also confined to a wheelchair. He was hospitalized for eighteen months. He recovered and made a huge comeback in establishing harness racing in the state of California. Jimmy Dunnigan, “The Little Giant” passed away in 1983. His life was an inspirational story. Please take the time to read the columns my father wrote about Jimmy Dunnigan.
Buffalo Raceway – Press Pass
JIMMY DUNNIGAN owned Buffalo Raceway and made a lot of money there. He took a ” Big Gamble” by building a second facility in Phoenix Arizona, my fathers column tells the story about Phoenix Trotting Park – Buffalo Courier Express, Monday, January 11, 1965 – Phil Ranallo- “What’s New Harry?”
Photo of Phoenix Trotting Park
JIMMY DUNNIGAN – The Big Gamble on the Phoenix Trotting Park failed in Arizona. Jimmy Dunnigan lost Buffalo Raceway and the Phoenix Trotting Park. My father writes about the way Dunnigan gracefully clears out his Buffalo Raceway office for the new owner – Emprise Corporation- Tuesday, January 23,1968 – Phil Ranallo – What’s New Harry?
JIMMY DUNNIGAN – Former Buffalo Raceway owner makes a Big Comeback in California – Sunday, August 19, 1979 – Phil Ranallo What’s New Harry?
Jimmy Dunnigan Night- The Special Guest Speaker was Dizzy Dean, may Jimmy Dunnigan and my father, Phil Ranallo, “Rest in Peace”
This video shows how Futuristic the Phoenix Trotting Park was, Jimmy Dunnigan was ahead of his time.
Tar Boy, considered by many to be the greatest pacer bred in this area drew record crowds at Buffalo Raceway. He was trained and driven by Levi Harner. Credit Artist Robert Reiger for the above. To all at Buffalo Raceway, Thanks for the Memories.