Mahalaxmi racecourse or the Royal Western India Race Turf has not only been a site of contestation about which is the fastest horse but also about ideas and imaginations of the city. Spread across 225 acres of land that was leased from the state government and the BMC it started functioning in the year 1883 at Mahalaxmi which at that time was a marshy area.
From early 1900's, debates of shifting it outside the city and using the land for other purposes started; which have continued till date. During one such debate at the Municipal Corporation in December 1920, a proposition was made by some of the members that when thousands of people had to sleep on the roadside for lack of housing accommodation, shifting of the racecourse to another place would not be a hardship to anyone.
In mid 70s the municipal corporation again did not wanted it to exist as it was considered to be wastage of land and the same land could be put in better use like for more revenue generation or building public recreation facilities. During the early 1980s when under 'Operation Demolition' pavement dwellers were being evicted many of the housing rights organisations made a claim on the land of the Racecourse. One such organisation, Lawyers Collective reiterated the demand of shifting it outside the city and using the land for housing the slum and pavement dwellers. Similarly, in 1983, Nivara Hakk Suraksha Samiti did a occupy of the race course and built a symbolic hut. The debates around the racecourse and its land continue till date with many claims on it.