Grants Pass Downs is pleased to announce our 2021 Spring Live Racing dates. Post time is 5:15 pm each day.
May: 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31
June; 1, 7, 8, 21, 22, 28. 29
July: 4, 5, 6, 12, 13
(June 14/15 -Dark)
Backside opens to horsemen on Friday, April 2, 2021. Training begins Monday, April 5.
Following Oregon state Covid-19 guidelines, we will be open to fans on live race days on a limited basis. As of the date of this post, maximum capacity on race days will be 250. Patrons will be able to purchase tickets online or at the gate on a first come, first served basis.
Fans can find the latest details on 2021 race dates, training schedules, terms, and information about fees and regulations, at https://gpdowns.com/.
Jason Been back as Announcer for Spring
Grants Pass Downs has invited veteran race caller Jason Beem back as track announcer for its 2021 meets.
A seasoned announcer, social media personality, podcast host and author, Beem brings over 16 years of experience calling races to Grants Pass Downs. He has experience calling meets around the country, at Colonial Downs, Louisiana Downs, Monmouth Park, Portland Meadows and River Downs, among others. He hosts a daily horse racing podcast called The Jason Beem Horse Racing Podcast, and is known for his annual “Beemie Awards,” held each December to celebrate the best moments in horse racing social media.
“We are excited [about] Jason’s talent and vast experience in horse racing,” said Randy Evers, president of Grants Pass Downs. “His infectious enthusiasm for our sport is the perfect fit for calling our races, and he is certain to inject an extra wow factor in an unusual time.”
Beem, a Pacific Northwest native who grew up attending races at Longacres and Portland Meadows, is eager to lend his talents to the track for the first commercial races in Oregon this year.
“I’m just pumped to get back there in the spring. Last year was such a leap forward for the track in terms of handle and the overall product. The community of Grants Pass has always supported live racing, but it’s been really neat to see folks from around the country starting to notice the racing in Oregon.”
Grants Pass Downs Concluded 2020 with Record-Breaking Fall Meet
Grants Pass Downs capped its 2020 fall commercial meet with a banner final week of the fall meet that saw more than $1.3 million wagered, including a record-shattering $868,632 on closing day. The meet, which featured 16 race dates and 144 races, boasted a daily average of $67,086 in purses and an average field size of 8.03 starters per race. It was Grants Pass Downs’ most successful commercial meet yet, with a total handle exceeding $6 million – a new record for the track.
Spotlighting several prominent races including the Grants Pass Mile, the Luckii Sprint Series, the Far West Quarter Horse Futurity, and the Autumn Quarter Horse Derby, the meet broke all major track records in spite of COVID restrictions limiting the number of spectators.
The meet’s leading jockey was Joree Scriver (21 wins in 82 starts), followed by Jose A. Figueroa (17 wins in 116 starts). Quinn Howey took top honors as the meet’s leading trainer (12 wins in 46 starts) and owner (5 wins and 5 second place finishes).
“The success of the fall meet was a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff, our strong partnerships with the Oregon Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, Oregon Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, Oregon Quarter Horse Racing Association, the Oregon Racing Commission and the dozens of horsemen and women who participated,” said Randy Evers, president of Grants Pass Downs. “We are ecstatic about the record-breaking numbers from our fall meet, breaking almost every metric we keep including a 386% increase in average race day wagers from our 2019 fall meet. We are focused on making further improvements to our facilities and investments in our communities. Our focus remains on building a safe and sustainable racing program to ensure Grants Pass Downs is here for years to come. Thank you all for an incredible season of racing and we are looking forward to starting back up in the spring of 2021.’”
About Grants Pass Downs
Located at the Josephine County Fairgrounds, Grants Pass Downs has hosted live pari-mutuel horse racing since 1968 and is now home to the largest race meet in the state of Oregon. More information about Grants Pass Downs can be found at www.gpdowns.com.
The Flying Lark to Open Fall 2021, Bringing Games & Cheer to Grants Pass
Gaming, entertainment and dining venue The Flying Lark is coming to Grants Pass in fall 2021. Founded by entrepreneur and Grants Pass native Travis Boersma as part of a larger effort to revitalize the horse racing industry in Oregon, The Flying Lark is a significant, long-term investment in the city of Grants Pass. It will create a meaningful number of jobs, bolster the local economy, and provide vital funding and stability to the equine industry throughout the region, including horse owners, trainers, veterinarians, jockeys, and a wide range of vendors and suppliers.
Located next to Grants Pass Downs at the southwest corner of the Josephine County Fairgrounds, The Flying Lark will boast a full-service family restaurant, a grab-and-go restaurant, a sports bar, a gaming bar, a state-of-the-art gaming floor, banquet facilities and art pieces by regional artists that celebrate the magic, power and beauty of horses. Its grab-and-go offering will include coffee drinks, sweets and small bites, and two of the dining areas will offer both indoor and outdoor seating to take advantage of Grants Pass’ famous climate.
The establishment is named after local racing icon Don Jackson’s legendary Oregon thoroughbred who led the nation in wins for two years in the 1980s. A well-respected member of the Grants Pass community, Jackson was a long-time supporter of Grants Pass Downs. His passion for horse racing and dedication to developing interest in the sport significantly bolstered the horse racing industry in the state.
The Flying Lark – along with recent upgrades to Grants Pass Downs – is part of a transformation of the Josephine County Fairgrounds into a year-round destination for Southern Oregon and Northern California. “We’re really looking forward to the impact The Flying Lark will make both economically and culturally to our local community and the state of Oregon,” said Boersma, CEO and founder of Grants Pass Downs and The Flying Lark.
Horses have played a vital role in Oregon’s history and were present throughout the region before the arrival of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800s. The Flying Lark will feature art installations, murals, sculptures and other storytelling elements that celebrate horses and their positive impact on the State of Oregon and its rich history.
The Oregon Horse Council is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit that works to strengthen, connect, and represent Oregon’s equine industry.