Oregon’s horse racing history is a cherished part of the Pacific Northwest’s sporting tapestry. The state once boasted vibrant venues that captivated a passionate audience, and the legalization of pari-mutuel wagering further enriched the spectator experience, allowing fans to partake not only as onlookers but as active bettors.
Yet, over time, Oregon’s race tracks have shuttered, one after another, changing the direct experience of live racing within the state. Even so, the affection for the sport remains undeterred, prompting many Oregonians to explore neighboring states and other avenues to engage with the races they hold dear.
In the tapestry of Oregon’s equestrian history, Portland Meadows stood as a monumental thread. Established in 1946, it flourished as a central hub for Oregon horse racing enthusiasts.
However, as the industry grappled with challenges, even this iconic track couldn’t withstand the pressures. Its closure in 2019 marked a significant chapter in Oregon’s equestrian story, leaving the state devoid of operational horse race tracks.
The good news? Grants Pass Downs received a license from the ORC to conduct a commercial race meet, inaugurating its season in June 2023, with the schedule extending into October.
Address: 1451 Fairgrounds Rd, Grants Pass, OR 97526, USA
Grants Pass Downs, located in Grants Pass, Oregon, ushered in a new era of Oregon horse racing with the commencement of its commercial race meet in June 2023. Recognized for its exhilarating blend of thoroughbred and quarter horse races, this venue truly exemplifies the spirit of the sport.
A highlight of the racing calendar at Grants Pass Downs is the “Firecracker Futurity” on July 4th. This event sees 2-year-old Quarter Horses, which have qualified through timed trials, sprinting 350 yards to compete for a prize pot nearing $70,000.
For those interested in wagering at Grants Pass Downs, there are several betting options available. Patrons can opt for a straightforward Win bet, where one wagers on a horse to finish first. If looking for a bet that offers a bit more leeway, the Place bet allows for a horse to finish either first or second, and the Show bet extends this to the top three finishes.
For those with a keen eye for form and a bit of intuition, the Exacta and Trifecta bets present a greater challenge and potential reward. An Exacta requires the bettor to predict the first two finishers in their exact order, while the Trifecta extends this challenge by adding a third horse into the mix.
Now, as we pivot, let’s venture beyond Oregon’s borders and explore horse racing opportunities in neighboring states, just a car drive away:
Address: 2300 Ron Crockett Dr, Auburn, WA 98001, USA
Phone: +1 253-288-7000
Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Emerald Downs stands as a beacon for horse racing enthusiasts. Since its inception, this premier racetrack has been the home of exhilarating races that draw spectators from all over.
Top-tier races such as the Longacres Mile and the Emerald Downs Derby, among others, are a testament to the quality and competitive spirit the track brings year after year. Each race, whether on turf or dirt, showcases the sheer athleticism and spirit of the competing horses.
For those inclined towards wagering, the track offers a plethora of betting options, especially in Thoroughbred betting, which refers to wagering on races specifically involving the Thoroughbred breed of horses.
Bettors can analyze the horses’ form, jockey, training, and other factors to make informed predictions about the race outcome. From the straightforward Win, Place, and Show bets to the more complex Trifecta and Superfecta wagers, there’s something for both the novice and seasoned bettor.
The anticipation heightens when aiming for the bigger stakes in consecutive race bets like the Daily Double or the challenging Pick 5.
Beyond the races, Emerald Downs ensures a comprehensive experience for its visitors. A gastronomic journey awaits with diverse restaurants and bars catering to varied palates. Whether you desire the panoramic grandstand views, the exclusivity of box seating, or the casual vibe of picnic tables, the track offers seating that aligns with every preference.
The elite Tattersalls club elevates the experience, providing members with distinct amenities, including private betting windows and a plush setting.
Yet, what truly sets Emerald Downs apart is its commitment to making horse racing a family affair. The presence of a dedicated playground and the warm welcome to even the youngest visitors with their strollers attest to this commitment.
Address: 285 W Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007, USA
Phone: +1 626-574-7223
Nestled against the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains in Arcadia, California, just a 12-hour drive south from Oregon, is the iconic Santa Anita Park. Since its grand opening in 1934, Santa Anita Park, with its elegant art deco facade, has stood as a beacon of horse racing in North America.
Fondly known as The Great Race Place, the park has been the stage for numerous legendary performances, and over the years, it has played host to an array of premier races.
Of these, the Santa Anita Handicap, commonly termed “the Big Cap”, stands out as a key highlight that has been celebrated since the track’s early days, drawing in a competitive field and attention from across the country.
For those keen on diving deep into the action, Santa Anita Park offers a plethora of betting options, from the straightforward Win, Place, and Show bets to the more complex Trifecta and Superfecta.
Santa Anita Park in California combines world-class horse racing with a luxurious spectator experience. Dining options include the panoramic FrontRunner and intimate Silks, while early birds can enjoy breakfast at Clockers’ Corner as horses run their morning workouts.
For premium seating, options range from Trackside Dining, Premium Box Seats, to exclusive Suites At Santa Anita. Those looking for elevated views can opt for The 100-to-1 Club or Upper Terrace (East & West).
Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014, USA
Phone: +1 858-755-1141
Del Mar Racetrack in California is synonymous with style and flair, often accompanied by the renowned phrase, “Where the Turf Meets the Surf.” Located adjacent to the mesmerizing Pacific coastline, this racetrack offers more than just horse races, presenting a complete experience.
One of its standout events is the Pacific Classic, a Grade 1 race that garners attention nationwide, drawing some of the finest horses to vie for a substantial purse. The Del Mar Derby is another highlight, spotlighting younger thoroughbreds in a fierce competition for supremacy.
As for betting options, Del Mar provides an array of choices to enthusiasts, whether novices or seasoned bettors. The standard bets include Win, Place, and Show, which predict first, second, and third places respectively.
For those looking for more intricate bets, there are the Trifecta and Superfecta, which challenge punters to correctly pick the top three or four finishers in the correct order. For sequential race predictions, bettors can venture into the Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 4, or even the Pick 5.
Del Mar Racetrack seamlessly combines the thrill of horse races with exquisite dining and entertainment options. Patrons can relish gourmet meals at the Trackside Tables & Dining or the upscale Turf Club. For a casual dining experience, the Clubhouse Terrace and Stretch Run Grill are perfect spots.
The Taste of the Turf Club promises curated dishes for the discerning palate. For those looking to sip on something special, the Del Margarita, part of Del Mar’s signature drinks, is a refreshing choice available across all venues.
Regular visitors might consider the exclusive benefits of the Del Mar Insider or Diamond Club, ensuring a premium experience with each visit.
As we’ve observed, the options for horse racing in Oregon are close to slim. Instead, residents of Oregon must turn their gaze southward to California if they want more than one option to choose from:
|Horse race track||Horse race track|
|Santa Anita Park||Del Mar Racetrack|
|Golden Gate Fields||Los Alamitos Race Course|
|Cal Expo||Fairplex Park|
|Alameda County Fairgrounds||Sonoma County Fairgrounds|
|San Joaquin County Fairgrounds||Fresno Fairgrounds|
Simulcast wagering in Oregon, specifically in partnership with Grants Pass Downs, allows Oregon horse racing fans to bet on live races without being at the racetrack. The state and the racetrack have collaborated with various local venues to facilitate this off-track betting experience. Here’s a list of the OTB partners in Oregon associated with Grants Pass Downs:
|Emerald Lanes||140 Oakway Road||Eugene, Oregon 97401||(541) 342-2611|
|Speakeasy Bar & Grill||15680 SW Boones Ferry||Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035||(503) 684-0380|
|Rialto||529 SW 4th Street||Portland, Oregon 97204||(503) 228-7605|
|Capital Cantina||1486 NE Hawthorne||Salem, Oregon 97301||(971) 707-4916|
|Actions Sports Bar||490 East Ln, Suite #10||Ontario, Oregon 97914||(541) 216-5081|
|Lava Lanes of Bend||1555 NE Forbes Road||Bend, Oregon 97701||(541) 318-5656|
|Tom’s Bar||3871 SE Division Street||Portland, Oregon 97202||(503) 233-1363|
|Stadiums||16065 SE McLoughlin Blvd||Oak Grove, Oregon 97267||(503) 305-8410|
|Alexander’s Sports Bar||1712 NE Fairview Ave||Fairview, Oregon 97024||(503) 665-3400|
|Portland Meadows||8102 NE Lombard Street||Portland, Oregon 97218||(971) 254-4450|
Since Grants Pass Downs doesn’t host any renowned races yet, let’s turn our attention to some of California’s most prestigious horse races:
|Race Name||Description||Racing dates||Location|
|Santa Anita Derby||Grade I stakes race for three-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, Kentucky Derby prep||Annually in April||Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA|
|Santa Anita Handicap||Grade I stakes race for three-year-olds and up, 1 1/2 miles||Annually in March||Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA|
|Arlington Million||International Grade I stakes race for three-year-olds and up, 1 1/2 miles||Annually in August||Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA|
|Breeders’ Cup Classic||Grade I stakes race for three-year-olds and up, 1 1/2 miles||Annually in November||Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA|
|Hollywood Gold Cup||Grade I stakes race for three-year-olds and up, 1 1/4 miles||Annually in July||Betfair Hollywood Park, Inglewood, CA|
|Del Mar Oaks||Grade I stakes race for three-year-old fillies, 1 1/2 miles||Annually in August||Del Mar Racetrack, Del Mar, CA|
|Del Mar Futurity||Grade I stakes race for two-year-olds, 1 mile||Annually in July||Del Mar Racetrack, Del Mar, CA|
Whether you’re at Grants Pass Downs, in sunny California, or making use of online sportsbooks, Oregon horse racing enthusiasts have a plethora of betting options.
Here are the various types of horse race bets you can place:
Oregon betting options present a rich tapestry for enthusiasts. With a myriad of choices available, it’s essential to navigate wisely. Dive into our extensive collection of articles for a comprehensive overview of gambling in the state:
Oregon’s history with horse racing is both rich and varied, tracing its roots back to the early days of the state. Over the years, several tracks dotted the Oregon landscape, attracting thousands of spectators keen to experience the thrill of live racing. Here’s a brief history of some of the significant Oregon race tracks that once existed in the Beaver State:
Portland Meadows: Once the crown jewel of Oregon horse racing and quarter horse racing, Portland Meadows opened in 1946 and was the state’s premier race track for decades. Located in North Portland, it boasted a winterized track, allowing for year-round racing. Over its illustrious history, the track hosted several significant events, but with dwindling attendance and competition from other forms of entertainment, it eventually closed its doors.
Salem’s Fairgrounds Race Track: This track was known for its summer race meets, attracting large crowds, especially during the annual state fair. Operating primarily in the 20th century, it was a hub for both thoroughbred and standardbred racing in Oregon.
Multnomah Kennel Club: While primarily known for greyhound racing, Multnomah also occasionally showcased horse racing events. It was a popular venue, especially during its peak in the mid-20th century. However, with changing public sentiments towards greyhound racing and decreasing profits, the club ceased operations.
Union Race Track: Situated in Eastern Oregon, this track was known for its mix of horse racing and rodeo events, creating a unique blend of entertainment for its visitors. The racing events here were particularly popular in the summer months.
Fast forward to contemporary times, and there’s a resurgence in Oregon’s horse racing scene with the opening of Grants Pass Downs. As the state’s only currently operating race track, Grants Pass Downs is breathing new life into Oregon horse racing.
Located at the Josephine County Fairgrounds, this facility started hosting pari-mutuel racing events in 1968. Inspired by local horse racing legend Don Jackson, the venue underwent several transformations and is now a symbol of hope and revival for the state’s horse racing enthusiasts.
While many of Oregon’s historic race tracks have sadly closed their gates, the memories they created for countless individuals remain. The legacy of these tracks is evident in the state’s continued passion for horse racing, exemplified by the emergence and growth of Grants Pass Downs.
Yes, horse racing is legal in Oregon. The Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) oversees all aspects of horse racing in the state, including licensing, regulation, auditing, and promoting responsible gambling.
Yes, you can bet on horse races in other states from Oregon. Oregon allows online horse racing betting through licensed horse betting sites and offshore racebooks.
Oregon promotes responsible gambling through education, self-exclusion programs, and support services, aligning with varying gambling laws in the United States.
Currently, the most significant active race track in Oregon is Grants Pass Downs. While historic venues like Portland Meadows were larger and held prominence for many decades, they have since closed.
In Oregon, online horse racing betting became legal in 1997. While the state permits this form of wagering, many residents also turn to safe and reliable bookmakers offshore for their pari-mutuel betting needs.
Oregon offers several OTB locations for simulcast horse race betting. Online, numerous licensed sites accept bets from Oregon residents. If at an Oregon race track, you can bet directly after funding an on-site account.
The minimum age to bet on horses in Oregon is 18 years old. This applies to all forms of horse racing betting, including in-person betting, online betting, and off-track betting.
Oregon was one of the first states to respond to the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018 by legalizing sports betting.
Oregon Problem Gambling Helpline: This is a free and confidential helpline that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The helpline can be reached at 1-800-468-4833. For further details, please check out www.opgr.org.
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