By T. D. Thornton
Grants Pass Downs, which took over as the main stop on the Oregon circuit last season after the closure of Portland Meadows, has been awarded a $165,200 safety grant from the Oregon Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association in advance of the track’s newly rescheduled opening date of June 20.
The funds will be used to install new chain-link fencing, break-away foam distance markers, sand for racing surfaces, and a telescopic boom for safety mitigation along the homestretch straightaway chute. The immediate availability of funds will allow for completion of those projects by mid-May, when horses will arrive on the grounds for training.
The new initiatives complement improvements the track has already undertaken, such as the installation of a safety rail, an upgrade of the track surface, and the purchase of new equipment to maintain it.
Grants Pass Downs launched its inaugural commercial meet in fall 2019, carding 123 races with nearly 900 horses competing. The track will also race a Sept. 20-Nov. 9 meet this year, book-ending stops on Oregon’s summer fairs circuit.