Grants Pass Downs will not hold a 2022 meeting due to lack of horses. The meet was initially announced in February.
“As a result of the Oregon Racing Commission's vote to deny an operating license to The Flying Lark, Grants Pass Downs has lost its economic engine,” said Travis Boersma, owner of Grants
Pass Downs. “While we remained hopeful we would be able to host a viable race meet, the uncertainty here and across the industry has resulted in a drastic reduction of race horses at Grants Pass Downs. At this point, it's clear running the meet isn't feasible.”
Grants Pass Downs became privately funded by Boersma beginning in 2019. The track, race meet and purses were slated to be funded by profits from The Flying Lark entertainment venue.
“This is the result of the state and its leadership's lack of understanding of, and appreciation for, the equine industry and the needs of rural Oregon. I believe this is just the beginning of a ripple effect that will be felt in communities throughout the state due to the actions of leadership,” said Boersma.
The cancellation of the race meet is expected to eliminate approximately 50 jobs during the racing season, in addition to the more than 200 lost with the denial of The Flying Lark.
“Saving horse racing in Oregon has always been one of my top priorities,” added Boersma. “Moving forward, it's my sincere hope the horsemen's associations, private investors and the state can come together to find a path to continuing this sport.”