Grants Pass Downs

The Week in Review: Derby Dynamics Reflect Changing Times

It's long been an appealing part of American lore how the GI Kentucky Derby is unique compared to every other race run during the year. The emphasis has traditionally been on young horses getting exactly one chance to run a distance they've never before attempted, against the largest field they'll likely ever encounter; in front of the biggest on-track crowd they'll ever experience. But the 21st Century has gradually added dynamics to the Derby's legacy that have shaped the race in ways that could not have been fathomed even one...

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Glimmer of Hope for Grants Pass Downs

Nine days after the devastating news that Grants Pass Downs has called off its 2022 race meets and will let the track's commercial license lapse, Randy Boden, the executive director of the Oregon Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (OHBPA), revealed that plans are in the works to keep the southern Oregon track open for training and possibly a short fairs-style race meet this summer, with the ultimate goal of bringing back a larger slate of racing in 2023. "When it became apparent that [Grants Pass Downs] was not going to...

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Grants Pass Downs Cancels 2022 Meet

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...

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Lights Out at Grants Pass, Injuring Two Jockeys

Grants Pass Downs was plunged into complete darkness eight seconds into the running of the final race of the meet Tuesday evening when the half-mile track's lights cut out unexpectedly, leaving the field of six sprinters barreling blindly into the first bend of a three-turn race. Two jockeys were unseated from their mounts before the field hit the finish wire the first time, and both were subsequently treated for foot injuries at a local hospital. No horses were injured during the blackout, Grants Pass Downs president Randy Evers told TDN...

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Jockey Killed in Fall at Oregon Fair

Jockey Eduardo Gutierrez-Sosa, who rode primarily on the mixed-meet circuit in the Pacific Northwest, was killed in the first race of the season at the Crooked River Roundup July 14 when his Quarter Horse mount hit the inner rail and catapulted Gutierrez-Sosa headfirst into the infield, possibly after first hitting the rail. The Central Oregonian news outlet reported that the fairgrounds grandstand was packed with enthusiastic fans cheering on the return of racing, which had been cancelled last year because of the pandemic. Most were at first unaware that a...

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Dinerman to Announce at Grants Pass

Matt Dinerman will announce the races at Grants Pass Downs for the final five days of the track's 2021 spring/summer meet. Dinerman, the voice of Golden Gate Fields, is filling in for Jason Beem, who begins his term as track announcer at Tampa Bay Downs this week. "I'm really excited to pinch-hit for Jason Beem at Grants Pass Downs," Dinerman said. "It's fun to call races at a new venue and equally enjoyable to meet new people who share the same passion in horse racing." One of the races Dinerman...

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Three of Four Oregon Fairs Now a 'Go'

One of Oregon's four mixed-meet racing fairs has dropped out of the rotation for this summer. The manager of the Harney County Fair in Burns told the Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) May 20 the track won't be running July 24 and 25, but that the fair's management wants to improve its focus on racing so the meet can resume in 2022 after a two-year hiatus. Last year none of the Oregon fairs raced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state's lone commercial track, Grants Pass Downs, has been in action...

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Encouraging Reversal: All Oregon Fairs Now Expected to Race

The in-flux nature of racing at Oregon's summer fairs took an encouraging turn Thursday when Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) executive director Jack McGrail announced that all four stops on the circuit now intend to host mixed meets in 2021. That's an improvement from the update McGrail provided at the March ORC meeting, when the status of Eastern Oregon Livestock Show meet in Union and Harney County Fair in Burns were both considered to be in limbo because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those two fairs will join Crooked River Roundup...

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Oregon Fairs Circuit 'Cautiously Optimistic' About Racing This Summer

Regulators and stakeholders in Oregon are making tentative plans for the state's four-track fairs circuit to be back in action in this summer after getting cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. But Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) executive director Jack McGrail said during a Feb. 18 meeting he expects those venues will need to be supported by some forms of outside funding in order to conduct mixed Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meets in 2021. "I'm happy to report that the larger takeaway is that the fairs really do want...

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Grants Pass Downs Launching Entertainment, Gaming Venue Next to Track

The Flying Lark, a gaming, entertainment and dining venue is coming to Grants Pass Downs in fall 2021, the track announced Tuesday. 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 will be 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...

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Wildfire Smoke Forces Postponement of Grants Pass Downs Opener

Heavy smoke from wildfires in the northwest portion of the country has blanketed Grants Pass Downs at the Josephine County Fairgrounds in southern Oregon, causing track management there to postpone the scheduled opening day of the autumn meet from Sep. 14 to Sep. 21. "We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our guests, human and equine athletes, community of horsemen and women, and Grants Pass Downs staff," stated a track-issued press release published by FOX26 News. "Until the smoke from the fires decreases to a safe level,...

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Training Opens at Grants Pass Downs, Two Oregon Fairs Scrapped for 2020

Grants Pass Downs opened for training Monday ahead of a nine-date, spectator-free race meet that will span June 16-July 8. Purses are projected at $60,000 daily, according to a press release issued by the track. However, two stops on the Oregon summer circuit have called off their race meets because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a notice posted on the Oregon Racing Commission web site, the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show meet at Union, which traditionally kicks off the summer fair circuit in the state, will not run its June...

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