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

Grants Pass Downs | T D Thornton


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 12-14 dates.

Crooked River Roundup in Prineville also pulled the plug on the July 15-18 races. According to a press release issued by the association that runs the meet, the under-the-lights Crooked River races traditionally attract the largest handles and average attendances of any racetrack in Oregon.

The other two stops on the state's summer fairs circuit–Harney County Fair in Burns and Tillamook County Fair in Tillamook–are still listed as being on schedule for July and August race dates, according to the commission's site and the fairs' own websites.

Grants Pass Downs will be implementing COVID-19 health protocols that include mask-wearing, with the Oregon Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association providing masks to participating horsemen and support staff. Racing operations will be conducted in compliance with social distancing standards, and two checkpoints with COVID-19 screening equipment will check temperatures and look for symptoms.

Grants Pass Downs, which took over as the main stop on the Oregon circuit last season after the closure of Portland Meadows, will also race a Sept. 20-Nov. 9 meet this year.

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