Oregon horse racing track Grants Pass Downs has reported a significant boost in revenue from its recently concluded second commercial meet earlier this month. The summer meet carded 78 races over nine dates and handled a total of $2,235,303, nearly quadruple the total amount from last year’s non-commercial summer meet.
The event also saw a dramatic jump in online and off-track betting, with nearly 94% of the meet’s handle being driven by off-site betting – representing an astounding 859% increase from last summer’s meet.
The horsemen and horsewomen received $619,511 in purse money on the season at an average of $68,835 per race day and $7,942 per race. Compared to summer 2019, average race day purses saw an increase of $38,863 – up 130%. Additionally, the track’s field size jumped to an average 7.94 horses per race over last summer’s 5.34 horses per race.
Randy Evers, President of Grants Pass Downs, welcomed the uplift, saying: “This record-breaking meet shows that racing is alive and well in spite of COVID-19, and our success is a testament to the hard work put in by track staff, operations and facilities teams and the wonderful community of horsemen and women whose efforts made the meet possible.
“We are proud to be one of the few live sporting events on television while supporting the local Grants Pass economy.”
The meet’s record handles were achieved despite limited crowd sizes. In response to the pandemic, Grants Pass Downs complied with the Governor’s order to limit the number of non-essential people on site at 250 on racing days during the summer meet.
It also made significant operational changes to align with guidance from the CDC and Oregon public health officials to ensure the safety of staff, participating horsemen, athletes, and stakeholders. Dates for the upcoming fall race meet will be announced soon.