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© Vince & Linda Williams
GRANTS PASS, OR—JULY 29, 2020—Grants Pass Downs concluded its second commercial meet on July 8, following a four-week run of Tuesday and Wednesday racing.
The summer meet, which began June 16, 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 season.
The meet saw a dramatic jump in online and off-track betting, with nearly 94 percent of the meet's handle being driven by off-site betting – representing a substantial 859-percent increase from last summer's meet.
Grants Pass Downs' 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 percent. Additionally, the track's field size jumped to an average 7.94 horses per race over last summer's 5.34 horses per race.
“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,” said Grants Pass Downs president Randy Evers. “We are proud to be one of the few live sporting events on television while supporting the local Grants Pass economy.”
Once again, the meet's leading jockey was Kassie Guglielmino with 14 wins from 58 mounts. Guglielmino, who also finished the 2019 fall commercial meet as Grants Pass Downs' top jockey, was followed by Taylor E. Smith (11 wins from 50 mounts).
Jorge Rosales was the meet's leading trainer with 12 wins from 37 starts, while Marjorie Avery finished atop the owner standings with five wins from 16 starters.
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 nonessential 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.
Grants Pass Downs became Oregon's flagship racetrack following the closing of Portland Meadows. The track will soon announce dates for its 2020 fall meet.