8 Facts You May Not Know About Horse Racing in Oregon
- Horse racing’s roots in Oregon go back to 1891 when the sport became central to the Tillamook Fair.
- Pari-mutuel wagering was legalized in Oregon in 1933. Throughout the years, fair racing has taken place in Salem, Gresham, Burns, Grants Pass, Klamath, Prineville, and Union.
- Portland Meadows, which opened on September 14, 1946, was allegedly the first racetrack in the nation to premiere night racing under stadium lights.
- In 1940, Oregon-bred Midland, raced by the legendary Seabiscuit team, finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby, the highest placed Oregon-bred to compete in the Run for the Roses
- -During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Grants Pass Downs was the only west coast racetrack to welcome limited spectators (albeit socially distanced!) on race days.
- It is estimated that Oregon’s horse racing industry contributes more than $200 million in output to Oregon’s economy.
- Jockey Gary Stevens came to notoriety as a young jockey when he won the riding title at portland Meadows in 1981 and 1982.
- Hometown legend, Don Jackson’s racehorse, Flying Lark, led the USA in wins for two years in the 1980s. Jackson’s undying commitment to cultivating a legacy of racing in Southern Oregon created the foundation for the present and future success of Grants Pass Downs.