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.