A Day at the Races

Are you preparing for a day at the races? If it’s been a while since your last visit, or you’re preparing to attend a horse race for the first time, it can be exciting…and also a bit confusing! After all, the world of horse racing has its own lingo, customs, and traditions.

The Basics

Horse racing is a world filled with connections, friends, and longstanding relationships. Owners, trainers, jockeys, and fans are used to seeing each other at the track week after week, which creates an amazing atmosphere for everyone.

When you spend a day at the races, expect to mix, mingle, and get to know others. (We are taking Covid precautions, however, so be aware of current social distancing, mask-wearing, and handwashing policies!)

Races tend to be spaced out about every 30 minutes, which means you’ll have plenty of chances to enjoy the sport AND the Grants Pass Downs track.

Starting A Day at The Races
Actually starts BEFORE race day!

Start times do tend to vary, so we encourage our guests to take a look at the race entries list for the day they plan to attend. You can find those here:

If you’ve never read one before, it can make your eyes gloss over a bit! No worries; scroll down the page and you’ll find a handy guide for understanding what you’re looking at. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself referencing post times and gate numbers like a pro.

Once you’ve chosen your race day and taken a look at the overnight listing, you’re all set to get your tickets. You can easily book using our online ticketing system here: You’re also able to purchase your tickets by calling us directly at (541) 507-1699.

Arriving at the Races

Grants Pass Downs is located near the Josephine County Fairgrounds. You can get our address (and even info about parking your RV here!) on our visitor’s page:
Once you’re at the track you’ll want to find seats, pick up your racecard (sort of like a program). Considering making a wager? You certainly don’t need to do this, but it is often considered part of an exhilarating day at the races! Feel free to learn more about wagering at GDP here:

About 15-20 minutes prior to a race, you can see the jockeys, trainers, and horses preparing near the paddock. We take a great deal of pride in the amazing horses that race at Grants Pass Downs, and we also take their health seriously. For that reason, you’ll likely also see a veterinarian or two doing their work. All of our horses are checked by a vet prior to racing on our track, a process you can learn more about here:

Eventually you’ll hear a bell that lets the jockeys know they can start heading towards the gate. If you’ve wandered away from your seat, you’ll want to head back and be prepared to watch the race!


After the race (once your heart slows down!), the top horses will be taken to the winner’s enclosure. There may be a presentation of an award or memento, and you’ll probably see some photos being taken.

The jockey, however, will be heading off to get weighed again. Why? A weigh in confirmation validates that the weight of the jockey and their gear is the same as pre-race. Once everything checks out, you’ll hear the announcer confirm the finishing places. (If you placed a wager, it’s at this point that payouts are being processed!

Since you have another 30 minutes or so until the next post time, you’re free to get some snacks, make new friends, and explore the facilities. Enjoy your day at the races; we hope to see you again soon!