We admit it. We’re optimists at Grants Pass Downs. While the world seems positively giddy to view 2020 in the rearview mirror, we think the horseracing world has a few reasons to celebrate the roller coaster ride we’ve been on. Rather than caving to the crisis at hand, we pushed the sport forward with creativity, tenacity, and bold innovation. Here are a few highlights that may surprise you:
- The economic indicators for the sport have remained robust. According to Equibase, per race wagers trended up in 2020, despite the Covid pandemic. Total wagers held steady, year over year, at $11 billion. Grants Pass Downs had its biggest handle ever, including a record-shattering $868,632 on closing day.
- Horse racing saw an increase in live television coverage. Fox Sports, TVG, and NBCSports all made a major commitment to carrying KentuckyDerby and Breeder’s Cup prep races, along with graded stakes and of course, the big events we all look forward to.
- Here at home, Grants Pass Downs hosted the largest jockey colony in our history, including the largest contingent of regular female riders in the country. We are proud to have gained a reputation as a track where future stars of the sport get their start.
- Despite an upside-down year for the Triple Crown races and empty grandstands across the world, fans were excited to cheer Authentic’sDerby and Breeder’s Cup Classicvictories, Swiss Skydiver’s Preakness win (just a few ticks off Secretariat’s record, no less,) and Monomoy Girl’s comeback. The Eclipse Awards are upon us and we can’t wait to find out who will be honored for outstanding performances in 2020.
- Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s progeny have hit the ground running. His first crop has exceeded the expectation of many, proving their natural ability both on the grass and dirt worldwide. The story of American Pharoahcontinues for the fans who were re-energized by his tremendous career.
- Horse racing fans have proven to be more engaged than ever, regardless of the “fans” policy at major racetracks. Grants Pass Downs proud to have been one of the only racetracks in the country to host fans, albeit on a limited basis on live race days. Fans were also able to stay connected via mobile apps, podcasts, at OTB’s and with24/7 live streams.
- We have created an industry-wide community on social media that is thriving! Be it on forums, Twitter, or Facebook, our fans are engaging with us like never before.
- The pandemic has been the impetus for many racetracks to take stock, reflecting on how we may move forward in a world that looks very different than it did a year ago. Grants Pass Downs remains committed to leading the nation with a unique, up-close fan experience and customer service that goes above and beyond expectation. We’re excited to reveal our new plans for race day entertainment, facility upgrades, and promotions. Stay tuned!