Portland Meadows successful summer meet concludes; fall racing starts Wed. Oct. 2
Sunday marked the end of the Summer portion of the Portland Meadows 2013/14 season. Sixteen days of racing were conducted during the summer portion of the season, starting with opening day on Sunday July 21st, which saw thousands of customers come through the doors to watch racing under the Portland sunshine. Racing continues all fall and into the winter on Wednesdays and Sundays with an earlier first post of 12pm (Pacific).
As the summer season rolled on, a new $0.25 Pick 5 wager was added to the menu. Portland Mile Day brought out the best horses and the biggest crowd that anyone had seen in a decade at Portland Meadows. Crew Leader scored a huge win in the $35,000 Portland Mile and recorded a Beyer Speed Figure of 98 in the process.
Changes to the purse structure made the races more enticing for horsemen and the average field size grew to 7.4 horses per race, up from 6.4 horses per race for the same time frame last season.
“With our increased purses and raising the bottom purse to $5,000, as well as the change in our schedule from last season, we’ve been able to put out a much better product,” said Director of Racing Jerry Kohls. “Field size is up a full horse per race.”
Portland Meadows started the season racing just Sundays for the first three weeks and added Wednesdays to the mix in early August. The two day a week schedule is a change from last season, which featured racing three days a week.
Horseplayers also seemed to enjoy the bigger fields as handle increased on track, in state and out of state. Wagering at Portland Meadows has averaged $43,831 per racing day, an increase of 38.02% over last year’s average on track handle of $31,758. Including Off-track Betting sites in Oregon, all in-state wagers were up 39.21% for 2013 versus 2013.
Out of state handle also grew sharply, as players outside of Oregon sent in an average of $361,519 per racing card, an increase of 73.97 percent over last year’s out of state average of $207,801.
All sources handle averaged $410,607 per race card for the Summer portion of the season, up an astounding 68.93% over last year’s $243,062 per card.
“We are very pleased with the results from just our second summer race meet. Summer racing has been instrumental in increasing attendance and live handle at Portland Meadows along with raising general awareness for horse racing in Portland,” said Portland Meadows General Manager Will Alempijevic. “We are thankful that our partners in racing support the program. Change is not always welcomed with open arms and without their support; this growth would not have been possible. We look forward to rest of the meet as it continues in fall and winter as there is a lot of great racing left.”
Portland Meadows season will continue with racing on Wednesdays and Sundays and a first post time of 12pm (Pacific). The popular Claiming Series’ will return in October, with the City of Roses Sprint Claiming Series getting underway on Wednesday October 9th, culminating with a $15,000 final on Wednesday November 20th. The McFadden Memorial Sprint will kick off on October 16th and the Oregon HBPA Route Claiming Series will get underway on October 23rd. All series will feature a $2,500 claiming price for the 1st Leg, a $3,200 claiming price for the 2nd leg, and a $4,000 claiming price for the Finals. The Final for each Series will be worth $15,000.
Oregon Championship Day will be run on November 17th and will feature the best Oregon-bred runners competing in five stakes races, all worth $15,000.