GRANTS PASS, Ore., May 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Grants Pass Downs, Oregon's premier horse racing track, will hold its summer meet without spectators, with racing beginning June 16. The decision comes as the state of Oregon eases coronavirus-related shutdown restrictions and as most racetracks reopen across the nation. The meet will take place over nine days –June 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and July 1, 6, 7 and 8, post time at 4 p.m.– and includes between 80 to 100 races and $60,000 in purses each race day. The track opens for training ahead of the meet today, May 18.
The track is implementing strict COVID-19 health protocols to ensure the safety of all participants during the meet. All Grants Pass Downs employees will be required to wear masks, and the Oregon Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association will provide masks to participating horsemen and women, trainers and support staff. Additionally, the track has set up racing operations to be conducted in compliance with social distancing standards and is implementing two checkpoints with COVID-19 screening equipment to check temperatures and look for symptoms. Any person exhibiting an above-average body temperature or COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed into the venue.
"Since we opened our track for training on May 18, we have worked tirelessly to ensure that we can safely run races while complying with Oregon's COVID-19 public health regulations," said Randy Evers, president of Grants Pass Downs. "Although we are disappointed that we cannot allow spectators at the summer meet, we are committed to doing our part to help keep our community safe and healthy. We are pleased to take this first step of opening up the track for races again, and we know our fans will be following the action closely on TVG Network and other participating ADW sites."
The track is operating in full compliance with plans from the Oregon governor's office to safely re-open the state and provide jobs for the local Grants Pass economy. The races will generate between 150 to 200 jobs, even without fans, as Grants Pass Downs staff, horse trainers, veterinarians, pony riders, gate crew and others are going back to work to safely put on the summer meet for racing fans around the world.
Grants Pass Downs' summer meet is available for spectators to watch and wager at TVG Network and other advance-deposit wagering (ADW) websites. A list of participating ADW sites is available on Grants Pass Downs' website at www.gpdowns.com.
ABOUT GRANTS PASS DOWNS
Located at the Josephine County Fairgrounds, Grants Pass Downs has hosted live pari-mutuel horse racing since 1968 and is now home to the largest race meet in the state of Oregon. More information about Grants Pass Downs can be found at www.gpdowns.com.