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Portland Meadows 62nd Season of Live Horse Racing To Open October 5th


October 1, 2008     E-mail this page to a friend!

Live horse racing makes its return to Portland as Portland Meadows kicks off its 62nd season of racing on Sunday, October 5, 2008. The season continues to Tuesday, March 24, 2009, and will cover 64 race days in total.

After a record-setting 2007-2008 season in terms of average per-day handle and single day handle, Portland Meadows will once again conduct live racing with a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday racing schedule. First post has been set at 12:35 p.m. Pacific Time, with 9 or 10 races each race day. Starting in February and through the end of the live meet, racing will be featured two days a week with a Monday, Tuesday schedule.

“We had a great 2007-2008 meet,” said General Manager William Alempijevic. “We really just want to keep building on that success and once again have a record setting season in 2008-2009.”

Last year’s handles for Monday and Tuesday race cards were both at record levels. Handle is an industry term used for the total amount of money wagered on a daily race card. It includes all money bet onsite at Portland Meadows and from all simulcast or off track wagering sites. For the 2007-2008 meet, the average daily handle on Mondays was over $580,000 while Tuesdays averaged in excess of $720,000. December 18, 2007, proved to be the largest recent single-day handle in Oregon when over $1,114,528 was wagered on Portland Meadows races for the day.

One of the keys to success to the 2007-2008 meet was the national exposure that Portland Meadows races received. Races from Portland were viewed and wagered upon in such large markets as New York, Chicago, New Jersey, and Florida. California took Portland Meadows races via simulcast for the first time in many years. After the success from last season, all of these markets are once again signed up to simulcast racing from Portland Meadows throughout the 2008-2009 season.

Portland Meadows is also bringing back the wildly popular daily Pick 5 carryover wager again in 2008-2009. The wager requires fans to pick the winners of five straight races in advance of the first race of the wager being run. In the event no one selects all five winners, 100% of the net pool gets carried over to the next race day. Single day and two day carryovers were frequent. To put the wager into perspective, if there are 8 horses per race, 32,768 possible winning combinations would exist! As a result of this, payoffs The Pick 5 debuted on Sunday December 30, 2007 and the challenge of picking the one single winning combination yielded some fantastic payouts in 2007-2008. The largest payout for a $1 bet, returned $25,306 on March 10, 2008. Portland Meadows is known as “Your Wintertime Winner,” and the Pick 5 certainly made that the case for some sharp bettors. The average daily Pick 5 payout throughout the season was over $4,200 for a $2 wager.

Highlighting the live racing season this year is Oregon Championship Day which is slated to be run on December 7th. Oregon Championship Day is the day for Oregon-bred horses to shine. Only horses that were born in Oregon are allowed to compete and total purse money for the day is over $110,000. The average purses offered at Portland Meadows is approximately $50,000 per day so the opportunities are great for the horses with local beginnings. The feature race on Oregon Championship Day is also the richest race of the meet, the $40,000 est. Os West Futurity. The signature race of the season, the Portland Meadows Mile goes to post on March 23, 2009. In addition to those days, The Bill Wineberg Stakes for 2 year old colts and the Janet Wineberg Stakes for 2 year old fillies have both been scheduled for November 2nd.

Portland Meadows also has renamed the Columbia River Stakes in honor of Dennis Dodge, the longtime Daily Racing Form correspondent and handicapper who died September 9 at age 62. The Dennis Dodge Memorial Stakes, a race for 2-year-olds at 6 furlongs, is scheduled for November 16.

Many of last year’s top jockeys and trainers are returning along with some new and exciting ones. Perennial leading rider Joe Crispin will once again be back to defend his riding title. Crispin ran away with the riding title in 2007-2008 with 132 wins and his mounts earned over $587,000 in total purse earnings. Clark Jones was second in the standings with 66 wins and over $324,000 in earnings. New in the riding colony is jockey Travis Cunningham, currently twelfth in the rider standings at Emerald Downs. This will be Cunningham’s first winter at Portland Meadows. He has ridden the past few winters at Sunland Park in New Mexico.

Jim Fergason and Jonathan Nance are both back for their annual battle for the training title. However, there might be company at the top this year. Jerry Hollendorfer has sent a string of horses to Portland Meadows. Hollendorfer has been the leading trainer in Northern California for the last few decades, and brings over 5,000 career wins on his resume to Portland Meadows. Robbie Baze, who was third in the training standings during the last race meet is also back. And, after training last season at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ben Root returns to Portland.

The weekly Sunday Turf Club Buffet promises an interesting twist from the Portland Meadows Chef. This year, the buffet will have a different theme each week based on a regional cuisine and is offered at a fantastic deal of $15.00 per person including Turf Club admission.

Also in the Turf Club, Portland Meadows plans a monthly horse racing class—Horse Racing 101. Track Announcer Jason Beem hosts the class, which will work to educate fans of horse racing the nuances of picking winners, and learning the unique racing/betting lingo. The class schedule has not been finalized but it will be offered free of charge and each successive class builds upon items covered in the previous classes. After graduating from Horse Racing 101, each student will be able to enjoy horse racing more and be able to bet with confidence!

Also new this season is a weekly radio podcast on www.955thegame.com. Portland Meadows has teamed up with 95.5 The Game to produce a new weekly horse racing show. Jason Beem hosts the show, which will feature weekly interviews with local racing personalities as well as analysis and recaps of the races from Portland Meadows. 95.5 The Game will also do several live remote broadcasts from Portland Meadows throughout the season, with the first one being on Opening Day October 5th.

For more information about Portland Meadows, the live racing schedule, as well as a schedule of featured events and specials, click the Tracks/Info button at the top of this page.