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Preparations underway for John Deere Quarter Horse race at Emerald Downs

September 18, 2010     E-mail this page to a friend!

Emerald Downs successfully completed its first gate test on Friday, September 17, in preparation for the first Quarter Horse race in the track’s 15-year history on Saturday, September 25.

Television technician Dan Huffman, who has worked diligently to prepare for the unique event, said that the gate test went extremely well.

“It worked like a charm,” Huffman said. “I don’t foresee any problems leading up to the race.”

If the entry boxes fill as expected, a maximum 10-horse field will race 350 yards in the $10,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Dash/John Deere Bonus Challenge, with Emerald Downs and the AQHA to contribute $5,000 apiece in purse money. The entry fee is $200 with high weights preferred, and all entry fees will go to the winner. Vice President Jack Hodge said that while there will be a learning period, Quarter Horse racing could ultimately supplement the track’s goal to provide a quality product.

“Everything we are doing right now is a learning experience,” Hodge said. “We just want to do a first-class job when we do it. I think it’s a pretty exciting event for the fans, and I’m told that the enthusiasm is running high.”

Hodge also said there is a great chance that Emerald Downs will host Quarter Horse races next year and further into the future. But for now, the track will narrow its focus to Saturday’s big race.

Director of Racing Bret Anderson and Shorty Martin, the racing secretary for Washington fairs, will announce the weights after entries close on Wednesday, September 22.

Oregon-bred Lucky Royal Rabbit worked 330 yards Friday in :172—the first Quarter Horse workout ever at Emerald Downs.