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Portland Meadows’ improvements readied for Opening

October 9, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Patrick Kerrison
Portland, OR – The 60th year in racing at Portland Meadows got underway Sunday, October 8, with a nine race card featuring the $20,000 Inaugural Handicap.

The City of Trees oval brings a number of enhancements, additions, changes and improvements with the opening of the 2006-2007 race meet, which promises to be its most fruitful yet. Live racing continues through Kentucky Derby Day, May 5, 2007.

We have increased purses, made vast improvements on our tote board, installed a new timing system, a new tote provider, a new form of wagering, and a new racing schedule.

On the racing front, horsemen will welcome an increase in purses in our stakes and overnight events. Both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races will enjoy an overall bump of 20.6 percent.

A change in live racing days are now a Sunday, Monday and Tuesday racing schedule. The first post remains at 12:35 p.m.

With the limited number of racing products available on Monday’s and Tuesdays throughout the nation, we have chosen to seize the opportunity for greater exposure and, most importantly, an increase in handle on our product.

Doing so will give horseplayers state-wide more confidence in wagering on our races more so than Oregonians, and fans across the country, have had in previous years.

On track, Portland Meadows has contracted the services of American Teletimer, offering a more reliable system than the hand-timing system of numerous past seasons.

In the announcer’s booth, Portland Meadows enthusiastically welcomes Jason Beem. Beem will replace Michael O’Brien, the voice of Portland Meadows for the past five seasons, who has taken a sabbatical for the season tending to responsibilities of another business.

Beem called a small handful of races here last year before being scooped up by River Downs for their 2006 summer meet. Unquestionably a rising star in the industry, he has a fresh voice with an unbridled and uncompromised enthusiasm for the sport of horse racing.

A change in tote companies has also occurred. As of October 3, Portland Meadows and the complete MEC Oregon OTB Network have welcomed AmTote to our racing family. With self-service terminals that offer less paper jams and a more colorful and easy-to-read menu, guests are sure to embrace the change after minimal exposure.

In our infield, our tote board has been completely reconstructed. Further, beginning in the second weekend of the meet, an 8’ x 24’ daktronics board that will display messages and news throughout the day, will be installed on top of the tote board.

“The initial response we have gotten from horsemen is very positive,” said General Manager Dwayne Yuzik regarding all the enhancements and changes. “We’re excited about our prospects for a successful meeting.”