(Auburn, WA) The 2017 Emerald Downs Thoroughbred racing season will open to a spectacular beginning this Saturday and will be topped off with an amazing Fireworks display following the races. Opening night will have a special 5pm 1st race post time.
The 70-day meet will wrap up on Sunday, September 17th with Friday, Saturday and Sunday racing along with Holidays. Post time on weekends and holidays will be 2pm except on Saturday nights in July which will feature Saturday night racing with the 1st race at 6:30 and of course on opening day at 5pm.
The Stakes schedule is also exciting and of course is highlighted with the $200,000 Longacres Mile set to run on Sunday, August 13 and is one of 3 days with multiple stakes races. Along with the Mile 3 other big money races will be on the schedule including the Pete Pedersen Memorial, King County Overnight and the 65k Emerald Distaff.
On July 16th there are 4 $50,000 stakes races contested starting with the Mt Rainier Stakes then the Boeing, Angie C and the Emerald Express. On Sunday, August 27th there are 6 50k races on tap for Washington Cup day featuring the Juvenile Filly, Juvenile Colts and Geldings, Sophomore Filly, Sophomore Stakes, Filly and Mare Stakes and the Muckelshoot Tribal Classic. There will be nearly 1.7 million dollars in Stakes Purse money on the line in 2017.
Emerald Downs President Phil Ziegler says they expect to see more growth in horse population with several incentive programs to attract horses. Last year they saw the average race size at it’s highest in years at nearly 7.5 starters. Ziegler would love to see that number eclipse 8. With larger field sizes there is no surprise that daily handle numbers also have increased to just less than a million dollars a day last year, up more than 16% from 2015 and up an astounding 33% from 2014.
Besides Saturday night racing in July, every Friday is night racing and on April 21st is the first Fab Friday where everyone who attends gets a free Fab Friday T-Shirt. Wear it on any of the other 19 Fab Friday nights and get in free. Plus there are beverage specials and live music. Other returning favorites include the Wiener Dog races, Family Fun days in the Park, Ladies Night, Food Truck weekend and much more.
The other big change at the track this season is the new Casino on the 5th floor. The old turf club has been turned into a beautiful new Casino featuring all your favorite table games. A new Sports Bar will also be available and more tracks to bet with longer hours.
ESN will be in our 2nd season of covering the track from what we call a regular fan’s perspective. We’ll have interesting stories, tons of pictures, added video and interviews and more. No doubt 2017 at Emerald Downs is setting up to be the best season yet!