(Auburn, WA) In exactly 1-month the 29th season at Emerald Downs will open on Saturday, May 4th, Kentucky Derby Day for the 2nd year in a row. Last year opening on Derby Day drew a large crowd and started off the season with a lot of optimism and fun. This year is setting up to be a great year of live racing with the usual large crowds on weekends and especially during those big promotional days.

ESN will be back with the most coverage of the Sport of Kings in Washington State. Last year we literally covered every single race plus did features and special Stakes coverage. We hope to do more and ESN is working on launching a whole new Horse Racing web page that will be connected to the Eli Sports Network main page. More on that when we get it launched.

In the meantime, we stopped by Emerald Downs this past Friday to visit with Emerald Media moguls Joe Withee and Vince Bruun. Joe gave us a big overview of the upcoming season while Vince who is also the morning line odds maker talked with us on the new “breakage” policy that is going to put more money back into the hands of bettors. Bruun also discusses the new way they will put up the odds and it will change based on several indicators from all bets to try and get closer to a true final odds than what has been happening the past few years with tons of late money coming in and dropping many odds significantly late.

First let’s get to some basics, beginning with schedule. Again, opening day is May 4th. Opening Day will also begin a new regular weekend post time of 1:30pm. In 2024 there are only 2 post times except for 1 day on July 3rd the traditional Fireworks Spectacular day. Also gone this year is Saturday night racing. The past few years Emerald has experimented with a 6pm post time in the heart of Summer. This year no Saturday night racing and post times for all Saturday and Sunday cards is 1:30pm. Friday’s will remain an evening event with a 7pm 1st race post time. 

There are 3 more days of racing from last year tyo 55 days. In May, it is opening day on May 4th then Saturday/Sunday only for 3 weeks and then on May 31 the 1st Friday night of racing and the 3-day week will go thru the end of the season with the final day on Sunday, September 15. The only Friday that will be skipped is on July 5 due to racing on Wednesday, July 3rd. The 4th and 5th will be dark and then racing on Saturday the 6th and Sunday the 7th.

The Stakes schedule features a total of 21 Stakes races for thoroughbreds and 2 quarter horse Stake races. This is the same number as last year but the races will be spread over more days this year. In 2023 there were 10 days with Stakes races with all having at least 2 Stakes on each Stakes race day. In 2024 there will be 15 race days with at least 1 Stakes race. They will be run on Saturday and Sunday with 1 each beginning on Saturday June 15th wi9th the Seattle Stakes and then on Sunday the 16th the Auburn Stakes. 

The 1st day with more than 1 Stake is Sunday, July 21 with the Governor’s and Washington State Legislator Stakes. Then on August 11 it’s Championship Sunday with 4 Stakes all in a row  and include the 29th Emerald Distaff, 45th Washington Oaks, 87th Muckleshoot Derby and the $150,000 89th Longacres Mile. There will be a special pick-4 on these races.

On August 18 is the quarter horse double header of the Bank of America Challenge and the John Deere Juvenile Challenge. This followed by the double header of Juvenile thoroughbreds in the Washington Cup series for fillies and colts/geldings. Finally on closing day a triple header of Stakes with the Washington Cup filly and mare Stake along with the 80th Muckleshoot Tribal Classic and the 84th Gottstein Futurity.

General Admission is $10 and includes a program but there are many other deals and ways to save on admission and packages. The best thing to do is go to this link on admission and you’ll find all the options available. Link to Admission and Seating deals


The popular promotions will be back and we will go into more detail in future stories but you can check out the full calendar and start making your plans now to be at your favorite promotional events of the season. 2024 Promotion Calendar

Also still to come will be our preview of the horses, jockeys, trainers and owners along with all the fun events that are set for the 2024 season. Below are our conversations with Joie Withee and Vince Bruun.



ESN talks with Joe Withee about the coming 2024 Season


ESN talks with Vince Bruun about the new morning-line odds system and the new breakage policy on bets


By paulb

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