GRANTS PASS, Ore. — July 4th is always the peak of the horse racing season at Grants Pass Downs. It’s usually the most attended day and the day with the biggest handle. One of the main reasons why is the Firecracker Futurity, the biggest race of the year. The purse is more than $31,000 with more than $12,000 going to the winner.
More than 3,800 people were at Grants Pass Downs on Friday, up about 300 from last year on that date. The handle was up more than $11,000 from 2013. In the main event, it was Eye Opening Attitude, trained by Hector Magallanes with Jose Antonio Figueroa riding. The photo finish race was the highlight of another successful Fourth of July for the sport that has become synonymous with the holiday in Southern Oregon.
“We try to promote it that way. We try to make sure that they know the Fourth of July is a horse racing day in Grants Pass, Oregon,” racing director Rod Lowe said. “We’re up fantastic. Every race has been up. Last race we were up more than $2500 in our handle versus the year before. The crowd is stacked clear to the top of the grandstands today, so everything’s going really well today.”