GRANTS PASS, Ore. — This weekend, horse racing returns to the Josephine County Fairgrounds as Grants Pass Downs will host the first of four horse racing weekends. The mood at Grants Pass Downs is much better than it was this time last year.
After losing more than $68,000 in 2012, the Southern Oregon Horse Racing Association took control of the racing and turned that massive loss in to more than $46,000 of profit. Rod Lowe, president of SOHRA, said reducing the number of races from ten to eight played a role in that turnaround, as did putting control of the races into the hands of people familiar with the sport. Now, as SOHRA gets ready to begin its second season in charge of Grants Pass Downs, Lowe says everyone is breathing a little easier after last year’s success.
“It’s much more comfortable, yeah,” said Lowe. “We feel that we have a little bit of cushion, financially. We’ve been around this already once. We know the ropes this time. We know the ins and outs. I personally hadn’t run a race meet before. I’d been involved in one but I hadn’t run it, so there was a lot of things that I learned from last year and I think it’s been much more comfortable this year in order to set things up and how they’re going to run.”