EMERALD DOWNS LAUNCHES 2020 SEASON
AUBURN, Wash. – Live racing returns as Emerald Downs’ begins its 25th season with a 10-race program on Wednesday, June 24. First post is 2:15 p.m.
Racing will be conducted with no fans or spectators at this time.
Eighty-six horses are entered on opening day (8.6 per race) and will perform under ideal weather conditions. The forecast call for sunshine and a high of 77 degrees.
Wednesday’s opener also marks the region’s first live sporting event in the state of Washington since the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown in March. Spectators will not be allowed on-track, but wagering is available via various advance deposit wagering (ADW) companies.
“It’s exciting to get going,” said Emerald Downs’ President Phil Ziegler. “It certainly isn’t the opening day we were planning for, but it will be special in its own way as it marks the return of pro sports in Washington.”
The updated schedule calls for a 44-day season through Sunday, October 4, with racing every Wednesday and Thursday (5 p.m.)
Emerald Downs also has announced an industry low 15% takeout on all superfecta wagers with a minimum bet of 10 cents.
A revised stakes schedule includes 16 stakes worth an aggregate $720,000, tentatively beginning with the $40,000 Angie C Stakes and $40,000 King County Express on Aug. 2. The 85th renewal of the $100,000 Longacres Mile (G3) is tentatively set for Sept. 13.
In the jockey colony, defending riding champion Gary Wales has nine mounts opening day. A 34-year-old Scotsman, Wales rode 99 winners last year while finishing 33 wins clear of runner-up Kevin Orozco. A top newcomer is Alex Cruz, a 27-year-old native of Puerto Rico who was the leading rider with 77 wins this winter at Turf Paradise. Juan Gutierrez, begins the season needing 46 wins to tie Gallyn Mitchell’s all-time Emerald Downs’ record of 1,419 wins.
On the trainers’ side, Frank Lucarelli comes off a remarkable season in which he shattered the single-season mark with 81 wins. Lucarelli has finished first or second in 16 of the last 20 seasons and ranks No. 1 all-time in Emerald Downs wins (1,025) and earnings ($11,164,219). Blaine Wright, the leading stakes trainer each of the last four years, also returns in 2020, along with Washington Hall of Fame trainers Howard Belvoir, Doris Harwood, Sharon Ross and Tim McCanna. Belvoir and Lucarelli are both busy opening day, with seven and six horses entered respectively.
The opening day feature is a $13,600 allowance/optional claimer for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs. The 11-horse field includes Wine At Nine, an 8-year-old gelding with 17 career Emerald Downs’ wins, along with local stakes winners This Great Nation, Makah Lane and Muncey.