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Portland Meadows

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Portland Meadows

Portland Meadows
Location Portland, Oregon
Coordinates [1]
Owned by The Stronach Group
Date opened 1946
Course type Dirt
Notable races Portland Mile
Official website

Portland Meadows is an American horse racing venue in Portland, Oregon, owned by The Stronach Group since July 3, 2011 and previously owned by MI Developments Inc. (MID) 2001. Built by William P. Kyne, who also built Bay Meadows Racetrack in San Mateo, California, the facility opened on September 14, 1946.

Beginning July 15, 2012, Portland Meadows will run the first ever Summer Meet at the track, racing Wednesday and Friday nights, and Sunday afternoons.

The track hosts both American Quarter Horse racing and Thoroughbred horse races. Over the years, Portland Meadows has been the site of numerous outdoor music concerts and other forms of entertainment. The national high school cross country running championship, the Nike Cross Nationals, have been held at Portland Meadows since 2004.

The grounds are in Hayden Meadows near the Columbia River and are 16 feet (4.9 m) above sea-level.[1]

Track history

In 1945, construction began of Portland Meadows on November 20, under the direction of William P. Kyne. Kyne is also known as the founder of Bay Meadows Racecourse and he was largely responsible for the passage of the 1933 law which legalized pari-mutuel wagering in California. On September 14, 1946, Portland Meadows opened with over 10,000 people in attendance.[2] Portland Meadows made history as the first thoroughbred track in the nation to offer night-time racing. This was made possible by use of a lighting system designed by General Electric which has been said has enough power "to light a four-lane superhighway from Portland to Salem, a distance of 40 miles."[3]

In 1948, the track was closed due to the Vanport Flood. This flood destroyed the town of Vanport City, Oregon, and resulted in roughly $250,000 worth of damage to the track.

Greyhound races were held at the track in 1956 only,[4] from August[5] until October, after the Multnomah Kennel Club (MKC) was evicted from Civic Stadium by the impending relocation of the Portland Beavers baseball team from Vaughn Street Park.[6] The following year, MKC moved its races to a newly built track in Wood Village, named Fairview Park.[4]

On April 25, 1970, a fire burnt the grandstand to the ground. Fortunately the blaze took no lives, human or equine, but it did end the meet. In 1971, the facilities was rebuilt and track reopened to a record crowd of 12,635.[3]

In 1981, Gary Stevens begins a two season streak as the leading rider at Portland Meadows. Gary would go on to capture three Kentucky Derby victories, two Preakness Stakes victories, eight Breeder's Cup titles, entrance into the Hall of Fame and would play a significant role in the motion picture "Seabiscuit." In 1987, the Coors Portland Meadows Mile becomes the first $100,000 stakes race in Oregon history. Present Value, a horse ridden by Hall of Fame jockey William Shoemaker, captured the race and went on to retire with $1,153,853 in career earnings. Present Value still holds distinction as the richest horse to ever compete at Portland Meadows. In 1994, two-year-old champion Jumron begins to draw fans from across the Pacific Northwest. He went on to become the first horse to begin his career at Portland Meadows that raced in the Kentucky Derby.

Magna ownership

In 2001, Magna Entertainment acquired the racing license for Portland Meadows. Prior to the 2001-2002 meet, the racing surface was completely renovated. The Clubhouse level and Turf Club Restaurant were also refurbished and a new simulcast center was opened on the mainline level. In 2003, Portland Meadows undergoes a series of improvements including the construction of a children's play area, upgrades in the paddock, gallons upon gallons of new paint throughout the building, new fencing and the inclusion of a grass apron. Among additional changes of significance are the live race days and an increase in handle. Since dropping Sunday racing and adding Monday matinees, there's been an increase of over 100 new simulcast outlets taking the Portland Meadows signal.[3]

In 2003, with the inception of Monday afternoon racing, it was on December 22, Portland Meadows boasted a handle in excess of half a million dollars for the first time in over 10 years. With that, the attention, interest and handle continue to rise. In 2004, Chris Dragone takes the helm as the new General Manager. In 2006, Dwayne Yuzik is named General Manager of Portland Meadows; Chris Dragone takes over as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. On March 6, 2007 Joe Crispin breaks Gary Stevens 25 year old record for wins in a single season when he boots home his 127th winner of the year aboard Lady Boswell. Crispin finished the season with 162 victories. On November 5, 2007, Lethal Grande, the all-time richest Oregon-bred runner died due to an injury sustained during a race. He finished his career with $409,788 in career earnings. On January 7, 2009 Portland Meadows celebrated the start of Wednesday racing with the first ever Portland Meadows vs. Golden Gate Fields Jockey Challenge sponsored by Xpressbet. The challenge pitted the top four riders at Portland Meadows versus the top four riders from Golden Gate Fields including horse racing’s all time winningest rider Russell Baze. Portland Meadows jockeys took home the trophy winning three of the four races with that season’s leading jockey Debbie Hoonan-Trujillo taking home the top riding honor. on February 29, 2009 Portland Meadows set an all-time single day handle record with $1,434,445 bet on the nine race program that included the Portland Meadows Oaks. March 23, 2009 on Portland Mile Day, the track saw two long time track records fall as Salt Water broke a 32 year old track record winning a five furlong allowance race in 57.13 seconds. Later that day in the Mile, Crafty Power broke a 33 year old record for the one mile distance stopping the clock in 1:35.94.

On January 13, 2010 Trainer Jonathan Nance sets a new Portland Meadows record when he sends out six winners in one card. On May 1, 2010 Portland Meadows plays host to a massive crowd of over 20,000 for Oregon Derby Day and Kentucky Derby Day. Portland Meadows presents a check for $10,265 to the Oregon National Guard Emergency Relief Fund on behalf of the People’s Horse for 2010 Maria Margarita, who earned that amount with 3 victories and 8 in the money finishes.

July 3, 2011—The Stronach Group acquires all of MI Developments racing and gaming assets and assumes ownership of Portland Meadows.

October 26, 2011---Trainer Felimon Alvarado has a perfect week, winning with all six of his starters for the race week of 10/24 to 10/26.

December 7, 2011---Colonel Courtney takes home the Inaugural Final of the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series.

March 14, 2012—Swiss Exploit takes home the Inaugural Final of the Route Claiming Series[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Portland Meadows".  
  2. ^ McLeod, Don (September 15, 1946). "Meadows Bucks Arc Woes, Pulls 10,000 at Opening".  
  3. ^ a b c d "Portland Meadows Historical Timeline". Portland Meadows. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Hulen, Bob (December 29, 1957). "[Sports section] 1957: Successes Mark Year of Change". The Sunday Oregonian. Section 2, p. 5 [article starts on p. 1 of section]. 
  5. ^ "Dogs to Run at Meadows". The Oregonian. August 8, 1956. Section 2, p. 5. Multnomah Kennel Club greyhounds will test their new track at Portland Meadows for the first time Wednesday 
  6. ^ Turner, Wallace (July 13, 1955). "Proposed For Center". The Oregonian. p. 1. 

External links

  • Portland Meadows Track History
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