Name: Oregon Racing, Inc.
1001 N. Schmeer Road, Portland, Oregon 97217 (click for map)
Telephone: (503) 285-9144
Fax: (503) 286-9763
Construction on Portland Meadows Racetrack began on
November 20, 1945, under the direction of William P. Kyne, a San Francisco
businessman who also founded Bay Meadows Racetrack in San Mateo, California.
Ten months later on September 14, 1946, more than 10,000 people poured
through the turnstiles for its opening. In doing so, they witnessed history
in the making as Portland Meadows became the first Thoroughbred track in the
nation to offer night-time racing. The lighting system, designed by General
Electric, had been boasted as having the power “to light a four lane super
highway from Portland to Salem, a distance of 40 miles.”
Two years of racing and 13 days into the third season had passed when Mother
Nature intervened by way of the Vanport Flood. It completely wiped out the
Oregon town of Vanport – never to be rebuilt – and left nearly 20,000 people
homeless with 15 fatalities reported. Portland Meadows could not escape her
wrath or the quarter of a million dollars worth of damages.
Some 22 years later in the spring of 1970, Portland Meadows came face to
face with disaster once again. At 2:00 a.m. on April 25 (41 days into the
race meet), an inferno swept through the grandstand, destroying everything
in its path. Fortunately, this blow failed to take any human or equine
lives. It did, however, force the cancellation of the remainder of the meet.
The following year, after reconstruction and a third attempt at life,
Portland Meadows opened again and welcomed a record crowd of 12,635 people
on its 25th Opening Day.
Some notable highlights and success stories came in the 1981-82 and 1982-83
race meets. Although relatively unknown on a national level at the time, the
leading rider for both of those meets would go on to record three Kentucky
Derby victories and ten Breeders’ Cup triumphs. Gary Stevens, the Idaho
native who had cut his teeth in Boise before fine-tuning his skills in
Portland, captured the aforementioned Portland Meadows riding titles en
route to becoming one of racing history’s most successful riders. Stevens
gained entry into the National Racing Hall of Fame in 1997. Notably, he
played the legendary George Woolf in the 2003 major motion picture hit
Six years after Stevens captured those titles, Portland Meadows made Oregon
racing history with its first $100,000 stakes race, The Coors Portland
Meadows Mile. Under Hall of Fame rider Willie Shoemaker, Present Value
captured Oregon’s richest race and ultimately retired with $1,153,853 in
career earnings. Present Value continues to hold the distinction of being
the richest horse ever to compete at Portland Meadows.
In 1994, Portland’s 2-year-old champion Jumron quickly gathered fans across
the Pacific Northwest. By 1995, he distinguished himself as the first horse
to begin his career here and race in the Kentucky Derby. He finished fourth,
about four lengths behind Thunder Gulch after a troubled beginning and a
long, five-wide stretch drive. Defeating the likes of Serena’s Song, Pyramid
Peak, and Afternoon Deelites, Jumron is considered one of Portland’s
Magna Entertainment Corporation acquired the racing license of Portland
Meadows in the summer of 2001.
In 2001, the richest Oregon-bred of all-time, Lethal Grande, started his
amazing career at Portland Meadows. He was voted Oregon Horse of the Year in
both 2003 and 2004 and piled up career earnings of $409,788 throughout his
six-year racing career. Lethal Grande had 26 career wins, 10 of them at
Portland Meadows. On March 30, 2003, Lethal Grande set the track record for
six furlongs at Portland Meadows, stopping the clock in 1:09.06, a record
that still stands.
During the 2006-07 season jockey Joe Crispin broke Gary Stevens 24-year-old
record for wins in a season by winning 162 Thoroughbred races during a
73-day meeting. Stevens record was 126 wins in the 1982–1983 meeting.
Crispin won the riding title again in 2007-08 with 132 wins.
On January 7, 2009, Portland Meadows hosted the $20,000 Golden Gate vs.
Portland Meadows Jockey Challenge brought to you by XpressBet. The event saw
four of the top riders at Portland Meadows square off against a foursome of
riders from Golden Gate Fields, including Hall of Famer Russell Baze, in a
four-race series. When all was said and done, Team Portland Meadows
conquered its rivals from the Golden State with Debbie Hoonan-Trujillo
taking home the top individual jockey trophy. The event was covered
nationally by HRTV.
In 2012, Portland Meadows shifted the live racing season to include a summer
race meet as part of a renewed focus on bringing customers back to the
track. The summer meet began on Sunday, July 15, 2012, and thousands of
locals, including Mayor Sam Adams, showed up for a great day of horse
The second summer race meet in 2013 built upon the success of the inaugural
summer race meet with Sunday afternoon racing, catapulting horse racing from
Portland Meadows into the local sports and entertainment landscape.
General Manager: Karsten Hennze
Controller: Vestal Monroe
Simulcast/Media Contact: Karsten Hennze
Racing Secretary: Jerry Kohls
Mutuel Manager: Keith Jones
Manager, Food & Beverage: Nancy Ocks
Television Production: Trident Media Services
Track Announcer: Mike Persichino
Track Photographer: HorseWinPix
Facilities Manager: Mark Folkman
Owner Relations Contact: Jerry Kohls
Nearest City: Portland
Nearest Airport: Portland International Airport, 8.22 miles from
Track Data: 1-mile oval, 6-furlong and 1¼-mile chutes: 100% sand;
length of stretch 990 feet; stabling for 800 horses
Admission and Parking Price: Free
Simulcast Information: Year-round, horse and greyhound racing seven
days a week