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MailTribune.com
  • HORSE RACING

    GPD numbers up over last year

  • The 2014 racing season at Grants Pass Downs, which concluded on Sunday, was by all accounts a resounding success, according to racing officials.
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  • The 2014 racing season at Grants Pass Downs, which concluded on Sunday, was by all accounts a resounding success, according to racing officials.
    Compared to last year, the 2014 season saw more people attend the nine-day meet and more money was wagered.
    "The feedback that we got on a daily basis was very positive and very encouraging," said Tag Wotherspoon, the director of communications and marketing for the Southern Oregon Horse Racing Association. "We had people coming up and thanking us."
    Wotherspoon, said the total attendance for the nine racing days was 24,365, which was an average of 2,707 people per day. That is a 14 percent increase over last year's total attendance of 21,460.
    Bettors wagered $365,010 this season, compared to $302,059 in 2013.
    Also, the average handle per race was $5,071, which was the first time since 2007 that the average per-race handle topped $5,000. As recently as 2012, the average handle per race was only $3,415.
    The 2013 meet was SOHRA's first year managing the horse races at the Josephine County Fairgrounds.
    Wotherspoon cited multiple reasons for this year's success.
    "It starts with the momentum from the end of last season," he said.
    SOHRA continued that momentum by donating $20,000 to the financially-challenged fairgrounds in December.
    "A little goodwill goes a long ways," Wotherspoon said.
    SOHRA also learned from its first year at Grants Pass Downs and used those lessons this season.
    Cooperative weather and attractive promotions also drew people to the races, Wotherspoon said.
    "We did something different each and every day," Wotherspoon said.
    He cited promotions such as lady's hat day and fan appreciation day.
    Combine all of these factors with an improving economy, and it made for a great season at Grants Pass Downs, he added.
    "I think it's a win-win for both us," he said, referring to SOHRA and the fairgrounds.
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