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Archive for the ‘Horse Racing Tracks – Washington’ Category

Emerald Downs

Emerald Downs

2300 Emerald Downs Drive

Auburn, Washington 98001-1633

United States

Telephone: (253) 288 7000

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (

Emerald Downs is a thoroughbred racetrack in Auburn, Washington, located a half mile east of Highway 167. It is named after Seattle, the Emerald City.

Emerald Downs first opened its doors to race fans on June 20, 1996, with the inaugural 100 day meet running through November 4. It replaced Longacres Racetrack, which closed in September 1992 after sixty seasons of racing. Following the closure of Longacres, racing was not held in Western Washington from 1993–1995. However, Thoroughbred racing continued at Yakima Meadows and Playfair race course in Spokane during this time. Emerald Downs is a Limited Partnership, with a group of investors led by Track President Ron Crockett. In 2002, the land where Emerald Downs is situated was purchased by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe for roughly $70 Million.

The Track

The Emerald Downs track is a one mile (1.6 km) oval in the shadow of Mount Rainier. The track surface itself is made of geo-textile fabric, washed rock, course sand, and one-component track material. However, there is no turf course. The tote board is located in the center of the oval track.

The Emerald Downs infield is designed as a storm system that is sized to accommodate all storm runoff for the entire southern portion of the track property, including all rooftop surfaces as well as parking lots and the racetrack surface. Before releasing any water, Emerald Downs tests for turbidity and PH levels. Samples are also sent to a laboratory for further testing of dissolved oxygen, ammonia and fecal coliform levels. Finally, the water is released into Mill Creek at an engineered rate of discharge in order to help prevent flooding downstream from the track. Much of the infield is under water during the fall and winter, creating a home for ducks, geese, rabbits, and other small wildlife.

The Grandstand

The Emerald Downs Grandstand is a modern racetrack facility designed by EwingCole. There is general admission seating on track level, including a grassy park area with free children’s activities on weekends (weather permitting). Outside on the third floor are box and reserved seats in the grandstand, as well as box and reserved seats on the fifth floor indoor clubhouse.

Pari-mutuel windows are located on each floor to place wagers. There are eight food stands and six beverage services throughout the facility. There is also the Rainer Restaurant on the fifth floor, with reservations generally accepted two weeks in advance.

The state-of-the-art facility and in-house catering at Emerald Downs lends itself to hosting a variety of events year-round. The Triple Crown Suites on the 6th floor and the large banquet space on the 4th floor are just a couple of venues available for group events.

Barn Area

Each of the 11 barns is a complete facility for horsemen with: 116 stalls; 22 tack and feed storage areas; six trainer offices; 12 hay and straw storage areas; 10 wash racks; 13 dorm rooms for grooms and six mechanical hot walkers. Each stall is 10 feet (3.0 m) by 12 feet (3.7 m) in size. For the horse’s protection, each stall is padded with plywood wainscot kick-boards.

Sales Pavilion

The Morris J. Alhadeff Sales Pavilion is the home for the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association. The $1 million facility opened to the public on December 14, 1997, for the 1997 Winter Sale. It was funded by significant donations from Micheal and Kenneth Alhadeff and other industry members. The entire structure – including the sales arena and 4,400 square feet (410 m2) of office space – is 17,300 square feet (1,610 m2).

Equine Hospital

Funded jointly by Northwest Racing Associates, track veterinarians, the families of Mike and Ken Alhadeff and private contributors, the Morris J. Alhadeff Equine Hospital is a state-of-the-art facility used by the Emerald Downs Veterinary Association. The vet clinic includes:

  • Surgery Suite
  • Two padded induction/recovery rooms
  • Radiology Room
  • Prep room for minor procedures
  • Isolation stall (for contagious ailments)
  • Dark room for film developing
  • Office space

Mitigation Site

As part of the process in building the facility that exists today, Northwest Racing Associates, L.P. developed an extensive plan to mitigate the impact of a fill on low grade wetlands on the Emerald Downs property. Located a mile and one-half south of the track property, at a cost of $6.5 million, 56 acres (230,000 m2) of wetlands were created or enhanced. On the east side of SR-167, 100,000 cubic yards of soil were excavated, creating 6 acres (24,000 m2) of open water. Habitat features were added to benefit water fowl, birds of prey and mammals.


The track hosts Live Thoroughbred racing from mid April through the end of September. Races are run Friday through Sunday and holidays the majority of the season. During mid-summer, the track races on a Thursday through Sunday schedule. The track conducts several large ungraded stakes and many overnight handicaps and stakes. There are an average of 8 races on week nights, and 10 races per race weekend. In addition to live racing, the track offers simulcast wagering year round.

The first Quarter Horse race in track history was held in 2010. In 2011, Emerald Downs plans to feature Quarter Horse races more regularly as a supplement to the Thoroughbred program.

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