Jump to: navigation, search

Emerald Downs

Emerald Downs
Official website
Location Auburn, Washington,
United States
Date opened 1996
Course type Thoroughbred flat racing
Notable Races Longacres Mile

Emerald Downs is a thoroughbred racetrack in Auburn, Washington, located a half mile east of Highway 167.



Emerald Downs first opened its to doors to race fans on June 20, 1996[1], 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 Racecourse 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.[2]

Physical Attributes

The Track

The Emerald Downs track is a one mile 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. 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 by 12 feet 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 of office space – is 17,300 square feet.

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 of wetlands were created or enhanced. On the east side of SR-167, 100,000 cubic yards of soil were excavated, creating six acres 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 from opening to Memorial Day. Four-day race weeks begin the following weekend stay Thursday through Sunday through Labor Day. 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.


Gallyn Mitchell is the all-time leading rider at Emerald Downs through the 2009 racing season and the only jockey to have raced at every meet since Emerald Downs opened in 1996. Jennifer Whitaker is the all-time leading female rider. Ricky Frazier set records for wins in a season (157) and earnings ($1,632,102) in 2007. Frazier won the riding title again in 2009 with 155 victories and $1,492,455 in earnings. The track record for wins in a single day is six, shared by Seth Martinez (July 27, 2008) and Kevin Radke (September 2, 2002). Cassie Papineau set a record for wins by an apprentice with 70 trips to the winner's circle in 2009.

Many famous jockeys have ridden at Emerald Downs, including several members of the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. Laffit Pincay Jr., Pat Day, Eddie Delahoussaye, Russell Baze, Gary Stevens, Alex Solis, Garrett Gomez, David Flores, Robby Albarado and Gary Baze have all competed on the Emerald Downs oval.

Rank Jockey Career Wins 1996–2009
1 Gallyn Mitchell 1,173
2 Ricky Frazier 772
3 Juan Gutierrez 683
4 Frank Gonsalves 561
5 Kevin Radke 532
6 Ben Russell 501
7 Pedro Alvarado 400
8 Nathan Chaves 399
9 Jennifer Whitaker 353
10 Gary Baze 351


Tim McCanna is the all-time leading trainer at Emerald Downs through 2009 and has won 9 of the 13 training titles since the inaugural season of 1996. He is also tops in career earnings ($6,387,182) and ranks fourth in stakes victories (27). McCanna won a track record 66 races in 2008. Washington Hall of Fame Trainer Jim Penney remains one of the most accomplished trainers in state history. His five career wins in the Longacres Mile (three at Emerald Downs) ranks best of all time. He is also the only trainer in Washington State history to win five races in a single day twice. Doris Harwood is the only other trainer to accomplish the feat a single time, collecting five wins on August 8, 2009. Penney's 33 career stakes wins rank third all-time and he also earned a training title at Emerald Downs in 1998 when he led all conditioners with 46 wins. Doris Harwood set a record for earnings in a single season with $931,916 in 2009. She also won 12 stakes in 2009, tying a track record she set in 2007. Women trainers ruled at Emerald in 2009, winning 23 of 36 stakes races (Harwood 12, Bonnie Jenne 4, Chris Stenslie 3, Connie Bouslaugh 2, Valorie Lund 2)

Rank Trainer Career Wins 1996–2009
1 Tim McCanna 707
2 Frank Lucarelli 576
3 Howard Belvoir 465
4 Jim Penney 458
5 Bud Klokstad 402
6 Doris Harwood 349
7 Sharon Ross 337
8 Roy Lumm 324
9 Terry Gillihan 267
10 Steve Bullock 259


Wasserman is the track's all-time leading earner, with $498,812 in purses won entering the 2010 racing season. West Seattle Boy, Market Master and Bob Stories are tied for most career wins at Emerald Downs with 16, with Handy N Bold leading in career stakes victories with 10. In 2005, Halonator set the track record for wins in a season with 8.

Horse of the Meeting

Year Horse
2009 Assessment
2008 Wasserman
2007 The Great Face
2006 Flamethrowintexan
2005 No Giveaway
2004 Demon Warlock
2003 Youcan'ttakeme
2002 Flying Notes
2001 Makors Mark
2000 Edneator
1999 No Curfew
1998 Wild Wonder
1997 Kid Katabatic
1996 Name for Norm

Speed Records

Distance Time Horse Age Weight Date
2 Furlongs  :21⅖ Midnight Cruiser 2 118 May 4, 2000
 :21⅖ Adventuresome Man 2 118 May 10, 2000
4½ Furlongs  :50 Sea Speaker 2 119 August 25, 2007
5 Furlongs  :55⅖ Jazzy Mac 5 98 August 20, 2000
 :55⅖ Victor Slew 4 115 August 24, 2003
 :55⅖ Starbird Road 4 119 October 1, 2006
5½ Furlongs 1:01⅕ (Tied World Record) Willie the Cat 3 118 April 16, 2004
1:01⅕ (Tied World Record) The Great Face 5 120 April 20, 2007
6 Furlongs 1:07 (State Record) Atta Boy Roy 4 123 September 13, 2009
1:07 (State Record)[3] Noosa Beach 4 118 May 16, 2010
6½ Furlongs 1:13 (World Record) Sabertooth 7 118 May 22, 2005
One Mile 1:33 (State Record) Sky Jack 7 123 August 24, 2003
1 1/16 Mile 1:39⅗ (State Record) Kid Katabatic 5 123 July 26, 1998
1⅛ Mile 1:45⅖ (State Record) Flying Notes 3 122 September 2, 2002
1 3/16 Mile 1:57⅖ Andoras Attitude 4 119 August 25, 2005
1¼ Mile 2:01 Itstufftobegood 4 124 August 5, 2005
2:29 Military Deputy 5 120 August 26, 2007
1¾ Mile 3:02 Itstufftobegood 4 128 September 18, 2005
2 Miles 3:32⅗ (State Record) Horatio 5 115 September 20, 2004

Longacres Mile

Emerald Downs biggest race is the Longacres Mile Handicap, a Grade III event. The race was announced in June 1935 so Longacres founder Joe Gottstein could have a signature one mile race. He felt the mile was an overlooked distance, neither a sprint nor an endurance run. In order to attract racers and attention, the purse was set at $10,000, instantly the largest staked one mile race in the country (and it would remain so for more than 40 years).

As soon as the announcement was made, the first running of the race had 20 entrants; 16 actually started. The stakes attracted the owners of a New Orleans horse named Biff, grandson of legendary Man o' War, who had just won $5000 in Chicago. Biff had the attention of everyone for weeks before the event and no owners would run their horses in preliminary races with him. Biff was first out of the gate but was stalked by Coldwater, a 20-1 longshot that wasn't regarded well. Near the end of the mile Biff was showing clear strain and Coldwater overtook him to win.

In 2008, locally owned and bred Wasserman took the Longacres Mile closing fast to win in a photo finish over horses shipped in to run the race. The Longacres Mile is now a featured "Win and Your In" race into the Breeders' Cup, but the 2008 winner declined the invitation. The 2009 winner, Assessment, subsequently chipped a bone in his ankle during a workout and was ruled out of contention in the Dirt Mile.[4]

The 75th Longacres Mile will be run on August 22, 2010.

Emerald Downs Mutuel Payoff Records

Highest $2 Win Payoffs

Payoff Horse Date
$142.00 My Lady Boots July 27, 1997
$139.60 Clurmor July 28, 2007
$122.00 No Giveaway Aug. 21, 2005
$120.80 Unknown Doctor June 12, 2008
$109.00 No Way To Go Aug. 12, 1996

Highest $2 Place Payoffs

Payoff Horse Date
$58.00 Georgia Echo Oct. 6, 1998
$55.60 Sugarslittleacorn May 4, 2003
$52.40 Royal Alaskan May 17, 1998
$50.00 Wrapped In Ribbon July 7, 2007
$46.80 My Lady Boots July 27, 1997

Highest $2 Show Payoffs

The massive payoffs for the top three horses listed were a result of a fourth-place finish by then-undefeated Knight Raider in the Diane Kem Stakes for two year old fillies on Washington Cup Day. $148,000 of the $156,000 pool was put on Knight Raider, providing huge payoffs for the top three finishers when she finished out of the money.[5]

Payoff Horse Date
$187.00 Have'n Wild Time September 13, 2009
$156.40 Pistolpackin'gal September 13, 2009
$108.60 Private Fortune September 13, 2009
$38.80 Super Raptor April 5, 1997
$35.00 Jazzie Act July 14, 1996

Highest $2 Daily Double

Payoff Horses Date
$1,907.40 Neardistracted-Magical Monday May 17, 2002
$1,878.20 Delirious Laughter-Bishop Wins Aug. 8, 2003
$1,464.80 Follow My Heineken-Specious Edition July 5, 1999
$1,289.60 Zairsaplan-Sea Tac Jet May 9, 2004
$1,042.80 Detroit Diesel-Critical Mass Aug. 30, 1996

Highest $1 Exacta Payoffs

Payoff Horses Date
$2,317.80 Salty Season-Another Bar Fly Aug. 28, 1998
$2,077.40 No Way To Go-Almost Smashed Aug. 12, 1996
$1,843.60 Naab The Win-Do As You’re Toad Aug. 14, 1998
$1,678.80 Mighbabe-Scatty Sept. 7, 1998
$1,286.80 Tip A Moon-Treasure Girl Dec. 21, 1996

Highest $1 Trifecta Payoffs

Payoff Horses Date
$27,356.90 Meridian Thriller-Foxy Love-Foxy Frosty July 2, 2002
$24,399.00 Freefur-Mollie Stone-Jennifer Star June 26, 2005
$24,337.90 Timbercamp-Kisses of Wine-Initial Reaction May 7, 2006
$23,782.80 Salty Season-Another Bar Fly-Seattle Jack Aug. 28, 1998
$20,805.20 Clurmor-Buckshot West-Cahill Blues July 28, 2007

Highest $1 Pick Three

Payoff Horses Date
$7,479.90 Alena’s Tornado-Wa Dancer-Talking About July 9, 2000
$7,177.70 Tommy Ray-Braydon’s Choice-Wacky Joe Wacky July 25, 1998
$6,987.60 Chisos Free Candy-Sea Pirate-Dee Cee Nine April 11, 1997
$6,649.50 Alibhai Basket-Lucky Pusher-Travel The Sun Aug. 8, 1998
$6,274.60 Volare Princess-Secret Game-Wrapped In Ribbons July 7, 2007

Highest $1 Pick Four

Payoff Date
$18,223.20 April 17, 2009
$13,373.30 Aug. 2, 2007
$12,593.30 June 26, 2005
$12,096.40 May 26, 2008
$12,043.40 Oct. 2, 2005

Highest $2 Pick Six

Payoff Date
$217,140.00 June 8, 1997
$96,172.00 Aug. 5, 1996
$80,489.40 Sept. 1, 1996
$64,700.80 Sept. 14, 1996
$48,507.80 Nov. 6, 1996

Highest $1 Superfectas

Payoff Date
$15,487.20 June 2, 2002
$15,319.60 Sept. 21, 2003
$14,926.70 Aug. 21, 2005
$14,423.10 July 25, 1999
$13,858.40 July 20, 2008


Coordinates: Template:Coord/input/dms


Premier Equine Classifieds


Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...

The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...

Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...

That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...