Emerald Downs

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Emerald Downs
Emerald Downs.jpg
LocationAuburn, Washington,
United States
Owned byMuckleshoot Indian Tribe
Date openedJune 20, 1996
Course typeThoroughbred flat racing
Notable racesLongacres Mile
Official website

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,[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 Race Course in Spokane during this time. Emerald Downs operated as a Limited Partnership from 1996 to 2015, with a group of investors led by Ron Crockett. In 2002, the land where Emerald Downs is situated was purchased by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe for roughly $70 million. The Tribe purchased the track buildings and facilities and formed Emerald Downs Racing LLC in 2015. The Tribe has made a number of improvements since taking over the operation including a 1150 square foot infield big screen. Emerald Downs celebrated its 20th anniversary Monday, June 20, 2016, with a special night of racing featuring many of the stars from the track's first two decades. [2]

Physical Attributes[edit]

Aerial view from west-southwest, 2013

The Track[edit]

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, coarse 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, and other small wildlife.

The Grandstand[edit]

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.

Barn Area[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.


Emerald Downs hosts Live Thoroughbred racing from mid April through the mid September. The 2018 racing season will be Sunday April 22 thru Sunday, September 23. Races are run Friday through Sunday the majority of the season. The track conducts several large ungraded stakes (i.e. the Auburn Handicap) and many overnight handicaps and stakes. There are an average of 7-8 races on weeknights, and 10 races per race weekend. In addition to live racing, the track offers simulcast wagering and a card room casino year round.

The first Quarter Horse race in track history was held in 2010. In 2011, Emerald Downs added a major Quarter Horse stakes, the $60,000 Bank of America Emerald Championship Challenge Stakes run on Labor Day weekend.

Emerald Downs also hosted Indian Relay Racing in 2015 and the popular feature returns June 8-10 2018.


Gallyn Mitchell is the all-time leading rider at Emerald Downs with 1,419 wins through the 2015 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 with 457 wins. 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. Vann Belvoir owns the best winning percentage in track history at 23.9%. The track record for wins in a single day is six, shared by Seth Martinez (July 27, 2008) and Kevin Radke (September 2, 2002). Eliska Kubinova set a record for wins by an apprentice with 75 victories in 2012.

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 1996–2015
1 Gallyn Mitchell 1,419
2 Juan Gutierrez 1,221
3 Ricky Frazier 886
4 Leslie Mawing 674
5 Frank Gonsalves 561
6 Kevin Radke 532
7 Ben Russell 501
8 Jennifer Whitaker 457
9 Debbie Hoonan 439
10 Nate Chaves 417


Washington Hall of Fame trainer Tim McCanna is the all-time leader at Emerald Downs with 906 wins through 2015 and has won 10 training titles since the inaugural season of 1996. McCanna set a track record with 66 wins in 2008, a mark that Jeff Metz tied with 66 wins in 2015. Since arriving from California in 2013, Metz has reeled off three straight training titles with 42, 49 and 66 wins. 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 50 career stakes wins rank second 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, and is No. 1 all-time with 66 stakes wins at Emerald Downs.

Rank Trainer Career Wins 1996–2015
1 Tim McCanna 906
2 Frank Lucarelli 837
3 Howard Belvoir 684
4 Jim Penney 651
5 Doris Harwood 514
6 Roy Lumm 409
7 Bud Klokstad 402
8 Dan Markle 345
9 Sharon Ross 337
10 Tom Wenzel 334


Rank Owner Career Wins 1996–2015
1 Ron Crockett Inc. 246
2 Sue & Tim Spooner 172
3 Larry & Veralene Hillis 155
4 Howard Belvoir 144
5 Billie Klokstad 129
6 Dunn Bar Ranch 121
7 Northwest Farms 108
8 Homestretch Farms Inc. 104
9 Seawind Stables LLC 102
10 Hern/LePley Racing 101


Wasserman is the track's all-time leading earner, with $575,024 in purses thru the 2015 season. West Seattle Boy is the winningest horse in track history with 21 career trips to the winner's circle, the most recent on September 25, 2011 as a 12-year-old.[3] Noosa Beach leads in career stakes victories with 11. In 2005, Halonator set the track record for wins in a season with 8. In 2015, Jim & Mona Hour's 6-year-old Washington-bred Stryker Phd became the first horse to win the Longacres Mile twice at Emerald Downs.[4]

Career Wins[edit]

Rank Horse Career Wins 1996–2015
1 West Seattle Boy 21
2 Olympic Lights 17
3-tie Market Master 16
3-tie Bob Stories 16
3-tie Buddy Dave 16
6-tie Fleet Pacific 15
6-tie Seattle Game 15
6-tie Polish Dollar 15
9-tie Toobusytoocall 14
9-tie Kimos Friend 14

Horse of the Meeting[edit]

Year Horse
2015 Stryker Phd
2014 Stryker Phd
2013 Herbie D
2012 Class Included
2011 Noosa Beach
2010 Noosa Beach
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[edit]

Distance Time Horse Age Weight Date
300 Yards :15.560 Jacango (QH) 3 123 August 15, 2015
350 Yards :17.30 Snip N Dale (QH) 5 126 September 25, 2010
400 Yards :20.574 Bh Country Chrome (QH) 4 124 August 29, 2015
440 Yards :21.376 Bh Lisas Boy (QH) 3 121 September 6, 2015
2 Furlongs :21⅖ Midnight Cruiser 2 118 May 4, 2000
:21⅖ Adventuresome Man 2 118 May 10, 2000
870 Yards :45.78 Bleu Tarp 6 122 Sept. 14, 2012
4½ Furlongs :49.98 Trackattacker 2 118 June 1, 2014
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 1:00.87(World Record) Hollywood Harbor 5 118 April 22, 2012
6 Furlongs 1:07 (State Record) Atta Boy Roy 4 123 September 13, 2009
1:07 (State Record)[5] Noosa Beach 4 118 May 16, 2010
6½ Furlongs 1:12.94 (World Record)[6] I Keep Saying 5 124 July 27, 2014
One Mile 1:32.90 (State Record)[7] Point Piper 6 118 August 14, 2016
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

Note: (QH) = Quarter Horse

Longacres Mile[edit]

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 (1.6 km) 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 (1.6 km) 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 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 75th Longacres Mile was run on August 22, 2010. It was won by the betting favorite, Noosa Beach.[8] Ridden by Ricky Frazier and trained by Doris Harwood for owner Jeff Harwood, the winner paid $5.60, $3.80 and $3.00. Jersey Town finished second, followed by the 2009 Mile champion, Assessment.

The 2011 Longacres Mile featured a showdown between defending champion Noosa Beach and multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Awesome Gem. Awesome Gem took the lead near the wire, defeating Noosa Beach by 1 1/2 lengths.[9] It was his 9th win in 46 career starts, boosting his earnings to over $2.6 Million. In 2012, jockey Mario Gutierrez became the first rider to sweep the Kentucky Derby and Longacres Mile in the same year, guiding I'll Have Another to wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and then taking the Mile aboard Canadian shipper Taylor Said.

In 2014-2015, Stryker Phd became the first horse to win the Longacres Mile in consecutive years at Emerald Downs. The 6-year-old Washington-bred gelding by Bertrando-Striking Scholar is owned by Jim and Mona Hour of Bellevue, Wash., trained by Larry Ross and ridden by Leslie Mawing.

Emerald Downs selected other races and inaugural date:

Washington Cup races:

Emerald Downs Mutuel Payoff Records[edit]

Highest $2 Win Payoffs[edit]

Payoff Horse Date
$153.00 Making Fire May 31, 2015
$142.00 My Lady Boots July 27, 1997
$139.60 Clurmor July 28, 2007
$132.20 Clever Ridge Aug. 24, 2007
$122.00 No Giveaway Aug. 21, 2005
$120.80 Unknown Doctor June 12, 2008

Highest $2 Place Payoffs[edit]

Payoff Horse Date
$63.20 Making Fire May 31, 2015
$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

Highest $2 Show Payoffs[edit]

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.[10]

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
$96.40 Private Boss September 28, 2014
$50.00 Moony Moony September 29, 2013

Highest $2 Daily Double[edit]

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
$1,102.80 Cider Burg-Strategic Patience July 4, 2010

Highest $1 Exacta Payoffs[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Payoff Date
$18,223.20 April 17, 2009
$13,373.30 Aug. 2, 2007
$12,829.25 ($0.50 Pick Four) May 30, 2011
$12,593.30 June 26, 2005
$12,096.40 May 26, 2008

Note: The Pick Four was changed to a $0.50 minimum wager in 2010.

Highest $2 Pick Six[edit]

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[edit]

Payoff Date
$15,581.35 August 31, 2014
$15,487.20 June 2, 2002
$15,319.60 Sept. 21, 2003
$14,926.70 Aug. 21, 2005
$14,423.10 July 25, 1999


Coordinates: 47°19′44″N 122°14′02″W / 47.32889°N 122.23389°W / 47.32889; -122.23389