However, the fairgrounds isn’t the only one benefiting from the deal. For years businesses near the fairgrounds have marked local horse racing on their calendars. Restaurants, bars and other local attractions say a new fall racing season will lead to more customers.
“Hotels, bars, restaurants. We should all see an up tick,” Zachariah Gorbutt, owner of Joe’s Bar & Grill, said.
With horse racing extending into the fall in Grants Pass, local businesses are ready for the crowds. Joe’s Bar & Grill is just two miles away from the fairgrounds.
“Once we heard that Portland Meadows was going to be closing and that grants pass downs would have a lot more business, we decided to get involved,” Gorbutt said.
Gorbutt says he’s excited to see what fall horse racing will do for the Grants Pass economy.
“Well the thing that I care deeply about is our community. I mean I’m born and raised here. You know I care about southern Oregon,” Travis Boersma, president of ‘TMB Racing,’ said.
‘TMB Racing’ signed a lease with Josephine County Tuesday. The company will pay $175,000 a year to use portions of the fairgrounds.
“I think we’ve got, you know, an opportunity here to make a significant impact with um not just an economic play, but a cultural impact,” Boersma said.
With Portland Meadows closing this past spring, grants pass will now be home to Oregon’s biggest horse races.
“We will be attracting horses from all over the pacific northwest,” Boersma said.
Local businesses aren’t the only one’s with a little extra income in their sights.
“These horseman have entered into an agreement with guaranteed purses over the next two years. And those guaranteed purses are 60,000 dollars per race day”
Racing will be held in the fall and spring with the first race coming later next month. Races will take place on Sundays and Mondays.
Anna Weeks is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a degree in Digital Communication Arts and a minor in writing. Previously, she interned with the National Association of Broadcasters at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.
Originally from the Portland area, Anna is excited to explore Southern Oregon. In her free time, she can be found reading, running or watching sports.