GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Oregon Racing Commission held its first meeting Thursday since the Grants Pass Downs announced it would be canceling its 2022 season.
Originally scheduled to kick off this past February, the 2022 commercial race meet was pushed back and eventually canceled this month.
Dutch Bros co-founder Travis Boersma said the decision came “as a result of the Oregon Racing Commission’s vote to deny an operating license to the Flying Lark.”
The State DOJ said Boersma’s Flying Lark operation would be an illegal casino if it used “historic horse racing machines” that are based on chance, not skill.
The president of the GP Downs, Randy Ayers, was in attendance. He said a lack of horses also led to the decision.
ORC Executive Director Jack McGrail said it’s unfortunate for horse racing in Oregon. He explained, “That track in Grants Pass is a vital training facility even if it’s not running a commercial meet and without it, it is hard to see how our horsemen and women will have a chance to get their horses legged up in time to run at these fair meets.”
The Downs said the cancellation of the races means about 50 jobs will be lost during the season. That’s in addition to the approximately 200 with the loss of the Flying Lark.