Mega Millions?: Emerald Downs will kickoff horse racing season on April 13

Live racing at Emerald Downs will kick off April 13 at the Auburn horse racing track. This marks the 17th anniversary of the track.  - Courtesy photo
Live racing at Emerald Downs will kick off April 13 at the Auburn horse racing track. This marks the 17th anniversary of the track.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The thoroughbred horses will break out of the gates for the first time April 13 for Opening Night at Emerald Downs.

This year marks the 17th anniversary of the Auburn horse racing track.

The $83 million oval opened its gates June 20, 1996, four years after the closing of Longacres.

The cost of admission for adults is $7, which includes access to the first five levels of the stadium, the paddock and park. Children under 17 get in free and kids 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Fans 55 and over receive free admission on Thursdays during live racing. Simulcast admission is $3 and $2 with a Emerald Rewards Card.

Preferred parking is $7 and valet parking is $10. Parking in the general lot is free.

The biggest day of racing at Emerald Downs this summer will again be the 77th running of the Grade 3 $200,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 19. The card will also include the $65,000 Emerald Distaff. Awesome Gem came in from California to win the Mile last year.

Emerald Downs will run 30 stakes races in 2012, one more than last year, with total purses of $1,585,000, slightly more than last year. There are few changes from last year’s stakes schedule.

Another special event during the season includes Fabulous Friday on May 4. The first 4,000 fans in attendance receive a lucky T-shirt, which will give you free admission each Friday for the remainder of the season. There will also be live music and beer specials.

The track's annual Fireworks Spectacular will be July 3 with a special 4:30 p.m. post time. This is the highest attended day of racing of the season with a firework show beginning approximately 20 minutes after live racing concludes.

The 81-day calendar reflects a Friday-through-Sunday schedule until Thursdays are added beginning June 19. There will be holiday racing on Memorial Day (Monday, May 28) and Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 3). Closing day is scheduled for Sept. 23.

First race post times are 6 p.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

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