Emerald Downs opens 19th season Saturday in Auburn

The season at Emerald Downs in Auburn will kickoff on Saturday. This is the 19th year of the horse racing track.  - Courtesy photo
The season at Emerald Downs in Auburn will kickoff on Saturday. This is the 19th year of the horse racing track.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The horses will run for the first time Saturday on Opening Night at Emerald Downs. This year marks the 19th anniversary of the Auburn thoroughbred horse racing track.

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

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. 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 79th running of the Grade 3 $200,000 Longacres Mile on Aug. 24. The Longacres Mile card will also include the $65,000 Emerald Distaff.

Emerald Downs will run a total of 29 stakes races in 2013, the same amount as last year, with total purses of $1,610,000, slightly more than last year.

Another special event during the season includes Fabulous Friday on May 2. Fans in attendance receive a T-shirt, which will give 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 77-day calendar reflects a Friday-through-Sunday schedule. There will be holiday racing on Memorial Day (Monday, May 26) and Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 1). Closing day is scheduled for Sept. 28.

First race post times are 6:45 p.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Emerald Downs sees over 400,000 visitors a year, and employs 240 people during non-racing season and 460 during live racing months. Thoroughbred racing in Washington boasts an economic impact of $253 million each year, according to Emerald Downs.

World champion Seahawks prominent at Emerald Downs

The Seattle Seahawks are a hot item at Emerald Downs in 2014. The track recently announced it has designed a special "I Bet On The 12" T-shirt that will be given away to paid admissions (while supplies last) on Friday, May 2.

The track has already identified four 2-year-olds named after the Super Bowl champion Seahawks and their fans, meaning it could be hunch players galore for 'Hawks fans later this meet.

Legion of Boom, trained by Mike Puhich, figures to garner the most hype. By Harbor the Gold-Bahati, the 2-year-old colt is a full brother to champions Couldabenthewhisky and Del Rio Harbor, who each won championships as 2-year-olds at Emerald Downs.

Puhich also trains Volume Twelve, a Kentucky-bred colt by Latent Heat-Salt Loch. The other two (so far) are Twelfth Fan, a Washington-bred filly by Matty G-Queen Sarabi trained by Bill Tollett, and Shehawk, a Washington-bred filly Harbor the Gold-Shumka conditioned by Rosie Simkins.

Getting back to the T-shirts, they're dark navy with "EMERALD DOWNS" emblazoned on front, and "I BET ON THE 12" on the back. The lettering is bright green and the No. 12 is white with lime green shading.

Each subsequent Friday throughout the season — 22 in all — fans wearing their Fabulous Friday T-shirt will receive free admission to the day's races.

'Emerald Downs Live' airs on CSN

"Emerald Downs Live" returns to Comcast SportsNet Northwest on April 12, featuring the track's entire live race card and interviews with horsemen.

Emerald Downs Live airs 2-6 p.m. every Saturday until the September when the programming schedule then switches to Sundays.

Hosted by Joe Withee and Jacob Pollowitz, "Emerald Downs Live" welcomes the return of CSN's Jamie Hudson, who comes back for her second year as the show's full-time sideline reporter.

CSN is Channel 179 on most local cable systems.

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