On June 20th back in 1996, Emerald Downs opened for the very first time with a full card of racing on the schedule. The opening of the venue was significant due to the fact that the state had been without thoroughbred horse racing for three years. The venue now looks forward to celebrating their 20th anniversary this Monday, with the first race to begin at 6:30 pm.
Emerald Downs was constructed by Ron Crockett, who held the position of president of the Northwest Racing Associates, with $81 million spent on the project. According to Crockett, he went through ups and downs as the owner of the venue but never considered stopping. Crockett would continue to hold the position as the owner of Northwest Racing as well as president until 2014. The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe would then purchase the race track and take over the operations of the facility.
The tribe had actually acquired the land back in 2002 and since that time had been supplementing the purses each year for the races. Since Emerald Downs first began offering racing, there have been close to 17,000 races that have taken place in total. The centerpiece of the meet is the Longacres Mile which still takes place, with this year’s event set for August 14th, with a $200,000 Grade 3 Mile.