Races return to Desert Park on Saturday
There will be five horse races Saturday when racing returns to Desert Park for the second year in a row.
Organizers are prepared, but there remains considerable work to do before the post time of 1:30 p.m., said Carol Youngberg, president of the Desert Park Exhibition Society.
“There’s a ton of organizing and a whole ton of setting everything up,” Youngberg said in an interview Monday. “Cleaning the facility, mowing all the weeds, getting everything cleaned and spiffy for race day, getting the paddock ready, getting the barns ready. There’s just a ton of work to do.”
One of the changes this year is that there is a $5 admission, but parking is free. Last year, admission was free, but there was a charge for parking.
Youngberg said this would make it easier to provide accurate attendance numbers, which organizers are required to do.
People are advised to hang onto their tickets as there will be draws during the event in addition to the popular 50-50 draw, which is back this year.
Hester Creek will be this year’s featured winery and their wines will be available at the beer garden.
New liquor legislation allows the building to be licensed so that race goers can now take a glass of wine with them when they go to the betting room. It is still prohibited to take alcohol outdoors beyond the beer garden fence or to drink in the stands.
People wishing to see the race program in advance will be able to see it after details are posted to the web on Thursday at www.desertpark.org, Youngberg said.
Once again there will be portable bleachers on Saturday, Youngberg said, noting that an engineering report on upgrades to the permanent bleachers has been finalized.
Whether or not the permanent bleachers can be ready for the second race day on Aug. 16 will depend on whether the upgrades can be planned, financed and done on time, Youngberg said.
Gates open for Saturday’s races at 12:30 p.m.