As the national horse racing and sports spotlight focuses on Always Dreaming’s Triple Crown bid in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, the local horse racing spotlight in the Rocky Mountain region will flick on for the start of the 2017 season in Colorado at Arapahoe Park. The Aurora, Colorado racetrack will conduct 39 days of live horse racing in 2017 from Friday, May 19, to August 13.
Arapahoe Park, which has raced every summer since 1992, will feature Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with nine races each day beginning at 1 p.m. MDT. There will be a special racing program on Memorial Day, May 29, and during the holiday weekend racing will take place on Monday instead of Friday.
Other marquee days during the 2017 season include Saturday, June 17, for the Heritage Ride when Arapahoe Park will partner with the Colorado Horse Council to give fans chance the chance to bring their horses and ride on the racetrack. Sunday, June 18, will feature a Father’s Day buffet and festivities that have traditionally drawn one of the biggest crowds each season. The track’s top races, the $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity for Thoroughbreds and the inaugural Arapahoe Park Quarter Horse Futurity, will put an exclamation point on the meet on the final day of the season, Sunday, August 13.
During the Arapahoe Park racing season, track announcer Jonathan Horowitz will host the weekly feature television show Gates Open at Arapahoe Park on Altitude Sports & Entertainment about the behind-the-scenes of horse racing. New episodes first air on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. MDT with additional broadcasts, whose times will be listed at www.altitude.tv, later in the week.
Friday’s opening day card will feature the first qualifying races for the Arapahoe Park Quarter Horse Futurity and Derby with the winners earning spots in the finals on closing weekend.
Saturday’s feature race, a five-furlong allowance contest for fillies and mares, includes three 2016 Arapahoe Park stakes winners in A J’s Grand from the CTBA Breeders Oaks, Brokeanlovingit from the Molly Brown Stakes, and Lady Jila from the Columbine Stakes. Lady Jila, a 10-year-old mare trained by O.A. Martinez Jr. and ridden by Mike Ziegler, will be attempting to become the first horse in the history of Arapahoe Park to win the same stakes race five times after capturing the last four runnings of the Columbine Stakes from 2013 to 2016.
Sunday’s Inaugural Stakes kicks off the track’s 31 stakes races—19 for Thoroughbreds and 12 for Quarter Horses—worth a total of $1.1 million in 2017. The field of 10 3-year-olds for the six-furlong, $30,000 contest includes stakes winners from Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Yo Y Me enters on a five-race win streak, including four in stakes races, at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. Underwood captured the 2016 Governor’s Cup at Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico. Way Out West won the CTBA and Silver Cup futurities at Arapahoe Park in 2016.