HURRICANE — The running of the trials for the 47th Annual Dixie Downs Race Meet horse races took place Saturday afternoon at Washington County Regional Park, 5500 W. 700 South, in Hurricane.
Hosted by the St. George Lions Club, the race meet saw 11 trial races — four derby races and seven futurity races, said Jason Ray, race committee co-chairman. The derby races consisted of 3-year-old horses running 350 yards and the futurity races consisted of 2-year-old horses running 300 yards.
There were 41 futurity horses running at Saturday’s trials races and 24 derby horses from all over the western United States including Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, California, New Mexico and Utah, Ray said.
The fastest qualifiers from Saturday’s races will return April 16 to race in the finals where horse and jockey will lay it all out on the track for glory and money.
The prize purse for the futurity races is just over $69,000, Ray said. The purse will be divided among the top racers with the winner receiving approximately $27,000.
“It’s really good money, you know, for Utah. It’s one of the biggest races in Utah,” Ray said.
The Dixie Downs Race Meet has a long history in Southern Utah. Originally held in the Dixie Downs area of St. George the races were moved to the fairgrounds in the mid-1990s.
For participants, organizers and fans, the races represent an important part of their lives and the history of the area.
St. George resident Lorna Richmond said:
I have horses, we’re in the horse industry, we have friends out here that train race horses so we’re out here to support them. We love the horse industry, we want to promote it in this area, we want people to come out and support it so it stays here so that we can grow, have bigger and better things.
For Ray, he said, horse racing has been a part of his whole life.
“My dad has raised and raced horses my whole life,” Ray said. “I have always been a big fan of the races.”
The finals of the Dixie Downs Race Meet will take place April 16 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Concessions will be available for purchase at the event. Guests should be aware that seating is on metal grandstands. No shade or padding is provided so attendees are encouraged to bring their own.
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- What: 47th Annual Dixie Downs Horse Meet
- When: April 16, 1 p.m.
- Where: Washington County Regional Park, 5500 W. 700 South, Hurricane
- Cost: Adults, $8 | Children (under 12) $5
- Additional information: Concessions will be available for purchase
- St. George Lion’s Club: Website | Facebook
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