Horse racing has been legal in Colorado since 1948, and the Arapahoe Park Racetrack was the third racing facility to open over forty years later in 1992. Today, Arapahoe Park is the sole horse-racing track in Colorado, located on the outskirts of Aurora.
The track, along with the state’s off-track betting facilities, is operated by Mile High Racing. They are owned by Twin River Worldwide Holdings Inc., who also owns three of Colorado’s casinos: The Golden Gates, Golden Gulch, and Golden Mardi Gras Casinos. Racing commences at the site in May and continues to August and both live and online horse race bets can be placed. However, due to the coronavirus, the racing schedule has been amended to start on 8th June 2020.
- Address: 26000 East Quincy Avenue, Aurora, CO 80016
- Owner: Twin River Worldwide Holdings Inc.
- Race Season: 23rd May to 16th August 2020
- Major Events:
- Rocky Mountain Futurity (Quarterhorse)
- Colorado Derby (Thoroughbred)
- Mile High Futurity (Quarterhorse)
- Arapahoe Park Sprint (Thoroughbred)
Usually, the racing season an Arapahoe Park Racetrack starts annually in mid-May and runs through to the middle of August with events running on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 1pm. This year, the racing calendar was supposed to run from 23rd May to 16th August 2020, however, this has been drastically disrupted. Due to the coronavirus pandemic significantly impacting sporting events, horse racing was also affected causing many events to be postponed, canceled, or held without spectators.
In recent news, the state has stated that as of 8th June 2020, offices for the Racing Division can reopen, and the Colorado Racing Commission is allowing a live racing meet at the park as of this date. An updated schedule has been released with racing events scheduled at 4pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays through to September. Although spectators are still not permitted, racing events will recommence and bets can be placed from mobile apps or select off-track betting facilities.
The Arapahoe Park Racetrack’s updated and current schedule is as follows:
The Arapahoe Park Racetrack features a range of different equestrian events including thoroughbred, quarterhorse, Arabian, and Appaloosa racing. Of these, quarterhorse racing one of the most popular. These are short distance high-speed races originally a quarter of a mile in length, hence the name. Notable quarterhorse races raging from 330-400 yards in length include:
- Mile High Derby
- Cherry Creek Futurity
- Rocky Mountain Futurity
Thoroughbred racing is another favorite and the most well-known racing variety, partly due to the money surrounding these events. This is another race over flat ground, based on speed and stamina, but is a longer race than quarterhorse racing. Major thoroughbred events held at Arapahoe Park include:
- Arapahoe Park Sprint
- Colorado Derby
- CTBA Futurity
- Silver Cup Futurity
- Breeder’s Oak
When the Arapahoe Park Racetrack is not holding live race events, you can still enjoy placing horse bets on simulcast races. These are live broadcasted races from around the world and mean you can also keep up-to-date with events going on across the globe. The Arapahoe Park Racetrack holds simulcast races five days per week where they stream the live action on their televisions and take bets as usual.
Although the Arapahoe Park Racetrack is closed to spectators at present, usually there are admission prices to attend the racing events:
- General Admission: $5
- 17 and Under: Free
- Seniors (55+): $1
- Active Duty Military: Free
General admission seating is either track-side benches or inside seating at the Grandstand. If you wish to upgrade to a private table with a television in the upper level of the Grandstand for even better views of the racing, you can purchase a clubhouse table. These seat four and cost $10.
The Arapahoe Park Racetrack is an oval dirt track one mile in length and with a distance of 1,029 feet between the final bend and the finish line. There is also interior and outdoor seating so you can enjoy your day at the races regardless of the weather.
To make your visit to Arapahoe Park Racetrack a comfortable and enjoyable experience, there are several additional facilities on the premises:
- Concessions Stand: Located on the Grandstand level serving a range of snacks such as burgers and hotdogs
- Bar: Located on the Grandstand level serving a range of soft and alcoholic drinks
- ATM Machine: On the second and third floor so you easily withdraw cash to place more wagers
- Gift Shop: Selling a range of equine-themed gifts such as collectibles, games, home décor, figurines, and more
Horse Race Betting Options
When placing bets on horses there are several different types of wagers you can place depending on whether you are betting on a single horse, multiple horses, or across multiple races. Here is a breakdown:
Single Horse Bets
- Win: You bet on a horse to win the race
- Place: You bet on a horse to finish first or second
- Show: You bet on a horse to finish top three
Multiple Horse Bets:
- Exacta: You bet on two horses to finish first and second, in the correct order
- Quinella: You bet on two horses to finish first and second, in any order
- Trifecta: You bet on three horses to finish top three, in the correct order
- Superfecta: You bet on four horses to finish top four, in the correct order
Multiple Race Bets:
- Pick 5/6: You bet on a winning horse for several races on the same day, all of which must win
- Futures: You bet on winning horses of future major racing events
For more information on how to place horse bets and the type of wagers available at the Arapahoe Park Racetrack, take a look at their handy brochure.
Online Gambling Options
With the Arapahoe Park Racetrack still closed for spectators, one of the only options at present for betting on races is through a mobile app. Although the racetrack does not have its own gambling app, there are plenty of legal options in Colorado. TVG is a well-known favorite throughout the US for placing horse racing wagers. The BetAmerica app is another loved option throughout the states and their racing betting is accessible from the Centennial State. Following the passing of Proposition DD in November last year and the subsequent legalization of sports betting in Colorado, BetAmerica has also partnered with Bronco Billy’s Casino in Cripple Creek to launch their sportsbook app in Colorado.
Arapahoe Park History
Horse racing was one of the first forms of gambling made legal in Colorado, launching in 1948. The Arapahoe Park Racetrack was the third racing site to open in the state opening in 1992 and is the only active track today. The other two racetracks went out of business, and there are concerns that Arapahoe Park Racetrack will face the same fate. Horse racing as a whole is slowly diminishing and there is a steady decline in the number of racing events each year in the US. This is partially due to the availability of betting on other sporting events, and with the recent legalization of Colorado sportsbooks, we may see a larger impact on Arapahoe Park’s fate.
Many US racetracks are maintaining business by incorporating other facilities on their sites, such as conference centers and casinos. However, a proposal in 2014 hoping to legalize racinos in Colorado was shut down, and the future for Arapahoe Park Racetrack remains uncertain. Whether the track will survive on horse racing alone is yet to be seen.