Huge crowd attends opening night of racing at Crooked River Roundup Race Meet

When the dust settled Wednesday night following the first night of the 2017 Crooked River Roundup Race Meet, organizers were pleased with what they had seen.

After all, ladies night had seen a huge crowd and betting action was furious.LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Jake Samuels aboard See the Lite (far right) comes off the corner leading a group of horses in the second race at Wednesday's opening night of the Crooked River Roundup Race Meet. Racing continue through Saturday night.

Not only had attendees filled the Crook County Fairgrounds parking lot, overflow parking filled up across the street, and a line of cars went far down both Lynn Boulevard and Fairview.

With perfect weather and a good track, conditions were perfect for racing.

Jockey Jake Samuels stole the show Wednesday, winning four of the eight races on the card.

Samuels rode First Prize Star to victory in the opening race of the season, covering 250 yards in 14.081 seconds.

His hot streak continued in the second race of the evening as he rode See the Lite to an easy win in the five and a half furlong thoroughbred race, with a time of 1:10.53.

Jose Antonio Figueroa, who won a pair of races, broke through for a win in the third race, blasting off the starting line to power The Real Queen B to victory in the 250-yard quarter horse race with a time of 13.601.

Riding Impulzive Kate, Eduardo Gutierrez-Sosa won the five furlong fourth race in 1:03.83.

Samuels was back in the winner's circle in the fifth race as he guided Xerxes to a victory with a time of 1:03.42 in the five furlong race.

The 250-yard sixth race was won by Figueroa astride Rtictac Man with a time of 13.648 seconds.

Kassie Guglielmino got into the winner's circle in the seventh race, riding Cantchaco to victory in the seven furlong seventh race with a time of 1:29.57.

Samuels closed out the evening with a win in the five furlong eight race, riding Chutney to victory with a time of 1:03.08 over five furlongs.

The Crooked River Roundup Race Meet continues nightly through Saturday. Ten races are scheduled for both Friday and Saturday night with racing starting at 7:15 p.m. nightly.

The race meet has seen a series of major changes this year. The races have new betting machines, which should decrease the time it takes to place a bet, as well as shortening the lines at the betting windows.

However, the biggest and most exciting change is that the race meet is now streamed live throughout the U.S. by

With the change, bettors throughout the U.S. and Canada can place a bet from their computer or phone regardless of where they are located.

Organizers believe that the online betting opportunity will both increase interest in Oregon racing as well as improving the handle from this year's racing.

With great weather in the forecast for the remainder of the week, plenty of horses in the paddock and streamlined betting procedures, this year's race meet should continue to offer great racing.

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