10 essentials: a night out at Grand River Raceway

Grand River Raceway’s 2020 horse racing season opens on June 3 and features live horse racing most Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights until the end of September.

Here are some essentials you should know:

1) Admission and parking are free.

That’s right – parking and admission are free when you join us for a night of horse racing. Come and go as you please. The races begin at 6:30 p.m. There are usually 10 – 12 races and the night wraps up around 10:00 p.m.

2) Kids are welcome.

With the exception of the slots floor (where you must be 19+ to enter) kids are welcome in all public areas of Grand River Raceway. You must be 18+ to place a wager or cash a ticket for the horse races. While kids are welcome every race night, we have special programming for them on Friday nights in The NEIGHbourhood.

3) It’s a popular venue for parties.

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, the racetrack is a great backdrop. There’s always plenty to chat about with your guests and a new race to watch and bet every 20 minutes. We recommend the Captain’s Quarters Dining Room for a buffet dinner which overlooks the racetrack and features a TV at each table.

4) We’ll name a race for your group.

Host a party of 12+ in the Captain’s Quarters Dining Room, and we’ll name a race in your honour. You’ll join the victors in the winners circle and receive a copy of the photo as a memento.

5) 100 horses compete each night.

No horses live at Grand River Raceway, but on race nights 100 of them ship-in from training centres and farms across Ontario to compete in the races. You’ll find them all in the Race Paddock – a restricted area which you need a racing license to access. But on Friday race nights, we host barn tours for the public to see the space and meet a horse.

6) You can drive a racehorse (sort-of).

Every Friday race night, guests of all ages have the chance to drive a retired racehorse accompanied by a pro from the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS). Fun and free but spaces are limited.

7) Dining options.

There are several dining options for your outing, including the aforementioned buffet dining in the Captain’s Quarters Dining Room, The Getaway Restaurant, The Eatery, Tarmac BBQ, and a new restaurant opening this summer in the Grandway Event Centre.

8) Study beforehand – free program.

To get the most out of your night at the track, you’ll need a race program which lists the horses in each race and details all of the relevant stats to aid your betting decisions. You can study the race program in advance or access it on your device for free by downloading it from the track’s website. (you can also purchase a printed copy at the track.)

9) Lots of different bets.

There are many different types of wagers which can involve just one horse or several. You control the cost, which begins at $0.20. If you’re new to horse racing and wagering, our staff can help get you started.

10) Award-winning staff.

Our workplace is accredited as a Great Place To WorkTM and a Best Workplace In Retail & HospitalityTM and it shows. We’ve won other awards too which affirm that our management team and frontline staff are trained and dedicated to crafting opportunities for our guests to #experiencemore.