Temper Tantrum in Oregon: Travis Boersma Threatens to Close Track If He Doesn’t Get His Slot Machines

Back in November, I reported on the goings-on in Oregon, where Grants Pass owner and coffee mogul Travis Boersma is hoping to install slot machines (he calls them “Historical Racing Machines”) to prop up the state’s only remaining commercial racetrack. (I had written on this before – here, here.) As I wrote, Boersma’s plan is being fought by the state’s Indigenous tribes, who rightly claim they alone are legally permitted to operate casino gaming, which is exactly what those “HRMs” would be.

Now, owing to a delay by the Racing Commission so they can consult (per the advice of the governor) with the tribes and get Justice Dept. approval, Boersma is acting the part of spoiled brat. This from Oregon Live: “In an interview Monday, Boersma issued an ultimatum to state leaders: Approve his plan or he shuts everything down. The races won’t begin in April as scheduled, and the operation’s workers could be headed for the unemployment line. ‘If we don’t get approval, we’re going to lose 156 jobs…and horse racing in Oregon will be dead,’ Boersma said.”

Give me my millions (slots are lucrative) or I’m taking my ball and going home, and when I do workers will be “headed for the unemployment line.” The man is shameless. Anyhow, here’s a reminder of what the industry Boersma wishes so fervently to continue has wreaked in Oregon over the past few years.

(This list is quite obviously not a complete reckoning.)

Hawks Main Interest, killed racing at Grants Pass: “open, comminuted fracture”
Jemsek, killed training at Grants Pass: “severe fracture; severe hemorrhage”
Papa Said Ya, killed racing at Grants Pass: “multiple traumatic fractures”
I’lbeamonkeysuncle, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “vessel ruptures in lungs”
Four Times Lucky, killed racing at Harney Fair: “internal bleed”
Sexy Momma, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “ankle fracture”
Captain Shaddock, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “ankle fracture”
Storm the Channel, killed training at Portland Meadows: “fractured cannon bone”
Memphis Mobster, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “pastern fracture”
Bellicose Boy, killed training at Portland Meadows: “cannon fracture”
Ozark Daredevil, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “injury, [euthanized] a week later”
Hot Tub, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “ankle fracture”
Coming in Hot, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “sudden death”
To the Brink, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “shoulder injury”
Polished Rock, killed training at Portland Meadows: “fractured ankle”
Gold On Tap, dead at Portland Meadows: “died in stall”
Cinematic Cat, dead at Portland Meadows: “colic”
Rome New York, dead at Portland Meadows: “tibial fracture”
Semiprecious, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “limb fracture”
Regalstone, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “carpal fracture”
Stardemalion, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “fractured leg”
Chick Meter, killed racing at Oregon Livestock: “collapse – sudden death”
Jess a Lil Lacey, killed racing at Grants Pass: “fractured leg”
Itsastormynight, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “fractured leg”
Wizsito, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “fractured leg”
TNT Party, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “fractured [both] front legs”
Fnf Bruja, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “fractured leg”
Rolling Thunder, killed racing at Portland Meadows: “fractured leg”
Penny’s Maeham, killed racing at Oregon Livestock
Stormin Angel, killed racing at Portland Meadows
Tsunami Kidd, killed racing at Portland Meadows
Papa’s Angels, killed racing at Portland Meadows
Cu At Sunup, killed racing at Portland Meadows
Joanie’s Ticket, killed racing at Portland Meadows
Cowboy Clyde, killed racing at Portland Meadows
Corporate Comet, dead at Portland Meadows
Hye Choose Hope, dead at Portland Meadows
I Got My Wings, dead at Portland Meadows
Alota Action, dead at Portland Meadows
Special Cafeina, dead at Portland Meadows
Really a Hero, killed racing at Oregon Livestock
Demetrius, killed racing at Portland Meadows

20 Comments

  1. This threatening to shut everything down if he doesn’t get his own way is the tactic that Ed Allred used to keep Los Alamitos Race Course open for 12 months instead of 6 months at a time. It’s all so dishonest and selfish on the part of the millionaires and billionaires.
    Horseracing is cruel. It needs to be shut down!

    • Exactly. And the strategy worked for Ol’ Ed, thanks to the crack team of CHRB Dinosaurs — who place appeasing the greedy, heartless old track operators over the health and welfare of baby horses. Every single time.

  2. Its all about the gamboling $$ Wanda. Travis knows there is no $$ in racing in my state & is not popular with the younger people of the state. we hope all is 50 million has been wasted!

    • Same here, fredjoan! Doesn’t he have enough money already with his Dutch Bros coffee business? Does he really need to violate the treaties with the Indigenous Peoples tribes in the State of Oregon and consequently steal the casino income from the Tribes? No, he doesn’t. He is just being a greedy, narcissistic, money grubbing, power hungry, horse exploiting traitor.

  3. Unfortunately I`m a lousy keyboarder. Meant to add think of what good those 50 million $$ could have done. 1,000 teachers could have been hired @ $25,000 yearly for 2 years.The younger people are not interested in racing & that`s why Portland Meadows was redeveloped out as a trucking / warehousing operation for Amazon.A higher, better use of the property in an centrally located area of our largest city.

    • Everyone would be better off if Grants Pass Downs were dead, especially the horses and the future of the young people of Oregon.

      • The annual income for teachers varies. It looks like the incomes range from $22,000+ to over $60,000+ on the sites I checked. It’s weird. It looks like they’re all over the map on the pay scale. Supposedly, the average is $30,046 per year as of January 5, 2022.

  4. What a jackass. But at least he’s remotely honest in one area: his calculation of “jobs lost” when his little shit-fit fails to produce its intended, animal-abusing result: 156 workers left unemployed?
    Usually racing’s drama queens threaten some absurdity like “thousands” left homeless and jobless(!) if one lousy track folds. Like their entire local economy will collapse if they can’t keep racing horses to death:
    Hey, Travis. Have a little faith in your workers’ abilities to find other (and better) employment and housing, why don’t you?

  5. So you’re really worried about the 156 jobs, Travis? – worry no more as it’s a GIVEN those folks will easily find employment elsewhere. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August and another 4.4 million in September. There are lots of jobs out there.

    So there you go, Travis – your main concern, those 156 jobs (or is that your main concern?), was nothing to act like a 2-year-old over. It’s all good when horseracing ceases to exist in Oregon! While it’s too late for the 40-plus dead racehorses Patrick named in this post, there are others Oregon racing hasn’t killed (or dumped) yet so you can be ecstatic for them.

    • According to one of the reviews of Grants Pass Downs on Maps, there is no Dutch Bros Coffee available at that location. If he opened another coffee shop nearby, he could transfer some of his employees to working at a new location. I feel certain that his main objective is to keep horseracing in Oregon by being a power-hungry slob; to “siphon and steal” Tribal casino gambling/ gaming income from the Indigenous Peoples of the State of Oregon in order to keep horseracing in Oregon more than keeping 156 people employed. He could figure out another way to keep these 156 people employed if that is what he truly cared about. If the majority of these jobs are minimum wage jobs, the powers-that-be may not care about making sure that the young people in Oregon are provided with a good enough education to get better, higher paying jobs.

    • As best I can tell, the place only races about 40 days per year so I’m guessing very few of those jobs are full time. I’m sure all of the teller and concession jobs are very part time, a second job for many. Most of the handle is from televising the signal which really employs very few. I think he just counted the number of people he wrote checks to and even his claim of 156 jobs is complete BS.

  6. I’m not sure I see the problem here if the coffee king doesn’t get his own way. By his own admission horse racing in Oregon will be dead – and that’s a bad thing? Your talking about 150 jobs that seem to be all part-time, and I’m sure minimum wage at best. It’s not even that he’s a fervent horse racing supporter or apologist: he just wants his slot machines, and he figures slapping them onto a track is the fastest and easiest way to do that. By all means, let’s keep killing horses (which this guy is completely brain dead about) just so he can have his few slot machines to make him more money – isn’t his coffee kingdom enough?

    • He wants a license to steal from the Indigenous Peoples’ Tribal casinos which would cause them a loss of revenue. A loss of revenue for the Tribes could cause a loss of jobs at the Trbal casinos. Who cares about that? Hypothetically, the jobs would be taken away from the Tribal casinos and given to this greedy power monger to prop up the racing and Pari-Mutuel handle; oversimplified possibly, but you understand the concept.

  7. At this point does anyone even give a rat’s ass about this drug filled corrupt nonsense? I know all I care about is my Eagles and Joel Embid’s Sixers. Let’s focus on REAL sports. Mm’kay (southpark reference)🤣.

  8. Isn’t it so ironic how horse racing apologists spend all their time, energy and millions protecting and defending the ongoing daily cruelty and killing of racehorses?
    Yet they can’t find a lousy $200 to bail out one of their dumped victims at a kill auction nor provide a 1-800 number that people can call or transportation out of the kill pen hell holes?
    Back around 1997 to about 2000 (all in public court documents some of which I saved) Frank Stronach and a group of high powered attorneys sued the California government to strike down the casino deals being negotiated for the Native American communities.
    The CHRB was quietly behind the lawsuit as well.
    It was around this time that Stronach was inking the deal to buy up the California racetracks in 1998 and was banking on winning, but they were also banking on the poor, powerless Native communities to surrender.
    However, they didn’t count on the fighting spirit of the Native Americans and they lost miserably just like a modern day Custer’s Last Stand.
    After millions in attorney fees and appeals they lost at the high court and the deals were awarded to the Native California Tribes – thank goodness for that.
    Anyways, I expose this example because this is exactly what Travis Boersma is doing and one thing I know about horse racing parasites – they will whine, cry, scream, fight, argue and use their jobs, jobs jobs mantra until our politicians finally give in to them.
    This strategy has worked for years.
    What is really needed is a politician with a different mindset who is more in tune to our youth and community needs so that they immediately end these obscene financial deals or stop negotiations with millionaires like Travis Boersma.
    They need to make clear that this killing and deeply corrupt business will not and should not be getting subsidies.
    Horse racing is one gigantic cancerous tumor on our communities across America that needs to be excised.

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