Thistledown to Have Largest Ohio Derby Field in a Decade

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ThistleDown Racino will boast a field of 12 horses for Saturday’s 80th running of the Ohio Derby, its most impressive field in more than a dozen years.


Among the 12 horses entered is Harry’s Holiday, who raced in the 2014 Kentucky Derby, and the winner of this year’s Iowa Derby, Jessica’s Star. Famed jockey Calvin Borel, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2007, 2009 and 2010, has committed to riding Almost Famous, who is favored to win the Ohio Derby.


“This year’s field of horses is the most impressive we’ve seen in more than a decade at ThistleDown,” said Patrick Ellsworth, racing secretary at ThistleDown. “By tripling the purse to $300,000 this year, we have attracted a higher caliber of horse and jockey to our signature race, making this year even more exciting.”


The Ohio Derby will be the 8th race of the day on Saturday, with an approximate post time of 4:25 p.m. Horses running and their post positions are listed below.


1. Larcenyinmyheart
2. Brothersofthetime
3. Bump Start
4. Almost Famous
5. Harry’s Holiday
6. Russellin
7. Cleburne
8. Avgolemono
9. Jessica’s Star
10. Mushu
11. Saa Mi
12. East Hall


In addition to live racing that begins at 12:55 p.m. Saturday, ThistleDown will simulcast races from across the country all day.


Family Fun on the Apron
A host of activities will energize the apron from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday as part of ThistleDown’s Summer of Fun. Children of all ages are permitted on the apron and in the wagering area on the fourth floor, which provides 150 high-definition, 60-inch, flat screen TVs for premium viewing of live and simulcast racing.


  • A barbeque pit will provide food for purchase.
  • The Skallywags will come all the way from Nashville to provide live rock and country music from noon to 5 p.m.
  • The Euclid Beach rocket car will provide free rides for children from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • A balloon artist will make balloon animals for children.


The action continues all night long inside on the racino floor, which boasts 1,151 Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs), six dining options and two bars. Popular Cleveland band The Benjaminz will play all the hits at Center Bar from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. All VLTs and events on the gaming floor are restricted to adults 21 and over.


A New Era
ThistleDown reopened on April 9, 2013 as a racino following an $89 million renovation that added a gaming floor with more than 1,000 VLTs, six dining options, two bars and Ohio’s first gaming patio. Included in the renovation was a $1 million upgrade to the wagering floor.


The addition of VLTs and 24/7 amenities resulted in ThistleDown becoming an entertainment destination on Cleveland’s east side, and subsequently breathed new life into the sport of kings in Northeast Ohio. It is conveniently located off of interstates 271 and 480 and the gaming area is connected to the apron, which enables guests to enjoy the VLTs while watching horses thunder by at 35 miles per hour on one of the nation’s best race tracks.


ThistleDown’s 2014 racing season will include 122 race days and will culminate on November 16. In addition to increasing purse sizes by 28 percent, ThistleDown has also added five additional Ohio-bred stakes races this year.